What is Musical?

Several years back I received a publication from the American Music Therapy Association that included the following poem written by an SMU student.  This was written after she was informed that the SMU Dean of the Arts decided to cancel the MT program.  I don’t know what the ending fate was, but this poem has always been an excellent expression of what I do as a music therapist and the struggles I have faced throughout college and my 8 year long career.  This is a great insight into who we are a music therapists and as talented musicians.

I am a musician, but I don’t often perform.
What I do is heal with guitar strings that are worn.

It’s been quite a while since an aria escaped from my lips,
But yesterday, Mr. Johnson smiled as we sang about his bad hip.

My major instrument?  Oh, I have many. . . .
I specialize in my patients whose needs are plenty.

I know theory and history. . . .too many instruments to name;
Taken anatomy and physiology; read books about the brain.

Music is my medium, yet healing is my art.
I’m trained to help others. . . .yearning to do my part.

Yet still I am criticized; my ego torn apart.
Some consider me unmusical; others think I’m not smart.

You say I’m throwing my life away; a waste of a degree.
I say my life has just begun; my spirit has been set free.

I see miracles every day.  I know I have been blessed.
I still use my art and talents in pursuit of happiness.

Yet, it’s the happiness of others I crave.  I long to serve those in need.
Using melody to form connections, in the rhythm, I am freed.

You may say I’m not musical, but I know you are wrong.
I am a music therapist, healing the world with song.

By Suzie Jandt


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