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Meet Ms. Michaela!

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Hello! My name is Michaela Shockcor and I am thrilled to be joining the Therabeat team as a music therapy intern. I am from Columbus, OH and recently finished my academic course work at Ohio University. Some of you may be wondering why a new college graduate packed up and moved her life 10 hours away, and here’s the reason why. While at Ohio University, I worked with multiple populations, but always felt my heart belonged working with children and adolescents. For the past few summers, I have been a teacher's aid to a transition classroom and enjoyed every minute of my experience there. When an intensive search began for various music therapy internships, a professor recommended that I contact the Therabeat team. So, I did and thoroughly enjoyed everything this program had to offer. From advocacy to music recitals, Therabeat will allow me to form my personal music therapy style and voice, as well as become a well rounded individual with all of the lessons I will learn

Amid my first week here, I have felt welcomed by everyone I have met and it’s just the beginning! From observing occupational, physical, and speech therapy to meeting everyone during music therapy, I am forming new relationships and learning so much. The various teaching styles each therapist bring to their sessions has allowed for new techniques and a greater understanding of why we do what we do. To learn from a teacher is wonderful, but to learn things from a child is even better. During internship, I hope to gain a greater love for music and working with children and adolescents, as well as immense growth in my music therapy skills and techniques. I am someone who is always willing to push myself in new opportunities, in order to become better than I was before.

I can tell that Therabeat and In Harmony Pediatric Therapy will keep my on my toes with new adventures and opportunities each and every day!

-Michaela Shockcor, Music Therapy Intern



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Meet Ms. Rachel!

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Hello! My name is Rachel Buchheit and I recently finished my course work at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. During my time at Belmont, I had the opportunity to work with various populations including older adults, inpatient psych, and kids with special needs. Also, as a double major in church music I have spent the last two years working in a church where I worked with children, youth, and adult handbell choirs and vocal ensembles. 

 

One of the reasons I was drawn to Therabeat as an internship site was the amazing team. I am so excited to be able to observe and work with the eight music therapists and learn from their different styles. I can’t wait to see each therapist in action and learn more about the different aspects of running a private practice. Another reason I was drawn to Therabeat was because of the variety of services offered. Therabeat offers both individual and group sessions as well as adaptive music lessons for various ages.

 

My first day at Therabeat was the recital last Saturday. It was awesome to see all of the kids sing, dance, and play. They were amazing! During my first week at Therabeat I have been able to observe individual music therapy sessions as well as the Little Beats group, the Marietta Enrichment Center group, and the Tots class. I also had the chance to observe a few co-treats of music therapy and physical therapy. Outside of this, I have been observing in the physical and occupational therapy gyms and will be observing speech therapy in the coming weeks. 

 

I look forward to meeting all of the kids and their families and getting to see them grow over the next six months. I am thrilled to be working with the team at Therabeat!

-Rachel Buchheit, Music Therapy Intern

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The Role of Music Therapy for Adolescents in School

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High school can be difficult, but for a teenager with special needs, there are many more obstacles that can affect his/her success in a classroom. A person with special needs may have trouble processing academic concepts, processing directions, working well in a group setting, or staying on-task. Research suggests that music therapy is indicated to promote skills needed for success in the classroom.

In an article on the effectiveness of a music therapy social skills program in a private school, music therapists focused on integrating peer-relations and self-management skills into the classroom (Gooding, 2011, p. 440). Just as it takes time to establish a new habit, it takes time to learn social skills. Research shows us that learned social skills are more likely to grow with evidence-based programs such as music therapy. When desired skills are rehearsed and reinforced, they are likely to occur more often. Music therapy interventions such as movement to music, improvisation, or problem solving provide students opportunities to interact with peers and reinforce appropriate social skills (p. 444). Results from this study indicate that there were improvements in social competence in adolescents with social deficits (p. 440).

In this particular article, the students attended a school designed to meet their specific needs, but there is also research on the use of music therapy in public schools. The benefits of music therapy have been documented to reduce severely inappropriate behaviors, increase on-task behaviors, and teach social skills (Presti, 1984, p. 118). Music therapy interventions were used to provide opportunities for successful achievement of both behavioral and musical goals. For example, group cooperation skills may be targeted through playing a tone bar song together. Each student has a tone that corresponds to different parts of the song. On their own, it may seem like just one note, but together, they each contribute an equal part to the ensemble. If a music therapist was working on improving turn-taking skills in a group at a high school, he/she may use an intervention such as instrument soloing. Music can structure a turn-taking task by aloting turns for each student to play individually. Music is naturally rhythmic, so there is consistency to both waiting and playing. The structure becomes expected, which can decrease negative behaviors while increasing cooperative behaviors.

Whether it be in private or public schools, already existing music therapy programs are providing musical experiences to work toward a common goal: success! Music adds motivation, structure, and consistency to tasks. Wanted behaviors increase when they are reinforced over the course of time. When group cohesion and on-task behavior become consistent in the music therapy setting, these skills inherently become more consistent in the classroom setting. In this way, school music therapy programs are indicated to make the tough high school years less of a stress and more of a success!

-Anna Carter, Music Therapy Intern

Gooding, L. F. (2011). The Effect of a Music Therapy Social Skills Training Program on Improving Social Competence in Children and Adolescents with Social Skills Deficits. Journal of Music Therapy, 48(4), 440-462.


Presti, G. M. (1984). A Levels System Approach to Music Therapy with Severely Behaviorally Handicapped Children in the Public School System. Journal of Music Therapy,21(3), 117-125.

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MT in Schools

Transitional academies are community-based educational programs, usually provided in school systems, for young adults and teens with cognitive disabilities. These programs help students who have completed their academic courses make a smooth transition into the community. The academies provide training for a wide variety of student needs from activities of daily living and basic social skills to specialized vocational training and job placement. Music therapy services can offer holistic support of transitional academies through evidence-based intervention programs.

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Gooding (2011) reports utilizing programs that teach using evidenced-based programs and programs that provide “instruction, rehearsal and reinforcement” , such as music therapy, have a higher success rate (p. 441). Music provides a non-threatening, yet structured program to teach social skills for daily living because music is fundamentally social. Music promotes “interpersonal skills, teamwork, and co-operation” because it is created to be shared with others (Gooding, 2011, p. 442). Evidenced-based music therapy interventions, such as social story songs, allow for social skills rehearsal. Interventions focusing on interpreting or analyzing social situations (i.e. emotions, conversation cues) build social competence and give students not only the appropriate skills, but the motivation to use them in a given situation (Gooding, 2011, p. 441).

Music Therapy services target many fundamental areas of social competence. However, an important fundamental to note is focus of attention as many persons with cognitive disabilities have difficulty with attention control (Gooding, 2011, p.442 & Pasiali, LaGasse, and Penn, 2014, p. 335).  Results from a study by Pasiali, LaGasse, and Penn (2014) showed that music stimuli provided motivation for children to focus (p. 336). The “structure and predictability” provided by chants, rhymes, and songs “facilitates motivation to build attention skills” in addition to social skills, both components needed for joint attention (Pasiali, LaGasse, and Penn, 2014, p. 338). This study indicated that music interventions supported the development of higher level cognitive and auditory processing, useful skills in finding and using cues in the environment (Pasiali, LaGasse, and Penn, 2014, p. 338). The most important aspect of music therapy in conjunction with transitional academies is the adaptability of evidenced-based interventions. A board certified music therapist is trained to “create developmentally appropriate music-based experiences” to promote successful social and vocational training experiences for students at any level of ability (Pasiali, LaGasse, and Penn, 2014, p. 338).

-Holly Huggins, Music Therapy Intern

Sources:


Gooding, L.F., (2011). The effect of a music therapy social skills training program on improving social competence in children and adolescents with social skills deficits. Journal of Music Therapy, 48(4), 440-462.


Pasiali, V., LaGasse, A. B., and Penn, S., (2014) The effect of musical attention control training (MACT) on attention skills of adolescents with neurodevelopmental delays: a pilot study. Journal of Music Therapy, 51(4) 333-354.



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Meet Ms. Alyssa

 

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 Hello, my name is Alyssa Taylor and I attend William Carey University in Hattiesburg Mississippi. During my time at William Carey I worked with a variety of populations, but the populations that I connected with the most were adults and adolescents. Working with these populations in a college setting helped me figure out which direction to go in when choosing an internship site. 

For this reason, Therabeat stood out to me the most because of the wide variety of populations they serve.  Having the opportunity to be an intern at Therabeat inc is a dream come true. I can remember my sophomore year of college stumbling across Therabeat’s Instagram page and just falling in love with the sweet kiddos and the passion the therapists have for music therapy. I wish I had words to describe how special In Harmony is as a whole. All of the therapists have been so welcoming to me these last two weeks and I have loved getting to observe all of the different therapies in action. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to meet so many sweet kiddos and their families. I am so thankful that I get to be a part of their lives during my music therapy journey. I am so excited to be on this journey at Therabeat and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they have given me to grow and learn.

During these first two weeks I have gotten to observe therapy sessions, co-treats, and even piano lessons. I have enjoyed every second of getting to watch our clients learn and accomplish goals in a session. Something I am excited to explore during my internship is the importance of self-expression within a music therapy session. As humans, we all have the desire to be heard and understood, so music is a healthy outlet for that desire. Patients in sessions often come in right after a long day at school, which means the child could be tired, angry, happy, or sad. Also, patients with special needs have other things that might frustrate them that could also add on stress. Allowing a child to write a song, or have an improv session about his/her day is a great way for patients to release tension and express feelings appropriately. The elements of music--rhythm, dynamics, timbre--are what make it such a great tool for self-expression. Music can be played loud, soft, fast, and slow which makes it a gold mine for self-expression with children with speech related challenges, as well as children who are verbal. I look forward to doing more research on the benefits of self-expression and the different ways it can be used in a music therapy setting. 

Alyssa Taylor, Music Therapy Intern 

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