Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The End of the Back Story

 Self portrait done entirely from musical notation!

Now, let me see where was I?

I finished my Music Therapy degree and began work as a music therapist. Over the next 10 years, I worked with at risk adolescents, people who had experienced brain injury, children and adults living with disabilities and in aged care. I certainly did a lot of different things because I was self employed for a while and took on whatever came along.

There were 2 jobs that were significant in shaping where I was heading. The first of these was my work at a special school with children who had severe and multiple disabilities. This was the job where I really came into my own as a music therapist. I began to believe in myself and I did some great work. It was a great job for me, that I remember fondly, and some of my closest friends now, I met in the course of this time in my life.

I left this job to take up a full time management position - a rarity in the music therapy field! It was a music therapy program designed to address issues of attachment and bonding for vulnerable families. This program provided support groups for families as well as giving them an opportunity to have a positive experience through music. I implemented this program in 3 states, and did heaps of travel in the three years I was there. (It was also a job in which I made some fabulous friends that I number among my close friends now) It was again a massive learning curve in terms of managing staff - of which I had 20 across the 3 states - as well as budget management, staff training, etc etc, and evaluation.

Yes evaluation, this is the job where I decided that I would like to do some more study. (Here comes that 3rd degree!) I thought I needed to broaden my experience, and looked for a long time before I found the Masters in Community Cultural Development at the faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (now VCAM - faculty of the Victorian college of the arts and music).

I loved the study and I was exposed to all sorts of amazingly talented people in many media including puppetry, visual arts, music and dance. I had the experience of some of the things i was exposed to through my study were not gelling well with what was happening in the program I was managing, in relation to evaluation. It was an uncomfortable place to be when I realised that I was not being true to my own values in delivering some aspects of the program. As a result, I decided my masters' study would concentrate on evaluation of vulnerable populations. This is what I did, and I successfully completed this, my third degree.

SO, the rest of the long story short, I decided at the beginning of this year to finally enrol in my PhD.
I have become really interested in the process of how things happen, particularly in my work, and I would like to design tools to measure this process. At least that's what I am thinking about this early in my study. Come along for the journey, I think it could get interesting.


  1. Hi Louise, just thought I'd pop by and welcome you to blogland. I was with Cathy at the retreat in California and loved every minute of it. Enjoy this journey!

  2. hello Louise!
    i've sent along birthday wishes on Cathy's blog last year and i'd like to wish you well as you embark on your new blogging career and let us take a peek into your world as a Music Therapist =-)

    i'm fascinated by your work with at-risk youth since i work for an after-school program with low-income/at-risk children & teens and i know how powerful the arts can be in healing =-) keep up the music making & healing!

    BTW: love your self portrait!!

  3. I think it's going to be a fascinating journey, but I wonder who's going to make sure the washing gets cooked and the dinner gets done, if we've both got our heads firmly planted in our creative pursuits! Who cares hey?