Music has always been a very important part of my life. As a child, I was mesmerized by Disney’s Fantasia 2000 and watched the Disney sing-a-longs over and over. I began playing piano at a young age, and in middle school added more instruments to my list, such as flute, saxophone, and ukulele. I have had many opportunities to perform both solos and ensemble performances, but none of them have impacted me as much as my interactions with an elderly man named Mr. Roland Goff, or as we called him in my church, Brother Goff. When I was in 5th grade, I played a piano song in church entitled A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.
A couple years later, Brother Goff’s wife passed away and my family started spending more time with him. He told me he remembered the song | played in 5th grade and how much he loved it. I had many other opportunities to play in church as well, and he remembered and enjoyed each of them. It was then that I started realizing that my music truly touched other people. Near the end of his life while he was in a nursing home, I would go and play my flute for him, as well as sing and play ukulele. I learned that music is very powerful and it brings much joy to many people.
Brother Goff passed away a few years ago, but I still think of him every time I perform. Because of my interaction with Brother Goff, I have always known that I need to keep sharing the joy of music with others. When I learned of music therapy, I knew that this was a way for me to do that. My nurturing nature loved the idea that I could heal others through something I absolutely am passionate about: music. Brother Goff taught me another lesson. My strong relationship with him helped me understand the importance of our relationships with others and how valuable they are in this life.
Some of the strongest relationships are often built within the walls of the home. Because of this, I want to be a stay at home mom, and I believe everything I do prior to this will prepare me for being a mother. Education has always been a must for me. As I’ve thought a lot about where to attend to college, I’ve kept an open mind about where to go. Through all of my considerations of different schools, one particular school has stayed in the front of my mind. Utah State University, located in Logan, seems to be a perfect fit for me.
It is only 4 hours away from home, and 1 hour away from most of my extended family. While I am blessed to see my extended family often, my family often misses things such as monthly family dinners, supporting my cousins in sports, and other smaller family get togethers. Attending Utah State will give me the opportunity to be more involved in those smaller but nonetheless special things. I also have an aunt and uncle that live in Logan, where I would always be welcome to go for a nice meal or small break from college.
I enjoy the outdoors and USU is surrounded by outdoor opportunities, including hiking, skiing, and Bear Lake. The school also has everything I am looking for in a university. They have an outstanding music program, a beautiful, friendly campus, a nice gym, and plenty of food options. One thing that I loved while I was getting a campus tour was that the business students open up little restaurants all over the campus to learn how to manage a business, so you always are near an option for food. The atmosphere while I was getting a tour felt safe and friendly, and it felt right being there.
All these reasons have made me choose Utah State University as an ideal place for me to pursue my education. After a semester of college, I am going to defer and serve an 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). In the LDS church, girls are not expected to serve a mission unless they want to. I am one of the girls who wants to. The gospel in the LDS church has brought me so much happiness! There are many things I would not have gotten through if it weren’t for the teachings of the church and my relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
I want to share this happiness and with everyone that I can. I want everyone to be able to feel what I feel. A mission is also a wonderful opportunity to strengthen my relationship with God and my testimony of him. Giving up 18 months of my life to serve the Lord will provide countless spiritual experiences and chances to learn more personally about God and myself. All of these are the reasons I want to serve an LDS mission. After returning home from my mission, I will return to USU to pursue music therapy.
My dad is a family doctor, so I’ve always been interested in going into the medical field. When I looked into it however, it ended up not being right for me. I still loved the idea of the medical field though-being able to help heal people. This is why I was very happy to learn about music therapy. It is a way for me to help people heal in a therapeutic way through music. For a long time it was unclear if music therapy actually scientifically helped the brain. Through study and research, it has been discovered that is very much not the case.
According to Dr. Michael Thaut and Dr. Gerald McIntosh, “Research has shown that neurologic music therapy can help patients who have difficulty with language, cognition, or motor control,” and they believe that music therapy should become part of rehabilitative care. “Specific brain networks underlie specific art forms... As we seek a task it’s underlying network becomes more efficient, and connections among brain areas that perform different aspects of the task become more tightly integrated. ” (Dr. Posner and Patoine).
Engaging in music uses multiple parts of the brain, including both the right and left hemisphere, and therefore helps heal and develop more parts at once. Music therapy has advantages over other therapies for motor function because the neurons in the brain have to focus on timing and rhythm. (Thaut and McIntosh). Avett Turner is a 4 year old boy who has a rare genetic disorder. Doctors are still trying to figure out what he has, but he has trouble with sensory processing. He is overly sensitive and has a very hard time focusing and moving from task to task, no matter what it is.
His mother, Ellie Turner, said, “Sometimes he has a hard time even transitioning from the car into the house. He will scream and throw a huge tantrum (getting out of the car) even if two minutes prior he was crying because he wanted to be home. ” While they have Avett in many other therapies as well, music therapy is his favorite and has helped in a way none of the other therapies can. Their music therapist, Miss Ashley, has a special song that helps him know a transition is coming up, and it helps Avett be able to transfer better. Avett loves music and can actually focus when he hears it.
Mrs. Turner has applied it to their everyday routine and Avett transitions easier now (Mrs. Turner). Music truly has an effect on the brain unlike anything else and helps the development of it. My ultimate goal in life is to be a wife and mother. My purpose in going to school for music therapy is because I want a good education, a job once my kids are grown up, and a job opportunity that could support my family if something happened to my husband and I needed to work. I want to be a mom because to me, nothing is more important than those we love. I absolutely love kids and have a strong desire to raise kids of my own.
I want to nurture and guide them the best I can, and the way that I personally can do that the most is by staying home with them to teach and support them. Based off studies, the conclusion is drawn that young children with working moms have an increase in behavioral problems (Dr. David Pelcovitz). The beginning stage of life is full of development that a mother plays a major role in. I want to raise my children to be the best people they can be, which for me means staying home with them. Each of the things leading up to me being a mother will help me become the best mother I can be for my children.
While on a mission, I must be with someone 24/7. Spending that much time with people will teach me how to have more patience. I will also have many different companions, which will teach me how to interact with many different types of personalities and backgrounds. It will also teach me to be selfless and focus on others, as my main purpose will be to spread the gospel to others and serve the Lord, leaving behind personal relationships and education for 18 months. Going to college will teach me to work hard and how to manage time. It will also teach me how to find a balance in my life.
An education will help me be able to teach my children and help them through their education. Even if I’m not working as a music therapist, I will always have music in my home. “A 2015 study from University of Queensland Australia suggests that the positive impact of engaging in informal music activities with your toddler is even greater than that of reading to him. The benefit to your child is specifically in the areas of acquiring positive social skills, attention regulation and to a lesser but still significant extent, numeracy.
When an adult, typically a parent, engages a child in playing with him with music, such as improvising a counting song or making new rhymes to a familiar song, the unique combination of face-toface interaction, creativity and sound results in learning that is reinforced by positive, empathic emotional relationship. ” (Raising Smart Kids). Music therapy will help me know how to apply music to the development and learning of my children. All these things will help me personally develop in a way that will help me someday be able to raise a family to the best of my ability.