It’s hard to believe I have been working at the Groovy Garfoose for six months already! My first six months as a new professional have been challenging, but so rewarding. Along the way, I have learned so much about both myself and music therapy. I decided to write a blog post on this topic for students and other new professionals to learn more about what it’s like being a new music therapist at a private practice.
I knew I wanted my first music therapy job to be in private practice because I thrive with a diverse schedule. I don’t enjoy doing the same thing all day long, and I never had a “favorite” music therapy setting which is what attracted me to private practices. They offer the opportunity to work with a range of ages and abilities which keeps me on my toes and has allowed me to grow my clinical skills. So far, GG has given me the chance to provide individual and group music therapy to clients ages 3 through 80 – that’s huge! My schedule keeps me busy since I am doing a lot of different clinical work, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I truly enjoy having such a variety in my work.
The variety and freedom in my schedule comes with a lot of responsibility! I have found that I need to be very organized in order to do my job well. Not only do I need to stay organized by keeping my calendar up to date, I also need to make sure I am fully prepared for sessions. I make sure all of my session plans and music are readily available and that my car is packed with instruments and materials for any offsite sessions I have that day. In the (inevitable) case that I forget something for a session, I have to be flexible and quickly adjust the plan!
Seeing a variety of clientele means that I exercise many different skills on any given day. Being a new professional means that a lot of the skills I need to exercise are still being developed! It is challenging enough to start a new job, but even more challenging when that job requires you to have expertise in a LOT of areas. I have had to give myself lots of grace in my first few months of working. Maybe a session plan doesn’t have the impact I expected in a school group, or I mess up the chords to a song. Regardless, those “mistakes” are really just learning opportunities, and they never derail a session the way I think they will. In fact, the most important lesson I’ve learned in my music therapy career so far is to trust the music. It is a powerful and transformative tool that does the work for you… it’s why music therapists do what they do, after all!
These past six months at GG have been wonderful and I am excited to continue growing into the future with the supportive and awesome team at GG!