This word has helped me through my internship immensely! I have received encouragement from so different sources as I’ve progressed in my internship. My family has been a huge support system for me, they have all listened to my rants, successes, and silly stories throughout these six months. My fellow interns, I don’t think I would have survived without them! We have shared some amazing stories and created some great friendships. My landlords, they truly took a stranger under their care and helped me integrate myself into the San Diego life. From taking out to dinner, allowing me to tag along for family events, to including me in the Monday night Bachelor/Bachelorette show. I will always be grateful for their kindness and love. Finally, my internship directors and supervisors who have endured my many questions and helped nurture me into becoming a successful music therapist. Without their guidance, support, and encouragement I would not be the music therapist I am today. Thanks to these amazing women I have a solid foundation in music therapy and I am not afraid to step out into the big scary world and thrive. So here is a big thank you to everyone who has encouraged me along the road!

Much Love,


The acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught.

After high school I thought that I had learned all that I needed to know. But as I have gone through life I have found that learning is an on going adventure for me. As I have matured I now enjoy learning new and exciting things. Since pursuing my music and music therapy degree I am fascinated by how the mind and body respond to music. I never would have this knowledge if I had stopped learning after high school.

Treat yourself to a learning experience today, pick up a interesting magazine, book or Google something that you want to know more about, you just might learn something interesting, fun and new.

Keep learning,



The sum total of the physical, mental, emotional, and social characteristics of an individual is a clear, concise, and boring definition of personality. Everybody’s is different and can change depending on the situation. Personality is also influenced by the company one keeps.

When I first started my internship, I was witness to a variety of personalities. Some clients were bouncing off the ways with enthusiasm while others were shy and uncomfortable with a new face in the room. Throughout my six months here though at the Music Therapy Center, I have created relationships with these clients each one is unique and special to me. I have seen their personalities emerge and shine through music. Each client that I see is different and as I come to the end of my internship I am sad to have to leave the amazing clients  at the Music Therapy Center of California.



To join together, a cooperative effort.

We have all been on a team. As a young person it would be sports or academics, such as a debate team. Even though those were teams, there was a large amount of individualism: who is the best hitter, or pitcher; who can run the fastest; who can jump the highest, or go the furthest.  Recognizing individual strengths, and using them together produces a winning sports or academic team.

Now I am with a true team of individuals working together. We all have our strengths and our weaknesses; we recognize them, and we work as a team. If I am weak in a particular area, someone on the team may excel in that area and can give guidance or assistance, and visa versa. As a team, we now work at what we excel at to assist our clients in the most efficient way possible.

We also work in close collaboration as a team with other professionals as well. Working closely with the speech, occupational, behavioral, and/or physical therapists of our clients. Effectively working as a team with other therapists, we can formulate a joint plans for our clients that supports the clients needs in the most efficient way.

I really enjoy being on this TEAM.





I am a new intern here at The Music Therapy Center of CA., and my word is “Playing”. The definition is to be engaged in activity for enjoyment, playing an instrument, and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose, and engaged in a game or activity for enjoyment!

Well I have been playing music since I was two years of age. Playing my grandmothers push button chord organ. I spent hours playing that instrument; it had push button chords on the left hand and about half a keyboard on the right. The instrument had matching songbooks to match. So playing the instrument was easy and I always sounded great.

I have had great success since playing music and now I want my client’s to have the same success, and enjoy playing music, while learning new life skills, whatever the goal may be. To see clients succeeding playing music and learning at the same time gives me great joy and makes getting up in the morning worth it. I never knew being a teacher and therapist could be so fulfilling and fun.

Until next time, enjoy life!



Evidence is a strong word; a person’s perception can change with the addition or subtraction of evidence.

Music therapy is no different. I have come across so many people who think and say, “oh music therapy… you must play music to calm people down.” Or “musical therapy… so you just play a lot of CD’s?” or even better “music therapy, you can get a degree in that? Are there even jobs?”

There are so many people who are not aware of the benefits and uses music can have and are not open to the evidence and support that is out there for music therapy. I am always having to explain my career choice as well as giving real life examples to strangers and new friends. I do not mind doing this though. When I tell people what it is that I do, I feel that I am validating my career choice and furthermore validating why I chose the field that I do. I love music and I love helping people and seeing the results, connections, and empowerment music can have on an individual I cannot imagine doing anything else.

In conclusion, while it may get annoying and tedious at times giving “elevator definitions” of music therapy, spreading awareness of our field is always great!



Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Ones mans junk is another man’s treasure. Art is the window to a man’s soul. These are all common phrases we hear about art, yet each one has a different twist to the understanding of art. Out of all three the first one is my favorite. It is short, simple and to the point. There is no arguing the statement. Beauty is truly in the eye of the looker.
I can speak from first hand experience in this regard. When I went to Jamaica last summer for a music therapy trip, I a great experience mingling, talking, and helping the local people. One day when I was walking along the beach with a friend I noticed an old shack with a bunch of canvas paintings hanging on the outside wall. I was intrigued so my friend and I walked over and began to speak with the shop owner. He said he didn’t have a store, so he just hangs his work on the outside of the abandoned building and/or on the ground. His work was beautiful, I feel in love with it instantly. It was his families work, his father taught him and his sister. The daughter does the canvas paintings and the son made all the wood carvings. I knew I wanted a to buy a painting but I did not bring any cash with me on that days outing, I told him I would be back in a couple of days. Well I got caught up with my trip and did not get a change to go back to his shop until my last day in Jamaica. I was worried I would miss him before the day was through, so while the group I was with was waiting for dinner I walked to his shop, and it began to rain, (remember his shop is outside) I was worried I was going to miss him so I began to run. Luckily I caught him just as he was putting up his last paintings. After talking prices and doing some bartering I was able to purchase two wonderful canvas paintings. Now I will always have an authentic piece of Jamaican culture that will always be a part of my home, wherever I go. Some people might look at my paintings and not understand or see what I see in the paintings, because they are more than just that, they are a reminder of what I experienced and how that trip changed my life and perspective on music therapy forever.



This is a word I do not have much experience with.

I am a notorious planner. I love writing and executing plans. I do not like do deviate, because then I am not being efficient with my time or plan of action.

I know being a music therapist this is not an ideal mindset. Sometimes your client could be having a bad day or everything you planned is not working, then what? You have to IMPROVISE… dun dun dun. Those dreaded words, but if that is what is needed than you should go forth into uncharted territories. Though I am not the best at this, I am striving to think more on the spot if something is not working or the client has mastered this and needs something more challenging.

Another way I have had to expand my improvising skills is when I play viola. I have NEVER done this before and that has definitely been a new experience. The one thing I can say though is I’m happy to finally be using my primary instrument within sessions! This has been fun and an engaging way to incorporate viola into the sessions.

The nice thing to know and something I keep telling myself through this whole process of learning how to improvise within a session and with my primary instrument is that it can only get better, I don’t think I can get any worse!



As I am stepping into the senior intern position, awareness is a word that will become more a part of my daily routine. I am not saying before I was a bumbling idiot, but now there is more responsibility and expectations from me. I do not want to disappoint.

I believe that when leading sessions I will become more aware. I am speaking specifically about the out of office group sessions that I did with the previous intern. Now I will be stepping into her shoes. She has been a wonderful intern to work with. I have learned a variety of things working with her (driving skills/directions ARE NOT included in this portion) Marjie has been a blast to work with and I could not imagine a better intern to have worked with. We are two different girls, but together we have had a lot of fun!

Back to awareness, I believe tomorrow I will better understand the word after I step into senior intern shoes and am responsible for leading sessions. I am excited for this new chapter in my internship and cannot wait for the new opportunities and experiences I will be facing.



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