King Yan Kwok
Listen to the interview (approx. 40 min.) or download it.
Left Berklee in 2007 (completed her internship and officially graduated in early 2009) with a major in Music Therapy. Principal Instrument: piano.
Position: Multilingual Speech Language Pathologist at the Boston (Massachusetts) Public Schools. King works with students who have speech problems, half her students speaking Cantonese of Mandarin, the other half “a bit of everyone.” Travelling to several schools, and working with all ages, King diagnoses issues and works with students who mostly have speech/articulation issues.
Overview. After leaving Berklee, King did an internship in California at a veterans home, then moved to New York City to teach piano at a music school Musispire and intern (unpaid) at the Institute for Music Neurologic Function, where soon afterward she was offered a part-time job as a researcher. She often worked alongside speech pathologists King did that for a year, but grew tired of the long commutes and unpredictable pay (She had to go to people’s homes and got paid by the session), so after a year she worked at the music school full time.
A couple of years later, King decided that she needed a Masters Degree to help her career. She debated among clinical psychology, music education, and speech pathology, and did extensive research on careers, including locations of jobs and expected growth of the fields. She settled on speech pathology as it provided a good income and high likelihood of employment without requiring a doctorate. In 2011 she entered the Masters in Speech Pathology program at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), graduating in 2013. Part of that program involved doing many “internships,” one of which was in Boston, and she was encouraged to apply to her current position as her ability to speak multiple languages was a real strength.
You can see King’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice Quotes: “It’s rewarding to see a student grow from saying a word or two to having a real conversation. In this job I can utilize my skills and give back to my community.”
“I get the same pay scale as teachers, and work the same hours as teachers. Around 6.5 hours per day. I get summers off and all the snow days and holidays. Unlike most teachers I don’t have homework to grade, though I do have to write up progress reports.”
“Berklee’s Music Therapy’s guidelines of being flexible, creative, and spontaneous serve me really well in what I do today.”
“Do your research! Realize how important it is just to know which jobs are growing in this country. Think about where you want to live, as that influences what would be a good job to learn. For example, it’s hard to make a living gigging in Boston.”
“People interest in speech pathology should do their research as well. Look at the responsibilities and see it it’s what you want to do. Email a school, hospital, nursing home, or clinic, and ask to shadow a speech pathologist for day. That will help you see exactly what the job is about.”