There literally could not be a more perfect week for me to draw “professional” for the word of the day. It just so happens that this will be my last blog post- my internship will be done in 5 days!

Additionally, MTCCA has hired me on as a contracted music therapist! I am very excited and thankful to continue to be a part of this company. The biggest shift I will have to make is from being an intern to being a professional, especially since I will still be at MTCCA.

In many ways, I have already been a practicing professional in the way I have composed myself throughout the internship. I’ve learned how to communicate well with clients and their families as well as how to give effective presentations on music therapy. I think that my confidence has grown a great deal since I started my internship! However, being an intern also allowed me to seek guidance from my internship directors and supervisors whenever I needed it. I’ve gotten used to hearing feedback and input on my session planning and facilitating, which I won’t be able to rely on in the professional world! It will definitely be a shift in mind set, but I think I am ready.

Since my humble beginnings in October as a girl from small-town Iowa scared to death on the California interstate, I’ve grown into a somewhat experienced driver and confident music therapist. Like my driving, being a music therapist only got better with experience. AND there’s so much more to learn! It has been such an awesome journey so far, and I can’t wait to experience what lies ahead!

Without further to do, I say adieu, adieu, to you and you and you. (cue exit music)

-Marjie Halverson


I want to open this post with a funny, quirky but beautiful moment of life that we can take for granted and sometimes pass over.

For example, hitting every green light on your way to work when you are running late. (This happened to me last week) I find it amazing and (beautiful) that the quirks of life lined up at that moment and were able to help me out. Continuing on this driving topic, I also find beauty whenever someone cuts me off on the highway and then I pass them 5 minutes later because they got stuck behind a semi. That is a moment for car dancing

I cannot write a blog post without writing about the scenery here. San Diego is a beautiful place from its manmade structures to natural ones. One place that I find beauty in is watching the sun set over the ocean from my deck, the view in perfect. Sometimes when the sun sets you can see an island off the ocean, I didn’t even know it existed until two weeks ago when I saw it for the first time wondering what that giant piece of land was. In the same way, the whole island of Coronado is also breathtaking, especially the bridge! Being on the island and seeing downtown San Diego on the other side of the water is amazing, there are so many different colors, sounds, and buildings.

I thought I would end in something I find beautiful about music therapy. This past Tuesday I brought and played my viola for the first time for an older adult, special needs, group setting. One of the clients across the room starting tapping her chin repeatedly, the aid close by kept saying, “Wow! I have never seen here do anything like that before! She never acts like this!” I came directly over to the client and began playing to her, again she kept patting her chin. The client was signing thank you over and over again. It was a beautiful moment to be a part of. In the small piece of time I was able to reach here and communicate with her through music.

Which leads me into saying the music is beauty and I am so happy to be in a profession where I can be surrounded by it every day.



Whether it be in our personal or professional lives, conflict is bound to happen at some point.

Each week, us interns pull a word out of a hat to determine our weekly “word of the day”. Of all the words I have drawn from the hat, I think “conflict” is the most challenging blog topic I’ve gotten so far. This is probably because I value harmony and tend to avoid conflict!

One thing I’ve learned in the past 5 months is that in music therapy, particularly within private practice, conflict is inevitable at some point. MTCCA works in schools, in-home, at facilities, and in-clinic. To avoid breaking HIPAA rules, I will not disclose specific stories, but I can say that one of the main ingredients to a harmonious relationship with clients is COMMUNICATION! It is very important to be clear and concise, and learn how each person communicates best (phone, email, text). At the end of the day, one of the most important things is confidence in the fact that I’ve been totally clear in all my interactions.

At the beginning of my internship, I would have avoided conflict at ALL costs, but I think that since then, I have certainly grown in confidence and am much more comfortable in dealing with conflict now! These lessons come with experience.




There are multiple definitions the word harmony. Here are three main ones.

1. Harmony can mean singing notes in a chord that are not the melody.
2. A state of being, everything is equal or calm/content.
3. A program created by music therapists and speech therapists to teach social language skills in a functional and fun way.

In regards to number 1:
Since beginning my internship I have attempted to sing more harmonies. This has taken me out of my comfort zone, but this is probably the safest place to practice without receiving too many raised eyebrows. I had to work my way up to singing harmonies, first I would only sing harmony on the last note or the last phrase of a song, now I am stepping up my game and working on harmonizing complete songs. There are still some interesting days. For example today in one of my sessions I could not even think of the starting pitch for My Bonnie, needless to say harmony was not attempted. I couldn’t even sing the melody. I probably stood up there for a good two minutes singing the most awful sounds trying to hear my pitch. Then I had some people try and help find my pitch so four or five people were singing random notes with me. Needless to say I became flustered and failed miserably. Looking back I still cringe. There is a happy ending though someone did save the day, but it wasn’t me.

Moving on to number 2:
Ummmm I’m in an internship right now working my but off. I don’t understand this…
(not complaining though, I am learning so much and wouldn’t give up this opportunity to learn from these amazing people here at the Music Therapy Center of California!!!)

Saving the best for last, 3:
This is program developed to teach kids functional skills. I first heard about this program a couple of weeks before starting my internship. Funny story time. There was a mix-up with sending me some documents before I started and I never got the music to all the In Harmony songs until two weeks before I was about to start my internship. Interns are suppose to have the music memorized and able to accompany oneself. So I spent the next two weeks singing and playing theses songs over and over again, my dad and I even listened to them for 80% of our drive out to California from Oklahoma (I think he has The Potty song memorized for life). By listening to the music and watching the DVD you can see how effective the program is and how the workbooks that are incorporated as well are very effective.

Each definition is different, yet all are important to being an awesome music therapist.