Making an Impact on Your Internship Applications
by Annie Roberson, MT-BC and Madison Michel, MT-BC
It’s that time of year, folks – music therapy internship applications will be due very soon! Once you’ve narrowed down your top choices, it’s time to put your best foot forward and make a positive first impression with your internship applications and interviews. Annie and Madison have put together some helpful tips to help you prepare for this next step of your music therapy journey. Let’s get started!
Before You Apply
Any contact you make with internship sites before you officially submit your application is the first impression. To make sure you’re giving the best first impression possible, Internship Director Madison Michel, MT-BC, has put together her pre-application do’s and don’ts for contacting internship sites.
DO introduce yourself: As an internship director, something that makes a candidate stand out to me before even reading your application is a brief introduction. For example, a few weeks out from the application deadline, send an email introducing yourself, specify what university you’re from, that your application will be in soon, and that you look forward to hearing from the director.
Ask any additional questions you may have after thoroughly reviewing the application. It’s as simple as that, and that little introduction makes your name pop out when internship directors are looking through a stack of applicants to decide who to interview. If you happen to see potential internship directors around at conferences, introduce yourself there as well — I promise we don’t bite!
Interested in Heart and Harmony’s internship? You can contact me through the internship page on our website or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t ask for information posted clearly on an internship site’s website. Many internship sites have applications with specific information on due dates readily available on their webpage. If you have specific questions about the application process after thoroughly reading, feel free to contact the internship director!
Tip: Be mindful to make sure you’re reaching out to the correct person about the internship application process. Many internship sites, including Heart and Harmony, have different music therapists in roles of Internship Director versus Clinical Director.
Completing Your Applications
Our best advice for this stage of the application process is to organize, organize, organize! Make sure you have all deadlines written out on your calendar or planner. It can also be helpful to set soft deadlines for yourself – for example, you might decide to finish your essays for each application two weeks before the official due date so you have time to revise them.
When asking professors and supervisors to write you a letter of recommendation, be sure to ask them kindly and give at least a month’s notice of the due date, though more time is always preferred! Promptly provide all of the necessary background information, contact details, and personal information needed to write a stellar recommendation.
Once those applications are submitted, it’s time to prepare for your interviews! Each site has different interview requirements, so it’s helpful to write down exactly what is expected of you for each interview. You might be asked to prepare several interventions for various populations, demonstrate your skills on piano, guitar, and voice, or show how you would track data for a certain objective, just to name a few. Practice each song and intervention ahead of time, and schedule a mock interview with your professors, graduate assistants, or university career center to prepare if possible.
Take a look at the interview requirements and ask yourself what you could do to really go the extra mile and make yourself stand out. What are your strengths as a therapist and as a musician? Can you transpose fluidly through various keys on guitar? Do you have a variety of piano accompaniment styles under your belt? Are you particularly proud of your goal writing and measurements? Find a way to highlight your unique strengths and be honest about your weaknesses both with yourself and with your interviewer if asked. If you’ve always wanted to learn some rocking barre chord riffs but don’t quite have a handle on it, your internship interview is not the time to test it out.
As you interview, remember that the clinical training directors aren’t just sizing you up – you’re also trying to decide where you should spend the next 1200 clinical hours-worth of of your life! Asking questions not only shows the internship director that you’re a serious candidate, but also gives you insight into what your life would look like as an intern as that site.
Some questions you might ask:
- What does a typical day look like for your interns?
- How would you describe your supervision style with your interns?
- What kind of personal relationships do you have with your interns?
- What projects are required in this internship?
- Where are your former interns working now?
- What is one skill you expect your interns to come into the program with a solid foundation in?
- What is one skill you expect your interns to leave the program with a solid foundation in?
After you’ve left each interview, jot down some quick notes with your first impressions and things you’ve learned. You’ll be thankful you have something concrete to look over once the adrenaline fades!
We hope this post has been a helpful resource for music therapy students applying for internships! If you have questions, comments, or advice you would give, we would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
More information about Heart and Harmony’s internship program can be found here.