Birch Bay Retirement Village in Bar Harbor Maine is a non-profit retirement community as well a member of the Mount Desert Island Hospital Organization.

Mount Desert Island Hospital (MDIHO) is a highly awarded rural critical access hospital serving the Mount Desert Island and surrounding communities through a 25-bed critical access facility in Bar Harbor and a network of area health centers—all designed to provide comprehensive healthcare for residents and visitors.

Birch Bay Retirement Village is comprised of Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and the Don & Beth Straus Adult Day Program. Individual and group music therapy reaches all levels of care within Birch Bay Village, with a focus on utilizing a variety of expressive therapies to maximize the quality of life of clients with dementia and related diagnoses.

Training Information

MDIHO’s internship includes both group and individual music therapy experiences with a strong focus on dementia care. Interns will learn about all aspects of the management and implementation of a comprehensive music therapy program.

Clinical experiences are complemented by a series of assignments, presentations, creative projects and readings designed to further the student’s theoretical and practical application of music therapy. The most important aspect of the music therapy internship at MDIHO is the individualized approach we take with each student. Interns set personal professional development goals throughout internship while also focusing on emerging professional skills and competencies.

Applicants must demonstrate strong music skills, independence, and initiative. Practicum experience in both group and individual sessions in a healthcare related setting is preferred. A valid US driver’s license and reliable transportation are required.

October 2024 Music Therapy Internship
deadline is April 5, 2024
January 2025 Music Therapy Internship
Deadline is July 8, 2024
April 2025 Music Therapy Internship
deadline is October 4, 2024
July 2025 Music Therapy Internship
deadline is January 6, 2025
October 2025 Music Therapy Internship
deadline is April 4, 2025.

Housing available at no cost and lunches are provided for interns. No stipend is available.
Application submissions can be submitted digitally to or by hard copy through the mail.


My music therapy internship experience at Birch Bay Retirement Village was hands down, one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was the whole campus beautiful, homey, and pristinely clean, but I was also surrounded by so many knowledgeable and caring staff that set the example for me on how I could incorporate each resident’s strengths, abilities, and unique stories into music therapy programming. From first interviewing with Melissa Violette and beyond, I knew that she and Birch Bay shared values for compassionate care and appreciation for the elderly. I continue to use the professional skills, genuine love, and gratitude I’ve gained from my experience into each interaction I have with residents at the skilled nursing center I was prepared to work for as a music therapist in following my internship. Birch Bay will always hold a special place in my heart.

Christina M. Board Certified Music Therapist

Birch Bay was the perfect fit for my music therapy internship. I have always had a passion for serving older adults and my time at BBRV affirmed that. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than connecting with someone -regardless of age, ability, or background- through music. We get that opportunity every single day in our music therapy sessions at Birch Bay. I have grown as a musician and clinician in more ways than I could have imagined. I am so grateful to Melissa Violette, the Music Therapy Program Director, for all she does to make this internship such an incredible experience, as well as to everyone else at BBRV who sees the value of music therapy and supports our work. I will miss Birch Bay and the special residents who live here, but I’m holding on tight to the many lessons and memories I gathered as I go.

Anna B. Music Therapy Intern

My internship experience at Birch Bay Retirement Village was nothing short of magical! From expanding my clinical knowledge to getting to know and work with the residents, every day was something new and exciting. My time there helped me gain confidence in my skills as a music therapist, learn more about working with older adults, and gave me plenty of preparation for what a music therapy job would be like in the workplace. I will forever cherish the memories I made there, and I am so grateful for the lifelong skills I learned, and the friendships I made with Melissa and my fellow interns.

Jessica D. Music Therapy Intern

Maine, Birch Bay, and Melissa became a second home during my internship experience. Learning more about caring for Dementia/Alzheimer’s residents and getting to build connections with them was only the tip of the iceberg. I have much gratitude for all the knowledge I acquired, the support from staff and co-interns, and the ability to be part of a beautiful community. Interning at Birch Bay helped me extend my clinical skills, gain confidence, and hands on preparation for working in the field of music therapy. This time was spent making some wonderful memories and I am forever grateful for my time at Birch Bay!

D’Khiyah M. Music Therapy Intern

I had the pleasure of being a music therapy intern at Birch Bay Retirement Village from April to October of 2022. While there, I had the opportunity to observe and lead a large array of groups, do one-on-one sessions, creative projects, and be a part of interdisciplinary team meetings. I met so many wonderful people, including co-interns, residents, and staff. The Music Therapy Program Director, Melissa Violette, was there at any point during my time in Bar Harbor to give feedback, teach new skills, and provide support. Throughout my time at Birch Bay I was able to become a better clinician, a more versatile musician, and, in my opinion, a more patient and compassionate person. It was through the music that fills the rooms and halls of Birch Bay that I was able to form friendships and learn lessons that I have taken with me into the next stages of my career as a music therapist. My time in Bar Harbor has set me up to succeed as a musician, human, and music therapist in ways that I will forever be grateful for.

Sarah M. Music Therapy Intern

Birch Bay Retirement Village was the perfect internship to end my music therapy degree. Not only did I get to live in a beautiful state, but I grew more as a clinician and person than I thought possible by giving me the freedom to explore who I want to become. The residents, other interns, staff, and Melissa all make this internship incredibly special. I already had a love for working with older adults; not only did this internship affirm this, it made that love even stronger. I feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity and to take everything I learned with me wherever I go in this field. Having the support of Melissa throughout the internship and after is the icing on the cake of this wonderful internship. I will forever be grateful for Birch Bay and all the people in it.

Christina W. Music Therapy Intern

For more information, please contact: Melissa Violette MT-BC,  NMT, Music Therapy Program Director 207-288-8014 ext. 5110 or

Learn more about Birch Bay Retirement Village

For more information or to arrange a tour, call 207-288-8014 or complete our contact form