Enrolled at the mdw since: October 2019
Programme of study: Music Therapy
Favourite place at the mdw and why: Wherever there are copying machines, because I’m too lazy and stingy to buy myself a printer.

© Stephan Polzer

Favourite place in Vienna: Donautechno. I’d already spent a number of evenings there long before I actually wound up living in Vienna. Besides which: they have vegan hot dogs, and you can get free drinks if you get to know the barkeepers well.

What I wish I’d known back when I started studying here: That I’m allowed to approach people assertively and independently. And after all, the University is here to train us students—so it should also perceive our needs.

When I make music, I feel close to life.

A question or theme with which I’m preoccupied currently or generally is: How can most of Austria be more worried about the elimination of cash, which isn’t even being discussed, than about structural racism? I really wish people would start to actually think about things and reflect upon their fears—not just in view of the recent popular petitions on these topics, but also in terms of things like feminist issues or clear positions on science. My greatest success to date has been managing to find people along my path through life that I could no longer imagine being without. If it weren’t for the people around me, I’d find it enormously difficult to replenish my vital spirits.

© Stephan Polzer

What’s the significance of art’s effects on health in the work of a music therapist? In answering this, I’d first of all limit the concept of art—which is justifiably a broad one—to musical improvisation. Improvising together allows contact to be made on a deeper level, and it also lets you learn a lot about yourself. Another point that shouldn’t be ignored the joy that patients usually experience when doing so. So a central factor underlying the effects of music therapy is that it makes it easier for patients to find a way of dealing with what they’re suffering from.

To what extent is one’s own health a topic while studying, and what do you think students should be paying attention to? It’s a good thing that our programme requires us to do a lot of self-awareness work—which means that we have to experience both group and individual therapy ourselves. I’d advise students to pay attention to their gut feelings and to question some of the demands that they face in terms of delivering performance. And to also have the courage to change direction and allow themselves sufficient time for their training. Besides which, we should never forget that life also exists outside our university!

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