I love hitting two birds with one stone! With permission, I’m copying an email exchange with Sarah Bishop, a piano performance major (like I was!) at Point Loma Nazarene University. These interview questions are geared towards professionals in potential careers.
1. What is your primary professional role?
I am a board-certified music therapist and drum circle facilitator, working in various settings that include wellness, medical, corporate, and enrichment. In other words, I combine music with wellness practice to help people get unstuck and promote healthy living.
2. What is your work today?
Most of my day-to-day work is with older adult communities. I use music therapy to assist in reducing agitation in memory care. I use music therapy to assist with pain management and enhanced quality of life in skilled nursing. I use music and wellness strategies to promote happiness and health in independent living communities.
I have several private clients with various circumstances: kids with special needs, neurological conditions, Alzheimers, and more.
I also write here at Rhythm For Good as part of my work. I love how the internet has opened up so many new connections that I would have never known about before blogging. Sharing and exchanging information and ideas with others here in the Cloud (the internet) ignites me.
3. Does your income flow directly from your musical life?
Yes! I’m fortunate to receive my income straight from my musical life.
4. Or, do you generate income from pragmatic means to support your creative work?
My creative work just happens to be pragmatic, but I didn’t plan it that way in the beginning. Eventually things fell into place. My income streams include: direct service, management services, consulting services, DVD sales, and affiliate programs. I love being self-employed because both the creative work and income stream options are endless.
5. How did you arrive in your current professional role?
Check the answer to #6 first. I was always interested in medical and wellness settings while attending FSU (specifically NICU Music Therapy). My internship with MusicWorx sealed the deal for medical and wellness.
6. What educational preparation did you pursue?
I earned my bachelors degree in piano performance and music theory (not therapy) from Furman University. I then attended USC for grad school, studied with Daniel Pollack, as I worked towards my masters in piano performance. One day after practicing hours, I realized that I needed more human interaction in my life. So, in 2002 I googled “careers in music,” music therapy showed up #1, and I thought “This is something totally different from anything anyone does in my family.” That was perfect because I’ve always been a little different from my family. =) Then I went to Florida State, got my masters in music therapy, attended an internship in San Diego, and VOILA! Here I am.
7. What life experiences prepared you?
The life experiences that prepared me for running a business was being around when my mom and dad opened a business with $0 income and 4 children in 1984. They paid me $4 to clean the office, and my dad required an invoice… even when I was 8 years old. I always signed the invoice personally with “Thanks for using KB Services.” (My family calls me “KB.”)
Once I received the $4 check, my mom took me to the bank, and we deposited $2. I was fortunate enough to keep the remaining $2 for all the spending my little heart desired! 😉 It was really cool. I love remembering those days.
My brother bought out their business, and you can check them out here.
8. Were there particular relationships that led you to this work?
Truthfully, no one in my undergrad knew anything about music therapy. I would have never known about it had I not googled “careers in music” in 2002. But I’ve always wanted to exchange kindness and love with others. I’ve always wanted to help people and give to those in need. And I’ve always felt power in music. Music has always moved me, so it only made sense for music to move people in need and provide the catalyst for change and healing.
Perhaps it has been every relationship in my life that has led me to this work. I have amazing friends, past and present, who have moved me in so many ways. Remmie was a member of the church where I played the organ in Greenville. His kindness and generosity had a huge impact on me in college. My aunt is an artist, and she has always inspired me to be myself and do what I love. My parents have always been supportive. And even those moments in relationships where it seems like I am unsupported have impacted me to just be myself, listen within, follow my heart, and allow myself to be drawn to my own personal path. There are many paths that lead us home.
9. Do you have a personal statement “Mission” or “Purpose?” If so, when did you discern or create this for yourself?
Be well, feel good, and make MUSIC! I came up with that a few years ago when I needed a one-sentence zinger for my purpose. I’m here to empower people to feel good and make music. It’s that simple. You can learn more about me here.
Thanks for the questions, Sarah! Whew, now enough about me. If you are considering career options, I hope you can flow with your own unique path that leads you to your dreams. That’s really the essence of life: Realizing your dreams. Thoughts? Comments? Love to hear from ya~