I often get emails from people who stumble across this blog as they are researching music therapy. Many of their questions are related to careers in music therapy: how do I become a music therapist? What classes do you recommend I take? What instruments do I need to know how to play?
Some questions are more interview-style. These often come from high school or college students who are writing about music therapy and need some questions answered. This post is inspired by one of those questions, which popped up in my inbox the other day:
What inspired you to become a music therapist?
This question intrigued me, primarily because it’s a new question. I’ve talked about this before, but don’t often write about it.
Another reason I like this question is because, whether she realized it or not, this student was trying to understand the concept of finding your passion. I feel incredibly fortunate that I have found a career that I am passionate about. I cannot imagine being anything but a music therapist. And the funny part is, as soon as I “discovered” and became aware of this career, there was no turning back.
Not everyone is as fortunate in being able to have a career in a field they are truly passionate about. I would venture to guess, too, that most music therapists feel the same way I do. It’s not easy to become trained and work as a music therapist. It challenges you emotionally, physically, creatively, and intellectually. There are stumbling blocks and obstacles along the way…but it’s our passion for what we do that keeps us going. I can’t help but wonder whether most people in the healing and helping professions feel this way as well.
Here was my answer to this reader’s question:
Music always came easily to me, but I knew I didn’t want to be a performer (not too keen on practicing 4-6 hours a day) and I didn’t want to be a teacher either. That just wasn’t what I was passionate about. But when I first learned about music therapy, it just seemed like a natural, right fit. I remember sitting in a friends living room floor, skimming through her music therapy textbooks, thinking “this is what I want to do.” Within a few days, I had started to process to transfer schools so I could go to a school that offered a music therapy training program.
What about you? When did you fall in love with music therapy…or whatever it is you are passionate about?