By Brianna Larsen
Tiffany comes to us from Forney, Texas where she is currently active in her private practice. She went to MusicWorx in 2007 after several years of working with the Wall Street Journal. See what Tiffany has to say about her MusicWorx journey six years ago.
1. What is your current job?
I am currently self-employed as a music therapist at Music Therapy Solutions®
2. Would you say MusicWorx helped you get to where you are today?
3. What drew you to the MusicWorx internship?
Well, I have to be honest, I had always dreamed of spending time in Southern California, but that was just part of it. As I was choosing an internship site, I was having trouble honing in on a population. I felt as though I wanted to see how music therapy could be effective and applied with many different clients, abilities, and needs. In discussions with my professors, MusicWorx came up for all of these reasons. Dr. Cohen told me that Dr. Reuer is a good trainer; and she was correct! Joe Pinson, MA, MT-BC, my practicum supervisor/professor, encouraged me and said he felt I could work well with a variety of populations. I applied, met Dr. Reuer in person in San Diego for the interview, and voilà!
4. What was your favorite moment of your internship experience?
There were many: amazing moments on the hospital floors, McDonald Center (*which is now Scripps Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (SDATP), and TACO, and bonding with my co-intern, Mary Altom, was awesome. We got each other through challenging times; we supported each other. At the time I was 37, and Mary was in her early twenties, so that age difference I think in the long run really worked to our mutual advantage. Also, it should be noted, that when I began working on the internship project, Barbara and I both agreed it should involve marketing. At that point, I felt even more at home – I could now create collaterals for, sell and promote a service in which I firmly believed.
5. Are there any aspects of what you learned at MW internship that best prepared you for your career today?
Yes, many, including but not limited to the market research and mini business plan process. It opened my eyes (in tandem with the marketing project) to just how many opportunities there were/are for music therapy. It laid the foundation for my marketing efforts today.
6. What was one of your biggest challenges during your internship?
Well, I really feel being away from home was difficult. Most of my family and friends were living in Dallas, and I missed them. On the flip side, I really needed to be in a different state. I got a divorce during that time. The other challenge (and it was a good thing) was the constant competition with the other interns and therapists in the area. The market is highly competitive, but that just made me work harder, and so ultimately, it was good.
7. What was your biggest “aha” moment for your professional and/or personal growth?
I remember working with a family in hospice care. Their loved one was actively dying, and the angst I felt in the room when I entered was palpable. As the music therapy process ensued, the family members seemed to be relaxing, engaging with each other in a friendlier manner, and they even had emotional breakthroughs. It was a privilege to be there. I got chills and had to breathe deeply to be able to continue singing during this emotional moment. Also in hospice work, I witnessed a largely non-verbal man sing “their song” to his wife. She cried. It was unreal.
8. What would be your one piece of advice to future MusicWorx interns?
Live in the moment, soak it all in, maintain your sleep/boundaries when you need them, and enjoy Southern California. Go whale watching if you want, see the National forests, write music at the beach, and stay away from the sailors (I had to throw that in for fun as that’s what my uncle told me when I moved out to San Diego). 😉