More than once, I have been asked what a “typical” day looks like for a music therapist. But, before we begin, I have a little secret to share…. There is no such thing as a “typical” day for a music therapist… ever.
Many therapists work with various populations and in multiple settings. Therefore, a therapist’s week to week and day to day can look vastly different. One morning, they might be serving adults in the hospital setting. Later that afternoon, they might be serving children in the clinic setting. On the next day, they might be serving children in the school setting. During the first week of the month, they might visit one nursing home, while during the second week of the month, they might visit a different nursing home. These are just a couple examples of the various possible schedule combinations.
Music therapists work on various goals including— but not limited to– social, academic, and physical health goals. A social goal might be to answer standard questions such as “what is your name?” and “how are you?” Academic goals might include reading and reading comprehension and a physical health goal might be exercise. Each goal is reinforced with music, in one way or another.
Although there is a wide array of settings and populations to choose from, personally, I decided to intern at a clinic setting for children, primarily with autism and special needs. However, through this same internship, I have also been assigned clients in the school setting, assisted living care and memory care settings, and client home settings. I work in individual sessions and in group sessions (2 clients to about 15), 20-minute sessions to 1-hour sessions, and in adapted as well as traditional piano and guitar lessons.
Although I may have “scheduled office hours,” they do get altered because remember— there is no such thing as a “typical” day. Office hours may be used to plan, document, practice, and prepare for sessions. Since I primarily work with school-age children, I mostly implement therapy sessions at schools during the day and provide private services in the afternoons and early evenings.
I definitely feel kept on my toes with my lively and extensive schedule, but I am truly excited be personally implementing music therapy sessions instead of solely reading and dreaming about such ideas, as I once have!