Category Archives: Student Life

What’s Next? To Infinity and BEYOND!

So I’m done with my internship,  had a wonderful time at AMTA11, but what’s next? That’s a question I think all new professionals ask themselves. The first thing that crosses my mind- “I’m free!” And it’s true, for the first time in my life I can do whatever I want, choose my path, and plan my future.

“The Eclectic Guitar”  has been in action since April, 2010.  Since then, I’ve connected with various students, interns and professionals and offered insight into the student, then intern world.  Even though now i’m neither, I still have some tricks up my sleeves.

“The Eclectic Guitar” is being completely re-vamped!  I have some really exciting things planned (courtesy of my flight from Atlanta to San Diego), and I can’t wait to get them launched.  Stay tuned- in mid-december i’ll be releasing an exciting announcement across all my social media platforms that explains what i’m up to.

Something is ‘a brewing!’


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New Beginnings

It’s been a busy 2 weeks! In case you didn’t already assume it- I MADE IT! Nearly 3,000 miles… I traveled through 12 states to reach my destination.  What a remarkable experience. You can’t truly appreciate the American landscape until you’ve driven through it… and stared at it… for hours… and hours 😀 What I didn’t share with most was that the day before I set out, my travel plans had to be tossed out because of the recent tornadoes that were sweeping the midwest.  It took a quick cancelation, and re-booking to get us on a new, more safe, northern route.

So the big question…? Internship! I’ve officially completed my first FULL week (now on my second!).  It’s been a whirlwind.  Learning the ropes has been a challenge.  Musicworx certainly lives up to its name.  I’ve already observed more populations in my first week than I have since I became a music therapy student: Hospice, Hospital, Disability, Substance Abuse, Homeless, Health and Wellness Rehab, Breast Cancer support group, Parkinson’s, Rhett’s… and that’s just the beginning! My fellow intern’s are fabulous, extremely talented new professionals that are guiding me along. I have my own cube that is housing all the great ideas to come. It’s shaping up to be a busy but rewarding experience… Oh and by the way… San Diego is FABULOUS.

You can check out the new Musicworx blog @ and read all about the interns!

So stay tuned- i’ve got lots of new tricks up my sleeve that I can’t wait to share! Oh and- I GOT MY iPad!

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The Big Transition

I’m counting down the days until I journey to California to begin my clinical internship with Music Worx Inc. It’s official- i’m finally in the single digits! 4 days left in Rochester, NY, 9 days until I leave my hometown, Buffalo, NY, and FINALLY I will take myself, 2 cats and 1 finance in my Volkswagen Beetle and travel cross-country. We will make 3 overnight stops along the way in St. Louis, Amarillo TX, and Flagstaff AZ (Rt. 66!). It’s certain to be one of the most adventurous and exhilarating 4 days of my life.

As I have these last few days to sneak in my CPR course, practice general population songs, and pack up the rest of my life here on the East Coast, i’m also trying to reflect- reflect on my last 3 years as a music therapy undergrad, on all my past clincial encounters, on what I want to see in my future, and what kind of intern I want to be.

What makes a good intern?

  • Someone who is not afraid to take risks (within reason!) and go with their gut.
  • Someone who is not afraid to ask questions, and learn from their errors in judgement.
  • Someone who is passionate about what they are doing.
  • Someone who has the best interest of the facility or company they are interning for in mind.
and above all….
  • Someone who is constantly striving to grow, even after the completion of their internship.
As I stare out the window of this starbucks (no internet in my apartment anymore :D), I have high hopes and aspirations for what is to come.  I look forward to the next 6 months- and now that i’ve thrown my sequenced graduation cap in the air, I can travel down the road ahead of me with no second thoughts.

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“California Girls Were Unforgettable…

…but nothing comes close to the Golden Coast”

My life flipped on it’s side last Saturday! I was asked to join Dr. Barbara Reuer and her MusicWorx Inc. team down in sunny San Diego.. and I was THRILLED. I made a quick decision and decided there is no other place I could imagine myself. I will be completing my clincal internship under one of the most well respected business women in the music therapy profession… and can we say, “West Coast represent!?”

So here I am… FINALLY 2 days left of undergraduate classes- 3 weeks until my graduation date. I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now, and so much as developed over the course of these 13 months.  It’s so rewarding to see your hard work and dedication pay off.

I can’t wait to begin blogging from San Diego, CA  (5 weeks!) and documenting all my adventures.  I’ve found a great little apartment that sits literally a hop away from the beach in gorgeous Mission Beach… and I have my whole life to look forward to.  It’s thrilling to gaze into the future and guess how the next year or so will develop, and to KNOW that just shortly after my next birthday (Nov 27th) I will officially be a MT-BC.

Now… I just need a base tan. 😀

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Lub Dub Dub… I’m a Hitting a Drum: Drum Circle Facilitation

I just had one of the most incredible experiences in my student career to date.  Unfortunatley, it was completely unexpected (like most good things, I suppose), and I didn’t get much time to think or prepare.  I was casually walking to my percussion methods class for music therapy when a stampede of middle and high schools charged past.  What happened next? My percussion professor says, “Sarah, they will be joining our class today… since you’re the senior do you think you can give a short presentaton on what music therapy is… and then lead them in a drum circle?” ummmm…. Why yes, yes I can.

I had the opportunity to advocate for our profession to 65 young students who before speaking to them, probably didn’t know what music therapy was. Sure they were to shy to ask questions, however, it’s in their minds (and I like to think my super cheery and excited disposition will help them to make the right decision- Music Therapy!).

I was able to facilitate the drum circle and encorage my other classmates (mostly freshman :)) to get up and try facilitating as well… and what a great job they did! I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do that 5 years ago! I was so proud.

I feel like I picked up a few tips from this experience that I would like to share:

  1. 1, 2, 3, 4 are your new favorite numbers.  They cue beginnings, ends, and in-betweens.  It creates a sense of expecation for those that your leading the experience with.
  2. Don’t be afraid to be animated. If your shy facilitating, your circle will reflect that right back to you… it’s called… REFLECTION (a lovely therapy technique).  Jump, lift your arms, run around… get that group going!
  3. Vary it up= there is always a steady eighth note pulse to a drum circle… don’t be afraid to change tempos, dynamics, and rhythms during your time up there.
  4. Leave room for solos.  Some are willing, some are not… but put it out there.
  5. Try to use as few verbal cues as possible.  The longer the experience lasts, the less you’ll have to use your mouth because group members will for sure start to pick up on cues and body language.

There you have it.  It your EVER given an opportunity to lead a drum circle… don’t pass up on it. It’s truly an experience!


Filed under Music Therapy, Student Life


I’m off to Saratoga, NY in the morning and it’s nearly minute and I’m still finishing up some last minute things! Just wanted to remind everyone with smart phones or laptops (because the hotel has free WiFi!) to join the conversation on twitter by updating #MARAMTA11.  Hope to catch up with some social media guru’s while I’m there (I even think I saw a session about it!)

So… how to make the most out of your conference experience?

  • Don’t be afraid to shake a few hands and ask questions.  It doesn’t hurt to meet new students, interns, presenters, professionalism and strike up a conversation!
  • um… do I need to mention my obsession with QR codes again? I’m trying something new this conference. I’m going paperless … that is… with no business cards.  I’m well equipped with my QR code that links to this blog though!
  • Students: if you don’t have your internship solidified yet… or your a junior… there’s no time like the present to check out the fair!
  • I served as a senior chapter representative for my school this year… and although Business Meetings can be dull… it’s good to get the experience at least once.  They discuss lots of important topics in the profession… and you can vote on things to make a difference!
  • Sometimes the best sessions are at 8:00 am… need I say more? You paid for it… go. But don’t kill yourself.  Take some downtime in the afternoon.
  • Lastly! Check out Twitter… or connect with people who are updating it.  You can get some really great tips about sessions, people and things going on around conference! Let’s CONNECT!

    I’ll see YOU, Mid-Atlantic Region… tomorrow!

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    Music Therapy 2.0 Presentation: Prezi, Reflection and Notes

    This past Sunday at the AMTAS-Naz Chapter mini-conference I was able to have my very first experience with giving a professional presentation.  I joined forces with my fiance, Jim Ernst who is a PR professional and a blogger who specializes in social media and branding.  We related it all back to music therapy; forming your own unique brand, one for your business as well as utilizing new technologies in your sessions.  These are my thoughts and tips for presentation and how to make the time worth while for both you and your attendee’s.

    Tips for presenting:

    1. Be concise and prepared: It’s very obvious when a presenter did not rehearse and is flying by the seat of their pants. Don’t let this be you.

    2. Time Yourself!: You many think that you have enough information, but you might not.  You might think that you won’t go over your time, but you will.  An hour or however long you have is a lot easier to fill than you think. Practice!

    3. Take a breath before you begin: Set yourself up on a calm note. Taking a second to breath will balance you for the whole presentation.

    4. Try to avoid to many long videos: Videos can really enhance a presentation if they are timely.  However, be careful to not play video after video that are irrelevant.  They came to hear YOU speak.

    5. Don’t read from your slides ( is great for avoiding this!): There’s nothing worse than someone reading their slides word for word.  Put up some talking points and YOU fill them in.  This definitely takes practice.

    For more information about social media, branding and more visit my co-presenter’s blog here.

    Check out our presentation from Prezi on this link.

    If you would like a copy of our hand out you can find it here –> What is a Brand ?

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    Filed under Music Therapy, Musical Resources, Student Life