A Day in the Life of an Earthtones Music Therapist

Music Therapy Monday


Ever wonder what it is that music therapists do all day? We serve a variety of clients, drive around town, and somehow still make time for self care! Take a glimpse into a day in the life of an Earthtones Music Therapist…

  • 8:45 – 9:15 AM – Get Ready. 
    • My first session starts at 10:00 and is 30 minutes away. I typically spend this time in the morning session-planning. That includes gathering any instruments, songs, and other materials I may need (a thermos of coffee, for example!). I like to have my car loaded and be on the road by 9:20.
  • 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM – My first session of the day!
    • One of our interns (Greta) joins me at this site and usually facilitates this session. We work with a large group (between 15-18 participants); at a day program for adults with developmental disabilities. During a session we might do anything from rocking out with maracas, moving to some dance tunes, exploring new instruments, or even writing songs from time to time.
  • 10:50 – 11:15 AM – Documentation. 
    • After the session, Greta and I take 15-20 minutes to quickly debrief. We focus on the highlights of the session and I give her any feedback I might have for next time.
  • 11:15 AM – 1:15 PM – Lunch break/Self Care Time
    •  My break is pretty long on this day, mostly to allow for time to commute to my next site, which is across town. There’s a gorgeous park near my site, and when the weather is nice I can sometimes sneak in a little picnic and a nap in the sun!
  • 1:30 – 2:20 PMMemory Care Group
    • Next I go to a memory care facility. This group is smaller (8-10 participants). All groups are different– these people in particular can often be heard scat-singing along to songs by Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong. They’ve also been known to let out a “Yee-haw!” after we sing tunes by Gene Autry and Hank Williams. One gentleman is a skilled ukulele player and will occasionally share songs from his native state of Hawaii.
  • 2:20 – 2:30Documentation
    • I’ve got ten minutes for documentation. Again, this time has to be really focused. I note the highlights of the session and track my clients’ progress towards their goals.
  • 2:30 – 2:55 PM – Commute time
  • 3:00 – 3:50 PM1:1 session
    • In the afternoon I work with a gentleman with developmental disabilities. He is nonverbal and highly rhythmic. He sets the beat and I follow! Lately we’ve discovered that we have a mutual love for Led Zeppelin.
  • 4:00 – 4:50 PM1:1 session
    • My last session of the day is with a woman with developmental disabilities. She communicates mostly through sign language and when I met her I could barely sign my name! Luckily for me she is gracious and patient as I learn. She expresses great joy in singing and when I asked her who her favorite singer was, she gave me a giant grin and signed her own name.