Therapy comes in all different forms. Music therapy is a creative way to help people of all ages express their feelings.
Emily Kohlenstein, 23, is a board-certified music therapist from Sparks.
After graduating from Hereford High School, Kohlenstein continued her education at Montclair State University and received a degree in music therapy.
When she was nearing the end of her time in university, Kohlenstein had to choose an internship. Luckily, she was able to come back to Baltimore. Toward the end of her studies, she interned with Levine Music. After she finished, Levine Music offered her a full-time position.
Kohlenstein lives in Sparks and belongs to Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation.
How did you hear about music therapy originally?
I knew someone who was an art therapist. I remember talking about that with my mom, and we thought that sounded very interesting. Music has been such a big part of my life. Music therapy is basically using music in lots of different ways to help other people, so when I found out that I could combine my love of music with helping other people, I knew that music therapy would be the perfect career choice for me.
Music therapy is for people [of all ages]. You could see music therapy in a hospital for newborn infants in a NICU all the way to end of life care in a hospice setting. I work primarily with children and young adults with developmental disabilities. One of the main diagnoses of people I work with is autism spectrum disorder.
Do you have any sweet moments from work?
This happened last week. It just made me feel good. I asked one of the people I work with who their favorite singer is. I was expecting them to say someone they might listen to on Spotify, but their answer was me. That was so sweet of them to say. I wasn’t expecting them to say that at all, but it just made me feel good that I made that much of a difference in their life just from working with them since September.
What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
I feel like something surprising about me is that I really like football and know a lot about it. I don’t really like watching any other sports. I just get super into football. I love the Ravens. I would watch some games with my dad, and I feel like when I first started watching it, I would probably get on his nerves a little bit because I would constantly ask him what was going on in the games. But he tried to explain it to me and then I guess I just continued to watch it.
How would you describe your relationship with Judaism?
I was involved in Hillel in college, which was great. My boyfriend is very involved in a group called RAJE, which is Russian American Jewish Experience. I feel like that has helped me after college to connect with other Jewish people in this area. I’ve also been learning with Olami Souled, which is for Jewish women who learn about different things within Judaism.
How are you feeling with the current rise of antisemitic incidents in the country?
I feel like antisemitism unfortunately is something that has been seen, not just in Israel, but around here, too. It’s terrible to see right in front of our eyes, but I feel like it’s been eye-opening to see the Jewish community come together in times like this, too. It really shows the strength of the Jewish community and that we’re not letting something as terrible as this take us down.