Normalization…check. Emotional and procedural support…check. Decrease in blood pressure and heart rate…check. Cognitive and sensory stimulation…check. Family support…check. Relaxation and decrease in pain…check. It has been a good day.
If you’re going to the American Music Therapy Association’s 2014 Conference in Louisville, KY be sure to register by the end of the month to get earlybird registration rates.
And for traveling there consider Mega Bus instead of flying. Got my round trip tickets for $25 total. Way cheaper than a plane. Hope to see you all there!
I never expected my routines to change so much since becoming a music therapist. Every morning, I’m adamant about applying sunscreen and when I catch myself slumping, I immediately sit up straight. I’ve taken up journaling and go to concerts more often. All these adjustments are not a result of my finding centeredness when I began working. Instead, these come from a deep insecurity that’s increasingly apparent to me: I am probably going to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
This fact is no surprise given my family history. On one side of my family, there are at least two generations with clear diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and/or dementia. Although I experienced the progression of Alzheimer’s disease through my grandmother, I was never a direct caregiver to her. Today, my outlook has changed. Working in close contact with older adults with dementia and their families, my understanding of the day-to-day consequences of living with dementia is greatly evolved. This has led me to make the most of my time now.
I am in my twenties, a time that is often the last to be touched by disease. It’s both humbling and empowering to have insight into a possible future of mine. On the one hand, there are still decades for me to practice good health habits in an attempt to stave any genetic susceptibilities. There are days when I am optimistic and consistent and follow through on my good intentions to go to the gym. Other days, I am reminded of one of my grandmother’s mannerisms and am faced with the likely reality that I will one day follow suit.
Oftentimes during a session, a client shares about his or her past after a song has cued them to retrieve a memory. This is old news to music therapists. But, how could the connection between one’s life and music be enhanced? In my experience, my clients do not have the ability to share details of their lives in depth and I must rely on the secondhand information given to me by family members about a client’s musical preferences and experiences.
I intend to make it clear to my family members that I’d like to receive music therapy services should I develop dementia. As a music therapist, I’d like someday to make a timeline of my life and music. What kind of amazing sessions could unfold if a music therapist had access to a repertoire of songs connected the narrative of my life as told by me? How can I prepare for a future in which I am a care receiver instead of a care taker?
One woman, Alanna Shaikh, has spoken out about her prescience of developing Alzheimer’s disease and the steps she’s taking to prepare for it. Her insight helped me understand that ignoring my genes does not help my tomorrow. I now have more hope that I can be an agent of my future. If you’d like to hear her talk, “How I’m Preparing to Get Alzheimer’s” you can click HERE.
Knowing that I may develop Alzheimer’s disease is scary, but in some ways presents itself as a gift. Today, I have the time, information, and motivation to prevent dementia (hopefully). If not, I can create resources for my (in-the-far) future caregivers to improve their care of me. I will make the most of today because these may be the memories on which I most rely at the end of my life.
As I just recently started this blog, I am only following 11 other blogs, which unfortunately calls for a slow dashboard. I’d love to follow more people that dedicate a large portion of or the entirety of their blogs to music therapy. So, if this applies to you, like or reblog this post so I can follow you!
sing-ithemissjayelle said: What kind of jobs should I work during the summer/school year that might look good on a resume for a future music therapist? I'm going to be a junior next year and I'm just now transferring to a school that offers music therapy. I'm probably going to be like a fifth year senior so I need to work to pay for the extra year since my parents only planned on four years. What kind of jobs do you think would be relevant?
Congrats on transferring to a school that offers MT! I think the beauty of being in school is that you have time to hone your “soft skills” without the pressure of finding work or maintaining a client base. Any position that you can use to practice patience, attention to detail, and creative thinking would be beneficial. Being able to make thoughtful decisions on the spot is another skill music therapists often use.
In my experience, being a nanny didn’t pay too badly and allowed me to hone my communication skills while responding to developmental changes. Work-study positions in the music therapy or psychology research departments might also interest you. Best of luck and I welcome other thoughts from others!
paper-cranes-and-thunderstorms said: Hi im 17 years old and graduating high school next year. Im hoping to study music at university and then go on to become a music therapist. I understand that because of the confidential nature of music therapy opportunities for shadowing and internships that are available for people my age interested in other careers are reserved for those already in training but what could i do for some kind of work experience? Thanks in advance, -Katie
While some facilities have policies to protect the confidentiality of their patients, there are music therapists out there who are open and able to provide shadowing experience to those looking more into music therapy. You might reach out to some private practice music therapists in your area to see if their schedules allow for shadowing or volunteer opportunities. Before I decided to pursue music therapy, I shadowed a music therapist for a morning and I was hooked. I knew music therapy was what I wanted to do. Best of luck and thanks for your question!
Brea of Thrive Music Therapy