So, I have the best job ever! I’m not sure if I mentioned this before, but being a Music Therapist is the best! I am just about done all my contracts for this season, which is great because then I get a short break before summer camps, but man am I going to miss working with my kids. I was working 4 different contracts. One at a high school with a special needs class, one at a high school for at risk youth, one with a young autistic child and one with stroke survivors. I have had so much freaking fun. I do have a preference for the work with kids though because it is amazing watching them learn and grow.
The first contract I finished was with the special needs class and I was just glowing after our last day. I had only been working with them for just over a month but saw so much growth from them in that short time. Most of them were quite shy about sharing ideas and playing music in the beginning. They were especially self conscious about dancing, as many teens are. On the last day every single one of them played a solo on the drums over a steady beat, which was impressive because even a steady beat was difficult in the beginning. There were many special moments that I had with each student but the absolute highlight was our last dance party at our last session. We made a circle and every student did a small dance solo, even the kids who told me they hated dancing. I had one kid get up out of his wheel chair and do some robot moves and another lower functioning autistic kid yell out “happy dancing”. I left with a huge smile on my face.
About a week later I had my last day with my “at risk” teens. This was a nail biter. Our final project was to perform in front of the school in the afternoon and then for the parents in the evening. The attendance with these kids is quite spotty so I didn’t sleep the night before. I kept having nightmares that no one would show up to perform. When I got to school I saw one of the students who said he/she wasn’t ready to perform. Then I had a teacher approach me to tell me that 3 of my students were feeling anxious and might not show up. So my nightmares had become a reality….or had they? All of my students, except one, showed up! Even a couple students who hadn’t been there in weeks came to perform. We did re arrange some parts so that they didn’t have to do as many solos, but I got them all on stage and they were a hit. Their classmates and teachers were very supportive and gave them all big cheers. I was sooooo proud. That evening we did not have everyone show up, which I expected because it had been a long day for them and many have long transits. The students that did show up brought the house down. We had some real stars come out. Some of the students who were afraid to do solos went for it and covered for the students who weren’t there. They had the audience laughing and crying and cheering. This was where I almost couldn’t take it. I thought my face was going to explode from smiling too much. They left me on such an emotional high it was then difficult for me to sleep but for all good reasons. I truly have the best job!
Now even though I feel like my experience is unique, I know from other music therapists and educators that we all have similar experiences. The conductor that I studied under at school recently posted a video about his experience with leading music groups and I thought I’d share it because he does a great job of describing what it feels like from the teachers end. You can watch it HERE.
I hope everyone has something in their lives that makes them as happy as my kids make me.