On the Road Again: Tips and Tricks for Traveling Musicians Part 1

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A blog post in two parts; part one will focus on YOU.  Part 2 will focus on your CAR.

Part 1: Your Upkeep

It is important as a therapist to remember to take care of yourself.  Traveling from place to place can take its toll.  I was nervous about getting burnt out when I took my job, knowing I would be required to travel. I decided to look for ways to fight the burn out and develop my skills while on the road.  Now I sometimes look forward to my long drives!  Here are some of my tips:

Driving is mindless…literally.  The skill of driving is in your long-term memory; meaning you are not actively thinking/learning while using this part of your memory.  For example-do you ever drive somewhere and realize when you reach your destination you have no idea how you got there? That is because you already know how to drive and the only thing you need to actively know is your destination.  With that knowledge, I encourage everyone to exercise his or her mind during the daily commute.  I personally stock up on podcasts with topics ranging from music therapy to politics.  There are two great music therapy centric podcasts: Music Therapy Round Table and Music Therapy Research Blog.  You can subscribe to both FREE through i-tunes! There are many categories to peak your interest when it comes to podcasts; I guarantee you can find many that can help you become the best music therapist you can be! Books on tape are also inexpensive and easily accessible.   You will find that taking time to do work on yourself during your commute will benefit both you and your clients. 

If you have the technology you can also take notes on your sessions while driving.  You can use a voice recorder (with headphones for safety) or one of many available i-pod, i-phone or i-pad applications such as a Evernote. 

This may seem obvious, but listening to music is another way to develop your skills.  I find that while listening to music I often think about what types of goals I could work toward using that particular song.  I have had many session ideas develop from hearing a new song on the radio.

I challenge you to find meaning in the things you listen to this month!

Okay, not lets talk about your physical health.

When you are on the road during the day it can be difficult deciding where to eat and when to eat.  My philosophy is NEVER EAT FAST FOOD.

Pack snacks.  This is important because you aren’t walking around and you need another way to keep your metabolism running. You can fire up your metabolism by snacking frequently instead of eating one large meal. Energy filled snacks such as fruits, nuts and vegetables travel well, are easy to eat and tasty. Think energy food!  Avoid eating out on the road at all costs; it’s bad for your body and your wallet.  Most gas stations have fresh fruit options such as apples and bananas for only $.075.  If you absolutely need to stop somewhere for a fast meal I would suggest Starbucks.  They have many options for a healthy meal and it’s just as fast as McDonalds.  Also, when you buy from Starbucks you are supporting a sustainable economy since Starbucks is one of the largest buyers of fair trade coffee.  And there is some food for thought.

Just remember YOU are worth it!  Be safe out there.

Please comment and tell me what traveling tricks you have! 

Entering the Workforce: Things I never thought to think about

Top 3 things I didn’t learn from school that helped me land my first job.

Or at least I wasn’t aware I had I learned them.

When I was trying to narrow my list to 3 things I found helpful during my first job interview, I was reminded that I had, infact, practiced all 3 at a young age; as a high school teenager. To give a clearer picture, let’s walk through a typical Friday morning before high school.

1-    I have done my homework reading for the days classes and am quickly reviewing any important points I may need to quickly recall during class discussion.

2-    I am obsessing over what to wear-looking closely to make sure it is all appropriate for school and of course that it reflects my ultra cool personality.

3-    As I head out the door I negotiate with my mother about my curfew for the evening, seeing if I can get “just an extra hour” (because I know all my friends get that)

Those 3 points translate into my top 3 helpful hints:

1-    Research the company: know their philosophy, history and motto.  (this also comes in handy for #2 and #3)

2-    WHAT TO WEAR?

3-    Become an expert negotiator

Now these are simply tips, not guidelines.

1-    You obviously know about the position you are applying for and you chose to apply there for a reason.  In addition, You probably know at least a little bit about the company you are applying to. Some of the most important things I like to know going into an interview are:

  • Size of Company.
  • Origins ( if a small company; is it family owned, privately owned etc. etc.)
  • Philosophy/motto/goal.  And how you, in your role will support it
The more you know, the more comfortable and confident you will be during the interview process.  You will also have more direction and clarity in you responses.

2- So what to wear?  I recommend going with either a traditional or non traditional suit.

  Traditional suit: A 2 piece black, brown, gray or navy suit.  The ultimate business look.

  • The suit jacket is paired with either pants or a skirt.  For under the suit jacket I suggest a shirt with personality i.e. ruffles, color or print.
  • When it comes to shoes I will often marry comfort with style.  Don’t wear your Saturday night shoes to your interview and please keep the house shoes indoors.  Keep the length of the pant in mind when choosing your shoes.
  • GUYS: Choose a sleek dress shoe, or a trendy dress shoe with laces. Also, please invest in some dress socks, absolutely no white socks in dark shoes.
  • GUYS: Find a tie that reflects your personality, the tie is your statement piece.

  Non traditional suit: To show a bit more personality you can pair a nice black slack with a colorful suit coat. Perhaps a bright blue suit jacket with black pants, or simple suit jacket with a patterned skirt.  If your personal style is more outgoing a splash of color is great, If you embrace a boho style try pairing a suit jacket with a flowing skirt or a flowing top with suit pants.  A basic rule is to pair one item of your personal style with the suit separate.  Get it? Good!  Now please don’t spend too much money when it comes to your first job.  You will be surprised what you can find at goodwill.

3-Become an expert negotiator.  This can be tough, I know it was hard for me but worth it in the long run.

  • Do your homework before going in, know what you need to make in terms of salary.  I personally don’t think you should ask for much more than what you require to live comfortably….but that is just me.
  • Approach the negotiations with a calm mindset-don’t be overly confident but be firm.  Remember HR always bids low so in most cases there is room to negotiate and it is your job to figure out just how much room.
  • Don’t go straight in for the offer, make conversation and ease into the negotiations.
  •  Know what your “ace” is.  What do you have that can get you the better deal? Don’t show all your cards at once
  • So what should you ask for? It does not always have to be a pay increase.  After the intial offer, you will want to know when you are available for review and raise.  Then when you ask for increase in salary, start high.  Ask for 20% increase at the start. You could very well get exactly what you ask for or end up with a happy medium.

I hope these tips are helpful, good luck to you as you begin your career! 

What did you think? Please comment:

Let me know if you found this post helpful!

Share what tips you (the reader) found helpful during your own job finding process!

If you (the reader) used any of the tips-did you find them helpful?

The Opening Act

Introduction to Music Therapy Out Loud

  • About Me, Why I Blog and What I Blog About.

I am a board certified music therapist-I have been certified for a whopping 1 month and 1 day.  Being a new professional I found myself having lots and lots of questions.  I thought what better way to answer my own questions and maybe help others at the same time-I’ll start a blog. (feed two birds with one seed)

Every therapist is unique and therefore I think we have so much we can offer one another-that is what this is all about, sharing experiences, learning together and using our voices.  I want to combine all my loves into this blog: music therapy, eco-conscious living, learning…oh and world peace.  I will tackle everyday issues from how to be an eco-friendly music therapist and keeping organized… to bigger issues like legislature, politics and music therapy trends.

I am inspired by and so happy to be a part of the hundreds( maybe thousands?) of other music therapists in social media today. 6 years ago when I googled music therapy hardly anything came up and now there is an abundance to choose from.

Maybe some day… a young high school music therapist to be will happen upon my blog and say……..”Like OMG! This is totally sick, I totally want to make this my like forever work situation.”