Thursday, April 23, 2015

SMWC Music Therapy Senior Reflection: A Journey at the Woods

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important 
as what you become by achieving your goals.
Henry David Thoreau

I remember so clearly the first time I came to campus. It wasn’t the typical “Avenue Experience,” because it wasn’t the Avenue that captured my heart.  It was sitting in the President’s Room in Rooney Library that I had the moment. The fixed point in time where a future Woodsie decides that nowhere else could ever be good enough: the SMWC Madrigals came in and sang. They looked sharp. They sang in Norwegian. They radiated energy.  They sounded so, so good. I leaned over to my boyfriend and said “I’m coming here, and I’m getting in that group.”

Photo Credit: Beth Allard
That was my first brush with the musical soul of the Woods.
The SMWC Choirs at Lincoln Center in 2014

Over the next four years, I would find myself  immersed in an experience that is difficult to describe in words. My first semester, I delved into Jazz Band, having never played jazz piano (or in an instrumental ensemble) ever before.  Second semester, my dream came true and I was accepted into Madrigals. That happened to be the semester that Madrigals would prepare and perform a piece commissioned just for us- the beautiful and haunting La Providence by Sydney Guillaume. I had never sung in French before and was the youngest member in the ensemble. Amidst all of these “firsts,” I found encouragement and a challenge to grow at every turn.  I remember flopping down in my bed after practices, dizzy with stretched endurance and thrill. Every moment in Chorale, Madrigals, and Jazz band (which collectively took up four nights a week) showed me something about myself I did not know: I really, really loved being in ensembles. 

SMWC Undergraduate Music Therapy Students 2012
Photo Credit: Beth Allard
Which brings me to the reason I’m here: Music Therapy.  If you asked freshman Beth why she chose music therapy, she would have said, “because I like music, and I want to help people.” Pretty solid answer for a kid who had no idea what they were getting involved in! Of two things I was very sure: I wanted my trade to be music and I did not want to perform (I have nearly fourteen years of solo performance experiences to my name, and I still feel about it the way I always have- It’s necessary. It’s healthy.  It’s also incredibly uncomfortable and a little terrifying to me). Music therapy drew me in because it felt like the perfect balance of all I wanted out of a career: solid musical core knowledge and skills, psychology, the ability to use my skills to enrich the lives of others- perfect.  On the other side of four years of music therapy education, I discovered the words that I didn’t have as a freshman:

Music therapy grows the connection of musical being to musical being.  It allows me to reach out to one of the most sacred and unique facets of another person, while also letting myself be touched as well.

It is that unspeakable musical connection that I see woven through all of the practicum experiences I have had the past four years. I have felt it when I’m holding the hand of an elderly woman with dementia, when I’m cheering on the successes of a client playing an instrument without any help, when a child lights up at the sound of their favorite song, when a young man in a hospital says it is the first time he’s felt at peace. I walk away from those sessions with this feeling that I cannot put into words. I was in a moment, with another human being, and we strangers allowed ourselves to take risks, express emotions, and share our most sacred musical selves with each other. Yes, I am studying to become a therapist. The nature of therapy means that I am providing help to someone; yet, I feel there is not enough talk in the therapy world about what the client gives back to the therapist. I have never believed that it is a hierarchy, but rather a connection. I may be bringing the clinical knowledge, the musical skills, hours of research and preparation, and the oh-so-intriguing bag of instruments, but sometimes, the client is bringing so much more. They are bringing themselves, and allowing me to be with them.  We each, whether client or therapist, take risks to be in the therapeutic moment together.  I don’t know how many times I have stood outside the door to a session, scared to death that I’m not prepared for what is waiting inside, or that I will make a mistake, or that I will look foolish. Never have I walked out of a session with those fears validated. It is always at my most afraid do I find myself the most supported and connected in a session.
Photo Credit: Beth Allard

I took this incredible Clinical Improvisation class junior year, and it was without a doubt one of the most influential, defining moments on my journey to becoming a music therapist. That class demanded that I meet and accept my musical self.  We learned all the skills needed to be solid musically, of course; but, it was not all about playing the right notes. It was about learning to just jump in and play. The first time I was asked to come to the piano and play something, I was terrified. What if I did it wrong? What if I looked stupid? What if nothing came out?? It took a semester of support and learning in that classroom with my peers and my professor to realize that I did not have to doubt myself. I do have the skills. I do have the ability. My musicality is there.  I was doubly blessed that semester with a practicum placement that centered nearly entirely on improvisation. The young man I worked with remains, to this day, one of the most vibrantly musical beings with whom I have had the privilege to work. It was in those sessions that I discovered how powerful spontaneous musical connections can be, and how little we really need words to communicate.  After that semester, I was convinced that I wanted to spend the rest of my career pursuing improvisation-based music therapy. I will admit that I was struggling with the transitions taking place in myself and my life as I entered this last semester of my undergraduate work. As time winds down, you begin to see all the things you have not done; and, my personality tends to lend me to fixating on such things. That’s why when my professor (Sharon Boyle) asked me to spend the semester photo-journaling my experiences, I jumped right in. I could sense that I was about to grow, and it knew it was something I would need to document. 

Photo Credit: Beth Alalrd

.... And grow I did, in some very unexpected, much needed ways! The development of my musical self has had a lasting impact on the growth that was happening in the rest of my life. It was as though, all at once, I became aware of myself: my gawky, nerdy, introverted self. Guess what? I liked who I found in there, shoved away under all of the stuff I thought I should be. I found connections between all of my eclectic passions and whims- the girl who is knee deep in library books about liberal arts education is the same girl in the practice room, or out in the woods. Writing, singing, playing, walking – they all stemmed from the same place. I started out by simply taking a walk outside every day. As I walked, I found myself taking to time notice the beautiful creation around me on this campus. I photographed, and I did a lot of praying. I grew closer to God out there underneath the pine trees, on the quiet roads alone at night or in the early morning. I realized how much time I spent looking down at the phone in my hand, or so caught up in my own little melodramas and stress. That awakening – caused by the simple act of walking and recording what I saw- had a lasting change on many aspects of my life. I wrote more. I read more. I asked more questions. I spent more time talking to professors and less time on Facebook. I started 'barefooting'. I took a horseback riding lesson. I improvised more. I talked less. I spent more time outside this semester than the previous seven combined.

Photo Credit: Beth Allard
SMWC MT 30th Anniversary Reception 2014
This leads me back to choosing music therapy as a major. I came to the Woods, and chose music therapy because I wanted to learn a trade, and get a good education. What happened in my four years here was that, and so much more. I spent four years under the supportive, caring guidance of my music faculty. They have seen it all- the little victories, the tears, the excitement, the struggles. I was challenged in and out of the classroom to discover myself. Through every course, every practicum, every choir rehearsal, every theory homework all-nighter, every new piece of repertoire, every scale, every recital, and every club meeting I was nurtured and grown. The hand of Providence led me to SMWC, to music therapy, because this is where I was meant to be. This is what I was meant to do. 

After all – there is no such beauty as where you belong.

Beth Allard
*Beth Allard, SMWC senior music therapy student, completes her coursework spring 2015 and plans to begin her music therapy internship in fall 2015 
For more information about the Undergraduate (Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy) or the Music Therapy Equivalency Campus Programs, contact Sharon R. Boyle, MM, MT-BC, Associate Professor of Music Therapy:
 (812) 535-5145

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Student Elections for MTC

Congratulations to the Music Therapy Student Executive Board for 2015-2016:

President: Kelli Seida
Vice President: Devyn Burns
Treasurer: Nathan Mensah
Secretary: Jessie Bowen
Parliamentarian: Alli Payonk

Saturday, March 14, 2015

SMWC Music Therapy Faculty Spotlight: An Interview with Larisa McHugh

Larisa McHugh, MA, MT-BC, is the Coordinator of the Music Therapy Equivalency Distance (MTE-D) Program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. As an alum from the Master of Arts in Music Therapy (MAMT) Program, Larisa has a unique understanding of the Woods and has been a wonderful addition to the faculty. Music Therapy Student Assistant and Music Therapy Equivalency Campus (MTE-C) student Nathan Mensah recently interviewed Larisa for this special Faculty Spotlight Feature.
Pictured: Larisa McHugh, MA-MT-BC

Nathan:  Would you mind telling me a little bit about your background in music?

Larisa: Yeah, so I come from a pretty musical family. I picked up piano pretty early on and then in elementary school I started saxophone. Through high school I got involved in choir, so I spent quite a bit of time in music. And, it made sense...if you spend so much time in something, you might as well make it what you do right?

Nathan: Yes, absolutely! With that diverse background, when did you decide on music therapy?

Larisa: I think it was in high school when I made that decision- chase my dreams and become a soccer star (*laughs), or go into music. And there was a voice in my head that said, “You probably won’t make it very far in soccer”, so I decided to major in music. However, I did not know about music therapy when I set out. I would describe what I wanted to do at different schools and they would suggest creating a degree program or a double major, because they did not know about music therapy. So I started off in music education, and later transferred to a school that offered music therapy and I thought “oh my gosh, this is a real profession!”. This was not something I had to create- it exists! So I transferred after 2 years at Ohio State to a Music Therapy Program at University of Dayton. From there, I completed my internship and started working right away as a music therapist and soon after got my masters degree from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Nathan: Cool! That actually kind of leads to another question. What was your favorite part about being a student at the Woods?

Larisa: Oh my gosh, the connection. The connections I was able to make while a student at the Woods, not only with my cohort and the connections that I made with the wonderful professors, but the connections I was able to make with myself. Interpersonally and intrapersonally, I made connections that truly deepened my work. It brought everything together for me. I found a group of people I know I will be connected with for a long time. These are the most important friendships I’ve ever had, from my time at the Woods. I was able to connect who I was personally and professionally. There’s so much to be said about my time at the Woods, it is a very special place.

Nathan: Yes, it is!

Larisa: Yeah, everything just flowed together so that my work became part of my studies, and my studies were able to be completed in my work. It really helped to introduce me to new things and possibilities and set me on a path to continue to explore and to continue to deepen those connections that were made.

Nathan: You have a unique situation: You were a student at the Woods and now you are teaching at the Woods as well. What’s that like?

Larisa: It’s fantastic to be able to return to the Woods and to hopefully offer some of what was offered to me as a student to future music therapists. In a way, it’s giving back to the Woods and to the profession, and at the same time it is quite rewarding to witness the growth of the students, to see that light bulb go off for them. I’m really inspired by the work that they do and the sacrifices they are willing to make to become a music therapist- it’s great.

Nathan: Out of curiosity, what classes are you teaching (in the MTE-D program) right now?

Larisa: I’m supervising the Practicum courses, teach the Music Psychology course, and teach our Seminar course which covers ethics, reimbursement, and preparation for internship. And then I also supervise students in their internship.

Nathan: Nice! How long have you been teaching?

Larisa: The MTE-D Program started in 2012 [by Dr. Tracy Richardson], so I’ve been teaching at the Woods since 2012. Before that I had the privilege of supervising students in the Undergraduate Music Therapy Intensive Practicum course [in collaboration with Associate Professor Sharon R. Boyle], so I had some students from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods come out and spend 4-6 weeks during the summer for a practicum experience in the long term care facility where I worked at the time. That was great. I started working as a music therapist in, I think, 1996? And I began an internship program, supervised students, and taught as Adjunct Faculty at University of Dayton, and now at the Woods. In January, they made me the full-time Coordinator of the MTE-D Program.

Nathan: Congratulations!

Larisa: Thanks!

Nathan: These last two questions are a little more laid back: What type of things do you like to do outside of work?

Larisa: I have my furry little four-legged friends, I practice yoga, and I continue to make music just for fun. I love to garden and to cook. 

Nathan:  Last but not least,  and this might be challenging as a musician, but what’s your favorite song and artist right now?

Larisa: That is such a challenging question to answer! And it might be challenging for our clients as well, even those non-musicians...if I was stranded on an island, I can always go back to Gershwin, and “Rhapsody in Blue”- it always brings a smile. There’s a certain point in the piece where I always get goose bumps. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d always come back to that. But I enjoy many styles of music as a musician. 

For more information about the Undergraduate (Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy) or the Music Therapy Equivalency Campus Programs, contact Sharon R. Boyle, MM, MT-BC, Associate Professor of Music Therapy:
 (812) 535-5145

For more information about the Master of Arts in Music Therapy (MAMT) Program, contact Dr. Tracy Richardson, MT-BC:

For more information about the Music Therapy Equivalency Distance Program, contact Larisa McHugh, MA, MT-BC: 
  • (812) 230-6662

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SMWC Music Therapy: Introductions for the 2014-15 Academic Year

It is hard to believe that we are past Midterms and that the start of the 2014-15 academic year at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has come and gone. Each new year brings new energy in the form of new students! The new Woods music therapy students are already hard at work with learning new course material, meeting new people, practicing new instruments, and performing new music! Even learning new vocabulary can be a challenge. For example, do YOU know what a kalimba (or thumb piano) looks and sounds like? They are fully integrated into the music culture of the Woods having just participated in their first Homecoming Concert with the SMWC Chorale and Madrigals and with several of them participating in the upcoming production of "Our Lady Victory" which will run at the end of October.

We'd like to introduce some new music therapy students who have started this fall: 

Freshman Karlee Coleman from Evansville, IN, already enjoys playing many different instruments, which explains why she is drawn to the diverse music used in music therapy. “I really want to learn how to play all of the instruments. I’m ready for it. I play a guitar, piano; I have congas and maracas in my room. I really want to learn how to play autoharp and maybe a 12 string guitar... it sounds so beautiful.” Despite her musical background, her path to music therapy was not a straightforward one. 

Karlee Coleman
“I actually wanted to be a marine biologist, and before that a veterinarian, and before that a nurse." After her mother told her about music therapy, Karlee researched it further and she "knew music was going to be part of my future.” Though the task of looking for the right school can be a daunting experience, she was quickly won over by the staff at the Woods like so many before her. “I knew when I met Sharon through Skype...during a winter storm...that there would be warmth.  Sharon and Tracy were so bright and bubbly. I love all the professors, and Dr. Mac, I love Dr. Mac! And Michael, and Ron, I love them all.” Karlee said that she loves music because it takes her mind out of reality and to new places.

 Shanine Pennington, a freshman from Sullivan, IN, describes the positive impact music has had on herself as well. “Music lets me express what I can’t do with words. Music gives me a voice when I feel like I don’t have one." She enjoys listening to Celtic and classical music because of the places it can take her musically. “It is so gorgeous….you can see your own story. They’re not telling you a story; you’re envisioning your own. You can close your eyes and see an entire thing right in front of you, an entire story laid out in front of you, and they’re not telling you what you see, you’re seeing what you feel, which is amazing, it just gives me goosebumps.” Despite being considered a strong performer now, she did not initially consider music as a career. “Well, I’ve always loved to sing. People would tell me 'you’re so good', and I thought 'no!'. I tried out for National Choir Art Series, but I got to go to Carnegie Hall. 10,000 people auditioned, 200 in the choir, 100 in the orchestra and band, and I was one of them.
Shanine Pennington

That was when I thought, okay, maybe I can do this. But…my turning point was to see how music could affect people, and all the great things it could do for others. I saw my best friend who has Cerebral Palsy…she went from not being able to speak and not controlling her arms to all of the hand movements. In four years she went from not being able to do much to doing all of the hand movements and to singing every single word…it was gorgeous...That was when I knew something had to give.”

Hayleigh Brennan is a transfer student from the University of Dayton. She has known that she wanted to go into music since high school. “I really wanted to go into something related to music when I was a junior in high school, and I began researching different careers and I happened upon music therapy. I shadowed a few therapists who lived in the area and I knew right away that it was for me. So I knew it was my calling and the purpose why God had created me to be here.” Typically students get to start attending music therapy sessions to start gaining experience after their first semester, but Hayleigh transferred much of her music therapy coursework from her previous school and was allowed to start her observational practicum experience this semester.  

Hayleigh Brennan
“I am doing my practicum at the Happiness Bag in Terre Haute. It is a day facility for adults with intellectual disabilities and developmental delays”. She could barely hold her excitement when discussing the opportunities she looks forward to this year: “ I love practicum and I’m so excited to learn more, do more, and jump right in. I’ve gotten my feet wet and now I just want to get in the water.” She also says that she plays a range of instruments already including: “Piano, guitar, ukulele, lap dulcimer, organ, Irish tin whistle, harmonica, autoharp, Q chord, various hand instruments, drums, recorder, a little bit of violin, a little bit of viola, that it? I think that’s all I play.”

Mariah Dunn
Mariah Dunn is a music student who comes to us from Michigantown, IN. She has played the trumpet for 8 years and is immersed in voice lessons and singing in the choir. Her views of music have expanded in just the few short weeks she’s been around. She is exploring the possibility of majoring in music therapy. "I didn’t realize all the ways it (music) could help people, and who all it could help. The Music as Therapy introductory class is really showing me." Mariah was interested in how music can impact people before coming to the Woods. "My niece got hurt when I was around 14, and I realized music helped her get better..A nurse had music playing, and my niece stopped crying when the music came on.” She, like many, is a big fan of the Woods. “Everyone is really close! If I get lost, they will say “oh, it’s okay you can come hang out with us”.

Devyn Burns
Devyn Burns, freshman music therapy major, is a Saint MotherTheodore Guerin Cohort Scholarship Winner and has a very diverse set of interests. "Outside of music I love soccer. I played soccer up until my junior year and I love watching it, but I don’t play it as much anymore. Taekwondo, (I come from a black belt family), is something I’m always immersed in. I still have a lot of friends in that, and we still have competitions and national meetings. I’m a second degree black belt. I actually got my black belt when I was 8 and I started when I was 3...My dad had his own Taekwondo school and I was with him the majority of my childhood. Despite these many interests, her primary interest is in music. Growing up, church music was a big part of her life and she often led worship on Sundays.  “I was at church for 12 hours at a time, because I taught two-year-olds as a Sunday School Teacher, and then I had band rehearsal from 3 and be done by 8:30. That was all contemporary Christian rock and that’s what all my family listens to.” Since she is from Indianapolis, the culture shock of a smaller school was daunting to her at first, but she has come to appreciate it.“ My smallest class was probably 23 at my high school, my biggest class was 80...But I really like it here because I get that 1:1 attention that you don’t get from a bigger institution. I’m growing closer to people in my class... and all of the music majors are awesome, and so that community is really, really great.”
Alli Payonk

Allison ("Alli") Payonk is another freshman who decided to study music therapy and is a Terre Haute native. She has a background in choir, volunteering, and dance.“I’ve been dancing at Terre Haute Academy of Dance since I was 4 or 5-years-old. I just finished my last senior dance recital there this spring. I play basic piano, guitar, I’m starting ukulele, and I have a mandolin, but I can’t play it yet. I’ve been in choir all four years (of high school), two of those years were in Counterpoint, which is like the top choir at Terre Haute North. I’ve been part of lots of service groups all through high school. I’ve been part of JDC which is Junior Department Club which is a young woman’s service organization in Terre Haute and the National Art Society.” She enjoys the self-expression that music therapy allows for clients and provides for her.“I feel like I generally have a lack of self confidence in all other areas, except for music. Music gives me the confidence that I don’t have, and the self-expression I can’t get with anything else." In regard to genres, she enjoys listening to alternative, indie rock, and folk. 

The students all seem to be hitting it off as they can frequently be seen wandering the halls of the Conservatory, jamming, and practicing music. There is no doubt that this strong group of women will make the Woods even brighter than before. 

A few new and returning students jamming in the Conservatory stairwell


Interviews completed by: Nathan Mensah, Music Therapy Student Assistant
Edited by: Sharon R. Boyle, Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Therapy

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Reflecting and Preparing

The 2013-14 campus music therapy academic year came to a close in early May, but the music therapy graduate (MAMT) and music therapy equivalency distance (MTED) programs held residencies in May, June, July, and August. In the past year several music therapy students from campus and MTED have completed their clinical internships and passed the national board examination, while graduates/alums of both the undergraduate and graduate music therapy programs have moved into new jobs, had babies, gotten married, published, presented, and more. We are so proud of our students and alums, as well as our faculty!
Final campus practicum class (May 2014)
The MAMT residency in early June was an intensive week as students were immersed in either the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery in Music (BMGIM) or Advanced Improvisation and Composition. Both courses are taught by renowned music therapists and both courses are often reflected on by students as meaningful, or even transformative in nature.
Learning improvisational group techniques
"The piano is our friend"
Laughter is important in learning!
 The recent fall residency for the MAMT program brought us a new cohort of ten students (three of whom completed the undergraduate or equivalency campus program)s. Music therapists from all over the country come together in this graduate program and the bonds that develop are stronger through the music-making that is an important part of the program.
Final residency for this cohort
(Fall 2014) 

In addition, as a final way to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Music Therapy at The Woods, the SMWC Music Therapy Program hosted Nordoff-Robbins music therapist Alan Turry, DA, LCAT, MT-BC, on June 3rd for a Continuing Education course (CMTE) he presented entitled, "Improvisation Primer: Integrate Clinical Improvisation into your Practice".
CMTE participants in June 2014 with
 Dr. Alan Turry
We welcomed returning distance equivalency students, adjunct faculty, and a new cohort of students for the MTED residency. This unique and distinctive program now has begun to send new board certified music therapists out into the professional world and we are so proud of this accomplishment!

Fall 2014 MTED Residency (Faculty and Students)

Finally, in a couple of weeks we will welcome back new and returning undergraduate music therapy students to campus to kick off the 2014-15 academic year. We are excited to begin our 31st year and feel the energy and excitement of the students. We will be sure to introduce some new students via this blog in the coming weeks.

Here's to another successful academic year (and continued meaningful connections through music) ahead!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Reflection of a SMWC Music Therapy Senior:The Journey Unfolding

Sherry Bube, senior
Four years ago, I started on a journey of growth and exploration when I entered Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College as a freshman music therapy student. These years have been marked by moments of joy and celebration, academic achievements, “aha!” moments in the classroom and practice room, and those relational moments between faculty and peers as we supported each other in our educational endeavors. It has also been marked by moments of frustration and doubt; juggling full schedules, experiencing learning blocks when the course material was not quite making sense, or struggling to get a concept. However, at the end of these four years, I am now heading out – from the music therapy program, from dedicated faculty and a network of friends, from "The Woods". This time, I start out with a new found intentional dedication to music as therapy, to a never ending journey of learning and growing, and to a better understanding of myself, my music, and my vocation in life. All these things have taken, and are still taking, time to unfold.

Bube (Center-right) and friends
The undergraduate music therapy program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College has prepared me in numerous ways that extend beyond the classroom. My experiences include the accumulation of time and involvement in such areas as the practice room, co-curricular activities, practicum placements, the classroom, and many more areas. These experiences have resulted in a better understanding of myself and others through relationships, growth in leadership abilities, developing critical thinking abilities, and having a confidence in my work with others--all aspects that I had not fully possessed before being in this program.

Whenever I am asked about my experience at SMWC, the first word that comes to mind is "splendid". It has been splendid because each person with whom I encountered offered me an opportunity to come away from that interaction with a new idea, perspective, or simply a smile. It was splendid because being called a “Woodsie” holds meaning beyond the association of just attending this specific school. It also means being someone who has been supported to fully dive into her varied interests, grasp the true meaning of what it is to be a lifelong learner, and who is held to a standard of care and respect for each other and our community. Specifically, my music therapy classes with Sharon Boyle, M.M., MT-BC, Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Therapy, cultivated and fostered learning as an all-encompassing process that takes not just the intellectual facet, but includes the entire person: mind, body, and heart. Through the experiences I shared in, and with the music of my peers, I was able to create, to become vulnerable, and to support myself and others in previously unexplored ways. 
Sherry Bube and  Sharon Boyle, Assoc Prof of Music Therapy
The undergraduate music therapy program at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College offers some of the most diverse practicum experiences! My 8 practicum sites encompassed individuals of different populations, age ranges, and abilities, and I have been honored to share in and witness clients' growth and healing processes in the context of music therapy. These experiences have included the following:

  • a practicum experience on a memory care unit where I experienced the connection and awakening of a woman who was in the mid-stage of Alzheimer’s disease through music. At a time when her words were starting to fail her, music was a way for her to express her feelings and to be present in the moment with me and others in the group. 
  • a practicum experience at an elementary school in a classroom for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities through which music therapy provided a little boy who was non-verbal the ability to appropriately and successfully interact with his peers and express his creativity and energy.
  • a summer intensive practicum at a long-term care facility, where I was blessed with the opportunity to work with an older adult who used to be an active musician, but now is unable to participate in this activity due to health reasons. In the context of music therapy sessions, I was able to provide opportunities of success and enjoyment in music where he was able to participate through instrument play and song re-creation. At the end of our sessions together, he told me that he once more thought of himself as a musician. 
  • a two semester practicum providing group music therapy to adults residing on a behavioral health unit, through which I was able to better understand how music therapy serves to build relationships, foster expression, and afford these individuals the ability to cope with mental health illness. Music became a means to recognize and address their areas of need and to celebrate their strengths.
Each of these practicum experiences, as well as ones unmentioned, have contributed to my experience and understanding of clinical musicianship, the therapeutic process and presence that occurs in music therapy, as well as my own responses and interactions. I have changed and grown because of these experiences on a personal, professional, and musical level.

In the end, I have come to understand that music is not just a means of entertainment. Music is a way we witness, honor, and acknowledge the dignity, beauty, and peace that each one of us offers. Music therapy is then a way to work through need areas, provide opportunities for expression, and is a means to engage others in their own process of life. As I reach the end of my time here at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College and head to my *6-month music therapy internship, I know that this specific part of my journey is concluding. However, each ending brings a new beginning and that is what makes my journey even more exciting.

 --Reflection written by Sherry Bube, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Music Therapy Senior

*Sherry will be interning for 6 months at a pediatric hospital in Salt Lake City in the coming year to complete her degree program.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Music Therapy Club Exec Board 2014-15

Congratulations to the newly elected officers for the 2014-15 
SMWC Music Therapy Club Executive Board:

President: Nathan Mensah
Vice-President: Kelli Seida
Secretary: Summer Alvey
Treasurer: Paige Fath
Parliamentary: Hannah Miller

Historian: Beth Allard 

The SMWC Music Therapy Club was est. 2003