In last week’s blog post, I shared about a musical experience I facilitated where clients were prompted to create and perform their own rap.

I also let you in on a little secret.

I created and performed my own rap along with the clients and was so nervous that it caught me completely off guard! My heart was actually pounding as a stood up to share what I had written.

That moment was a turning point in my career as a music therapist and the magnitude of that event is only now becoming clear to me.

Never before had I done what I was asking my clients to do.

Sure I model movements during sessions, I play the drum and ask a child to imitate what I’ve played, and I shake along during an instrument playing activity.

But never before had I put myself side by side with my clients and actually taken part in the musical experience.

The feelings it brought up were surprising.

I felt nervous and shy. Not only were my clients watching me, but staff members and teen volunteers were watching too. The entire time I was wondering “What is everyone thinking of me?”

That moment opened my eyes. Every day we ask our clients to do things that may make them feel uncomfortable or nervous.

We ask a child with Cerebral Palsy to stretch their arm out to play the gathering drum.

We ask a teen with autism to look at the child next to them and shake their hand.

We ask a child with speech delay to stand up and rap.

That moment got me thinking about how important it is for us as music therapists to think about what we’re asking our clients to do. How might we be vulnerable enough to put ourselves in their position to feel a bit of what they’re feeling. How would that change our practice?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as I work through my thoughts and feelings in this blog post! Leave a comment below to start the discussion.


Image courtesy of mrpuen at