Lara Kong, '15, plays a game of beach ball at orientation for University of the Pacific, where she is majoring in music therapy.

FRESHMAN FOCUS: A music therapy major at UOP, Lara Kong creates rhythms to change the mood in a room

Lara Kong, ‘15, is a freshman at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Kong is majoring in music therapy. She has been playing the piano for about four years and the flute for eight. She was also a part of the band and the chamber groups in the high school. 

Q: What was your first impression of UOP?

A: It was really small and felt like an Ivy League campus. With all the brick buildings, I thought it was really pretty. I like the architecture.

Q: How did you like orientation?

A: Orientation was really good and informative. They put us into groups, and we played games like beach ball. I met more people in my major. I also met my adviser and my teachers.

Q: What is music therapy?

A: A profession where I’d work with someone to achieve their goals through music to improve cognitive ability and motor skills.

Q: How did you get into music therapy? 

A: I learned about music therapy when I was applying for college. I have always wanted to help make a difference in people’s lives, but I also wanted to pursue something in music. So while researching the two topics together, I learned about music therapy.

Q: What do you like about it?

A: I absolutely love being able to create rhythms and songs that change the mood in the room.

Q: What are your classes like?

A: My classes are fun. I have a lot of music classes: voice class, music therapy class, piano class, functional guitar, Intro to Common Disorders, Intro to Tech and Intro to Communication. I also have pep band Thursday nights in the main gym, where they play all the college sports. Or a private lesson on Tuesdays.

Q: Are you enjoying your music therapy class so far?

A:  (It is) fun and informative. The past four classes we have started by writing how we feel on the board, and then picking one emotion to try and change to a happier emotion.

For example, we picked “homesick” the other day, and then we decided to change it to “excited.” We used various instruments to complete the goal by playing random rhythms.

Q: Is there anything about the school that surprised you?

A: The size of my music therapy program and the amount of people that are trying to become music therapists. We are a class of about 20.

Q: Is 20 people in one class actually big?

A: Well that’s my largest class. The rest of my classes are pretty small. The smallest one is about 15.

Q: What’s your favorite?

A: English. I really enjoy the reading and analysis. 

Q: How hard is it compared to Country Day academically?

A: I feel like it’s difficult, but I feel like Country Day really prepared me for the amount that I have to read and the type of analysis I have to do on the readings.

Q: How is your dorm? Your roommates?

A: I have one roommate. Her name is Sarah. She’s amazing, and I really like my dorm. It’s really large, and I have a sink in my room.

Q: How is the food?

A: Really good. Tonight I had chicken Alfredo. The food is made to order. The breakfast burritos in the morning are also really good.

Q: How do you like Stockton?

A: It’s nice and big. Everything’s pretty walkable. I don’t need a bike or any type of set of wheels.

Q: Do you like living close to home?

A: It’s nice because if I need anything I could go home or my parents could drop it off.

Q: Do you miss anything about Sacramento?

A: I didn’t take my car to college, and I miss being able to drive somewhere off campus.

Q: Any advice for the class of ‘16?

A: Don’t be afraid to get out there and try new things like meeting new people. Even if you think you can’t handle your workload or the commitment that it takes, try it.

By Ulises Barajas 

Kong says her roommate, Sarah, is "amazing." Kong likes her dorm, which is big, and her room, which has a sink.
(Photo courtesy of Kong)
Kong said her roommate, Sarah, is “amazing.” Kong also likes her dorm, which is big, and her room, which has a sink.
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