March Madness, the good kind!

Happy Music Therapy Month! If you didn’t know, March is music therapy awareness month. It is also Women’s history month and National reading month which is fitting because those are all things I wish to celebrate on my page. 

I am a music therapist. 

I identify as a (proud & strong) woman. AND...

I wrote a book! So, encouraging reading is HIGH on my list. 

Growing up I enjoyed reading a whole lot. Some of my favourites included:

  • Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever”, 
  • Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” 
  • Shel Silverstein poetry books, 
  • Roald Dahl books  (“The Twits,” “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”, “James and the Giant Peach,” and “Matilda”)
  • and most of the classic Dr. Seuss books.  

It doesn’t surprise me that I drew inspiration from these authors when writing my book, “Mandy’s Mom, The Music Therapist.” (NOW AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE BOOKS ARE SOLD ONLINE):

(All capitals Hayley...really?) Sorry, that was a bit much! I’m just really proud of this project and think you should go and get it. I digress..

My love for books did not stop there. I still have a great love for reading as an adult. I regularly use books as a form of self-care and a wellness break from the anxieties of a technological world seeking aesthetic perfection... (which does NOT exist by the way).  

Self-care is an important concept talked about heavily within the field of music therapy and other helping professions. It is our duty to take care of ourselves. I’m not talking about a bubble bath or a shopping spree - although these may definitely be a part of your wellness routine - self-care is so much more. If we are not taking care of ourselves, how can we expect to properly and authentically care for others?

Authenticity in my practice is such an important part of who I am as a therapist. I aim to provide the most authentic version of myself in every therapeutic dyad, group, or relationship. I have come to love the work that I do when it is authentic. It is not always easy and I do get discouraged quite a bit, which is why I need a self-care routine and a great community to challenge and empower me. Like most people, I did not just stumble into my routine as a music therapist and get it right from the start. In fact, my beginning was completely unpredictable. 

I did not know that music therapy existed growing up. I did know, however, that I was pretty good at music and I loved the way it made me feel. When I did learn about music therapy, I thought, “this makes sense! If music can make me feel empowered and whole, imagine how much it could do for other people.” Basically, that is the conclusion I came to after a quick google search. There were no definitions or examples of music therapy that were clear and easy to understand and none that didn’t exist in a dictionary or scholarly article. That is why I decided to write my book. That is also why I am deciding to take on a mentorship role for student music therapists through internship supervision ( AND that is why my friend and colleague, Kimberly Dolan, and I are starting a podcast called the “Able Voice Podcast” (available March 31st, 2020). 

[✓] Advocacy/Education Resource (book).

[✓] Using my experiences to help support others through supervision.

[✓] Breaking down the experience of being a music therapist in today’s world with a new podcast. 

This month is pretty exciting. I can’t believe that this is only the beginning for me. My heart is so full of amazing and innovative ways to help inspire a new generation of music therapists AND shape the trajectory of my professional career. It won’t be easy but nothing worth it ever is. So, Bring it on! 

Let’s do this… 

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