Monday, September 19, 2011

About Me

     So for my first entry, I would just like to tell you a little bit about myself.  My name is Ashley Lundquist and I am currently a music therapy intern.  I graduate in December and am very excited to become a board certified music therapist!  I can't believe time has gone by so quickly!  It seems like just yesterday I was entering my freshman year of college as scared as can be.  Now here I am finished with all of my coursework and one step away from my career.

     I didn't actually begin college with music therapy on my mind.  I intended to become a choir director in a high school because I had enjoyed the Texas All State Choir experience for four years.  This made me want to lead others along the same path.  But soon I realized it was the choir experience that I loved most, not necessarily the teaching part.  So I began college with the mindset that I would be a music teacher one day and I was already not looking forward to it sadly.  I think deep down I knew then teaching was not my calling.  Then, after my first two years, I made the decision to change to music therapy after much thought.  I always had a passion for helping others.  I especially had a soft spot for the elderly in nursing homes.  My first experience of giving through my musical talents was with my sister.  One day we traveled to a nursing home to sing and play guitar for them.  I saw the great joy this brought to them and how some seemed so lonely.  I realized that they didn't get to see much of the outside world, much less, music.  So this began my interest in using my talents to aid others.  Music therapy was the perfect choice for doing just that.

    Thankfully, I began my college career at Sam Houston State University majoring in music therapy.  I wasn't completely sure of what it was when I went into it.  I pretty much thought I would be singing to people in hospitals, nursing homes, or schools.  Boy was I off!  I learned that there was so much more to the field than I had previously expected.  Much more!  My first semester there was definitely tough.  I had some great instructers that pushed me to my limits.  At times I was so overwhelmed with the workload that I didn't know if I would make it to the end.  There was so much clinical and scientific information that I had to learn in order to even start my real life practicum experiences.  Through my years at Sam, I was able to gain experience in working with preschool children, rehabilitation patients from the hospital, special needs children, and clients that were victims of domestic violence through a shelter.  I gained so much knowledge in working with clients throughout these experiences.  They definitely greatly prepared me for my time as an intern.

     So now here I am in my internship working under a private music therapist.  We see clients of many different types including private clients, school settings, and patients with traumatic brain injurys through a center for neurorecovery.  I have learned a great deal already and still have four more months to go.  When I finish my internship, I plan to work with private clients of my own and hopefully contract with a hospital in the medical setting.

     After talking all about me, I realize that I have not explained what exactly music therapy is.  There are many correct definitions I could give you, but I would like to stick with the best one available from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  Their definition is as follows:

"Music Therapy is an established health[care] profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings." -AMTA-

In short my definition is as follows:
"Music Therapy is used by trained music therapists to address nonmusical goals using music as the tool to address those goals.  Such goals include communication, social/emotional needs, physical needs, and cognitive needs.  After referrals, assessments, and observation, the therapist presents a treatment plan to the client throughout the course of a predefined time period.  During that treatment the therapist uses musical techniques such as instrument playing, therapeutic singing, neurologic music therapy techniques, movement to music, and many other techniques to address the client's greatest needs." -Ashley Lundquist-

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