Alumni Stories: Michał Matuszewski
"I work in a Social Care Home. As a therapist working with music I implement my own programme of classes – ethnotherapy. It involves using ethnic/roots music in the therapy of people with mental disorders. I conduct classes with elements of singing, rhythmics and choreography. I build relations with the residents by means of musical genre preferences, I open them up to conversation, discussion. (...) How do I do it? "
Name and surname: Michał Matuszewski
Place of residence: Cracow, Poland
Degree subject at the Jagiellonian University: Social pedagogy and nursing
- What is your best memory of studying at the Jagiellonian University?
My best memory is my pedagogy classes with Professor Barbara Łuczyńska. She is an extraordinary mentor. She encouraged students to engage in practical activities, to build their professional identity already in the first year of studies. She encouraged them to work in the environment and to have a creative approach to pedagogical work.
- How did your career begin? What were the turning points?
Thanks to my involvement in the Scientific Circle of Carers and Educators at the Institute of Pedagogy of the Jagiellonian University, I had the opportunity to participate in events organised by students in various institutions. Most often they were at Social Welfare Homes. When deciding to study pedagogy I always wanted to link my future profession with that of a musician. I was inspired by music therapy, not yet so well known in Poland at that time. Thanks to the cooperation with the Study Circle I could put music therapy into practice in the support centres. After one of the events I was contacted by my future employer with a job offer, because he observed my involvement in the therapeutic support during an event organized for the residents of a nursing home. I started working in my 3rd year of studies, two months before my final exam. I combined my full-time second degree studies with my professional work. At the same time I performed in two TV talent shows presenting my musical abilities. I combined my concerts with a full-time job and my studies. Currently, I work full-time in a nursing home as a therapist, specialising in therapy through music.
- How has education contributed to your career development?
By learning about the theoretical and practical aspects of pedagogical work during my studies I was able to find my professional career path. Additional involvement in the Scientific Circle of Tutor Pedagogues, then chairing it for 3 years, allowed me to gain experience in individual and group work and acquire the ability to manage the work of a team of people. The year-long work in the Teaching Committee of the Jagiellonian University allowed me to learn the structure of the university's activities and the skills of working with documents – office work. Classes with various professors broadened my mind and research interests, which I now pursue in my professional work.
- Tell us about your current job. What are you doing now?
I work in a Social Care Home. As a therapist working with music I implement my own programme of classes – ethnotherapy. It involves using ethnic/roots music in the therapy of people with mental disorders. I conduct classes with elements of singing, rhythmics and choreography. I build relations with the residents by means of musical genre preferences, I open them up to conversation, discussion. Every day I create concerts accompanied by the piano or accordion with pieces well known to the residents in my own arrangements. These activities help to maintain mental fitness. I organize cultural events, meetings with actors and musicians. I create scenarios for performances adapted to the capabilities of the Home's residents. I run activities relating to experiencing the world, during which I create a relaxing atmosphere to eliminate physical and mental tensions... How do I do it? I will not tell you yet. I have been a volunteer coordinator and a supervisor of student internships at my workplace for 3 years.
- What are your biggest challenges now?
My biggest challenge at the moment is to record an album: ETHNOTHERAPY – MUSIC OF THE SOUL. I would like to reach to a wider audience with my music programme containing my own interpretations of ethnic pieces. This is a task requiring good time management and careful consideration.
- What is life and work like in the city/country you live in?
Pedagogical work in Cracow is popular. People who undertake work with other people are sought after on the market. Access to materials on personal development in Cracow is very easy. You can find yourself in this profession much faster here. I like this city and the place where I work.
- What is your definition of success?
Success means being happy, constantly curious about the world, and creative.
- What tips do you have for students who are just entering the job market?
Above all, have courage, find for ‘yourself’ at work, develop passions (as they are sometimes identical to our work), creativity, lots of practice (volunteering, study circles, training, etc.).
- How do you envision the Jagiellonian University’s collaboration with graduates?
I am a practitioner. I want to become a Compass, helping to define the directions of work for students who don’t have a fully specified professional path. I would like to show them spaces for development, which they haven’t even thought about. I would like to open future employees to creative and unconventional thinking by means of workshops and meetings in the office or online.
Author of the photo: Alicja Rzepa