Diane has worked at the Center for 31 years as a Music Therapist
How does one become a music therapist?
A music therapist has a degree in music therapy and is required to do a 6-month internship after graduation. Upon completion of the internship, a music therapist has to pass a certification exam in order to become board certified.
What does a music therapist do?
A music therapist employs music-based strategies, which include activities like singing, instrumental improvisation, music listening, and movement activities, to improve sensory, motor, communication, emotional, cognitive, and social functioning. Increasing attention span, developing social skills, improving fine and gross motor skills, and promoting positive expression of feelings are some of the goals addressed during music therapy with the students at ECC.
How did you come to work at the Center?
I was interviewing for positions after moving back to the area from Nebraska. I can still remember the day I came to ECC for my interview very clearly. From the moment I walked into the main building, everyone I spoke with was very friendly and helpful. It made me feel relaxed and comfortable, as well as making me want to work here.
What has working at ECC meant to you?
Working at ECC with so many talented staff members has helped me grow as a music therapist. Working here has given me the opportunity to try many different approaches and activities with the students, and to develop and expand the music therapy program. Leading a hand bell choir, organizing holiday musicals, and directing student talent shows have been wonderful, enriching experiences both for myself as well as the students.
How has a student inspired you?
It’s too difficult to choose just one student that has inspired me because I have learned and benefited so much from so many students. I would have to say that one of the most gratifying experiences related to a student, though, was when I attended a Capitals hockey game about 8 years ago. A young man came up to me while I was waiting for my family. He asked,” Do you work at the Episcopal Center for Children? Aren’t you the music therapist?” When I answered that I was, I asked him to please tell me his name. It turned out he was a former ECC student who had graduated from a public high school and college, and was now married and working in the area. He told me how much he enjoyed music therapy when he had attended the Center. For a former student to remember that (and recognize me!) after all those years, means the world to me, and that is why I enjoy being a music therapist.