So I have been a professional music therapist for almost 5 full months now, and I wanted to do a post about my experiences so far. Here are some of the things I have learned. If you are a new professional, please comment about your own experiences!
1.) Speak Up
Or, as John Mayer sang, “Say What You Need to Say”. As students and interns, we are mostly in learning mode, trying to soak up everything from our teachers and supervisors. While it is always important to be listening and learning, it’s also important to speak up and make ideas and professional opinions known. Many music therapists work in interdisciplinary teams, myself included. Other professionals may not know about techniques and approaches that we as music therapists are trained in, so we have to educate our team members. Gotta speak up!
2.) Make the Best of Your Spare Time
When away from work, it’s important to keep improving your skill set. Learning new things increases your value as an employee, and also adds to your own fulfillment. Young professionals seem to have an advantage when it comes to technology. Learn how to use recording software, how learn basic web design. Maybe you are an expert at social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) How can you integrate your non-musical skills into your practice as a therapist?
3.) Schedule Some Relaxation
Yes, I just wrote that we need to be continually improving our skills. However, it’s also important to get away from work and just chill out a bit. Take some time do something you love. Watch TV shows on Hulu, play some video games, or go for a walk. If you schedule some “Me Time”, you will be motivated when you are actually working.
So that is it for now. To other music therapists just starting out: what are YOU learning?