When I started my internship at the STAR Center just ten weeks ago, I had no idea how much I would learn in such a short amount of time! While there are many lessons I could share, here are just a handful of things I have taken with me over the past ten weeks.
1.All New Things
Within the first week of my internship, one thing had become clear: while being in a new place is fun and exciting, it is also very difficult! After traveling almost 500 miles from home, moving into a new dorm room, adjusting to a roommate, and familiarizing myself with a brand new city, I was preparing myself for a lot of change and growth. Through meeting an incredibly welcoming staff and learning more about the facility as a whole, I got an idea of what it would be like to work at STAR for the next 6 months.
Once I was oriented to the environment, my second week was primarily focused on observations. I observed sessions with all four music therapists on staff as well as the other music therapy intern. Through observing different clients, specific goals and objectives, and treatment techniques, I realized how much more there would be to learn about music therapy and different populations throughout my internship and attempted to absorb as much information as possible during this time period.
3. Client Introductions
After observing many different sessions for two weeks, I received my full schedule and started to view the sessions I was observing as my own future sessions. With this in mind, and after having already observed most of these sessions at least once, I started to learn the names of the clients, their personalities, and how the music therapists interacted with each individual person.
As I approached the end of my first month, I began to take on leadership in sessions through singing the hello and goodbye songs. This familiarized me further with the clients I would be working with and helped me to begin building rapport with them. As I moved toward my second month, I started to think about my role as the future music therapist with these clients.
5. The First Stretch
At the beginning of my second month, I started to lead at least one intervention in addition to the hello and goodbye songs in most of my sessions. This challenged me to learn how to effectively prompt and interact with clients. It also challenged me to start learning a whole lot of new music!
During my sixth week, the music therapy department traveled to Chattanooga, TN for the Southeastern Region American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Conference. At the conference, I was given the opportunity to reconnect with friends from college, other music therapy interns, and several professional music therapists from the area I will be moving to after internship. This was a wonderful way to share internship experiences with friends and, more importantly, learn about potential job opportunities!
7. Guitar, planning, more guitar, more planning…
Since guitar plays such an important role in music therapy sessions, my primary focus for my second month of internship was to learn new music and improve my guitar skills. In addition to practicing guitar for an hour or more each night, I also started to take more responsibility in session planning. Because of this, most of my time outside of work was spent going back and forth between the two (with a few Netflix breaks in between, of course).
8. Growing Pains
As I began leading full sessions and taking on more responsibility overall, I found myself being very overwhelmed throughout my eighth week. Because of this, I had to learn how to take care of myself while still completing the tasks I was responsible for. This included taking time outside of work to read, write, rest, cook, etc. rather than spending all of my time planning and practicing. While it is important to set aside time to get things done, I learned that it is equally important to take a break and recharge in order to be your best self!
9. Finding Your Groove
After confronting my feeling of being overwhelmed and learning the importance of self-care, I started to feel more comfortable with the circumstances and more confident in myself as an intern. Through this experience, I realized that all I needed to expect of myself was to lead each session in the best way I knew how to and continue growing from there. This change in mindset helped me to reach a sense of peace with my current stage as an intern.
10. Keep Pressing
While there have been many challenges during internship up to this point (and I’m sure there will be even more challenges to follow), I have learned a whole lot about myself, music therapy, and how the skills learned in internship will apply to other parts of my life. I have already seen a great deal of growth throughout this process and am looking forward to continuing to grow each day!
If you would like more information about the music therapy internship at STAR Center, contact Chrissy Watson at firstname.lastname@example.org.