Music Therapy Intern
I have had an incredible experience at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital the past 6 months. I have learned so much, and have loved getting to meet so many amazing families, patients, and staff. I am so grateful to the Peterson Family Foundation music therapy program and for my incredible supervisors. This will truly make a lasting impact on my life.
For my final project, I implemented a music and movement group called Fun Fridays. Growing up, being active was very important to my family. My siblings and I all played several competitive sports and that continued into high school for me. It wasn’t until college where I realized how much I loved music and wanted to have my career be in music. As I have studied music therapy, I am motivated to find ways where I can incorporate movement into my music therapy sessions. I began researching movement groups in a hospital setting but found little research on it. What I found were more specific rehabilitation groups for certain diagnoses rather than a movement group in a hospital setting. I decided that I wanted to create that here at UCSF.
I began to plan my group. It was held in the Creative Arts Studio from 3:15-4:00pm on Fridays and I named it Fun Fridays. I created the group so siblings and patients ages 3 and up could come. I researched interventions, created my own, and spoke with colleagues about activities that have worked for them. I created my own form to help me plan each intervention. The form included goals, step-by-step process, adaptations, and materials I used in the intervention. In total, I created over 14 music and movement based interventions. From dances, to using egg shakers as weights, using boomwhackers, stretching, and performing a movement dance to Jingle Bells, we had a variety of interventions each week.
When I first created this group, my intention was to have rehabilitation patients come to the group. I was planning on incorporating their rehab goals into my group. However, during the 5-week trial period we held this group, no rehab patients were admitted to the hospital. So, I had to adjust my goals to be broader. My goals for the group were to increase socialization, increase motor movements in both lower and upper extremities, increase coordination, provide opportunities for self-expression, increase relaxation, group cohesion, and increase blood flow and heart rate.
I faced some challenges in this group. For example, one of the challenges I faced was not knowing who I was going to get to come to my group. I could get a 3 year old and a 17 year old in my group. Being able to be flexible and to adapt an intervention on the spot was something I learned I needed to be able to do in this group very quickly. Another challenge was thinking through what adaptations I needed to have for each group. For example, how would I adapt a certain intervention if I had one patient in a wheelchair and another who couldn’t move their upper extremities. This was a challenge for me but also helped me grow immensely in thinking through each intervention carefully and how I would adapt it before implementing the intervention.
I enjoyed implementing this group and enjoyed getting to move around with the patients and siblings each Friday. I also learned that it doesn’t matter if I get 1 or 10 kids that attend my group. What really matters is how the group would be beneficial for the participants who came. I witnessed patients and siblings move freely and dance with scarves, I observed a sibling in a terrible mood at the beginning and laughing and smiling by the end, and I also had a grandma who said, “This is exactly what my grandson needed” not knowing his brother was soon to pass away. I hope the hospital can continue to implement movement in their everyday care because it is so beneficial for all who participate and can help our patients fight their illnesses. I am so thankful for the opportunity to be an intern here at UCSF and for the experience to implement my own group.