Monday, December 5, 2011

Meet Two SMWC Music Therapy Students Headed to Internship in January 2012

Jillian Storm is a native of Madison, Indiana. She has enjoyed playing the guitar since she was seven, and studied string bass throughout her undergraduate career. Jill participated in Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble, Chorale, and was a past Vice-President of Music Therapy Club and a member of Mu Phi Epsilon. In her free time, she is an avid photographer, reader, cyclist, and adventurer. In January, Jill will begin her six-month music therapy internship at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. She will be living near Indianapolis with a Woodsie who first encouraged her to attend SMWC. Jill hopes to enroll in one of SMWC’s Master of Arts in Music Therapy courses during her internship, and says she “love to work in a psychiatric setting and/or with children somebody…but also leave myself plenty of time to travel!”

1) How have you grown personally and academically since you began pursuing your undergraduate music therapy degree?

Ihave grown in many ways since I started pursuing my education at the Woods, and I would say that I grew in all of the right ways. SMWC has been the most stable and safe placein my life. Because of this, I have been able to grow academically, emotionally, and as a woman overall. All of the challenges I had faced in my lifeprior to coming here seemed like an ever-present shadow. From the time I stepped foot on this campus,I knew that the shadow would disappear and that this was my time – my time to become a Woodsie. Although I still had many struggles through the end of my junior year, I have broken through these and become a better “me” through hard work and the support of this community. I have also grown through the love and friendship shared with my Woodsie friends; they are the best friends I have ever had in my life.

2) What role has the SMWC music therapy faculty played in this development?

Sharon Boyle (Associate Professor of Music Therapy and Coordinator of Undergraduate Music Therapy) has played many roles throughout my entire undergraduate journey. Besides being my professor, clinical supervisor and advisor, she hasbeen my strongest mentor at SMWC. She has been one of the few people in my life who has truly held me accountable for my work. She has consistently pushed meand inspired me to be a strong, professional woman. I will not say that I have always liked the constant accountability, but without it I wouldn't have made it as a student and future music therapist. She is a great woman, and I owe a great deal to her and her hard work.

3) A unique aspect of the SMWC music therapy programis its emphasis on clinical music improvisation. What role has improvisation played in your experience as a musician and clinician?

Improvisation has been an important aspect of my growth as a future music therapist, as well as in my non-therapeutic music making. Although I have used improvisation in many of my supervised music therapy sessions, I have mostly used it when making music with my peers for Open Mic Nights, my own music-making, and as a memberof a small band. As a musician, it has changed my perspective on structures within music. As a future clinician, it has changed my understanding of how to musically meet clients’ needs.

Jena Jones grew up in LaPorte, Indiana. She studied flute in her time at The Woods, and was a member of Wind Ensemble, Chorale, and Music Therapy Club. An eternal optimist who always has a joke or smile to share, Jena also enjoys football and has worked various part-time jobs while obtaining her Bachelor’s degree. After completing her coursework in December, Jena will begin a music therapy internship at Opportunities for Positive Growth in Fishers, Indiana, where she will work with individuals with developmental disabilities under the supervision of an SMWC alumnus. Jena is also in the process of planning her wedding, and feels “blessed to be surrounded by so much happiness”.

1) Why did you choose music therapy and, specifically, the SMWC music therapy program?

Many times I tried to step away from music – it had felt more like a chore than a passion until I came to SMWC. I thought I had wanted to be a teacher, which then turned into a music educator; I wanted to help and work with people, but I had never been completely sure what career path was right for me until the moment I stepped onto the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College campus. I believe that everything happens for a reason, even things that cannot be explained. I realize now that sometimes you need to help yourself first to find what you’re seeking.

2) Has your perception of music as a therapeutic medium changed during your undergraduate study?

The Woods has opened my eyes to all the possibilities in the world. Through research, we know that music and other arts help children learn, express emotions creatively, and increases self-esteem. And it is not only children – music therapists know that music benefits everyone, therapists included. I carry with me the power of music as a therapeutic medium; it continually allows me to grow individually and as a clinician.

3) If you could give beginning music therapy students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Do not take your college experience for granted! Your experiences on the path you take make you who you are... I want to be a music therapist so I can spread my passion for music and show how it is an essential component of a complete life. My wish for you is that, when it is your turn to graduate and step into the “real world”, you be as passionate as I am about our profession.

*Cathleen Flynn, Music Therapy Student Assistant and junior music therapy major, completed this interview.

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