Meet the Clinician: Sean FitzGerald, 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 Sean FitzGerald, 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 last July.

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

I went to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I was a jazz voice primary.

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

So I had an awkward college journey (laughs). I started as a microbiology major then switched to music therapy and transferred schools. That was a tough transition because it felt like I was leaving family behind. So learning how to be resilient and adapt to my new school, new city, and everything that comes with moving really came into play once I got to Temple. My time there was spent really learning how to adapt and mold myself to different situations and make my environment work for me. That resiliency definitely finds itself coming into my clinical work. 

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

My strengths are Developer, Empathy, Restorative, Positivity, Individualistic, and Includer. And they all obviously play into my work – I’m a huge empath. I always just want to make everybody feel good, make sure everybody’s chilling. And doing that in the context of a session is so impactful, it sets the tone for everyone to be their best selves! Then incorporating that element of Inclusion seals the deal. The Developer strength fits me super well because I have a very analytical mind – I like to break things down and I’ve learned that I can think really quickly because of this strength.  Then in sessions, I’m able to implement that ability to process events quickly by constantly revising what I’m presenting.

What drew you to music therapy?

I was talking with a friend from home who was going to the University of Miami for music therapy and I didn’t know what music therapy was at that point. She explained how it was like an intersection between music and psychology and I remember thinking, “That’s amazing”. It also came at a great time because I was at a crossroad with microbiology, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I did some more research on music therapy and decided to transfer the next semester.

What is the most rewarding part of the work?

Being able to be a consistent person is people’s lives is the most rewarding part for me. There are a lot of people that are burned out in the various systems they’re in, so being able to come in and provide some positivity, even if it’s bi-weekly or monthly, is really nice. 

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

I play a lot of “Blue Suede Shoes” because I’ve turned it into a shaker song (laughs). That one is a lot of fun. I also love playing “You Are My Sunshine” especially in sessions with older adults, because that’s a song everyone knows, no matter what. Everybody sings it and it’s just so lovely to see everyone light up because they’re like, “I know this song!”

Do you have a proud moment within your music therapy journey so far?

I was working with a client who engaged in self-injurious behaviors and their goal was to decrease this behavior for a certain amount of sessions in a row – and we got through four or five sessions in a row without the behavior! 

Favorite books, shows, movies, or podcasts?

I listen to a lot of NBA podcasts and I’m currently reading Game of Thrones (inspired by Billie!) I was binge-watching Jeopardy at once point – it’s really fun to watch trivia shows and see which ones you can get right! I also play a lot of video games – I’m currently playing Apex Legends, which is always a good time.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

“Difficult is not impossible.” It’s from a Relient K song, if you know who they are!

What do you do outside of work?

I go out to trivia with my cousins pretty often! Other than that, I go on hikes, play Ultimate Frisbee, and hang out with my cat, Simon.

Which Mr. Men/Little Miss character are you?

Mr. Happy! 

What’s your coffee order?

Just a regular coffee with cream and sugar. 

What would be the title of your memoir?

oof. (laughs)

Three words to describe your job?

Fun, Challenging, Engaging.