Major: Music Therapy
Hometown: North Rose, NY
Graduation Year: 2017
Favorite Girl Scout Cookie: Thin mints…are there other kinds of Girl Scout Cookies?
5 Things You Might Not Know About Conner
- I studied abroad twice during my time at Naz, in Portland, Jamaica, and Valencia, Spain!
- I’m trilingual! I know Spanish and American Sign Language.
- I have heterochromia, which means part of one of my eyes is a different color.
- I sang backup for Josh Groban twice last year.
- One time in New York City, I shared an elevator with Pink!
What are the benefits of participating in the music therapy program at Nazareth College?
The best part about being a music therapy student at Nazareth is our on-campus clinic! The York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute houses the clinical facilities for our physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, creative arts therapy, and social work programs (the only one of its kind in the country)! Being here means that I get to experience a wide range of clinical settings including co-treating, or working with students from other therapeutic disciplines.
What kind of internships do music therapy majors participate in?
Because of the way the music therapy profession is structured, every music therapy student nationwide must complete a six month professional internship as part of their bachelor’s degree. For students at Nazareth, this means that we walk at graduation in May with the rest of our class, but we don’t get our degree until typically about a year later, after our internship is complete. This internship can take place anywhere in the US as long as it is a site that is approved by the American Music Therapy Association. I know Naz grads who have gone on to do internships from NYC to San Diego, including populations ranging from pediatric hospice and NICU placements, to geriatric and dementia units.
What is the coolest class you’ve ever taken in your major?
During our junior and senior years, we take four semester of practicum. These are basically like our clinical field work, where we lead music therapy sessions for one hour each week. We have sites in the Rochester area where we send our students to go and work with clients, but we also have our on-campus sites where we can implement treatment while still on-campus. The coolest placement I’ve ever had was actually this semester! I got to work with an adolescent on the autism spectrum using purely improvisational music therapy. This means that I didn’t write structured session plans each week, and all of the music I used with my client was improvised during the session. It was incredibly challenging, but probably the coolest placement I’ll ever experience. It’s also awesome because this is not a typical practicum placement at all – you’ll only have a clinical experience like this at Nazareth!
What does a typical day in the life look like in your major?
The first two years of the music therapy program are extremely music-heavy. We take four semesters of class piano, music theory, and aural skills, three semesters of music history, and two semesters of guitar…all while perfecting our primary instrument of course! In order to be an effective music therapist, we have to first have be proficient musicians, so we go through very rigorous training to get our functional music skills to where they need to be in time to start practicum as juniors. This means very busy days. There is a running joke on campus about “Music Therapy Tuesdays” because our Tuesdays and Thursdays always seem to be loaded with classes! But in the end, it’s all worth it because we come out of this program not only as well-trained music therapists but also as highly skilled musicians.
What is your advice for incoming freshman in your department?
My advice to incoming freshman is don’t feel overwhelmed! The music therapy program is one of the most rigorous degrees that Nazareth offers, and it can sometimes be a little intimidating, but don’t let it get to you! Yes, the classes are hard, but we all make it through! When I was a sophomore I remember being absolutely terrified of music history because everyone always talked about how difficult it was, but now that I’m a senior, I look back and wonder what I was ever worried about. The coursework is difficult but that is what makes Nazareth one of the top music therapy programs in the country! Keep calm and you’ll make it through like everyone else, and you’ll come out being a top-notch music therapist!
What is your favorite thing about being a music therapy student at Naz?
The best thing about this program is that your classmates really truly do become your family. There are nine music therapy majors in the senior class. We’ve been through so much together over the last four years that it’s almost impossible to not form a familial bond! We all go to each others’ studio recitals, we have a Facebook group that we post in probably every day, and every year we do a secret Santa! Last Christmas we met at one of my classmate’s apartments to do a gift exchange and record ourselves making some holiday music together. It was the most fun I’ve had all semester…I am so incredibly lucky to know these people!