Therapist Spotlight: Erin Schmidt, MT-BC

Today's Therapist Spotlight features our piano improv extraordinaire, Erin Schmidt. Erin is approaching her two-year anniversary with Keys for Success. She works with individuals and groups in Cincinnati, Penntown, Batesville, and Aurora.

Where did you go to school?

I first got my Bachelor's Degree in music industry from State University of New York at Oneonta. I worked for a few years, then decided to go back and get my Master's Degree from Nazareth College in Rochester, NY.



Johnstown, NY a little city right at the edge of the Adirondack Mountains


Primary Instrument?

I've played piano since I was 4 years old, then started guitar during college. I remember my mother making me sit at the piano and practice, and at the time I cried and threw tantrums, but now I'm definitely glad she did!


Why did you go into Music Therapy?

I went into music therapy because I wanted to continue in a field where I could use my music skills, but knew I didn't want to be a traditional music teacher. My Bachelor's Degree was in music industry, but I wasn't feeling passionate about it. Then I learned about music therapy from a woman who had been contracted to work with a student at the school where I was working. I picked her brain, did some research on my own, and realized this was a job where I could combine my love of music with helping people.


Favorite music-related quote?

"When you're happy, you enjoy the music. But when you're sad, you understand the lyrics". --Frank Ocean


What is your favorite part of being a music therapist?

My favorite part of being a music therapist is the connection I get to make with people without having to use words; the music becomes the language with which we communicate to each other.


Advice for a high school student interested in this career?

My advice for anyone considering music therapy as a profession would be to do some soul searching and spend some time really thinking about how you want to contribute to society. Our jobs are tough, but totally fulfilling and worthwhile. Also, start learning how to play multiple instruments and learning how to transpose music into different keys at a moments notice!


Some Favorites!

Favorite movie- Probably my favorite movie is The Departed. I could watch it over and over again and not get tired of it. Chaplin is also a great movie.

Favorite song- I have several favorite songs. One of my favorite songs is "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen; the chord progression, the melody, and the lyrics all work so well together that it's the perfect song. I also love "The Wrestler" by Bruce Springsteen. It's not one of his well-known songs, and it was written for a movie, but the lyrics are amazing. Lastly, the song "Lily's Eyes" from the musical The Secret Garden gives me chills when the key change happens. It's an incredible song.

Favorite book- I don't think I have a favorite book, but I love anything by Jodi Picoult; she's actually written a book with a music therapist as the main character. I also really liked Gone Girl, The Lovely Bones, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Favorite accessory percussion instrument?

My favorite hand percussion instrument would either be the cabasa or the kokoriko. I'm partial to the triangle as well.