My name is Mary Kiefriter and I am the newest intern here at Piedmont Music Therapy! My main instrument is tuba and ever since I started college I wanted to incorporate it into my music therapy sessions. The tuba is a large brass instrument that weighs about 20 or 30 pounds, depending on the type and is the lowest pitched instrument of the brass family. At first, I had no clue how to do this, especially because most of my colleagues in music therapy classes were vocalists. Luckily I had a fantastic tuba professor at East Carolina University, Dr. Jarrod Williams, who learned about music therapy in order to help me best prepare for my career. Ear training became a part of my weekly lessons and I slowly but surely learned how to listen to a melody and figure it out on my own without looking at sheet music. After learning melodies we worked on learning some funky bass lines that I could play while clients could have the opportunity to improvise on different pitched instruments that sounded in the same key as the bass line I played.
I first used tuba in a session during my first practicum experience in a Memory Care Unit at a nursing home. I learned the melodies of client preferred songs such as “Side by Side”, “This Land is Your Land” and “Sway” on tuba and led an intervention similar to “Name that Tune”. Using tuba for this intervention gave a fun twist to the session by listening to an instrument some clients had never seen or heard before. Using an instrument that was different increased the clients interest in the intervention which in turn increased their engagement allowing them to participate to the best of their abilities.
My favorite time I have used tuba in a session was during my practicum at a rehabilitation center for adolescents with substance use disorders. The clients were instantly engaged and interested in my tuba and began to initiate social conversations with one another about the tuba and other instruments they played at school.
Using your main instrument, especially if it is a brass or woodwind instrument, can be challenging. The biggest challenge of using tuba in music therapy sessions was figuring out how to be more efficient with my nonverbal cues and body language since I can not give verbal prompts while playing my brass instrument. I have found that using tuba or any other wind instrument is especially useful when working on goals such as increasing focus of attention and increasing impulse control because of the limited verbal prompts you can give. This is because the clients have to increase their focus on your body language and nonverbal cues.
I am excited to continue using tuba in sessions and getting more creative in how I can use it to help clients reach their goals! Comment below some of your favorite songs you think would sound interesting on tuba.
WRITTEN BY: Matrisha Stafford, MT Intern
Upon postage of this, I will have been with Piedmont in Internship for THREE WHOLE MONTHS! WHOOOO! I’ve learned so much, musically, therapeutically, and personally, that a moment of reflection was needed. Being the musical being I am, it’s only right that this is through songs!
Please enjoy this playlist, and the lessons that are attached.
I'm Still Standing - Not many people know this other than my professors and close friends, but I took a break during my undergraduate studies of Music Therapy. I truly wasn’t sure I would still have what it takes to be a music therapist, but I’ve been able to realize these last few years of my life have not only prepared me for my future as a board certified music therapist, they have molded me into exactly who I needed to be to do all that I am now.
I'm A Believer - Now more than ever, I am a believer in music therapy. As one of the many variations of creative arts therapies, I have seen so many changes within myself and my clients which allow me to know that not only is music therapy impactful, it is such a strong medium and catalyst for change. I am so excited and happy to be doing something I love and support so much.
Blessed - While Daniel is talking about someone he loves, this song is more of a self-acceptance letter to myself and my journey. I am so blessed to have had the experiences I have in my life. Where I thought everything was a mess and led me to a place I didn’t want to be, it actually led me to where I could be my truest self. I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience the clients at Piedmont, and very blessed to be learning from Gretchen, Melissa, Miriam, and Ashley, Some of the best MT’s around!
You'll be Back - This song is not only amazing, but each time I hear it, it reminds me that music is such a powerful medium in our sessions. Ensuring the music you listen to, sing, or use with a client is something that is preferred by them will always yield better results or responses when it is something the client is familiar with or a genre they enjoy!
Help! - Classic Beatles for a classic lesson! Asking for help is always key. No matter what it may seem like, asking for help and being open to others offering advice, or differing perspectives helps us grow, and it helps us when we really need it. I’ve gotten really good at asking for help over the last three months and I am certain it is/has made me a better therapist and musician.
Work it Out - This song reminds me of the lesson that anything I need to “work out,” I can. We are all capable, smart and resilient, which means that all we need to do is breathe and keep trying until we work it out!
What songs relate to lessons you may have learned in life, or do you find any of the songs I added relevant to your personal or professional experiences? Comment below with some of your favorite songs or messages in songs as I would love to learn more about how you, the reader, connects to music.
I am looking forward to continuing to grow and flourish over the final three months at Piedmont, and I am so thankful for the growth and changes I have made since being here!
Written by: Gabby Jones, Music Therapy Intern
Within the week, I will be officially halfway through my music therapy internship. I’ve learned so much in the last three months, consistently growing in my musical and therapeutic skills. I have experienced very difficult moments, and very magically successful ones. This story is somewhat a combination of both those adjectives…
It was a Friday afternoon at approximately 1:30pm. I was halfway through my biweekly session with older adults with dementia and our theme was, “The Sun, Moon, and Stars”. I had boldy chosen to use “Moon River” by Audrey Hepburn as one of our sing-along choices for the week. I humbly plucked through the complicated guitar chords, focusing much more on the delivery of the song than the response of the clients. Participation in singing was relatively low, likely because of my disengagement with the group. I finished the last line: “moon river and me” and looked up from my guitar.
The participant to the right of me was smiling, narrowing her eyes at me over her glasses. “Somebody royally screwed that song up, didn’t they?” she said, laughing through her jibe at my barely passable deliverance of Hepburn’s ballad. I laughed and said in response, “You’re right, that wasn’t that great, was it?”, acknowledging that I probably should’ve practiced the song a few more times to make sure I had the timing right. My client shrugged. To my surprise, however, she began singing.
She started with the verse: “Moon river, wider than a mile”. Her tone was clear, her vibrato was chilling, her smile was infectious. I subtly began playing my guitar underneath her voice, maintaining eye contact. She kept singing, “two drifters, off to see the world”. The rest of the group was the quietest I had ever heard them. I could feel the eyes of the other participants, the rest of the care team, and my supervisor on us. But they weren’t focused on me, they were focused on this beautiful gift this participant was sharing.
As she sang the final line of the song, her eyes filled with tears. She smiled brightly and glanced at the rest of the group as they all applauded. “That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your gift with us”, I said to her. Her usual jovial demeanor returned quickly and she brushed off my compliment, but it was clear that an emotional connection had been made.
This experience was heartwarming and delicate, and it taught me so much. I learned how important it is to sometimes be the simple structural support for the client, the concrete foundation under the house. I was not the center of the experience, nor was I really the leader. I recognized that although I had started the session with the intention of being the sole provider of the musical experiences, I didn’t have to be. One of the most beautiful aspects of music therapy is that it offers opportunities for the people we serve to discover and explore their own musical abilities. Sometimes, the therapeutic presence of space and time is all that’s necessary. I simply established said space and offered said time in which this client could explore her own memories, emotions, and musical expression. All she needed was an ear to listen and a guitar to support.
If you’re a therapist yourself, consider reflecting on moments either where you did simply become part of the “background music”, or where you could have to better address goal areas.
If you are a client of a particular therapy, consider reflecting on moments where you felt as though you were leading yourself toward your own progress and how that independence might have aided you.
Creative and expressive arts therapy has been available for many decades, although awareness of this option for one’s health and wellness is still growing. Music therapy became an established profession offering a college degree starting in 1944 and the closest college program is available through Queens University of Charlotte.
Here in greater Charlotte, there are many music therapists who passed their national board certification and earned the working credential: MT-BC. These board certified music therapists maintain continuing education hours that are tracked every 5 years.
Following an undergraduate degree program, some music therapists seek further academic training with clinical supervision to acquire a master’s or doctoral degree in music therapy, counseling, special education, marriage and family therapy or social work.
Until music therapy is a licensed or state regulated healthcare entity in the Carolinas with an available registrar of MT-BCs, more work falls on potential clients or contracting agencies to find a qualified provider.
If you are seeking music therapy for you, your loved on, or the clients/patients served by your school, agency or facility then this may be a helpful guide to support your search:
We hope that this information helps you in our community to increase awareness of the terminology and training of music therapists. Let us know if you have questions about finding a great fit!
Post by: Matrisha stafford, MTI
If you grew up with a healthy love of board games, this post is for you! Games like Monopoly, Mancala, The Game of Life, Scrabble, Charades, and Jeopardy were all staples on our family game nights at home growing up. In continuing to be more creative as an intern and as a future professional Music Therapist, I am always trying to be engaging while still being music centered! As I was looking for fun ways to adapt games to have a music centered approach, I came across a version of Jeopardy on Pinterest. While that particular version on Pinterest was for English trivia, I thought it would be great to have a music version of Jeopardy!
Musical Jeopardy can be used with group or individual music therapy settings and is sure to be fun for all. Categories in this version are: Name the Artist, Name the Song, Instrument Pick Up, and Emotions through Music. There is sure to be a category for everyone! When working with populations such as school age, this game can be used to assess musical preferences, increase group cohesion, increase socialization, and as simply as a really fun musical ice-breaker! It can also be used to address emotional support, or can address mental and physical wellbeing with changes to music and categories.
By now I am sure we are all really excited to play a round or two of Musical Jeopardy, so I am attaching it to this post for you to access and share with your friends or family. The rules of the game will be attached to the powerpoint, but the most important rule is to HAVE FUN!
Cheers to, “I’ll take Name the Artist for 200!”
WRITTEN BY: Gabby Jones, Music Therapy Intern
Everyone has busy lives, in some way, shape, or form. Often, it’s hard to find time to take care of ourselves. We get too caught up with work or school, or being a partner or a parent or a friend to others, that we forget to focus on our own needs. We neglect our bodies and our minds the self-care it needs because we simply lack the time for it.
Luckily, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. Self-care can be as simple as sitting still with our own thoughts for 5 or 10 minutes. With easy steps for self-care practices in mind, I was inspired to create a music playlist full of songs for relaxing, meditating, or simple listening. These songs help encourage peacefulness and introspection in the time I set aside for myself, and I aim to encourage that same time of peacefulness and introspection for other listeners. You can access the full audio files on this Spotify Play List, YouTube Play List, or simply look up individual songs from the list below:
What are some of your favorite songs for relaxation or meditation? What songs make you feel your best?
Additionally, check out this article on music and mindfulness for hobby musicians, performers, and simple music lovers alike!
During my first month as an intern I've realized work care is just as important as self care if you want to maintain a healthy work life balance and put your best foot forward in all that you do. To do that, during my first month at Piedmont Music Therapy communication, hydration, and flexibility have allowed me to take extra care in my work during internship. I’ll explain further:
Self-Care is really a personal journey and looks different for everyone. A good and
consistent self-care routine allows me to continue to be my best and put my best into my work.
As I return to work, concerts, weekend festivals, active therapies, and more, always remembering to take time for myself is top priority. A few ways I’ve done that are good sleep habits, a good diet/exercise routine, and doing something I love that is just for me. I’ll explain further:
sleep will keep you fresh during your workday task, and aid in mental wellness,
and physical wellbeing. Month one has taught me all the late nights in quarantine
aren’t sustainable. Sleep is a very healthy way to ensure we take care of ourselves.
old saying is, “you are what you eat.” As my days get longer, and my activity
increases, remembering that what I feed my belly will feed my mind! Putting good
things in will only increase the positive that comes out.
in my busy schedule as an intern for time to serve myself and my wellbeing has
been crucial to keeping me happy with what I do on a day to day basis. This can be
anything, but making sure it is personal for myself, to do good things for myself,
and will allow me a reprise from my daily work routine.
As we all continue to journey into the rest of this year, and back into an in-person life, I
really do hope these six keys I’ve come to learn in my first month as an intern to are a
springboard for ways to take care of yourself during the rest of your 2021! Here’s to wellness in all that we do!
By: GABRIELLE JONES
Music Therapy Intern
Image Caption: Me, on my very first day of internship, excited and energized.
Image Description:Female with long, straight year displaying an elated smile while holding up right hand showing "thumbs up!"
Continuing education trainings, conference sessions and workshops have been more convenient than ever before due to scheduling options with recorded features of events and the elimination of travel logistics. Personally receiving a telehealth visit with a pediatrician or allergist is a lot more manageable with children and a work schedule than such an appointment two years ago!
Facilitating events for families, educators or individuals living in residential care facilities has become more accessible due to the opportunity of virtually connecting through a device. The developments of schools and organizations to welcome such offerings is encouraging as the specific platforms are continuing to evolve with features like changing the background, including close captions and recording capabilities. Additionally the paper trail for intake processes with clients has become more accessible through a digital process.
This week there is a freely accessible event, June 5-12 that two PMT Staff are excited to partiicpate in. The PURA Syndrome 2021 Virtual Conference includes an impressive panel of international experts - registration is available here.
I'm grateful that virtual offerings is one of the developments that will continue to evolve and support further growth from the global pandemic. Such new opportunities have expanded our connection with people for which I could not have predicted.
How have you benefited from virtual offerings or are you still exploring such opportunities to safely connect?
In celebration of making music with individuals of all ages and abilities in greater Charlotte since 2013, we're releasing this free Coloring Book designed by PMT Staff Ashley Tisdale, MT-BC.
We hope that this will be an enjoyable resource for you as it includes various instruments, a scene from an individual music therapy session, plus a page for you to design your own facial mask!
Help by sharing your completed works of art via social media and tagging @piedmontmusictherapy
Providing music therapy services for early childhood to older adults, music instruction and enrichment plus continuing music therapy education in Greater Charlotte Area of the Carolinas.