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  • Writer's pictureHarmonic Changes Therapy Services

A Day in the Life of a Music Therapist

One of the things I love about working at a private practice is that every day looks a little bit different. I enjoy the variety that comes with working in several different settings! Tuesdays are currently one of my favorite days of the week because of the range of sessions I get to facilitate. Here's what a typical Tuesday looks like for me!

8am: I start my day with a bit of admin work at home. I check my emails and coordinate a time for a session later this week with a new client. I look over my to-do list for the day and gather the instruments and supplies I need to take with me. I usually have a cup of tea while I do this, especially on days like today where I know I'll be singing a lot!

8:20am: Load up my car and hit the road! I have an hour drive to my first site, but traffic has been wild lately, so I'm leaving a bit early. The instrument line-up for today: a guitar, djembe, whiteboard for songwriting, a camping chair, and visuals for my groups. Not pictured is my backpack which I use to store my personal items for the day (like lunch and water!) and my tablet that I use for music and to complete documentation.

9:30am: My first site of the day is an infusion center, where I support oncology and hematology patients. The primary goals here are mood elevation, stress reduction, increased relaxation, and increased opportunities for companionship and connection. I spend two hours here and alternate between seeing patients 1:1 in their infusion suite and providing environmental music in the lobby, for patients and loved ones. Today I saw three different patients for about 30 minutes each and provided about 30 minutes of environmental music.

11:30am: Lunch break! I typically eat in my car between sessions and on nice days like today, I will move my car to the top level of the parking deck and have a sunny car picnic!

12pm: Time to head to my next session!

12:30pm: My first of two group sessions at a day program for adults. Here, I primarily support social-emotional goals, such as group cohesion, increased sense of empowerment, and opportunities for reminiscence, while also providing opportunities to address physical and cognitive goals through movement, songwriting, and instrument play. Today both my groups talked about springtime and collaborated on a springtime song to the tune of "Bye Bye Love". They did a great job sharing what winter things they'd say goodbye to, and what spring things they're looking forward to welcoming!

1:30pm: After a short drive, I facilitate a similar session for my second adult group of the day. These two groups are quite similar, so I bring the same session plan and adapt as needed. It's always fun to see the different end results and how each group puts their own spin on the activities I bring!

2:20pm: I settle in the car for the drive home. Depending on the day, I rotate between music, podcasts, and songs I need to learn for sessions. Today, in a somewhat predictable fashion, I'm listening to the setlist for Taylor's Eras tour.

3:30pm: I arrive home and clean and put away all my instruments. I do a little bit of documentation and then set up for a virtual session.

4pm: Today I have an intake session with a teenage boy. I have a conversation with him and his mother about their goals for music therapy and he shares some of his favorite songs with me.

4:30pm: Now that all my sessions are complete, I finish my documentation, check my emails one last time, and sign off for the day! Today was primarily a session day, which is always fun. Some days I have less sessions and less driving, and more time to plan sessions and learn new music. I really enjoy the change of pace from day to day because it allows me to use different parts of my brain throughout the week.

Thanks for following along!

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