This story is a part of our series “3 People Who Changed Careers for Music Therapy”, where we interviewed music therapists about their unique journeys to music therapy. (Here is the first story if you missed it.) Welcome to the second segment, and enjoy!
When Rhonda Miller heard about music therapy, she was a junior in high school. She shadowed a music therapist and brought the idea to her parents, who “didn’t know any music therapists and had never heard of music therapy before. It didn’t seem like a good choice to Midwestern farmers who had not attended college themselves and just had lost a farm.” The decision was made that Rhonda would study something familiar if she was going to go to college.
That was back in 1985. “Life meandered as it tends to do,” said Rhonda. “But my interest in becoming a music therapist remained.” When she was 42 and her youngest child started kindergarten, she began to reconsider her career and decided to go back to school. It was not always an easy time. “I struggled as a student, questioning myself and my abilities. It also wasn’t easy being in school while having a family… Grounding myself in family and friends and participating in my faith community were key to my mental health and well being at getting through school.”
Rhonda Miller, MT-BC
To people considering a career change to music therapy later in life, Rhonda suggests a few things that she learned. “Talk to numerous music therapists and shadow them if this is a possibility. Be kind to yourself… learn about and engage in self care… Remember, there will always be a place for you and your unique skills.”
Rhonda now works at Iowa City Hospice. “Music therapy is a great profession,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
Rhonda certainly had a lot of patience! (Also, one of the 3 Traits You Have to Have to be a Music Therapist.) We are really inspired by her story. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a music therapist, check out the 7 Mistakes Students Make When Choosing a Music Therapy School. It’s a free report with seriously valuable information that I wish had been around when I was looking!
Stay tuned for our final story next week about a woman who discovered music therapy when she was hospitalized.