Though I live many miles from the closest board certified music therapist, I have been blessed with amazing folks who support me, answer my questions, challenging me, alert me to important research and news, who share a laugh, who make me smile, who comfort me when I am challenged.
Several of these wonderful music therapists are allowing me to share their thanksgivings with you, too. (You can learn more about Mimi and Michelle by clicking on their names which will take you to their sites where you can learn more about their work.)
Mimi Sinclair – I am grateful to be able to go to work every day doing what I love: making music with others who may otherwise have no opportunity to experience music-making in their lives. I have been doing this for 20 years and hope to do it another 20.
Michelle Erfurt – I’m thankful for all the music therapists who paved the way back when music therapy was just a concept. Look at what we have today because of them… millions of people have been helped by music therapy, thousands of people are able to help others by being music therapists and it is becoming recognized by state governments.
Denise Travis – Watching a video clip shown during one of Alan Turry’s presentations at conference this past weekend I was overcome. I was reminded of my own son’s time in music therapy. He was three and newly diagnosed with ASD and his music therapist and he were able to connect and bond through the music. She was able to get him to respond like nothing else had been able to that far. And she was the first person outside of the family that he really made a positive connection with. I could see how difficult it was for her. He was a challenging child. Many sessions she felt like she was failing because he wouldn’t sit or wouldn’t follow her lead. But I knew better, and I could see the magic she was weaving, even when she couldn’t. And now eight years later he is a completely different child, bright and happy and learning and growing, but music is still the first place he goes to express himself when words fail or simply aren’t enough. So as I watched this video of Alan working with a young child the tears of joy, of love, of gratitude… of the wonders of my journey back into the profession of music therapy knowing that I now get to have those moments of connection and building of more positive futures for the children I am fortunate enough to work with – those tears overtook me. I am grateful to you, the professionals that do what you do to help children like mine. And I am grateful to be one that gets to return the favor.
Michelle Sieben, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist – I once had an elderly resident with dementia tell me during a 1:1 session “I like music because it gives my life purpose. It’s an old friend that never leaves me lonely.” I had a resident who is typically more quiet or tentative in her involvement vocally improvise unprompted during a percussion improv group I was doing just because she felt the music needed some voice. I have finished music groups and walked away and heard a usually quiet resident start leading her own sing-along with her peers because she wanted the music to continue. I am grateful I am able to witness these moments when what I am doing inspires confidence and gives these individuals back a purpose. They lose so much from their dementia, but in those moments I get to give them back a little bit of themselves. I am grateful to have a job that is constantly evolving, where no two days are exactly the same. I am grateful that my career is both challenging and intuitive, and it allows me to use both my creative and my analytical sides. I am grateful for the opportunity to use something I am so passionate about, music, to help family members reconnect with their loved one that they feel they have lost to the disease of dementia. For some brief and some extended moments during music therapy they get to see glimpses of the person they remember. I am so grateful that I stumbled upon a website on music therapy when I was looking at colleges and decided that is what I was going to do with my life. I’m grateful for the wonderful network of music therapists who are so willing to offer suggestions or insights at conferences or over the phone or internet. I feel like I have a great community of MTs, some I’ve met personally or professionally, and others I have found through their blogs, but either way they are supportive and encouraging and willing to share personal experiences about what has worked in their practices, or original ideas and songs to help each other. It’s such a blessing to have a job that I absolutely love going to, even on days when it’s frustrating. I feel like I have the coolest job in the world.
Rachelle Norman – I am thankful for all that I learn from the seniors I work with. The wisdom of our seniors – from all of their varied life experiences – is invaluable.