Written by: Molli Smith, MT Intern
As I am heading into month 5 of my internship, I wanted to reflect on my experience at PMT and the personal growth I have seen within myself. In the beginning, I was extremely nervous and did not have a lot of confidence in my skills. Finding an internship was a tough and lengthy process for me, and after receiving multiple “no’s,” it was becoming harder to envision myself reaching this point.
It took some adjustment to get back in the groove of doing clinical work and trusting in the knowledge and skills that I had. Among the required American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Professional Competencies that I have been working on, I have seen substantial growth in the following:
9.1 Recognize the impact of one's own feelings, attitudes, and actions on the client and the therapy process.
When I first started co-leading some sessions, I would spend a lot of time practicing and worrying about how things were going to go. While this allowed me to be prepared for the interventions I was leading, I feel as though it hindered my ability to fully connect with the clients. I was so focused on my own readiness and emotions that I was not as present within the sessions. Now, however, I feel more confident in my skills and instincts, which allow me to be flexible and adapt based on client needs and responses.
17.8 Demonstrate critical self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses.
In the early months of my internship, I would struggle to think of things I did well in sessions. I would immediately point out what I wished I had done differently instead. Although this critical self-awareness allowed me to develop within those areas of need, it was also important for me to learn how to acknowledge and praise areas I was succeeding in. This definitely took some practice, but as I have grown more confident in my skills, I am able to evaluate myself in a more objective way.
While there is still more to learn and growth to experience, I am proud of myself for how far I have come in such a short time. I look forward to completing my internship and truly starting my career as a music therapist. I am excited to see how I continue to evolve on both a professional and personal level.
Interested in learning more about the educational journey of music therapy internships? Check out the AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice available online.
Written by: Molli Smith, MT Intern
A couple of weeks ago, I was able to attend my second SER-AMTA Conference - this time in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was a great time to catch up with friends and professors, and to meet some new faces. I enjoyed going to the concurrent sessions, especially due to the wide range of topics. One of my favorite sessions was about how to incorporate children’s literature in music therapy, presented by Kirby Carruth, MMT, LPMT, MT-BC, Rachel Coon-Arnott, MMT, LPMT, MT-BC, and Amber Weldon-Stephens, EdS, LPMT, MT-BC. The majority of this presentation consisted of hands-on intervention examples that we could implement in our own practice, which was a fun way to end a long day of concurrent sessions. I really enjoyed learning about different ways to make children’s books more interactive, and wanted to share some of my takeaways.
Why choose singable books when working with children?
Ways to make the books interactive:
An example of a specific application that they included in the concurrent session was with the book Pete The Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin. Materials needed for this include: book or powerpoint of book pages, visuals of school settings, guitar, and tambourines. Begin the book by singing the chorus “I’m rocking in my school shoes,” using a blues progression and upbeat strumming pattern. Have the students play their tambourines during the recurring chorus line, and place them in their lap or on the floor for other parts of the book. When Pete moves to a different space within the school (such as library, cafeteria, playground, etc.), give students the opportunity to match the correct visual with the location from a field of choices.
Here is a link to an online resource where you can virtually borrow books for free.
What is your favorite book you have incorporated in music therapy sessions?
Written by: Gabby Jones, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist
I had the pleasure of attending a Neurologic Music Therapy® training recently and can now practice under the title of Neurologic Music Therapist, in addition to my board certification title. With the intention of advocating and spreading knowledge about the evidence-based model, I’ve shared some takeaways from the training below:
As indicated on the Academy’s Website, “NMT is a research-guided clinical model that is driven by advances in neuroscience and the understanding of the perception, production, and performance of music and how music can influence and change non-musical brain and behavior function.” Although commonly known as a model used specifically for neurorehabilitation, the training emphasized the intention of using Neurologic Music Therapy techniques for the purpose of addressing needs and function, rather than diagnosis. There are 21 standardized techniques that can be used to treat deficits in sensorimotor, cognition, and speech and language.
Additionally, the model of Neurologic Music Therapy® is well-known throughout the world in the field of neuroscience. The academy recently became an affiliate of the World Federation for Neurorehabilitation, which not only brings stronger validity to our practice, but increases our capacity for advocacy! I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the incredible advances music therapy is making.
I’ve adopted a more intentional model of practice that is informed by years of research that will serve the needs of the people I work with in new ways! Although I’m continuously learning, I’m eager to begin transferring my knowledge to my work in our communities.
Follow this link to learn more about Neurologic Music Therapy and catch up on current research.
Written by: Molli Smith, MT Intern.
During my internship thus far, I have gotten the opportunity to work with multiple groups of older adults with dementia. Because I have not had as much hands-on experience with this population during my undergrad clinical work as a music therapy student at Queens University of Charlotte, I wanted to explore research studies that have examined the benefits of music therapy for older adults to gain more insight. In my search, I found a study that was conducted in August of 2022 - just a mere 7 months ago. With this study, Leticia Prieto Álvarez, PhD, MT-BC, LMHC examined the effects of Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) on treatment acceptability, cognition, mood, and behavior of older adults with dementia in comparison to participation in an Enrichment Program (combination of mental and physical exercises) and a non-facilitated television program.
While facilitating the music therapy, about seven to nine different NMT techniques were used in each session. To highlight some of the techniques that were used to target sensorimotor skills, speech and language, and cognition, here are a list of a few examples:
Participants were residents of an assisted living community that had been diagnosed with moderately severe to severe Alzeihmer’s Disease or related dementia. They were placed into three groups and attended each type of intervention four times a week. Results indicated that the average participants’ acceptance of treatment and completion of full treatment sessions were higher in NMT than compared to the enrichment and television programs. During implementation, several residents left their assigned intervention and chose to attend NMT instead (86% of the time) whereas no residents left NMT to attend a different intervention. Participation in NMT resulted in higher scores of positive mood, followed by the enrichment program, and then television. Researchers also found that NMT had a larger effect on cognitive functioning, receiving higher scores across five of the seven cognitive subdomains.
I have seen numerous positive impacts for older adults with dementia from my own clinical work, but never had an opportunity to look into differences among other provided programs. Reading about the results of this study was very interesting. Not only did this research study provide me with further validation of why the work we do with this population is so beneficial, but it is a great resource in advocating for more implementation of music therapy programs in assisted living communities.
To read the full article, visit this link.
How have you seen music therapy benefit older adults with dementia?
Written by: Molli Smith, Music Therapy Intern
I began my journey to become a music therapist with little knowledge of what exactly I was getting into. The minute I first read about music therapy, I just knew I wanted to be a part of it. Getting the opportunity to sit in on an actual music therapy session, however, really sealed the deal, and my passion for the field began to grow.
Music has always been my creative outlet. I was really shy as a child and never felt comfortable sharing my thoughts and feelings with other people. Music was my way to do so; It provided me with a sense of comfort and peace through the obstacles I faced. I knew I wanted to give that same experience to other people some day, to share the power music has to aid in our self-expression and ability to connect in other ways.
What intrigues me the most about becoming a music therapist is the positive impact it can have on other people. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing someone light up whenever you begin to play a song they recognize, witnessing someone reach their goals or succeed in something new, and fostering connections through musical interaction. Knowing that your work has made a difference, however big or small, makes this field so inspiring. What is also intriguing about music therapy is that there is always more to learn. No risks of having a boring job here! There are plenty of opportunities to learn new songs or discover new genres, how music therapy may work with different diagnoses, new research in the field, different intervention techniques, and even expanding awareness of different cultural backgrounds. It’s nice to stick to routines that work for you, but I also enjoy switching things up and trying something new. Not only does it keep me from feeling stagnant, it’s a great way to keep evolving and improving my skills to be the best music therapist I can be.
There are many layers to being a music therapist that are not always seen on surface level. I am so excited to continue uncovering those layers throughout my time as an intern here at Piedmont Music Therapy. I am reminded each day of why I chose to pursue this career and how much I enjoy the work I am doing. That’s a feeling I'd never thought I’d get to experience, so I am beyond grateful to have found my passion.
Check out more personal stories about music therapy here.
Piedmont Music Therapy has been an approved Cultural Arts Education Provider through the Arts and Science Council since August 2019. We offer multiple educational programming options ranging from a residency, to a PD workshop that are designed to support students (Kindergarten through grade 12), educators and staff in learning more about themselves through the arts. No prior musical skills are required by participants and we provide all materials such as instruments and hand-outs while on-site for the programs.These are just a few of the programs available to schools who have received ASC funding.
If you are an Arts & Science Cultural Arts Representative (ASCAR), check out PMT’s webpage that details the programs and fill out a contact form on that page if you are interested in providing tailored cultural arts programming at your school!
When will you see more than one music therapist? The staff of board certified music therapists travel in tandem for community events, to facilitate multiple music therapy appointments simultaneously (due to clients' needs) and for training purposes.
The onboarding process for staff includes observing peers through out their work week to ensure smooth delivery model and ensure in the event of planned time away from work or sickness coverage, a clinician is prepared to work with a client in their absence.
If you have questions when you see more than one music therapist, just ask! You have a right to learn about the training and qualifications of health care providers. PMT does its best to communicate in advance for sub coverage, planning personal leaves or time off from work, and ensuring that the client's needs are the top priority.
We appreciate your support of creative & expressive arts therapy in Charlotte Metro!
Piedmont Music Therapy's private practice often receives inquiries and requests for programming in residential facilities within Mecklenburg and York Counties of the Carolinas. The following infographic is an educational way to learn the distinguishing factors with the need and purpose of music based events and services for older adults.
As outlined with the above word map, music therapists often arrive with more specialized materials.
The level of preparation and planning to design goal oriented experiences for older adults may be more undestandable with viewing the two photos below of a group room. They capture the many instruments, visual aides and materials that may be brought to a residential site in Charlotte Metro in order to support older adults creating and sharing music as actively as possible.
Let us know if this educational flier and photos from prepared group spaces help to explain the specialized services that a board certified music therapist may be able to facilitate with older adults. Comment below with questions or feedback!
Written by Gabby Jones, MT-BC
As we prepare for fall, I thought I’d take the time to share a few fall-themed intervention ideas I plan on incorporating this week with some of my groups:
Comment below and tell us about your favorite Fall Intervention ideas!
Written by: Melissa Reinhardt, MSEd, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist
I recently had the opportunity to present “Music for Children with Special Needs” to 2 groups of local elementary school music teachers about how to work with students who have special needs in the music classroom.
Music educators are almost guaranteed to have students with special needs in their classroom due to inclusion with regular classroom related arts classes (e.g. music, art, PE, etc.) Additionally, sometimes music educators also work within special services classrooms where all students have been identified as having special needs. This can be challenging in itself, but even more so when music educators have not had any or very limited training in working with such students. This is where a music therapist can help! Music therapists are trained in adapting and creating musical experiences to persons of all ages and abilities; this ability to “adapt” is the key to working with ALL students.
As defined in my presentation, adaptations do not change the learning objective, but change the learning outcome. There are multiple ways of adapting music lessons to meet the needs of a variety of students. Some examples are as follows:
If you have any questions, please comment below!
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.