Word of the Week – Clients

Client – a person or organization using the services of a professional person or company

I’m very glad that I got this word for my blog entry. I find that a big part of the purpose of these blog entries is to look at a word, usually a musical word, and see how it relates or apply to my work as a music therapy intern. Well, it doesn’t get more applicable than the word “clients” because that is exactly what I’m in this job for. There are many parts that I love about this internship. I love being able to say that I get to play drums and guitar with kids, teenagers, and elderly people for my job, but there is so much more to it than that. I am in music therapy for many different reasons, but to help improve the lives of my clients, above all. This job has a lot of pleasant parts as well as difficult parts, and that is one thing that I can say keeps me going through a lot of the stresses and challenges of this position; knowing that at the end of the day, I am doing this to help improve the quality of someone’s life.



Listening – To concentrate on hearing something

Listening is a term I learned to become very familiar with while studying for my music degree in my undergrad. Up to this point, I had thought of listening as being a very simple action; you’re either or you’re not. I did not think of listening as being a skill that can be worked on, practiced, and developed to a higher level, like many other aspects of music performance. It was a wild experience to see how much more some of my peers could get out of listening to someone play Ride of the Valkyries on tuba than I could. These classmates could pick out and analyze parts of the music that I didn’t even know were happening, because listening was a skill they have been practicing and developing for years already.

Ever since then, my entire approach to active music listening changed a great deal.  I’m always trying to find different things to listen to in familiar music that I might not have noticed before, such as vocal harmonies, time changes, musical nuances, etc. In time, the skill started to get easier. By practicing active listening with music, I noticed that many aspects of my musicality improved. My sense of rhythm and pitch got better and singing harmonies got so much easier. Many of these listening skills carried over to other parts of my life, the biggest one being the social skills and communication. For most of my life, hearing non-verbal inflections in the voice was not easy for me, and that’s such a big part of expressive communication. Now, however, hearing and understanding these non-verbal cues has become very natural for me, which has helped immensely in my music therapy internship. The skill of actively listening and picking out both verbal and nonverbal forms of communication has been essential while working with clients in music therapy. It helps to understand what kind of emotions a client might be feeling when they cannot verbally tell you. It also helps greatly while helping a client write song lyrics about something that has happened in their life. By practicing active listening, I was able to work on a lot of these skills and apply them to my practice as a music therapist.

The sense of hearing is the sense that we, as music therapists, connect with the most. It’s the medium by which we intervene and improve our client’s lives. We’re always hearing. We never stop hearing. In fact, the very last sense to go during death is the sense of hearing. However, hearing and listening are two different activities. Listening takes attention, practice, and development. Developing the skill of listening has helped to improve many aspects of my life, and the people I work with.



This is one of the most appropriate words I have had the pleasure of writing on.

As a music therapy intern I am learning to translate client goals into a musical intervention and then translating those goals it back into a tool that the client can use out side the musical cues of music therapy.

Music therapist work closely with other disciplines (OT, PT, SPLA). In doing so, we coordinate and retranslate their interventions into a music therapy intervention, which supports the client in improving their quality of life.

As an intern I am honing my musical skills, translating music into a driving force, and improving the quality of life for the client’s that I am involved with. This is the most rewarding and full filing experience I have ever had.



Crescendo:  A gradual increase in loudness and intensity

In music, a crescendo is tool to add a level of excitement or suspense to a part of a song. They are often used to engage, excite, and elicit certain emotions from the listener.  A crescendo can be abrupt and startling, or it can be more gradual to build anticipation. When a piece of music crescendos to a high point, it is almost always followed by a decrease in sound and intensity. Many pieces of music can leave you with a calm feeling after the peak of a large crescendo. Like many other elements of music, a crescendo can be used as a great metaphor for many different aspects my life and experience being an intern with MTCCA.

My life is full of crescendos, of all different shapes and sizes. My days can often be one giant crescendo. From the moment I wake up the day gradually builds with intensity and excitement. My days are also filled with short bursts of intensity that can be startling or stressful. Similarly to a crescendo in music, the crescendos in my life are also followed by a decrease in excitement, leading to a calmer and mellower feel. My work as a music therapy intern has contributed a great deal to these crescendos, filling my days with constant excitement, stress, and anticipation.  Life is a constant crescendo and diminuendo.



Forte – loud – or one persons strength.

I am not a very loud person, but I do know my strengths. So forte to me relates to my person strengths.

As a music therapy intern I believe that it is important to know your co-workers and your own forte. At the MTTCA we draw on all of our strengths to serve our clients in the best way we possibly can.

So when you hear someone talking about their “Forte”, you will know that they are talking about their strength in particular area, and they may be using their “Forte” voice to relate their forte:)



Cadence – Balanced, rhythmic flow, as of poetry or oratory.

When first thinking of what I was going to write about when I got the blog topic “cadence,” I realized that, though I’ve heard the word many times before, I wasn’t exactly sure how to define the word. As musicians, the first thing that tends to pop into our minds is a IV-V-I progression, or perhaps a marching band cadence. When I hear the word, I can still imagine my high school’s marching band playing a cadence while marching in a parade. A cadence, however, can also be something out of language and poetry. A cadence in language is usually a change of inflection of the voice to show the end of a sentence or stanza in poetry. Whether it is a cadence you see in a piece of music, poetry, or literature, a cadence is always something that is used to create structure, rhythm, balance, and flow.

Since beginning my internship with MTCCA, a cadence has taken on a somewhat new meaning for me. Though it’s still a tool to create structure and flow, we also use it in a much different, more personal way. Every person has their own personal cadence, or a natural pace in which that person moves and interacts with their environment. Even though cadences are constantly changing with a person’s mood or health, they can still be measured and used to provide an extra sense of stability or comfort. Adapting music to match a client’s specific mood and pace can make a world of difference for a client’s attention and sensory regulation. It’s one of the many therapeutic tools I have learned to utilize so far in this internship.

A cadence is something that exists in music, literature, poetry, art, and even ourselves. It can used to create structure, rhythm, and flow in our music and literature, but it can also be used to create stability and flow in someone’s life.



As a music therapy intern this word now has a whole different meaning then the standard term of pitching an idea.  The new meaning for me is “how I will present my next intervention, to keep attention, to work on client goals, and client success”.

The success of the my interventions revolves around how the intervention is presented to my client. Every client is different so the same intervention will have to be presented in a different way in order to achieve the therapeutic outcome desired.


Word of the Week: Resilience

Resilience: as a character trait, is a person’s ability to recover after facing stress, adversity, or illness.

The word “Resilience” is a particularly applicable word for me right now. After my first three weeks of interning with the MTCCA, I can safely say that it is a characteristic that I am going to need in the profession of music therapy. It is a characteristic that is displayed in music therapy constantly, not only by us as therapists, but by our clients as well. We can see it in a therapist’s ability to always think of the client first, even while going through their own personal troubles. You can also see resilience in the clients, and their ability to keep trying and trying, even when faced with a very difficult task. The start of this internship in general has been a serious test of resilience for me because if the enormous amount of change it brought to my life. Even though I had to leave a large part of my life behind, the excitement of discovering new things and places has kept me very resilient.

Resilience is something that a music therapist incorporates into many aspects of their work; everything from leading several large groups in a row throughout the day, to cleaning up the session room before the next session. After some sessions, I’ve seen the room look like it had been hit by storm of instruments and toys and still be put back together before the start of the next session. If that’s not a display of resilience, then I’m not sure what is.  To me, resilience is the ability to look past all of the stress, difficulty and bruises, and continue to love what you do, and the people you do it for.


Mark McKenna


Now the torch has been past, and now I am the senior intern, and at the same time my word is leadership. I am responsible for planning, leading sessions and mentoring our newest team member Mark.

The idea of being a leader is something new to me, I have always been the one to roll up my sleeves and get job done. I will do my best to help “direct”, “answer questions”, and “lead by example” our new intern through this new maze (internship) he is now entering. the next few months will be an adventure for both Mark and I, and I hope to not disappoint my supervisors or my fellow intern.



Challenge – “Invites someone to engage in a contest”.

As a music therapist intern I have been challenged to a contest of telling stories, educating, and giving people functional skills through  music. To let the music and one’s own energy drive the music interventions is the challenge. When the musical intervention has succeeded, the challenge gives me, as a therapist and as a person, great rewards. When an intervention does not go as planned then the challenge is to tweak the intervention so it will be successful.

I am glad I have taken on the challenge of the music therapy profession. It is the most rewarding endeavor I have undertaken.