Music Therapy


I feel tremendously fortunate to be studying Music Therapy at CMU. Throughout my first semester, I kept having these “pinch-me” moments where I couldn’t believe I was studying what I love and working toward my goal of becoming an accredited music therapist.

Amidst lyric rewrites, unconditional positive regard, and a whole lot of goal writing, I can happily report that I have found my place in the Program. It leads to a Bachelor of Music Therapy, followed by an internship and exam for accreditation. Music therapy, done by accredited music therapists, uses music as a tool to promote client healing and wellbeing.

The Music Therapy Program at CMU draws on a wealth of knowledge from both textbooks and the profession itself. We complete practicum placements where we are supervised by a music therapist. Day-to-day we learn from our professors, who are practicing music therapists. I find their insights and experiences to be helpful and eye-opening.

Our cohort is a small, tight-knit group and we are provided opportunities to share our experiences from practicum with each other. In our Improvisation and Skills class, we have the chance to learn about and try out different music therapy interventions, which we can then adapt to use with our clients. We do spend a lot of time in practice rooms, but I value the time we spend together learning and practicing. Having professionals as well as peers share their music therapy experiences contributes to a well-rounded education. 

As music therapists-to-be, we take courses in music, psychology, and anatomy to prepare for the diverse environments where we are likely to be employed: schools, hospitals, private practice, personal care homes, or mental health facilities. One of the best parts about the Music Therapy Program is the opportunity to put learning into action. We have four semesters of practicum experience, each with a different client demographic.

Music therapy is beneficial for people at any stage of life and all ranges of ability. This semester, I’m looking forward to my practicum in the school system. Studying music therapy gives me the opportunity to merge my love of music with my desire to help others. In the future, I hope to use therapy services in a summer camp setting.

Guest blogger Johanna Kroetsch is a first year student in the two-year Music Therapy after degree program.

To post or not to post?


As I go through my Facebook or Instagram feeds, I often come across posts which show that my contact had an amazing night or is having the worst day of their life. But whether it’s a picture at a party or a comment about home life, remember that whatever you put out there is there forever.

Listen, I get it; you’re having a bad day, your boyfriend just broke up with you, and you want others to empathize with your challenges. But as the great Andy Mineo says, “Face your problems, don’t Facebook it!”

Sometimes it feels easier to rant about something, knowing that your friends will agree and make you feel better (I do this all the time!) However, in the end, you’ll still have to face that person or deal with that situation.

When I go for a job interview, I’m often asked about my social media accounts. I thank my parents for making me think twice about the photos or comments I was posting. I may not have believed them at the time, but I know of countless people who lost an opportunity because of posts that made them look irresponsible.

Some poorly-discerned comments can even become evidence in a criminal case. I once saw this post: “Last night I drove home drunk like a dumbass and ran over a rabbit.” WHAT?!

One of my contacts regularly posted what time and where she would be going for runs. This can also be dangerous, making the user an easy target for s break-in or attack.

If we think twice about what we post, it becomes common sense to not post party pics, nudes, rants, private information, or relationship issues. No good can come out of it – and it’s probably out there forever.

I’ve recently been challenged by 1 Corinthians 10:23-33: “Do all to the glory of God.” What does it look like for my social media to be a reflection of my dedication to God? It doesn’t mean to only post bible verses or shove Christianity down people’s throats. I believe it goes hand-in-hand with the fruit of the Spirit, making your posts a reflection of “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This conviction helps me think twice about what I’m posting. If it’s going to be there forever, I want it to inspire and be a reflection of my values. I try to ask myself, Is this something I would be ok with everybody seeing? Is it an accurate representation of who I am and want to be?


7 tips for wading through the slog of exams


I hate exams. They are stressful, exhausting, challenging, and tedious (and I could add many words to this list). But even though there are many other things I would rather be doing, they are a part of the life of a student. Here are a few things that make my studying less stressful and more productive.

1. Make a schedule: There’s always a lot of content to sift through, so making a schedule for the day is helpful to decide when I am studying for which subject and how much I want to do at once. Breaking things up into smaller sections makes them feel more manageable.

2. Eat healthy snacks: It’s important to make sure that you are eating well so that you have enough energy to focus. Even though it’s tempting to drink a lot of coffee, if you drink too much you’ll be jittery. And remember to drink water!

3. Sleep: I am one of the biggest culprits of this, but staying up late to study for a few more hours will often hurt you more than it will help. When I get a good night’s sleep the night before an exam (at least 8 hours), I can remember the stuff I studied better than if I tried to cram in a few more chapters late at night.

4. Get Exercise: Stand up and move! Go for a walk, do yoga or jumping jacks. It helps you stay healthy – mentally and emotionally as well as physically – so that you’ll be able to focus more when you study.

5. Reward Yourself: Set goals, and when you meet them, give yourself a treat. Whether it’s watching an episode of your favourite TV show, buying a fancy latte, or visiting with friends, these breaks will help you stay positive and focused when it’s time to hit the books.

6. Teach Someone: When you talk through a concept to explain it to someone else, it helps you gain a better understanding of the ideas yourself. When I explain questions to friends, it helps me remember and answer them more concisely on exams.

7. Find a Comfortable Study Space: It’s important to find a place where you are comfortable. I like to study in places that have lots of light, where there are people around me and I can spread out my books. This will be different for everyone, so find what works for you.

Over time, you will learn what works best for you, how to study, and how to stay calm. And in the end, whether you’ve received the best grade you can imagine or the worst, remember that the mark does not define who you are.


God’s salvation at Portage and Main

I’m uncomfortable with salvation. Not because it’s a bad concept. I’m uncomfortable because it’s at the root of Christian faith, but I don’t know how to talk about it. Salvation feels abstract and distant a lot of the time. I can say that it has something to do with sin, and something to do with Jesus, but then I get stuck. 

Photo: The presentation of Jesus in the Temple, by Lawrence OP

Photo: The presentation of Jesus in the Temple, by Lawrence OP

I learned early during my time at CMU that you need to define your terms before having a conversation. This is why I have such a hard time talking about salvation: I don’t know how to define or explain it.

Is God’s salvation in the birth of Christ?

In Jesus’ death?

Is it in the continual saving works of God?

As I muse over these questions, I’ve settled into the idea that salvation is acknowledging the presence and work of God in the world. A lot of my discomfort with salvation is when it’s simply equated with accepting Jesus into your heart and going to heaven when you die. There is more going on than that. When Simeon sees salvation in the temple (Luke 2), there is something tangible and active. 

Seeing salvation acknowledges the presence of God in the world and trusts that God’s work of redemption is in progress. Simeon’s song looks at God’s mission of salvation for the whole world. Through healing of body, soul, and relationship, God invites us to see salvation in the midst of the broken world.

A few weeks ago, I was at the protest in support of Standing Rock in downtown Winnipeg. A group of students biked there together, meeting professors and others there. We began by standing alongside the road, calling, “Water is life!” Eventually the intersection was closed off, and we walked into the middle of the road at rush hour. The intersection was dark, the sounds of the street were distant, and there was a sense of communal adrenaline. It was here that I prayed for God’s salvation.

CMU students at Portage and Main

CMU students at Portage and Main

Although this was a hopeful event, I was struck by the brokenness of the world. Despite the energy and passion, when I was standing in the dead intersection, it felt hopeless. Any effort that we tried would be shut down, and the powers of the world were winning.

Here I prayed that Jesus would come and set things right, mending the effects of sin on our tired bodies and aching souls. I prayed for light and peace and hope. Wondering what would happen next, I realized that I was standing at the corner because I have seen God’s salvation.

I believe that God has, and continues to, redeem and heal the world. If we believe that, we must join in with God and show that we have seen God’s salvation in Christ. As the people of God, we are to join in God’s mission of redeeming the world, whether that’s in the middle of an intersection, at the lunch table, or in the classroom.

Photo: Bjorklund Jakob

Photo: Bjorklund Jakob

This moment, standing in the middle of Portage and Main, has become my image for Advent this year.

Waiting expectantly for something to change.

Waiting for the birth of the one who is light.

Waiting for the end of suffering and injustice.

Waiting for the in-breaking of love.

But while I wait, I remember that Christ is alive,

Our salvation is here,

The light has come.

We wait expectantly for Jesus, who invites us to see the world in a new way. At the same time, we remember God’s faithfulness and proclaim God’s mercy, for we have seen the salvation of God!


7 reasons students love CMU

Here’s what CMU students are saying about their school.

Reason #1: the community

“I love how CMU attracts all kinds of people, even if they aren’t students here. Marpeck Commons has been a great place for students from other universities to study, for CMU alumni to catch up, and for donors to enjoy treats from folio café. It’s cool seeing people hang out at our school with other CMU students even if they don’t personally study here.”– Alyssa Lord


Reason #2: the professors

“I love that throughout your CMU degree you are able to take classes with many of the same profs you learned from in your first year. Because of this continuation, I truly feel that my professors are invested in my education and in my personal learning as I grow as an individual. Their open door policies and help with research papers and test prep has been invaluable to my success as a student.” – Rachel Robertson


Reason #3: the support

“I like the community feeling inside CMU. You feel part of a group even if you don’t want to! There are always people willing to talk to you and support you. When you come to CMU, everyone is your brother or sister.”– Klejdia Hila


Reason #4: the library

“When the library is quiet in the mornings, and the sun is coming through the large windows, you feel like you can conquer any and every assignment.” – Joya Reynar


Reason #5: the classes

“The best thing about CMU is the atmosphere and people. You can talk to anyone and have a good conversation with them. It’s a place that is easy to make friends. Another thing that is great is the class sizes; they are small enough that you can have class conversation. That is great because you get to learn with your peers and not just listen to a prof lecture for the whole class.” – Mackenzie Hildebrand


Reason #6: the food

“I love how snack brings everyone together. Students that live in residence, commuters, old and new friends. Food is always a great way for people to get to know one another.” – Janelle Wride


Reason #7: the spiritual life

“At CMU you don’t make friends; you make a family. You feel like home when you are here, as people care about you. You experience God every day in some way. There is a positive atmosphere here. I always feel welcomed and my energy stays positive all the time. I haven’t experienced education like this anywhere before. If you want to have a second family, then join CMU.” – Kunal Aggarwal




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