Iowa School of Music 2021-22 Magazine

School of Music 2021-2022 Magazine

Kirsten Nelson

Lecturer, Music Therapy

Q: What did you enjoy most about teaching over the past year? A: I’ve enjoyed building relationships with faculty and students, trying different teaching techniques, and, most importantly, seeing growth in students’ understanding and skills. Q: What’s a favorite memory of your time at the School of Music so far? A: The Gold Folder Day celebration where students are awarded their gold folders after completing clinical practicum placements. The senior cohort prepares and performs a musical arrangement to perform at the event. It’s truly a celebration of everything that makes music therapy unique: the music, the people, and the relationships. Q: What has surprised you most about your time at Iowa so far? A: The amount of email I get!

our profession. The opportunity to work in this beautiful new building with incredible faculty was certainly a draw! Q: What types of courses did you teach this past year? A: I’m the coordinator of clinical activities for music therapy students, so I served as a clinical supervisor to students in community practicum placements. I taught graduate practicum and will take over teaching the full practicum course sequence next year. I coordinated internship placements for our students. Once they complete their coursework, they work for six months in an approved clinical site to learn the day-to-day duties of a music therapist. This year, I also taught Music Foundations in Therapy, which focuses on necessary clinical music skills like playing guitar and ukulele, song leading, adaptive instrument arranging, and songwriting. Finally, in the fall, I taught Music Therapy with Children, a core course focused on theory and techniques of working with children in music therapy.

Q: What and where did you study before coming to the University of Iowa? A: I began college in a pre-med program at Northwestern University, but I transferred to Iowa my junior year to pursue a career in music therapy. I missed my music too much to leave it behind. I also believed that, like medicine, music would be an important way to help people. I got my Bachelor of Music from Iowa in Spring 1988! I completed my Master of Arts in Music Therapy from Iowa almost 30 years later in 2016. For the last 19 years, I worked as a music therapist at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, so I’ve technically been at Iowa for the last 20 years. Prior to that, I worked as the director of music therapy services at West Music Company in Coralville. Q: What brought you to the School of Music? A: I’m passionate about the field of music therapy and wanted to have the opportunity to share my experience with the students who are the future of


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