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Alumni Interview: Christine Gallagher, Intern #96

Christine Gallagher, Intern #96

Interviewed by Kristen McSorley
Current Intern #124

Christine Gallagher, Intern #96, is currently a full-time music therapist at Seasons Hospice. She entered the MusicWorx internship originally thinking she wanted to work with kids, but ended up falling in love with her work with hospice populations. She praises the diversity of the internship program for opening her eyes and heart to a population base she would have never considered. She also discusses her biggest challenge at MusicWorx: having the presence to lead large groups, which she worked through and felt comfortable with by the end of her internship. She encourages incoming interns to give it their all and jump into situations like these that they fear; failure is only an opportunity to learn and grow!

Enjoy Christine’s answers to our interview questions below:

1.What is your current job?

Seasons Hospice and Palliative Care:  Full time Music Therapist/ Bereavement Specialist/ Intern supervisor

2. Would you say MusicWorx helped you get to where you are today?
Absolutely!

3. What drew you to the MusicWorx internship?

I didn’t want to just “get by” in my internship. I wanted an experience that would really challenge me to learn as much as possible and prepare me for my professional career. I often heard from other Music Therapists that when you finish the MusicWorx internship, you really feel ready to be a professional. That was the most appealing thing about it when I was considering internships. Not to mention the fact that it gives you the opportunity to work with so many different populations. I thought I knew what population I wanted to work with (children) before internship but after interning at MusicWorx, I found my true calling in hospice which was the last thing I thought would happen!

4. What was your favorite moment of your MusicWorx experience?

My most memorable moments from my internship experience were at Glenbrook hospice. Probably the most special to me is when I helped a man in his 50’s write a song to his wife/ record him singing it. I made an extra trip one day to drop the CD off to him/her at the hospice. They both cried and expressed sincere appreciation. He died a few days later.

5. What aspects of what you learned at the MusicWorx internship prepared you for your career today?

Most obviously, the hospice experiences! I would have never known that hospice is where I was meant to work if I had not had the hospice experiences at MusicWorx. Also, the hospital documentation has helped me tremendously! I am able to write my notes with ease and get complimented all the time on how clear and concise they are. I owe a lot of that to the MusicWorx experience and Barbara’s awesome coaching in that area.

6. What was one of your biggest challenges during your internship? (Gas money & lack of time aren’t valid responses!)

My most challenging experiences were ones in which I had to lead group sessions. Because I work well in quiet, one-on-one situations, the group sessions that required a lot of presence/ energy were challenging. I learned that I had to almost “play the part” in those situations. But the best part is, I learned that I AM capable of leading a group effectively. By the end of internship, I knew if I could facilitate a huge group drum circle and do it well, I could pretty much do anything!

7. What was your biggest “aha” moment for your professional and/or personal growth?

Again, I have to say my experiences in hospice. Before internship, I literally said, “I would never work in hospice.” But something changed inside of me on the very first day I went to Glenbrook with my senior interns. I was not present in the room but my senior intern Brianna played for a woman at the moment of her death with her family surrounding her. There was a spiritual energy in that place that day that made me feel like something much bigger than me had just occurred and I remember hoping that I could be part of that in the future.

8. What would be your one piece of advice to future MusicWorx interns?

I would say to do your best to just “jump in” with both feet and give it all you got. Don’t be afraid of failure because that’s how you learn. The more you challenge yourself, the more you’ll improve as a Music Therapist and you’ll be so glad you invested in yourself when you become a professional! And trust that each and every experience you have during internship will make you grow. There are many experiences that, at the time, I didn’t quite understand or see the point of, but looking back, they all fit together so nicely, and I have called on almost all of those experiences during my professional career. Bottom line, stay open minded and enjoy each experience! Don’t forget to laugh and have fun along the way too!

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