N is for
My hope for today’s post is to give you (friends, family, clients, perspective music therapists, etc.) a small glimpse into a “typical” day in the life of the music therapist (side note: one of the great things about my job is that is neither predictable nor repetitive; therefore, I felt it necessary to put the word typical in quotes).
I had planned on documenting approximately nine hours, but I may have extended it a bit (enter: flexibility and adaptation – two of the most needed skills in the world of music therapy!) :).
8:00 – 8:30
Wake-up. I will be completely honest with you here – I am not, and will never be, a morning person. I would much rather work late into the evening (on most nights, I have clients until 7 or 8pm) than get up early. Since I take showers at night, all I have to do is roll out of bed, take my dogs out, eat breakfast, and brush my teeth (yes, I do these activities in this exact order each morning) and go down the three flights of stairs from our apartment to the car.
8:30 – 9:00
Drive. As a music therapist, you may assume that I take this opportunity to listen to music as I travel from client to client. Sometimes this is the case. However, more often than not, silence is what I really crave in order to rejuvenate and clear my head in-between clients.
9:00 – 10:00
First session of the day. Knowing that I get to hang out with two amazing kids and their moms for a group music therapy session helps me get out of the bed in the morning. Seriously, these kids are the sweetest (ps. expect a blog post soon on this two- and three-year-old pair…we had a photo shoot this morning) :). Here is a bit of teaser: *Photos used with parent permission*
10:00 – 10:30
Drive. Thirty minutes on the road and I arrive at Language and Movement, an AMAZING facility in which I have the opportunity to do music therapy (group, individual, and co-treatment sessions).
10:30 – 12:30
Group sessions! During this two-hour time slot, occupational therapists and speech therapists bring their clients to the gym, where I have my music therapy goodies all ready to go. Some clients stay for an hour, some for 15 minutes. Sometimes only one child is in the group, other times there can be up to seven. It keeps me on my toes, but it is seriously a BLAST!
12:30 – 1:30
Individual session. (With parent permission, I am able to disclose that I get to work with this great kid). Throughout the hour, I use music (in all shapes and forms) to address the needs of the client: communication, behavioral, physical, etc…all of which are outlined in detailed goals/objectives. We dance (gross motor skills), we play instruments (coordination, following directions, communication), we play kazoo and harmonica (oral motor strengthening, breath control), and we laugh (quality of life!) :).
1:30 – 2:00
Drive. A twenty-minute drive and I arrive at the Live Oak Center for Communication Disorders therapy clinic – yet ANOTHER great pediatric facility!
2:00 – 3:00
Individual session. Details limited for privacy.
3:00 – 3:30
Drive. Get gas. Clean instruments (for what seems to be about the 100th time today…Clorox wipes are making bank off of me).
3:30 – 4:00
Client reschedules. Since I have 30 minutes before I need to drive again, I take this opportunity to grab a coffee and get a head start on my paperwork for the day.
4:00 – 4:30
Drive. By this point in the day, I usually whip out the iPod and play some tunes to get through traffic.
4:30 – 5:30
Last session of the day. Details limited for privacy.
5:30 – 6:00
Drive. Home, this time.
6:00 – 6:30
Arrive at home, take my dogs out (after receiving several slobbery kisses), answer emails, record mileage for tax purposes, brainstorm for the next day’s sessions, and handle any other miscellaneous music therapy business that needs to done (website upkeep, more paperwork, etc.). Tonight, I was able to sift through the super cute photos from the first session of the morning…a reminder of what a full, but absolutely wonderful day this has been.
I can say, with the utmost sincerity and certainty, that I love my job.
Music therapist or not, I’d LOVE to hear about your typical workday! What are your favorite things about your job? Your “regular” hours? The timespan when you find you need coffee the most? (Mine is between 2 and 3pm!)
2pm is also my low time. I wonder if that is why parts of the world have a break around then? BTW, I totally relate to your schedule. Except I get to throw in a few evening sessions. But, I love what I do and who I have the pleasure of working with.
Rachel Smith, MA, MT-BC
Good point, JoAnn! I think we should all adopt a 2-3pm break :).
The nice thing is that all of my days are different. While Monday is 9+ hours, Tuesday is 11:45 – 6:00, Wed. is 10-8, Thurs. 11:45 – 7, Fri. 8:30 – 2:30, Saturday 11:45 – 1:15. Not a bad schedule, if you ask me! 🙂
And I agree, I love what I do, too!!! I cannot imagine myself doing any other job and loving it this much.
That’s a fun schedule, Rachel! I am very envious. 🙂
Rachel Smith, MA, MT-BC
Thanks, Nikhil!! It IS a fun schedule, I must admit!! 🙂