On this day, four years ago, I was a newlywed, struggling to decide if I should continue to pursue a career in opera and starting to entertain the possibility of going back to school to become a music therapist. Thankfully, my husband was extremely supportive in my decision to attempt to start over professionally.
On this day, three years ago, I lost my dad to cancer. I had only been at Drexel University in the music therapy master’s program for less than two months. The support and love from my professors and fellow classmates who barely knew me was unbelievable, and I could not have made it through those grueling two years of school without them.
On this day, two years ago, I was at my first music therapy conference in Louisville, Kentucky and had just attended my first 200-person strong drum circle the night before. If you ever get a chance to make music with that many people all at once, do it. You will not regret it. This was the final day of the conference, and I was exhausted, inspired, eager to learn more, and so very grateful that I had chosen to pursue a career in music therapy.
On this day, one year ago, I started this blog, in honor of my dad. When my dad gave up his corporate career to start his own small business and then to become an economics professor, he started a blog to share his ideas about economics. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he used the blog to tell his story of his battle through surgeries, chemotherapy, and finally hospice care. People who didn’t even know him started following his story, and his honesty about his journey was heartwarming and inspiring. As a new music therapist, I wanted to follow his legacy and use this blog to tell my own story with the same honesty and authenticity.
On this day, I woke up this morning to learn that Donald Trump had been elected President of the United States. Adding to what was already going to be an emotionally stressful day, I went to work determined to make music in order to get through the day. Luckily for me, the themes of this month include peace and thankfulness in order to prepare for Thanksgiving. My session plan for the day already included a song I had written about “Using Nice Words,” “Waddaly Atcha” (a silly campfire song my dad always used to lead), a guided imagery experience with “The Peace Book” by Todd Parr using music by Liszt, and another one of my songs called “Thankful” which involved sign language and asking each child what they were thankful for. On a whim, I added a gross motor intervention of dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” (mainly for the teachers in the room who needed to belt out a great song). So we sang, drummed, danced, signed, and listened together. And it was wonderful.
On this day, I am incredibly grateful to be a music therapist.