Meet the Clinician: AJ Gaudreau, MT-BC

Welcome back to Roman Music Therapy Services’ Meet the Team interviews! Through this series, we will be introducing you to each member of our team, from Music Therapist to Programmatic Specialist, from Administrative Team to our Faculty Supervisor. This is for you to get to know our team, inside and out! Next, we have AJ Gaudreau, MT-BC.

What is your role on the team and how long have you been with RMTS?

I’m a Staff Music Therapist and I’ve been in this position since September of 2021. I was also an intern with RMTS from January to August of 2020, and after internship, I joined the team as a Fee For Service Music Therapist for several months.

What university or college did you go to? What was your primary instrument?

I went to Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. I was involved with the Mid-Atlantic Students Organization during my college years. My performance area was classical voice!

How did your undergraduate experience help to shape you into the therapist you are today?

One of the biggest takeaways I got from my time at Elizabethtown was being an observer. Really focusing on how the music is influencing the client, whether it was emotionally, verbally, behaviorally, etc. It gave a lot of perspective on the different philosophies within music therapy – it helped me to find the perspectives I do identify with as a clinician.

What are your StrengthsFinder strengths and how do they play a part in the work you do?

My strengths are Developer, WOO (Winning Over Others), Empathy, Includer, and Communication. I definitely see Developer in my number one spot  – as therapists we are working on identifying our clients’ strengths and needs and utilize their strengths in a way that is going to address their needs through music. The Developer strength is one I really resonate with, especially when thinking about developing and addressing clients’ strengths. My other strengths really reflect the significance of my relationships with other people as well. I identify very strongly with having those emotional and relationship-building skills in order to promote the strong bonds with everyone I interact with.

What drew you to music therapy?

I had discovered music therapy my sophomore year of high school in a career exploration and it led me down a research rabbit hole. I remember thinking, Oh? This is a thing? I knew I always wanted to go into human service, I was also considering social work at one point, so learning that I could combine music and my love of service work, I was like, Sign me up!

What is the most rewarding part of the work?

I love that I can share my work with others. The very human experiences that I’m able to bear witness to through music is … I don’t like using the word “magical”, but it does feel magical!

What are your favorite song(s) to play in sessions?

Hound Dog, Rock Around the Clock, anything with a blues pattern! I love to vocal improv with my clients to Blues songs. I also love My Wild Irish Rose, Edelweiss, waltzy feel songs. And anything by The Beatles!

Do you have any professional development stories you’d like to share?

Taking more of a leadership role within the company’s program development. But also working in the educational settings has been a huge area of professional development – with programmatic classroom services, IEP work, conducting a SEMTAP (Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Process). Also for me, this is the first real job and so the fact that I’m here and doing this work is something I’m really proud of.

Any personal growth stories?

I’ve definitely grown in professional – and general self-acceptance. Knowing my limitations while also being able to channel them in a way that is productive and beneficial for myself. There’s been a lot of positive change because of this self-acceptance over the past year.

How have you surprised yourself since joining this team?

I think that I can always go bigger! (laughs) Every time I think, this is  a lot, I don’t think I can top thisI always do! I have much more capacity than I give myself credit for.

Favorite books, shows, movies, or podcasts?

I am obsessed with Lord of the Rings. Anything by Tolkien is an instant win for me. I love anything that’s fantasy related… Princess Bride is also a favorite. I also listen to a lot of podcasts about organization and world history.

What do you do outside of work?

I like to hike, play board games (Dungeons and Dragons), and I’m involved in community theatre. And I love to spend time with others!

Which Mr. Men/Little Miss character are you?

  Little Miss Sparkle!

What’s your coffee order?

An iced latte with hazelnut and mocha.

What would be the title of your memoir?

I’ll Figure It Out. (laughs) Because I can never commit to one thing, I’ll just figure it out eventually.

Three words to describe your job?

Collaborative. Forward. Compassionate.