Note: This post has been edited from it’s original form in order to incorporate higher standards of upholding HIPPA regulations.
This is the last of our Intern interviews for the month of November. It has been such a pleasure reconnecting with our former classmates and taking a look at Hospice from a Music Therapy Intern’s point of view. We are confident that all 4 of the Interns we interviewed this month will be a credit to our professional field and we look forward to the possibility of being coworkers in the future.
We understand that the success of these Interns has much to do with the quality of education and instruction provided by the facilities, supervisors, and Interdisciplinary teams working along side them. Even though we did not focus on these educators and professionals in our interviews we are extremely grateful for the high standards of educators in our field to whom many of us owe most of our professional success.
It has been a unique experience seeing our profession through the eyes of Interns and soon-to-be interns throughout the month, and we are looking forward to exploring other perspectives with the coming New Year.
The internship site in this interview is the place where I completed my Music Therapy Internship in 2013. I received diverse clinical training and professional development from a team of highly qualified professionals. I would strongly suggest students to look into this internship and I would happily answer any emails regarding my experience there.
Anurati (Anu) Jain is a ambitious, independent young woman who is entering the professional world with an open mind and hard working drive. Anu is currently halfway through her Internship with MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care in New York City. Having no previous experience with Hospice, she applied to the internship apprehensively at first, having logistical reasons for the application. She prepared by talking extensively to a previous intern about her experience and the many unique aspects of working with Hospice, as well as working in NYC. This combined with a positive interview experience persuaded her to take the internship despite her unfamiliarity with the population. “I really wasn’t sure going into it, especially when I was going for my interview. But meeting people at the interview, they were so nice and welcoming and I felt very comfortable. Once I met with everyone, I felt very good about my decision.” Anu’s internship has provided her with insight and growth in many areas of the Music Therapy profession, which she attributes to a good relationship with her Interdisciplinary Team and a knowledgeable and experienced supervisor. Her transition from shadowing to actively leading sessions was tailored perfectly to Anu’s independent and driven mentality entering the internship. And because of this, she has reached a level of ease with her professional identity early, and has been able to stretch her therapeutic and creative skills.
Anu has worked with several patients who enjoy listening to and singing a preferred genre of music with her, then engage in verbal expression and reminiscence. One such patient requested doing something different at the beginning of a session. In efforts to change the musical experience for her patient, Anu provided a Imagery experience, giving choices between different topics. This opened up a whole new world of expression from her patient, displaying the ability to make clear choices as well as personal reminiscence and verbal expression. “It’s wonderful how little things can bring up stories.” I asked Anu if this patient was known for being imaginative and expressive outside session, and she said no, this is a new strength nobody has seen. “Some patients are able to express themselves better through music and imagery.”
Anu has also learned to be creative and resourceful in her presentation of repertoire. When patients ask for specific songs she does not know, Anu uses her phone/ipad to find a recording of the song instead. She engages her patients in active listening, encourages them to sing with her while playing the recording, then discusses different components of the song afterwards. “I believe that live music is extremely beneficial, so I learn the song on guitar to play at my next session.”
Anu identified repertoire knowledge as a skill she is working on strengthening throughout the remainder of her internship.
“When I first started, I struggled with understanding how my supervisor was always able to choose the right songs for each session. I am working on memorizing more music and expanding the options available to me on my iPad.”
Anu’s favorite part of this internship has been the opportunity to work with diverse clients and repertoire. “I have met people from many different cultures, which is amazing. I am not used to interacting with other cultures very often. I really like the diversity and opportunities of meeting many different people.” The Jewish and Spanish repertoire has presented her with some challenge to learn, but have been a really beneficial and welcome experience. “Sometimes I get to meet patients from my own cultural background and I am able to use songs in my native language, Hindi. Hindi songs are difficult to play on a guitar due to their modalities, however, I find that patients are still able to respond to the recordings as they have grown up listening to songs on TV and in movies.”
Upon reflecting over her experience so far, Anu is convinced this was the right internship for her. Her intern goals for her remaining time are 1. learn as much repertoire as she can, 2. figure out how to incorporate some piano playing in her sessions. 3. Expanding vocal range and identifying comfortable keys for all of her songs. She has grown in many areas and had many valuable experiences. Anu shared with me that she may not want to follow a career in Hospice, due to her desire to gain more diverse professional experience. Her ideal first job would offer a variety of populations so that she can figure out where her passion is and decide what route to go in Grad School. Anu intends on getting her Masters at some point, but would like some work experience first.
At the halfway mark in her internship, Anu is ahead of the game in the search for her first job. She shared with me that people have suggested this is too soon to apply to her first job, but I think it says a lot about where she is in her transition from student to professional . She speaks very competently and confidently about our professional field and I think that will serve her well when she is interviewing. I am so excited to see where her life will take her, and I am looking forward to her voice in our professional world.
Here are Anu’s most used songs for this population:
1. Fly Me to the Moon
2. It Had to Be You
3. Oh What a Beautiful Morning – “I use this to orient my patient’s to their surroundings by talking about the weather.”
4. Precious Lord – Christian Hymn
5. Sunrise, Sunset – can use with both Broadway and Jewish patients
6. My Yiddishe Mama
7. Cuando Calienta el Sol
8. Getting to Know You
9. Que Serra Serra
10. This Land is Your Land – “it’s such a common songs but I love using it because a lot of my patients have traveled a lot. So I ask people where they have traveled and what they have seen there, so then we change the song and add different state names and landmarks.”