The Last Five Years (minus Cathy and Jamie)
My music therapy story started not too long ago! I began studying music therapy in 2012 at Acadia University and became a certified music therapist in 2017. At the time of writing this blog post, I am in my 5th year of practice, which may not seem that long, but it has definitely been a journey!
Over the past 5 years my clinical focus has been providing music therapy sessions for older adults, children with autism, and stroke survivors in Canada - and now in Bermuda.
I am passionate about the way music impacts our brain, bodies, and fosters relationships that can lead to positive change. I practice from the lens of an anti-oppressive, holistic philosophy and prescribe to creative music therapy and neurologic music therapy techniques.
Filling the Gap In Accessable Advocasy
Somewhere along the line, advocacy became just as important as my clinical work and I began offering several professional development and continuing education resources. The first was my children's book, “Mandy’s Mom, The Music Therapist.” It had been a passion project of mine years before publishing because I knew there was an existing gap in accessible advocacy. I personally didn’t find out about music therapy until I was looking for programs to study in university.
Why not fill this gap? I wanted youth and the general public to know that music therapy is an achievable profession to dream about and aspire toward much earlier than I did. “Mandy’s Mom, The Music Therapist” can be used as an advocacy tool for music therapists within their practice. It can also be used within clinical interventions as the story is told rhythmically making it easy to accompany with a melody of your choosing!
After writing my first book, I decided to start creating additional resources for music therapists and allies to download and use in their practice. The “Resources for Everyday Anti-Oppressive Practices” PDF was a gift to the music therapy community during a challenging time. We, along with the rest of our communities, were forced to acknowledge systemic racism and bias that continues to exist within our society. The music therapy community needed more resources on anti-oppression, anti-racism, cultural safety, and social justice for therapists and community members to better support our work with clients, stand as allies, and amplify the voices of diverse therapists, educators, artists, and musicians. Creating this resource began a snowball effect that allowed me the opportunity to host workshops, create a CBMT-approved course, create a pod-course, serve on professional boards, appear as a keynote speaker, appear on several podcasts and interview-based shows, and collaborate with folks doing amazing advocacy work within the music therapy community.
Learning & Growing
Engaging in conversation about uncomfortable or captivating subject matters is something I enjoy doing most. It’s important because it helps us to learn and grow. Continuing to expand my understanding is something I aspire to do in both my personal and professional lives. We are not meant to be stagnant in our knowledge of the world and self. This is something that being a therapist has taught me. We are capable of so much when we embrace our unique abilities and are afforded opportunities to succeed, fail, and reassess with bravery, compassion, and dignity.
The Able Voice Podcast was a way for me to move that mission forward. On this platform, we believe that all voices are able and have a unique perspective to bring to the conversation. It celebrates individual and collective journeys in addition to provoking thoughts about future directions.
There’s a lot that I could write about my music therapy journey over the last 5-10 years. The important thing to note is that my practice is not solely focused on my benefit alone. I am constantly brainstorming ways to collaborate with others, support others, and make room for a more culturally safe way forward. In everything I do, my aim is to provide an authentic experience that is respectful toward all people no matter their age, diagnosis, background, race, religion, or additional social locators and I hope to continue this mission for the next 5-10 years or more!
Bear Paw Creek wants to thank Synergy Music Therapy for donating these music therapy stickers to our fundraising giveaway! You can enter to win this sticker pack and more here. Make sure you also check out Synergy MT's other products. From programs, workbooks, stickers, books, and more. Their products are perfect for supporting and representing music therapy!