How I became interested in music therapy…
There is something wonderful about hearing the way my colleagues and friends gravitated towards the music therapy field, and the (sometimes very winding) path they took to becoming a music therapist. Today, I’d like to share how I found my “dream job”.
Music has always played an integral role in my life. Beginning at the age of five, violin and piano lessons were a constant throughout elementary school, high school, and college. And having a piano teacher as a mother meant my morning wake-up call consisted of c major scales and another “wonderful” student rendition of the theme from “Titanic”.
It was not until my later years of high school when I truly discovered the value of music. Not only could it provide an escape for the player, but it was an outlet for the listener, as well. Before I knew of the therapeutic powers of music, I could see the way in which music resonated with my great-grandmother and grandmother; both of whom had Alzheimer’s.
When the time came to go to college, I knew I didn’t want to be a music performance major. But that’s about as far as I got. I became interested in music therapy during my junior year, after I was presented with the opportunity to provide violin lessons to a young child with Down Syndrome. It was my first taste of the therapeutic qualities of music, and the seed of passion was planted. I looked into what music therapy was and how I could immerse myself in it. Unfortunately, my current university did not have a music therapy degree; therefore, I pursued the speech therapy field, as I still wanted to do something therapy-related.
After graduating with a degree in Communication Disorders, I had no idea what I was going to do. Should I continue on the speech therapy path and get my Master’s? Was it too late to start something new, like music therapy?
So, I made a very cool social move. I moved into my parent’s basement without a job and without a plan. I began thinking again about going back to school for music therapy…and found out that the University of Iowa (a 30 min. drive from home) had one of the top music therapy programs in the United States. I looked at the requirements and application process, and noticed the deadline for applying was….in less than a week. Needless to say, it was a rush, but I was soon accepted and began the music therapy equivalency/Master’s program.
I had found my passion.
Nine years after starting my collegiate career, I graduated. It is my privilege to begin what I consider to be my “dream job”. I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of this ever-growing, active, and important field.
What’s YOUR story? I’d love to hear it!