Day in the life of
Music Therapist – Marjorie O’Reilly, MT-BC, NMT
As music therapists, we love any opportunities to advocate for our field!
My name is Marjorie, I have been at Bridgewater State Hospital since September 2019, and absolutely love my job here!
Being a music therapist is a truly humbling experience. As a music therapist, we have the opportunity to hold a musical space for a client as they do the work through music- whether it is assisting someone with dementia to remember a moment with their significant other or assisting someone in crisis use music to lower their heart rate and respiration. Sometimes it looks like singing a song and discussing the lyrics, as music often gives us words to feelings that we quite don’t know how to say or identify. Another time, it is bringing a drum and other instruments into a session to assist someone to improve their mobility and motor skills. Music therapy is defined as using music based interventions to achieve non-musical goals, from a variety of umbrellas, including emotional, physical, social, or communication goals.
What is your work life like?
Here at BSH, my work life consists of implementing music therapy services in both individual and group settings. I work with multiple disciplines, including dietary, social work, occupational therapy. When setting and working towards goals with our patients. Other days my work life includes setting patients up with the opportunity to utilize instruments independently. In the background, I am constantly looking up new songs, sometimes writing songs, and thinking of new music based opportunities to offer our patients.
I get to connect with people of all backgrounds and experiences through music which is a universal language. I also watch people connect with others in the group or musical experience. Each day at my job I get to discover a new song or a new artist that a patient will share with me. Music has always been something so important to me growing up, and getting to use music as a resource to help people in things they are trying to recover from is an incredible experience.
Often times music can be an underutilized resource in settings where music has not been traditionally utilized as a therapeutic intervention. Music has historically been arguably one of the most popular forms of entertainment, which is a great use of music, but music therapists are present in so many therapeutic settings to provide clinical care, not just entertainment throughout the day. A final con that I have to share is that as a music therapist, music is one of my go-to preferred methods of self-care, but sometimes at the end of the day, I am worn out from music and find alternate ways of self-care after work.
plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients' psychological or behavioral status.