Academics, Campus wide, College of Humanities & Social Sciences, Music

Gorsky practices music therapy abroad

By Jan Joslin | September 12, 2019
Melinda Gorsky works with a client in Jamaica.
Melinda Gorsky works with a client in Jamaica.

Melinda Gorsky’s study abroad trip to Jamaica this summer included working in Jamaican schools, care centers, orphanages and hospitals and living and studying in rural Jamaica.

Gorsky, a music therapy major, learned of the program through CSU’s director of music therapy, Dr. Jennifer Whipple. She applied and was accepted to the Jamaica Field Service Project, a State University of New York accredited service learning program.

The field of music therapy combines Gorsky’s love of music and her passion for psychology. “Music has always been a vital part of my life and being able to help others through music means everything to me.” The Jamaican trip served as not only a chance to learn more about music therapy but also instilled a deeper passion for the field in Gorsky.

“My time in Jamaica really opened up my eyes about my future as a music therapy major and a future board-certified music therapist,” said Gorsky. “Going into music therapy, I wanted to focus primarily on working in a psychiatric setting, and after getting to work with that population in Jamaica it confirmed that. I also learned to not hide behind my guitar and try something even though it might not work since everything is a learning opportunity and you may only have one shot to work with clients, especially when you are only seeing them one time.”

The Jamaica Field Service Project team gathered from across the U.S. and Canada to fly to Jamaica.
The Jamaica Field Service Project team gathered from across the U.S. and Canada to fly to Jamaica.

Gorsky hopes to return to Jamaica someday and is grateful for the lessons she learned on the trip. “I learned to be more confident and that no matter how scary something may seem, do it anyway,” she said.

Students from the U.S. and Canada made up the Jamaica Field Service Project team of mostly music therapy students and some other majors as well. Gorsky is a junior from Brookeville, Maryland, and her major in music therapy includes an instrumental emphasis.

Photos provided by Eric Wills, director of the Jamaica Field Service Project, of the State University of New York at Potsdam.



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