Odyssey Scholars » Anastasia


Anastasia (Senior) - Music Therapy

Hi readers! 

February went by very quickly this year. Senioritis is definitely upon me, and it has been hard to keep up with everything. I have found that I do not have time to learn a new instrument this late in the year or do some other things I was excited to do. I need to not spread myself so thinly that I feel like I can’t get anything done, which is what happened this month. 

Focusing on some positives, I interviewed fellow Odyssey member Lily King about music and her relationship with it as an artist. I am super grateful for her help and taking time out of her schedule to let me interview her. It was a beautiful interview and made me love music much so much more, which I didn’t think was possible. Although I know Lily a little bit, I got to know her on a deeper level through learning about her relationship with music. 

A thought popped in my mind just now of how I would love to do that to "honor" National Music Therapy Day. I could create a simple questionnaire to send out, asking "What is one way music helps you?" And then I could post some of the answers around the school to show how music helps our community in different ways. Ms. Goessl and I discussed this idea and she really liked it. She also had the idea to ask not only "What is one way music helps you?" but also ask them to give a song that helps them calm down. I would then put together a playlist for the Prep community. The community could connect over music and discover new music to help them calm down. I love the idea of a playlist. 

I asked my Dad this question recently and he responded, "I like to listen to music when I drive home after work to help me shake off and relieve stress from the day.” Just by that simple answer, I felt like I saw a glimpse of my Dad I never see and learned how music helps him in ways I didn't even know. I think I would receive a broad range of answers about how music helps people and their relationships with it. I like this idea because it is simple, I get to see how music helps all kinds of people, and I get to show people how music helps other people. I am really excited about this idea and it is definitely one of my goals this month. 

More goals this month include finishing my slideshow for my workshop and finalizing my workshop. I am going to start by looking through my notes about the UNM course I took last year and figure out how I want to incorporate it into the workshop. I think the more I practice the more comfortable and prepared I will be for it. 

I am not even sure who will show up, but I figure I should create the show before figuring out how to get people to the show. The goal of the workshop is to teach people what music therapy is and give them ways they can incorporate music therapy in their lives to help them heal. Most people know nothing about what I am learning. My goal is to dip their toes in the music therapy pool and have them say “wow, this is a really cool, important pool and I want to learn more.” 

I am super excited for it and need to keep up that momentum this month. I am hoping to also read more of my book because it is straight from the source: a music therapist. 

Until next time, thank you for reading.

Hi readers!

During winter break, I took some time to reflect on my Odyssey journey: what I have learned not only about my project but myself as well. I have a pretty bad memory, so I spend time reflecting on many aspects of my life. I find reflecting very powerful; I learn and grow so much more. I started by looking at the beginning of my Odyssey journey, how during sophomore year, I felt a spark when I heard the current Odyssey students talk about their passions and how they were pursuing them. 

I tried to think of the things in my life I was passionate about and wanted to learn more about. I thought about what helps me, what is always prominent around me, and most importantly, what I love. Music was in my ears. This led me to start thinking about how music affected my childhood. Growing up, my Dad was always in charge of the radio. We would sing his favorite songs every time we were in the car together. This experience also brought a deeper connection with my Dad because music was something we both loved. Fast forward to elementary school, and my older brother showed me there are, in fact, other radio stations besides my Dad’s old rock and roll station. This helped foster a connection with my brother that to this day remains strong. We love to share songs with each other even across the country, keeping that connection strong with a simple, “You have got to check out this song! I can’t wait to listen to it with you.”

Music, even from a young age, has been a way for me to find love and connection with those around me. I first started playing an instrument in second or third grade. My brother Patrick joined band at school, and the kids at his school, to put it nicely, were not nice. Patrick was so talented I didn’t want him to quit, so I joined that band. I didn’t even go to school there, but somehow my mom convinced the school. There I was in band practice, playing music every morning with my trombone, which was bigger than me. I even had a string tied to the end so I could reach every last note. I remember band practice being anxious and scary, and it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I also remember it being exciting and how much I loved to play. I do not remember how I picked the trombone as my instrument. Maybe it was because every other girl in band wanted to play the tiny, delicate flute (do not get me wrong, I love the flute), and I wanted to take a risk and go big or go home. Which I did every night with a humongous trombone case that I would barely carry up the stairs. I do not recall why I quit. I think there were copious reasons: the band’s budget was getting cut, my brother started to get more serious than me, peer pressure about band not being cool. For all of these reasons and the reasons that could have been, I am really excited to reflect on this part of my life and how it affects me to this day. I am looking at learning an instrument during my gap year, which is really exciting. Even though 18 seems young, I feel quite old to be picking up and starting an instrument but more excited and happy to be even trying again.

With reflecting on the past comes planning for the future. I am quite nervous about “ending” my Odyssey journey. I know it is not ending-ending, but it is definitely a change--and change is scary. I wanted to make my younger sophomore self proud, but I already knew she would be in tears just to know I made it in the program, let alone grown this much in my project and myself. I think with ending this year, I’m throwing out all the pressure. Odyssey has been such an amazing journey in my life, and I want to end it that way. I know there are deadlines, papers, and final projects, but I will not let myself lose the spark I have for this learning. I just need to remind myself of how far I have come and focus on the love and passion I have for this work--not on the pressure. 

Until next time, thank you so much for reading.

Hi, readers,

Reflecting on my second to last semester makes me a little sad but excited. I love this program so much and it will be hard to say goodbye, but I know this isn’t really goodbye but the start of an exciting future. After finishing my online course on Music Therapy and Sound Healing, I wrote a reflection paper on it and learned through writing the reflection just how much I had learned. I am very thankful for this course because it was the only hands-on experience--even though it was still through the computer screen--that I was able to do because of Covid. One of my favorite parts about the Odyssey program is that we are able to learn about our passion by actually diving deeper into the work and experiencing it. For me, doing Odyssey was a really huge leap of faith in myself; I didn’t know if I was mentally and emotionally strong enough to push myself in learning. As I have gotten older, I have learned to do things I am afraid of, because how do you make your comfort zone bigger? You leave it. So I took a leap of faith in myself and applied “scared and excited” to the extreme. 

One of the biggest parts of Odyssey is the hands-on learning and interviewing people. I am a very shy and scared person when meeting new people or doing new things. The more I faced my fears in the Odyssey program, the more comfortable I was facing my fears in everyday life. It gave me a type of confidence I never knew. With Covid, all that felt washed away and I was in a hole by myself with all this information. Don't get me wrong: I love this type of learning, but I missed feeling pushed out of my comfort zone and facing my fears. When I found this UNM course all of that changed. I felt like I had an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and push myself. I was scared--scared I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the course and handle normal school, scared I wasn’t smart enough to be taking the course, and just anxious of the unknown. With those alarm bells ringing I hopped right on and signed up, extremely scared and excited. I am so proud of myself for that and thankful the Odyssey program let me be able to face yet another fear. 

This course was the best thing I could have done to progress my Odyssey project. During this semester I have had a really hard time trying to reach out and find interviews in the music therapy field. I have sent countless emails and voicemails with not much luck. One of my goals for next semester is to be able to successfully interview at least two people. My first year in Odyssey, I learned so much from the three interviews I was able to do. When interviewing I get to do two things I love and that help me grow: one, I get out of my comfort zone and two, I get to see things from another person’s perspective. I am taught so much when I interview. The Anastasia that first started Odyssey would be shocked at the previous sentence, but that is what growth does to you. Facing your fears is so powerful and who knows: you might find out you love it in the end. That is one of the biggest lessons from the Odyssey program. I am excited to see what my last semester of the Odyssey program will hold and even more excited for the future after that. 

Until next time. Thank you for reading.

Hi readers,

October has been a very busy month for me and my Odyssey project. In September I started my UNM course to receive a certificate in Music Therapy. I thoroughly enjoyed the class and am very grateful to the Odyssey Program for not only allowing me to take the course but also for paying for some of it. In no other program that I know of are you able to study what you are passionate about and helped financially to acquire resources. I am very thankful for the Odyssey Program. 
The UNM course was all online due to Covid, but still it was such an amazing experience full of information and very engaging. The lessons were separated into five different categories: Lesson #1 Inspiring Health in Wellness; Lesson #2 Sound Healing and Vibrational Therapy; Lesson #3 Music and the Brain; Lesson #4 Music Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease; and Lesson #5 Music Therapy for End of Life Care. Within each lesson were about 5-10 chapters diving deeper into each topic. The whole course gave me mass amounts of information on how powerful music is, how it is used to alleviate pain and help heal patients. Music therapy is a health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals/groups. 

The first lesson started out defining music therapy and how music affects people. Music therapy is defined as a treatment for neurological conditions, brain injuries, strokes, Parkinson’s and Alzhemier’s diseases, mental illness, trauma, and hospice/rehabilitation patients. Music has been proven beneficial socially, cognitively, physically, emotionally, and developmentally. When used properly, music powerfully affects the mind, body, and spirit. 

Some benefits of music therapy are the following: reduces stress/anxiety, promotes wellness, improves communication, empowers expressing emotions positively, manages pain and discomfort, positive changes in mood and emotions, active participation, enhances awareness in self and environment,  enhances coping and relaxation skills, improves emotional intimacy, increases relaxation for an entire family, enhances memory, promotes rehabilitation movement, and increases meaningful times. All of these benefits are so powerful, and most of them I did not know could be produced by music therapy. 

The course provided information on a variety of ways in which music therapy is used. For example, music therapy is used in hospitals to alleviate pain in conjunction with medicine, elevate a patient’s mood and counteract depression, promote movement for physical rehabilitation, calm or sedate patients, induce sleep, counteract apprehension and fear, and help relieve symptoms of cancer treatments. 

Thinking about all the ways in which music can be used in the medical field is quite shocking and there is little widely known about these benefits. One reason this is huge to me is because this is a tool that offers a variety of ways to heal patients with no major side effects. This is a great yet silent leap in the medical field. The average patients in most hospitals do not think to ask for a music therapist to alleviate pain or their fears of surgery. Instead, they are pumped full of pain relief medicine that has negative side effects. One major lesson I am taking from this class is how powerful music is in the medical field and how I can implement it more, so that all know of the wonderful healing of music in the medical field.     

Until next time, thank you so much for reading!

Hi, readers!

We start the school year online this year. No one can imagine how stressful and crazy living in a pandemic is until you wake up one morning and you are living in one. Going back to school this fall has been a much easier transition than spring break was, thankfully. Looking at my Odyssey project, I was so very excited to get started and dive right back into my research. Like always, the jump back into work is a process and an even harder one when you are online. I am having a hard time finding contacts and I am trying different media outlets to connect with different people in the musical therapy field. I even got a Twitter account, thinking I may have better luck than just emailing. This whole process of creating contacts is by trial and error, learning new things as you go.

The most exciting thing I have been able to find is a UNM course titled Certificate in Music Therapy and Sound Healing. I almost burst out crying with joy because I am so very excited to take this class and learn all about my passion. Last year, I tried to find something like this course but either I had no luck or it didn’t exist at the time. I am so grateful I was able to find and register for this course. This is going to be such an amazing experience for learning and connecting with professionals in the musical therapy field. The course starts this week online. As I wait I am reading a book titled Integrative Health through Music Therapy by Suzanne B. Hanser, who is a professional music therapist. The book is life-changing in so many ways, and I am so thankful to have found it. I will go into more detail about the book once I have finished a response paper to part one.

Until next time, thank you so much for reading!