Meet the Intern Behind the Posts: Craig

CraigCraig Ruggels is currently a music therapy intern for The Music Therapy Center of California. He is pursuing his Maters degree in music therapy from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in music from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.

Craig’s primary instrument is anything percussion. Craig as a music therapy student has become proficient in guitar and piano, as well. He has worked with individual who have mental, physical and psychological disabilities and/or impairments.

Craig’s story

“Music has always had a special place in my life; it has been there in times of celebration and not so happy times. Being able to play music gives me great joy. When returning to college to pursue my degree in music at a later stage in life I found the life of a college student to be incredibly stressful. I found music therapy as a way to relieve my stress and to give me a new direction to follow as a career. I have never regretted that choice, working as a music therapy give me a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am helping to improve the lives of others.”


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.



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:)



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.



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.



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,



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!