Why Music Therapy Is The Career For Me

Why Music Therapy Is The Career For Me

Music therapists are an underrated category of heroes in my book.
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Music therapy is becoming a more popular career path, but it is still much less common than most other majors. The majority of people I know didn't even know music therapy existed or what it was until I told them I was going into it. Music therapy is defined by the American Music Therapy Association as "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program." This definition is a little wordy, in my opinion, and when I said that to someone one time when they asked me what music therapy is, I think they lost interest. If you want to learn more about what music therapy is, please click the link and you will be directed to the American Music Therapy Association website where you can learn all about it. Instead of trying to explain what music therapy is, today I'd like to focus on why I'm majoring in music therapy. The answer seems obvious, doesn't it? I love music. But it goes much deeper than that. Of course, it's perfectly fine to be going into music therapy purely because you love music, but the majority of people in my major have deeper reasons as to why this is their career of choice. For me, it's several reasons. The first being, yes, I do love music. Most people have a "thing," like dancing, painting, or acting. For me, it's music. I'm a total nerd when it comes to music. I was in a local statewide choir outside of school for several years, and then I joined the band in the 5th grade as a flute player. In high school, I joined the choir and junior jazz band. I wanted to be in senior jazz with all of the really good players, so I switched to saxophone and from junior year on, I was in honors choir, symphonic band, and senior jazz band. Some people thought I was crazy, but I loved every second of it. My senior year, I barely left the music wing of the school. In college, I'm in three ensembles as well.
The second biggest reason I'm majoring in music therapy is my love for helping others. It sounds cheesy, I know. But it's so true. There is a certain joy I get from making someone else smile or making someone feel better and I can't think of a better way to spend my working life doing two things I love so much. Everyone in my major is caring, sensitive, and dedicated to bettering other people's lives. If you've ever felt a happiness that starts deep within that comes from doing something you love, then you know how we feel when we are able to help someone else by doing what we love. It's a win-win. Not only do we get to make music, but our music making is making a difference in someone else's life.

After those two reasons, we have slightly different other reasons as to why we chose this path. For most of us, something has happened in our lives that made us realize the importance of music therapy or that music therapy was definitely what we should be doing with our lives. Most of us have seen music play a positive role in someone's life close to us. After witnessing the effect music can have on people both in everyday life and in more serious situations, It's pretty hard to ignore. Once the fire was ignited for me, I couldn't put it out. I wanted to learn everything about it.

Some people ask about the emotional side of the job, and they do have a point. As many of you know, I'm an extremely emotional person, and I do have trouble hiding what I'm feeling. In fact, if you take a look at me at any given time, you can probably take a pretty accurate guess at what I'm feeling right then. It's a little embarrassing, but as I grow older, the less I care that you all know how I'm feeling without even having to ask. I am very nervous that I won't be able to keep my personal feelings in check, but I know I will learn with time, experience, and guidance from my peers and professors at school. And I do realize that I may not be able to help every client that comes my way and while that upsets me greatly, the feeling I know that will come with helping at least one person will make up for the one I couldn't help.

I cannot think of a better way to spend my life than doing what I love for others, and help them heal. Music therapy is clinical, but to me, it's also magical and beautiful. Music therapists are an underrated category of heroes in my book. I can't wait to be one of them.

Cover Image Credit: Pressenza

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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5 Songs to Add to Your Playlist This Month

Spring into finals week (and the summer) by "cleaning up" your playlist

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Here are some fun, fresh new tracks to check out as you finish out the rest of the school year and help you get out of your "music comfort zone!"

“Patience” by Tame Impala 

Genre: Electronic/Alternative

Tame Impala FINALLY released new music (!!), and this track is absolutely stunning. With frontrunner Kevin Parker staying on brand with the band's psychedelic, seemingly ethereal style, it sounds like a combination of 70s soft rock and waves of modern-day electronica, with Parker's voice drifting in and out in a kind of otherworldly, mellowed-out manner.

“Harmony Hall” by Vampire Weekend 

Genre: Alternative/Indie Pop

Vampire Weekend is also releasing an album, entitled "Father of the Bride", on May 3rd. From the looks of it, this track relates to the theme of marriage/weddings present in the album's title, and it is a fun, upbeat song that I have been listening to a lot in the morning as I'm getting ready for class! Ezra Koenig's voice is so unique and can cover a broad range, and I highly recommend listening to some of the band's other work as well ("Step" from their 2013 release "Modern Vampires of the City" is one of my all-time favorite songs!).

“Ready to Let Go” by Cage the Elephant 

Genre: Alternative/Alternative Rock

So many great artists are (finally) releasing new albums this year, and Cage the Elephant falls into this category. This track is an absolute banger and doesn't stray much from the band's style in that it includes a lot of loud guitar and dynamic vocals. Like Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant has been around since the early 2000s, and I highly recommend checking out some of their earlier work as well (big fan of their most recent album, actually!)

“Apple Orchard” by Beach House 

Genre: Indie/Electronic

Beach House is one of my favorite bands of all time, as I find a kind of an ethereal, beautiful sadness in the dreamy style of instrumentalist Alex Scally and lucid vocals of singer Victoria Legrand. This track is from their 2006 self-titled debut and is probably one of my favorite songs they've ever released. The lyrics are poetic and perfect for the post-finals enjoyment of spring weather, in that they preach relaxation and restfulness, and the song's electronic rhythms echo the essence of spring as well. If you like this song, then I highly recommend checking out the band's other albums as well (Depression Cherry is one of my favorite albums of all time).

“April Come She Will” by Simon & Garfunkel 

Genre: 60s Pop

No spring playlist is complete without a little Simon & Garfunkel! This song is a classic, its timeless, poetic lyrics capturing the epitome of the coming of spring and all its glory. In fact, I consider the entire album (entitled Sound of Silence) to be perfect for the pleasantness and feelings of renewal/natural revitalization associated with the coming months, so be sure to give it a listen if you haven't heard it before!

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