Music therapy student share their practicum placement experiences

Serving a practicum term working with three youths at Windsor Regional Hospital’s Children’s Centre helped music therapy major Donja Jean Trivers develop confidence in her abilities.

“I didn’t really know how to interact with clients in a very structured way,” she said during her presentation Thursday evening at the Music Therapy Wintersong in Vanier Hall’s Katzman Lounge. “It taught me that there’s a need to be assertive sometimes.

“I really saw the benefits of music therapy, and really what we’re here for.”

The fourth-year music therapy student was one of four who spent the semester interacting with clients at facilities such as Iris House, Windsor Regional Hospital’s Children’s Centre, and Windsor Regional Hospital’s Mental Health Unit. Thursday’s event saw them share their practicum placement experiences, presenting background information on the facilities and the client illnesses they addressed, and explaining how they assessed their clients and the goals that they set for them.

“My practicum experience was very challenging, but also very rewarding,” Trivers said. “I met kids that I probably never would have been exposed to before and learned different techniques to work with them.”

Trivers said that it was difficult for the population of teenagers she worked with to understand how their feelings affect their interactions with others.

“If they have an instrument they can play or lyrics they can relate to they can understand their perception of things,” she said. “Music inherently is an expressive tool and it takes them away from having to talk about their emotions.”

Trivers plans to start an internship in geriatric care in May. She then hopes to peruse a graduate degree in clinical psychology with a dissertation in music therapy.

Students played acoustic guitar live for audience-driven demonstrations of music therapy activities. Other presentations included audio clips of clients creating music themselves.

—Taylor Campbell