A Day in the Life of a Music Therapist at UCP
I love my job. I’ll just say it. I have been employed full-time as a music therapist at UCP’s Early Beginnings Academy since 2006. I remember when I first started the job thinking “This feeling will pass. It will become mundane.” But it never did. I still wake up in the morning and am excited to come to work. What a true blessing!
Early Beginnings Academy is a preschool and charter school that is a part of the larger organization, United Cerebral Palsy. Early Beginnings serves children birth – age 8 with special needs.
When people find out what I do, the first question is always “What is music therapy?” The next question is “So…what do you all day?” This inspired me to write a blog post about my “day-to-day” at UCP. Here’s how it goes:
7:30 – Arrive and greet my awesome co-workers. Wake up. 🙂
8 – 9am – Meeting with Early Beginnings Academy staff (teachers and administrators)
9-10am – Prepare for sessions, practice music, create visuals and props
10-10:30am – Group music therapy with the Baby & Toddler class
This group focuses on developmental skills such as bilabial sounds, learning body parts, and social interaction. The babies and toddlers are also learning what it means to sit in a group, which can sometimes be a challenge!
10:30-11am – Group music therapy with Jenny’s class (children with severe and profound intellectual disability)
These sessions are very sensory-based, meaning the music therapy interventions target the five senses. For example, musical instruments are used to work on sound localization; songs incorporating sensory items such as feathers or cotton balls are used to provide tactile stimulation; songs incorporating scents such as vanilla or cinnamon provide olfactory stimulation.
11-11:30am – Occupational therapy/music therapy co-treatment session for child with autism
I provide a musical accompaniment while the OT (occupational therapist) facilitates the child bouncing and rolling on the therapy ball for proprioceptive input. We use drums and tambourines to work on range of motion and bilateral coordination. We use rhythm sticks to facilitate bringing arms to midline and work on direction following.
11:30am-12pm – Individual music therapy session for child with intellectual disability and developmental delay
This session focuses on the academic goals on her IEP that she is having trouble meeting. I write specific songs to target math concepts such as matching a numeral to quantity and counting numbers up to 30.
12-12:30pm – LUNCH!
12:30-1pm -Supervision meeting with practicum students from University of Miami or intern
During supervision we discuss new guitar strum patterns, talk about client needs for children with disabilities, discuss goals and objectives, talk about intervention ideas, etc. Topics are always changing!
1-1:30pm – Group music therapy with Hilda’s class (Kindergarten)
This group focuses on academic goals from the IEPs. Concepts targeted may include: identifying rhyming words, creating compound words, identifying opposites, and learning -AT words.
1:30-2pm – Rehearsal for upcoming shows
During this time we may practice for upcoming musical performances for Christmas, Multicultural Day, Halloween, etc.
2-2:30pm – Speech therapy/music therapy co-treatment session for child with speech/language delay
We use speech cards and books from the speech therapist along with songs I write to work on increasing expressive language, identifying objects, and improving articulation.
2:30-3pm – Documentation of goals and objectives
I document progress on goals and objectives for the 70 children enrolled in Early Beginnings Academy.
Whew! My day is always jam packed. Once my day at UCP is over, my day with Wholesome Harmonies (my private practice) begins. I always say I don’t need a gym membership with this job, because I am always on the move! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does YOUR day look like?