Unlocking Potential Through Music Education and Therapy

Sydney Pratt Start Date: Apr 30, 2017 - End Date: Aug 27, 2017
  • Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

My Travel Story

by: Sydney Pratt Start Date: Apr 30, 2017 - End Date: Aug 27, 2017
Personal Growth Over Comfort Zone

For the past few months, I have had a burning desire to apply the skills I have gained from college studies in music education so far. Additionally, I want to work toward fluency in Spanish. However, most importantly, I want to have a positive impact on people’s lives. I saw those goals being realized through Performing Arts Abroad’s Ecuador Music Internship with the organization SIMEUNE.

Based in Quito, Ecuador, SINAMUNE is an organization that provides music training and therapy for adults and youth with disabilities. One of my main internship responsibilities will be leading groups of adults and youth in their music classes. The students within these groups have varying ranges of abilities and needs. My other responsibilities will be contributing to the preparation and arrangement of student performances, providing private voice and piano lessons to students who want and/or need them, assisting SINAMUNE in providing music therapy to kids and adults with disabilities, and developing my Spanish skills through three hours of private-tutoring a week. I will be doing this for seven-weeks.

Within this internship, I see a phenomenal chance. A chance to gain some practice in teaching music, implementing music therapy, and using my other musical skills in the real world. Additionally, through the fellowship experience, I will have the opportunity to dive into Spanish through immersion. This immersion along with my private tutoring will allow my Spanish skills to develop well beyond the level I could achieve in the US. Through my internship with SINAMUNE, I also want to begin the practice of being able to work with and develop caring, loving, uplifting and nourishing relationships with pupils. As a future music teacher and therapist, the relationships I form with the people I’m working with are everything. This internship will allow me to start doing that early on in my career path. Finally, I’m hoping to make a difference in a part of the world I never could reach otherwise. Going to Chilhowie, Virginia for my church’s mission trip last summer was the first time I had traveled outside of my state alone. Although it was a fantastic experience, it only lasted for a week. Being in Virginia gave me a small taste for what I could accomplish beyond my hometown of Mount Vernon, Iowa. Going to Ecuador would allow me to go farther out of my comfort zone, and allow me to gain incredible personal growth.

During my internship with SINAMUNE, I will implement some important skills and characteristics of mine that SIMEUNE will benefit from. First and foremost, I will use my empathy, compassion, patience and experience with youth and adults with disabilities. I have gained this from helping my parents take care of my younger brother with autism, and from assisting the Arc of East Central Iowa provide recreational activities for kids and adults with disabilities for two years. These personal characteristics will be crucial in order for me to establish beneficial relationships with the people I will be working with. My strong work ethic will also be given to SINAMUNE. I have learned that I have to work hard in order to reach my full potential in skills and experiences. That’s something I have grown accustomed to. These skills will help provide youth and adults with disabilities in Ecuador with music training and/or music therapy, helping them grow in musicianship and in their love for music. Finally, I will contribute my ability to learn quickly. In order to be successful on the block plan, I have had to learn material and skills within a short period of time. That will allow me to learn a good chunk of Spanish within the time of the internship. My treatment of kids and adults with disabilities, strong work ethic, and ability to learn fast will help me leave a long-term, positive impact in Ecuador

While I will be able to contribute a lot to SINAMUNE, I will also make big strides towards my academic and professional goals. Primarily, it would give me an opportunity to apply my skills and knowledge in music within the real world.  Having real world work experience in music prior to student-teaching, will give me an edge when I become a teacher and music therapist. Second, developing my Spanish skills in Ecuador will empower me to make a difference in more people’s lives throughout my career. America needs more Spanish speakers than ever before with its ever increasing Latino population. Finally, the fellowship would make me stand out when I apply to graduate music therapy programs. I want to heal people through music along with teaching it. In order to do that, however, I will need a master’s degree. With that in mind, I want to make sure that I get into a great music therapy program. Gaining this internship experience will help me stand out as an applicant, because it will show music therapy graduate schools that I have had experience providing it in the real-world. Moreover, graduate schools will see that I went out of my comfort zone to help people in the world who truly need music therapy.  

I hope that you will consider enabling me to make a positive impact on the lives of people in Ecuador through financial support. Thank you for your time and consideration.
  • Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador