This week has been relatively calm as I finish up my summer of sampling everything Harmony Garden has to offer. Jaime and Bekah agreed to give my internship a “slow start”. That means I’ve been in the office just a couple days a week to see how things are done here and get to know the amazing humans that make up the Harmony Garden Family.

My summer introduction to Jackson would not have been complete without trying a coney dog for the first time. So much anticipation and planning went into the decision. Which restaurant would I try first? Was it authentic? What did the reviews say? I finally made a decision and bought one here at summer’s end. For better or worse, this experience will color my view of every other coney dog because it is my first. Similarly, when comparing internship sites, I did a lot of research and emailing and asking the right questions to find a site that could feel like home for a few months of learning. I wanted to find a safe and accepting environment with a variety of Music Therapy experiences to give me a well-rounded education. Oh, and it had to be close enough to commute from Kalamazoo. For me, I knew Harmony Garden was going to be a great fit before I even officially interviewed, and every time I’ve come this summer, I am more sure that this is where I’m supposed to be. Wherever I go after my internship, I will always compare it to Harmony Garden. For better or worse, this place will forever be my benchmark of excellence – and what a high bar!

When my coney dog came to my table I immediately took a bite, and then a quick picture to capture the moment before it was all gone. Right there in front of me was a beautiful specimen of the perfect summer food, topped with all the onions and mustard I could want, and that bite was everything I had hoped for in my Jackson first. I closed my eyes and sighed in happiness. This summer has been my first taste of Music Therapy as it is done here at Harmony Garden, and I want to take a minute to pause and savor the new flavors before my slow start takes a quick “accelerando” into the Fall.

By observing camps and sessions, I’ve seen music-making through so many different lenses. I’ve seen how different individuals approach music in their own unique ways. It has challenged my preconceived ideas of what music is and helped me to see extra layers of beauty in humanity. I’ve watched different therapists make careful choices and authentically pour themselves into each session to create the magic that is Music Therapy. By attending a concert in the park I’ve seen in part how this organization touches the community and brings them together. And what a splendid and supportive community you have built here! By getting involved in little ways, I have felt the magic of new friendships and the joy of connecting through music. Each day has been filled with opportunities to meet wonderful people and see Music Therapy in action, beyond what the college classroom could offer.

Before too long, this delicious first taste of life here at Harmony Garden will be a memory, just like my first coney. But for right now, the taste brings satisfaction and excitement for things to come. I am so happy to be here, y’all! I look forward to getting to know you all better. Thank you for welcoming me to Jackson!