Wearing Different Hats

Published by KidLinks on: Dec 15, 2016 — Music Therapy

I wear lots of hats - mom, (household manager- bookkeeper- maid -cook- gardener- chauffeur-event scheduler), wife, daughter, flutist, volunteer, music therapist (musician, communicator, co-therapist, business manager, financial manager, data recorder, planner, writer, composer). I know all of you music therapists have been there - Lots of hats to wear!

Not too long ago, I trained as a Therapeutic Music Entertainer. Wearing the TME hat, I visited hospitals (I’m a private practice MT, so I work in a clinical setting), with my only assignment being to sing to the children on my list, if they wanted a song. As a music therapist, I found it exceptionally rewarding to just simply sing. No specific goals, no formal assessments, no long term treatment plan, no tedious paperwork. My Music Therapy hat was always handy and it was second nature to sense a child’s mood and what song they might appreciate in that moment. And I was comfortable talking to children and parents in compromised, stressful situations to try to normalize their situation a bit thanks to my MT experience. But with my Therapeutic Music Entertainer hat on, I was a musician simply sharing my gifts...once I brought my guitar skill level up to entertainment status, which took some doing. Flutist - yes; guitarist - not so much. I had some work to do for my guitar playing to be considered sharing a gift!

You and I have seen the countless benefits music therapy brings to our clients. We are sometimes surprised when a parent gasps, amazed at a child’s unexpected response, and it takes us a split second to register because we have become accustomed to seeing unexpected responses to our well-thought-out, structured interventions… My time as a Therapeutic Music Entertainer taught me that there is a time for simply singing as well. That people need music - sometimes personalized, live mini-concerts - to get through a tough time. And I am grateful that there are those willing to share their musical gifts (much more skilled than mine) in hospitals, bringing smiles (and sometimes tears) when needed.

Right now, I don’t get to wear my TME hat much, but I put my MT hat on, now with killer guitar skills (ok, not quite there yet), a rocking voice (ok, still working on that too), appreciating music a little more for what it is - simply a gift.

By Cora Lansdowne, MME, MT-BC


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