I’ve taken in an ear-full this semester from many of the music therapy professors on campus. It’s becoming clear that there are certain things that are clearly expected from you as a student, an aspiring professional, and as a music therapy clinical student. Here are some pointers to make the most out of your practicum and leave a lasting impression with your school and your site:
Arrive early! – At least 15 minutes before the session to tune up, set up, and ask last minute questions.
Hand paper work in on time– most supervisors want session plans a few days before. Yes, I’m aware that this is usually inconvenient for our insane student schedules, and last minute tendencies. Most supervisors have many clients and many other things to manage besides you. Make it easier for them and they will be much more fond of you! J
Ask questions– this shows you actually have an interest in what your doing, genuine concern for what you offer to your client, and want to improve your clinical self!
Take initiative– This includes asking questions or coming up with solutions by yourself! Let’s put on our big-therapist pants!
Be passionate– Self-explanatory. Like what your doing, or at least pretend.
Original ideas– this is part of initiating ideas, problem solving for things that went well and looking ahead on what to improve.
Write your own songs– “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs are the easiest and can really leave a lasting impact on your supervisor and client.
Demonstrate an understanding of clinical principles– Know what you are talking about and try to use professional terms rather than beating around the bush.
Act professional (that includes dressing the part)- If you want to be taken seriously, look serious and act serious.
Don’t cancel (unless it’s an absolute emergency)
Take feedback and apply it the very next session– That means write it down and look at it!
Be organized– Don’t drive your client nuts by not knowing what your doing next and what instruments you need. Have a session plan next to you, know your activities, and have everything ready to go!
Have back-up plans– Client throws their self on the floor? Non-responsive? Having an off day? Make sure you’re prepared for anything, and work to the best of your ability with what you have.
Plan accordingly– Make sure you’re addressing your goals and objectives and meeting the clients needs. Were not there to play sing-a-long.
If a group- observe each individual in the group– This was especially hard for me. Whether one person wants all the attention, or another person is fading into the background; each client is a human being and deserves your very best skills and attention.
Be Yourself! – Your best assets come from who you are. Still be yourself. It will be much easier for you and your client to form a therpeutical relationship.
Thanks for checking back!