Recently, I went back and began to re-read older posts of mine, surprising myself with some of my own words of advice that I had forgotten over the last year of blogging. I found that many posts surprised me so much that I almost didn’t believe I wrote them, just because they still applied to many things I was dealing with now, and were important for me to hear. I also began to look more closely at the data and stats of this blog. Often, I found that many of the posts I thought would be relevant did not get the viewership I expected. Conversely, posts I wrote that I didn’t consider to be as important were shared the most. This told me that I’m never going to be able to guess what thoughts of mine will be the most helpful to others. Despite this revelation, when I’m stuck in a creative block, I’m continually questioning, “Who is even reading this, and what do I have to offer to them?”
When I was last at Berklee, preparing for my final year in my Masters program, we heard a lot of discussions about owning the fact that you are the expert regarding music therapy, despite what you may think or feel. I certainly can be stronger in that mindset, but I also think this ownership applies to your own thoughts, opinions, and ideas. You are the expert in your own thinking, and it’s up to you to determine how you share this thinking with the world. Sometimes I’m unsure of what I post here, often taking a risk at sharing my ideas and thoughts. However, I’ve come to realize that I shouldn’t put so much pressure on myself. The thoughts and opinions I present here are mine only and require you, the reader, to use your own critical thinking to determine how you can use my ideas to help formulate your own. An expert is someone who has comprehensive knowledge of something, which means you should take in as many resources as you can to help you define your own ideas.
I’ve received a few emails from people who have thanked me for my TEDx talk or for my blog in helping them better connect with music therapy. Each email I receive is a heartwarming surprise and I’m grateful to those who have reached out. What I loved about these particular responses below were that people identified how my music therapy thinking was affecting theirs.
“If you consider that we’re all connected somehow – when you change a single person’s world, you’ve already changed the whole world. And that’s exactly what happened to me when I watched your video. Thank you so much.” – MT student in Brazil
“What I have learned so far about this career, I realize it is not the profession to get rich, but it seems so rewarding to help people with music, and make a difference in their lives!” – Future MT student in Colorado
“I love reading about what you do and the experiences and activities and sessions you’ve done. They really provide me inspiration to explore my own ideas and creativity…. I wanted to email you to let you know that you have impacted my career as a music therapy student and I am quite thankful.” – MT student in Pennsylvania
It is not often that you get to experience people’s responses to something you have created. This is incredibly cool to witness since music therapy advocacy is one of my passions and it’s truly humbling to think I’ve influenced someone else. What these responses say to me is that creativity stems from your ownership of your own expert thinking. Who’s to say that your ideas or strategies are wrong? Sure, maybe they need re-working or support from an outside source to refine your ideas, but own them as they are. To me, creativity is trial and error.
We need these up and coming music therapists to creatively determine how they will change and affect the world through the use of music. We need people in general to own their ideas, share them loudly and proudly, and be willing to take a risk and possibly fail, all for the sake of creation and ingenuity. Be the expert in your own thinking because no one can define yourself and your ideas quite like you can.