Music therapy majors use virtual learning to their advantage

Innovative technology like Telehealth helped music therapy majors gain the most out of their school year – even in a pandemic.

Shay Frank | Contributing Writer

In the midst of the pandemic, many of the University of Dayton’s students have had to adapt to online school and work. For many, this is no small task.

Music Therapy majors and roommates, Sydney Baytos and Samantha Engle, had to shift to both virtual learning and a virtual practicum. With technology like Telehealth and Chrome Music Lab, Baytos feels as though she was able to continue her work in a productive way.

“I think Telehealth is here to stay and I’m thankful to have supervision while discovering new ways to engage in music therapy online,” said Baytos. “I know I’ve been able to branch out and find tons of resources that I probably wouldn’t have if we were not practicing over Zoom.”

For these roommates, senior year brought much uncertainty as the two had to completely redesign their learning and working methods.

I use a lot more energy to plan and prepare things than normal, I have a hard time organizing things that are all on a screen, as they feel intangible, which may make them feel more out of reach and less under my control,” said Engle.

With help from professors and innovative technology, both Baytos and Engle were able to adapt and grow their skills. In addition to this new technology helping Music Therapy students work and learn during a pandemic, it has opened new doors for patients all over the world to get the help they need.

“Making therapy services more accessible also means potentially more affordable,” said Engle. “The focus was always ‘how can we help people?’ But the pandemic has certainly forced people to be creative about how, when, and where, which I think will ultimately benefit everyone coming out of the pandemic.”

Working with others is another important part of learning for music majors at UD. Through virtual collaboration, Baytos was able to continue writing and creating with fellow student Calvin Whitaker and spoke about the experience at Stander Symposium.

“Me and Calvin Whitaker are presenting the song we created over quarantine, as well as the process of the collaboration, specifically how it was different from a collaboration that had the ability to meet in person,” said Baytos.

By addressing the ups and downs of distanced music making, Baytos hopes she can show people that working together and growing through the pandemic is still possible.

While the pandemic is certainly not easy or ideal for anyone, both roommates found much to be thankful for and continue to grow from their experiences.

I feel that the pandemic has sort of forced me to prune parts of myself for continued growth, leaving things behind that weren’t serving me as much, and that I am much stronger because of it,” said Engle.

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