Mabel Ortiz Guzman, MT-BC
How did you find out about music therapy as a profession?
“¡Hola! Mi nombre es Mabel (pronounced like The Beatles song “Michelle Ma Belle”) and I am a Hispanic music therapist living in South Florida.
I was completing my last year as a Music Education student at the Conservatory of Puerto Rico. Like many who are approaching graduation, at the time, I was unsure about what my next steps would be. Thankfully, I had the guidance of one of my professors that said “I know you love teaching, but there’s an up and coming profession in the USA that I think fits you and your interests better. The only downside is that you would have to leave Puerto Rico because we do not offer that program here.” The same week he told me about music therapy, was also the last week to send out the applications for the Masters in Music Therapy program at two universities in Florida.
Not knowing much about music therapy, but with the desire to learn more and make a difference, I moved from Puerto Rico to Tallahassee, Florida almost 8 years ago where I completed my music therapy degree at Florida State University."
What are your hopes for music therapy in terms of equity, diversity, and cultural humility?
"I was the only Hispanic/Latinx music therapy student in my cohort! I have more stories and thoughts related to this than the words I can fit here, so I am just going to say that it took a long time for me to feel confident in my own skin as a Hispanic music therapist.
Some of my hopes for music therapy in terms of equity, diversity, and cultural humility is that as a community, we approach and learn from our clients with curiosity. Approaching with curiosity may include taking an intersectional approach and considering the different “layers” and/or identities of the individuals we work with. It can also mean that we will “know what we sing” (Where does that song come from? What does it mean? When and why was it written?.etc); that we will not sing just to sing. It also includes avoiding categorising clients into rigid compartments and recognizing their unique individual experiences.”
- Mabel (@limitlessharmonies)
Submitted in November 2020