Reigniting the Spark in Your Music Therapy Career
This guest post is brought to you by Rachel Rambach, one of the founders of Music Therapy Pro, an OCMT2014 sponsor. Music Therapy Pro offers valuable, “outside the therapy room” information on technology, communication, time management, self-care, organization, and more! It’s the brain-child of the creators behind the Music Therapy Round Table podcast, Kimberly Sena Moore, Michelle Erfurt and Rachel Rambach. They share their combined 20+ years of professional experience exclusively with Pro community members, who have exclusive access to the Pro videos, podcasts, CMTE courses, and the vibrant Pro Facebook forum, a place for discussion, support, and celebration. Join the community at www.MusicTherapyPro.com
No matter how successful, motivated, and passionate you are when it comes to your career as a music therapist, it’s inevitable: at some point, you’ll need to add some fuel to the fire that drives your work.
Maybe you’re undergoing a shift in your personal life, or feeling burnt out in your current employment situation, or just fighting a case of the winter doldrums. In any case, here are some ideas for reigniting the spark that made you fall in love with music therapy in the first place.
Mentor a student. This winter alone, I’ve already met with 4 high school students who are interested in pursuing music therapy. There really is no better way to remind myself what an awesome field this is than to educate young, eager minds. Their enthusiasm and response to the information I share with them does wonders for my own enthusiasm towards my work. A good way to put yourself out there as a mentor is to contact local high school guidance counselors.
Go back to your musical roots. Were you an amazing trumpet player back in the day? Have you always had a love for songwriting? Maybe playing the piano is your own personal therapy. We were all musicians before we became music therapists, and sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to reconnect with our inner musician.
Phone a friend. We music therapists have to stick together. After all, no matter what you’re going through in your career, there are others out there experiencing the very same things – both the good and the bad. Just this morning, I had a phone chat with a music therapist friend several states away who is facing the same challenges as me in terms of her business. After our conversation, I felt better knowing I wasn’t alone and also came away with some great ideas.
Take on a brand new challenge. I get antsy when I become too comfortable in my work, which is why I’m always looking for new opportunities for professional growth. In years past, I have pursued business-related challenges (including leaving a full-time job and growing my private practice). This year, I decided to take the NICU music therapy training, and explore the potential in starting a music therapy program in the NICU at my local hospital. The further from your comfort zone you go, the more rewarding the challenge.
Take a break. Sometimes the best way to get excited about music therapy all over again is to step away for a short time. Take a mental health day, or a week-long vacation, or a 3-month maternity leave (this worked wonders in my case). Many of the music therapists I know have a tendency to overwork themselves, which can lead to burnout and exhaustion. By knowing your limits and taking time for proper self-care, you’ll be doing good by yourself and your clients.
As a resident of the very cold, gray and snowy Midwest, this time of year is when I need my fire fueled the most. I’ve been busy taking my own advice, but of course I love learning from my colleagues as well. What are your go-to ways for reigniting that spark that drew you to music therapy in the first place?
About the Author: Rachel Rambach is the owner of Music Therapy Connections in Springfield, Illinois, where she provides music therapy and lessons to children of all ages and abilities. Rachel shares her original songs at Listen & Learn Music and co-hosts the Music Therapy Round Table podcast. Engage with Rachel directly by joining the Music Therapy Pro community.