With the recent acceptance of West Music as a National Roster internship, I began thinking about what things music therapy students need to think about when choosing an internship site. Here are just a few.
One consideration is location. Many students will pick a site because they have family members nearby or they want, for example, to be in a certain climate or near mountains. When looking at the internship itself a student must obviously look at how long the facility has been an internship site, how long the Internship Director has been supervising interns, and the reputation of the internship. Other considerations include the director’s supervision style and philosophy of training interns. One’s professor should be able to answer these questions and steer their students in the right direction.
Another consideration is the population served at the internship. A student may feel that they should work with populations in their internship that they want to work with in their career. However, this is not always the most important consideration. Tastes change as one gains experience in the field. I, myself, did my internship with geriatrics. And, although I still love working with geriatric individuals, I have found several populations I enjoy just as much. One should, however, pick a population they feel at least somewhat enthusiastic about because they may be working very intensely with them for about six months.
A student should also ask themselves how many populations they want to work with. If a student would like to work with one or two populations then possibly a nursing home would be a good choice. If a student would like to work with several different populations then a hospital or private practice internship would be beneficial. The length of time seeing individuals, and, therefore, the rapport developed between the intern and their clients is also important. In a facility like a hospital, a music therapy intern may be only able to see someone two or three times. In a nursing home there is a good chance the intern would be able to see the same residents for the duration of the internship. This allows for a very strong relationship to develop between the intern and the client that one usually cannot develop from only a handful of visits.
For more information on Music Therapy at West Music, including internships, please visit the Music Therapy website.