You are here

Cescily Vance

Cescily Vance photo

Discovering a passion for music therapy

Class of 2021
Hometown: North Liberty, IA
Major: Music therapy, minor in psychology

Why Iowa?

Growing up in the Iowa City area, I was opposed to the idea of attend-ing the University of Iowa. It was only after I started exploring a major in music therapy, that I realized just how much Iowa had to offer.

I wanted a well-rounded learning experience that would provide me an excellent education in both music therapy and my primary instrument, the double bass. Iowa was the only school able to offer this. I knew I would have the opportunity to learn from nationally-recognized and world-renowned professors, as well as performing in the state of the art facilities of Hancher Auditorium and Voxman Music Building. Although I was initially skeptical that Iowa would be a good fit for me, I can now say with confidence that I made the right decision.

When did you know you wanted to make a career in music?

In 2012, I saw the movie “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and I fell in love with both the movie and the music. I wanted to compose film scores that would make people feel as strongly as I did when listening to a soundtrack. When I realized composition and theory weren’t my passion, I began to explore another musical avenue. My junior year, I attended a presentation at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics about music therapy. It sounded incredible and I wanted to explore it further. After taking the orientation to music therapy course at Iowa, I knew that I found a career that fulfilled my passion for music, love of helping others, and is a perfect fit for my outgoing personality.

Tell us about a favorite memory of your time at Iowa.

Since many of my courses have been online this semester, I have found myself reminiscing about the little things that I took for granted. I used to walk to the library around lunch time and grab a flex meal. As I walked back up the hill to Voxman, I would be excited to get to the point where I could see all my amazing music friends through the huge lobby window. It always made me so happy knowing that I had such an incredible community. I would make a silly face through the window and they would eagerly wave back to me. Then we all would share lunch together. People would come and go but I almost always had someone to sit and chat with. In these unusual times of isolation, I have come to realize it is the simple things that

I cherish, whether that be talking with friends before class, meeting to study for an exam, or having lunch with my friends.

Looking back on your time here, what advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Be persistent. For most of us, college is our first taste of freedom and a chance to really explore who you want to be. However, college is also challenging. Balancing academics and the new responsibilities of living on your own can be hard. But don’t let that scare you off. If you fail, try again. Be persistent and continue to fight for what you want even when things get hard. I am not saying keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. I am saying learn from your mistakes, be flexible, and adapt to adversity. If you can be persistent, you will be successful in the end.

What are your plans for the future, and how has the School of Music prepared you for the next stages of your career?

After the spring semester, I will complete a 6-month internship and then take the music therapy board certification exam. Then I will be out into the professional world on the search for a full-time music therapy position! My professors have been so helpful in helping me look for internships that are a good fit for me and my professional interests.

Music Therapy Faculty