Alumni Interview: Jessica Johnson, #110

Jessica Johnson – Intern #110

Greetings from Brianna, senior intern at MusicWorx!  This is a fitting interview for me to have since I am almost finished with my internship!  Jessie Johnson was a classmate of mine at the University of North Dakota.  During my very first practicum experience, Jessie and I had the same placement in a preschool special needs and elementary special education classroom.  As time would unfold, we would both end up thousands of miles away from home in sunny San Diego.  Jessie still lives in San Diego working for Kat Fulton and is a part of the team.

1. What is your current job?

I work for Kat Fulton at Sound Health Music, working with older adults in a variety of settings (adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, adults in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, and independent living), and in the medical setting at Sharp Coronado Hospital. I am also the Director of Continuing Ed at Music Therapy Ed, which provides online courses for music therapists and related professionals for continuing education credits. Check it out at!

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

Absolutely! MusicWorx definitely gave me the tools and skills I needed to be successful as a professional. During the internship, I also found the confidence that I had always been looking for.

3. What drew you to the MusicWorx internship?

When looking for an internship, I wanted to find one that best prepared me for my practice as a professional, and that was MusicWorx. Not only is it such a highly regarded internship, but I also was drawn to it because of the opportunities to work with so many different populations. It didn’t hurt that I could also take a break from the Minnesota winter with some beautiful sunshine.

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

Every moment! I especially loved the relationships that were built with my co-interns. I was blessed to work with such amazing people, who supported each other, and became really great friends.

5.  Are there any aspects of what you learned at MW internship that best prepared you for your career today?

Apart from getting the experience of working with so many populations, I appreciated learning from Noelle Pederson, my supervisor in the hospital. I learned so much from her, and it really prepared me for my work at Sharp Coronado Hospital. I also learned a lot about time management!

6. What was one of your biggest challenges during your internship? 

I think one of my biggest challenges was jumping in and trying new things that I didn’t have any experience in before. It was kind of that fear of—what if I fail? What if I make a mistake? And of course, things didn’t always go perfectly, but I learned from each mistake, and became more prepared as a result.

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

Too many to pick just one! I’d say my biggest overall “aha” moment was just realizing that I could do it—having the confidence and believing in myself to work with populations I never had before, to push myself and step out of my comfort zone. Another big “aha” moment was learning to find a balance in life between professional and personal life. As music therapists, I believe we need to be healthy and take care of ourselves in all aspects first, in order to help others.

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

Be flexible, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them, step out of your comfort zone and try new things, and do your best to find a balance.


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