…. A very good place to start. At the age of 32, I finally have started the career that I was meant to have, being a music therapist. After years of piecing together work as an aspiring opera singer/voice teacher/choir director/doggie day care attendant/administrative assistant/musical theater camp counselor, at 30 years old, I went back to school to essentially start over. Although to tell you the truth, I was really just combining all of my experience and strengths into one field. Music therapy in many ways requires me to use all the skills I learned while taking care of 20 dogs at a time, improvising theater games to engage young campers, creating meaningful trusting relationships with my voice and choir students, and of course my musical training. So while I was officially starting a new career as a music therapist, I actually was just building off of all my life experience, adding psychology and counseling theories, and providing myself a new opportunity to find a job that I loved.
During my final months in grad school, I, like all of my classmates, was extremely stressed out about what kind of job I would be able to find after graduation. I knew that most beginning music therapists often have to piece together contract work to create a full time job and therefore spent many hours in the car and switching between populations and places. Having done the “10 jobs at one time” game for so much of my adult life so far, I crossed my fingers and hoped I would land one of those hard to find full time jobs.
When asked, I would tell people that my ideal job would be full time, working with kids in some capacity, less than 30 minute commute, and in a school or community setting where I could see the kids for more than just one hour every week. At my internship, kids would come for outpatient therapy, so I would interact with them for 45 minutes a week, sometimes only every two weeks because of cancellations. I wanted more opportunities to deepen relationships and be part of a community.
Magically, I stumbled upon my dream job and it’s all thanks to Facebook. One of my practicum sites from my first year in grad school posted on Facebook that they were expanding and opening a new school. I immediately emailed my former supervisor and the director and made my pitch for why I should be their next music therapist. And it worked!
Now I am a full time board certified music therapist at Young Children’s Center for the Arts in South Philadelphia. I work at their new location (YCCAon2) and lead music therapy groups for kids ages 6 months to 4 years old. I’m also the group leader for the Pumpkins (2 year olds). In addition, one day a week I go to a public inclusive preschool in New Jersey where YCCA has a contract to provide music therapy groups, and I lead eight different groups in that one day.
These first two months have been exciting, exhausting, silly, frustrating, and fulfilling. I am relatively new to the early childhood scene so every day offers a new challenge from diaper changes to discipline to dinosaur movement songs. I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures and I would love to hear your thoughts and comments as well.