To all new students: welcome to the start of your journey!

I have been going through some of the documents on my computer this afternoon, and stumbled across my ‘training journal’ that I started when beginning my training as a Music Therapist. I then realised that this time 7 years ago I was embarking on my Music Therapy MA at Roehampton. I’m so glad that I began a training journal, even if I didn’t manage to keep up the journal for long.

It’s got me thinking about all the new trainee Music Therapists that are commencing their careers right now, across the UK (and beyond!) and how they might feel to be at the start of something so big.

Reading my first few entries has been so interesting – particularly when reading about all the vulnerable and overwhelmed feeling I wrote about often. I found that I spent a lot of time writing about what I could have done better, or what I wasn’t ‘naturally’ good at. I wrote a whole paragraph about not being able to express myself properly! And it’s also moving to read about the first time I met my course mates and the very start of my friendships with them: 7 years later, I am still regularly in touch with most of them and I love hearing about how they are, what they’re doing and reminiscing on times gone by.

Reading my old journal has made me realise just how long the journey is from training to practise: it’s a road we all travel with many learning stops along the way. It’s good to realise how far we’ve come too. I realise how much I have grown as a person since beginning my journey as a Music Therapist, and how differently I experience the world around me and process my thoughts now compared with those early journal entries.

Here’s an extract from the entry I wrote on my third day as a Music Therapy Trainee (after two pages of anxiety, critique and overthinking):

“Even though this is a stressful and tiring time and everything’s so new, I can’t help but feel so inspired and enthusiastic. I’m finally getting to do this, something I’ve wanted to do so much for a long time but not known how it was going to all play out. I’m proud of myself for getting onto the course with only 8 places, and I know that if I work hard I can do this. It just takes perseverance and not being afraid to ask for help if you need it. It’s going to shape me as a person and set me on the path for the rest of my life! How exciting.

Another long day of lectures tomorrow…bring it on.”

So, to all new students right at the start of their journey as a Music Therapist: I wish you a wonderful training experience and would recommend that you document some of it – even just a sentence. Maybe in 7 years you’ll also be looking back.


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ellieruddock Written by:

Ellie received her MA in Music Therapy from Roehampton University, and undertook additional training to receive certification as a Neurologic Music Therapist. She is employed by Chiltern Music Therapy and as well as a clinician works as a Supervisor and Manager for the organisation. Ellie has experience of working individually and running groups with adults, older adults, children and infants across a number of health and social care sectors, including learning disabilities, ASD, mental health, brain injury and dementia. Alongside her music therapy work Ellie was previously a Trustee and the Student Liaison Officer for the British Association for Music Therapy.

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