Rachel began with Anderson Music Therapy in July. She has been working in music therapy for over 11 years, in both private practices and state-run facilities. Rachel moved to the Roanoke area after living in Wisconsin for 6 years working at a private practice there, and is very excited to be living and working in the Roanoke Valley. Rachel has experience working with individuals with mental health needs, substance abuse, developmental disabilities, and dementia/Alzheimer’s.
Fun Fact: Between undergrad, post-graduate (music therapy equivalency), internship, and her first job, Rachel and her family moved 5 times in a 2-year period.
Read the interview below to find out more about how Rachel got to where she is today!
1. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I think I wanted to be a lot of different things: a veterinarian, brain surgeon, occupational therapist, and I’m sure a bunch of other things.
2. How did you learn about music therapy?
I first learned about music therapy at a summer camp I went to in Delaware when I was in high school. One of the leaders of the camp was also a music therapist. She brought some of her clients in one day to perform a song for the campers. The folks she brought in had difficulties with daily living skills, were developmentally delayed, and would always need assistance with many aspects of their lives. However, she gave them hand bells and all of a sudden they could play a song as a group. As someone who has always been excited about music (but not really knowing how to make that a career), this was like a lightbulb going off for me. I was fascinated by the idea that music could help people, and through studying I learned that music can help people in a multitude of ways.
3. Why did you want to become a music therapist?
I wanted to become a music therapist because of my shared passion for music and my desire to make a difference in people’s lives. I was so excited to learn that music was such a powerful tool to help people emotionally, physically, cognitively, etc. and it was always so much fun to learn new methods and techniques.
4. What is your favorite thing about being a music therapist?
My favorite thing has always been seeing client “wins!” Watching folks that I get to work with reach their goals, however “big” or “small” they may seem to the outside observer, and knowing that there are no “small” wins.
5. If you weren’t a music therapist what would have been your career path?
I’m sure I’d be in some other helping profession—whether that’d be as an OT or maybe in a medical field. I was pretty good at math and science in high school, and I think I could have gone a medical route. I just know that since learning about music therapy there hasn’t been anything that I’ve wanted to do except be a music therapist.
6. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
I would be green. Like the kind of green you see in fresh grass. I think green has always been such a calming color, and people have said I have a calming presence. Green to me also symbolize life and growth.
Thanks Rachel for sharing a bit about yourself! To learn more about our music therapists and their qualifications visit our ABOUT page.
And if music therapy sounds like it may be a good fit for you,