Day in the life of
Music Therapist – Abby Klemm, MT-BC
My experience of music therapy changes everyday. Because I work with people, and every person is different, every day and every session is different. Music therapists are trained in music and psychology and how the two intersect. We learn different techniques to use music to address various needs and my job is to figure out, using a combination of the client’s input and my own knowledge, which experiences may help the client achieve their own goals. While I may use similar techniques or knowledge from day to day, the exact experiences often differ. Many music therapists may have different areas of specialty – my work focuses mostly on helping people discover how to harness the power of music and use it in the way most meaningful for them, often exploring their own creativity and self-expression. Being a music therapist involves constantly being able to adapt and change in the moment.
I currently work for a small private practice so I do sessions in person at our studio, in client homes/facilities, and online video sessions. My typical day consists of 4-5 individual sessions, interdisciplinary team meetings, and documenting/preparing for sessions. In my sessions, I have the opportunity to make music with different people in many different ways. We may play instruments, sing together, have a music lesson, write music, listen to music, draw to music, talk about music, or any combination. The majority of my clients currently are youth in foster care and with trauma histories. I also work with children and adults on the autism spectrum, individuals with developmental disabilities, and older adults in hospice care.
Pros and Cons
As a music therapist, I get the opportunity to engage with music, one of my biggest passions, every day. Music is such an intimate and personal experience – being able to truly connect with another person in that experience is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It’s a joy to be able to be a part of people’s journeys, their highs and lows, all through the power of the relationship and the music. However, working deeply with people’s emotions and trauma will take a toll on your own emotions and mental health. It can be quite draining so it is extremely important to engage in self-care. My self-care practices include my own personal therapy, regular exercise, spending time with friends/family, and engaging in calming activities that help me wind down after a day at work.”
plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients' psychological or behavioral status.