Meet Your Music Therapist – Rebekah Stewart

How did you get involved in music therapy? I was in the process of applying for graduate programs in music education, when I ran across music therapy on a university website.  I had no idea what it was, but it sounded so interesting! I called the program director and after our conversation, I knew this was what I wanted to do! That summer, I moved across the country to go back to school; and four years later, it’s still the best decision I’ve ever made!Rebekah Stewart

Tell us about a favorite music therapy moment you have had: I was working with a young girl who was recovering from a severe traumatic brain injury at the children’s hospital where I was interning at the time.  She was struggling with many aspects of language recovery; including speaking in a monotone voice and lacking appropriate facial expressions.

One afternoon, her grandmother joined us for therapy and I decided  to have us sing one of my patient’s favorite country songs.  Her face  immediately brightened; she turned to her grandmother and sang the entire song right to her, with facial expressions, arm gestures, and more expression in her voice than I had heard in a long time.  More importantly, it was a really special moment between her and her grandmother.  We saw parts of this young girl’s personality that had been absent since the accident, and it was so encouraging and exciting!  These types of moments are what makes music therapy so special- we can be working on something like language recovery, and within that, facilitate an incredibly significant moment between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

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When I was a kid, I used to love: Putting on extravagant Barbie doll theater productions in my living room for my parents.

I feel relaxed when: I’m lying out by the pool in the sun with a good book and a diet coke.

You might not know that…I was born and raised on Maui, Hawaii- I lived there until I graduated high school and moved away for college.  But I never learned to surf!

My friends would say that my best qualities are: I’m passionate and driven and I take joy in the little things in life

One thing that shaped my personal philosophy is: I am lucky enough to have a job that combines what I am good at, what I love, and how I can use that to help other people.  That’s amazing! I know that not many people can say that, and every day I feel so blessed.  I think this has helped me to try to be very intentional about not taking anything or anyone in life for granted- every day and every person is a gift.