Why are we here? I ask myself that question often. In short, I feel that I am called to this career in music therapy and the business that I run. I bet you feel called, too. And I imagine you and I have some things in common.
Music Therapy Love
I love music therapy. It’s the only job I want to do. I’ve been a board-certified music therapist since 2004, and I have spent my entire career in private practice. I chose private practice because I wanted to move back home to Newton, Kansas, and there weren’t any music therapy jobs on offer there. I wanted to spend my days doing music therapy, so I knew I’d have to chart my own course.
…do you need to make your own way to do the work you love?
A Personal Life, Too
I also want to be ready to take on new professional and personal adventures as they come. For me, two big adventures were getting married and becoming a mom. I moved to Kansas City for my then-husband’s job, which meant starting from scratch in building a business. When my daughters came along a few years later, I wanted the flexibility to take time off for maternity leave and to work part-time during their baby days. It’s important to me to have a flexible schedule so I can pursue new projects and opportunities as a music therapist and as a mom.
…do you need flexibility in your life?
Being in private practice is not easy. I’ve seen contracts and clients come and go. I’ve seen my income dip and soar. I’ve seen shifts in the economy and in the eldercare industry that have made finding and maintaining contracts and clients difficult at times. I’ve worked in a variety of settings with folks from all walks of life, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. Fortunately, every success and every failure teaches me something new.
…are you scared of the challenges that lie ahead? Worried about screwing up?
On Not Reinventing The Wheel
Recently, I tried to calculate how many hours I’ve spent doing market research, how many meetings I’ve taken and connections I’ve made, how many presentations I’ve developed and given, and how many clients and agencies I’ve served. Conclusion: It’s a lot. A lot of hard work to create something of which I am so proud, a business – and a life – that I love.
There is nothing I want more than to help you develop a music therapy practice that you love, too. I want to give you as much of the knowledge and insight and material that I can, so your path will be easier.
I heard about music therapy when I was a junior in high school, and I knew immediately that it was the profession for me. I earned my bachelor of music in music therapy from the University of Evansville and completed my internship at MusicWorx of California. I opened Soundscape Music Therapy in Wichita, Kansas in 2004 and spent four years there serving in nursing homes, hospice, and residential treatment for children and adolescents. I also worked in inpatient psychiatric care and taught guitar and piano lessons. That’s also where I started my master’s program in music therapy through Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
I moved my practice to Kansas City in 2008. I built my own practice here while also subcontracting with another music therapy company. I’ve worked in the schools for students with severe disabilities, and privately with students with autism under a state-funded program. I’ve also worked in early childhood and with adults who have intellectual disabilities. When I became a mom in 2010 (right after finishing that master’s degree), I decided to streamline my practice so that I could work with the populations I serve best.
These days, I work with adults and older adults in senior living, community-based settings, hospice, and private home visits. I also teach music and wellness classes and private music lessons for well adults. I spend a ton of time learning about the eldercare industry and networking with eldercare professionals in my community and online. My vision is to have MUSIC available to older adults wherever they are and whatever stage of health they find themselves in. To that end, I want to help music therapists find the clients that need them, and I want to help professional and family caregivers learn to use music well in their caregiving relationships.
I’m also a fierce advocate for music therapy. I serve on the government relations committee for AMTA, and am on the Missouri State Task Force for state recognition of our profession. I serve as president for the Kansas City Metro Music Therapists and on the board for the Kansas City Partnership for Caregivers. I’m also adjunct faculty at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, teaching in the Music Therapy Equivalency Distance program.