Welcome to the final segment in our three-part series! This week, Angie Biehl has been generous enough to share her very personal journey and her music with us. We are honored to post it here – it is an incredible story worth sharing.
When asked what was going through her head when she heard about music therapy, Angie Biehl answered, “I was honestly thinking, ‘How have I never heard of this before?!’
“I had gone to school for music education and I was an educator. I always had trouble with the fact that I had to convince a lot of students to want to be there and want to practice the music and play together. As a performer I would spend countless hours in a room by myself practicing a piece of music only to ever play it one or two times. I always had the thought in the back of my mind that I wanted to share music with people.
To be honest, I found out about music therapy from a psychiatrist when I was in an inpatient program for severe depression and anxiety. I had become overwhelmed by the details of life… I had lost the music. When the psychiatrist told me that there was such a thing as using the power of music to help people, my whole life changed. I found the power of music in my own life again and I immediately started gathering as much information as I could about music therapy and how I could be a part of something so life changing. The more I learned about music therapy the more I was convinced that it was what I had been longing for all the while.”
Angie wrote the song “Break the Light” during this time.
Unfortunately, Angie lived in Montana – a state that had a total of two music therapists and no close by schools that offered music therapy. Also, she wasn’t sure if her undergraduate and graduate degrees would count towards her music therapy degree. And, of course, even if her credits did transfer and she got her degree, there were no jobs in Montana to come home to.
Despite the possible challenges, Angie was determined. “I was so convinced that music therapy was the right thing for me that I decided to do whatever it took to get the degree and board certification… I knew there were no music therapy jobs in Montana so, if I wanted to go home to live and work, I would have to create a job… I took online courses, bought ebooks, subscribed to blogs, and basically participated in anything that would get me closer to starting a private practice in Montana.”
Angie took a job in a related field while she grew her private practice and made connections through her network. Currently, she says, “The stage is set for me to transition at any time from being a part time private practitioner and working a different job to running a music therapy private practice full time.”
As far as advice for aspiring music therapists? “Take a good look at what music means to you in your life and why you want to be a music therapist. Let that vision carry you through the tough times and listen for the music amidst the details. Music therapists are some of the best kind of people; you will have an incredible community of colleagues to support you.”
Angie now works at two memory care facilities, and a hospice agency. She has contracts in the works for integrative health center, a wellness program at the university, and may be creating a position for a music therapist at a psychiatric facility.
We want to give a HUGE thank you to Angie and to all the music therapists that shared with us for this series. They’ve inspired us and hopefully inspired you as well.
And let us know what YOU think. What part did you connect with? How did you find music therapy? What else do you want to learn? Send us a line in the comments below!
PS Are you wondering how to start your search for an accredited school that has a music therapy program? You’ll want to check out the Music Therapy Source School Guide ASAP!