“How did you get into music therapy?”

Hello everyone!  Today I want to tell you the answer to the question I get asked all the time:

“How did you get into music therapy?”

I have always loved music.  I sang in church children’s choir, began taking piano lessons in 2nd grade and started playing the flute in 4th grade band.  I joined marching band and show choir in high school, and picked up the alto saxophone to play in the back up band for the other show choirs.  I also played keyboard in some back up bands and pit orchestras.

That's me on the podium!

That’s me on the podium!  I was the drum major for the Carroll Charger Pride in 2003

Although I loved music, I knew I didn’t want to be a teacher or performer.  I wanted to work with people who were hurting and needed help. Medicine and science fascinated me, so I decided to pursue nursing.  Some time during my college search I heard about the career of music therapy, but I didn’t know much about it and, honestly, it sounded a little “out there.” I applied to Michigan State University and was accepted as a pre-nursing major.

My last semester of high school, a music therapist came to my choir class to talk about the career of music therapy.  She shared some of the research that supports the profession, described the various settings in which music therapists can work, and showed a video.  I’ve tried to find the video on YouTube, but this was back in 2004 and I’m pretty sure she showed this particular video from a video cassette. I remember one scene vividly: a woman with severe developmental disabilities was sitting next to a piano, smiling and humming as her music therapist played the piano and sang with her.  This woman was so clearly expressing joy through her music, despite all the challenges she faced in her everyday life. I remember thinking in that moment, I was meant to be a music therapist. 

I auditioned for the MSU School of Music that summer, changed my major to music therapy, and never looked back!

Although I couldn’t find the exact video from that day in high school, I absolutely love these videos.  Clive Robbins is one of my heroes – you will be inspired and uplifted after watching his work.  I actually got to meet him once, but that’s a story for another post.

With joy,

Lauren

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