Make It Monday: My Ultimate Visual Binder

As some of you know, I love making visuals for my clients to use during music therapy sessions. I have a dream where my clients can communicate anything with me using the visuals that are present, but I am far from that reality. I am, however, working towards that goal, slowly but surely.

Now, what most of my clients do is not the protocol involved with PECS - our Speech Language Pathologists have not really gone into the protocol with our clients - but they do understand how to use visuals to get what they want/need. My visuals are often PECS sized but are not part of Boardmaker (a program). After all, it is difficult to come up with one picture that can universally indicate "Does your chewing gum lose its flavor on the bedpost overnight" (a fun song title!). So, I don't really worry about whether or not the song will translate outside the music therapy clinic - I probably should, but I don't. Within my clinic, my students know that a particular card, often hand-draw…

Synthesis Sunday: My Most Favorite Chapter EVER!!

Chapter six in Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach, by Elizabeth Schwartz, is one of my favorites (so far). This is a bit facetious as the chapter is only two pages and sets up the next several chapters very well. Today, I am all about thinking briefly. The other part of it is that this brief chapter sets up the other part of book and leads me into thinking about what will be happening in the other chapters of the book. This is my type of chapter!

In these two pages, Schwartz sets up the framework which is the reason for the entire book. This chapter starts the synthesis (is it any wonder that I like this book so much??) of the information touched upon in the first five chapters. This chapter sets up the concept that the framework itself will be based on "the Briggs/Bruscia theoretical model of musical development" and will group common goal areas including "singing, playing, music movement, and musical understandings" (p. 48). This sets me…

The Power of Music in Groups and Individually

I was able to restart my individual treatment routine this past week. It's been like pulling teeth to get my co-workers on the same page and schedule sessions at times when their students are not busy with other things happening. For the past couple of years, I've scheduled sessions, arrived at classrooms, and found that my students were on Community Based Instruction or in their scheduled play therapy groups. I actually found people where I expected them to be during this past week. Of course, one was eating breakfast because he was late, but that's okay with me.

I got to start some individual treatment routines this week, and I have more that will start. It's been a long time since I've been able to work with kids individually, and I am so excited about this forward step.

I am also moving from the role of primary therapist to that of observer for about half of my large group sessions. This allows me to actually sit back and watch the power of music as it transforms…

Thougthful Thursday: I'm So Very Tired

I slept in this morning, waking up at about 4:30, denying that I was awake for about 20 minutes, and finally looking at the clock at 4:53 am. I rolled out of bed, with heavy eyes and an aching body, to find that I am starting my annual respiratory infection. I will have to go on my big medications starting tomorrow evening so I can get through the severe side effects (the severity part only lasts for 24 hours and then the side effects are bearable). All of this is happening as I am trying to get into a new schedule and trying to figure out when I'm going to finally get all my ducks in a row.

Yesterday was a great day. It consisted of four 30-minute groups and one 60-minute group. Kids seemed to be happy to be back in the school routine, and I had a chance to do some staff coaching as subtly as possible. At one point, I did have to be extremely direct. Most of the time, staff members do not give our students enough time to process the request and then act on that request. So, we are…

Riproaring and Ready to Go...Or Not

Today is the first day of the new school year (as far as the school district is concerned - for me, the first day of the 2018-2019 contract year was July 9th, but that's the way things go). Kids come back to school this morning and will be starting to be in the music therapy room at 8:30. I think I'm ready, but we'll see.

It is a bit strange for me since this is the first time in a long time that I've had an intern. I hadn't realized how much I had become accustomed to making all the treatment decisions. I had a set of routines and plans that are now disrupted with the presence of another person. These changes are not bad, by any means at all, but it is taking a bit of adjustment on my part. We aren't doing centers much any more. Themes aren't school-wide, and that's okay, but it has shaken up my routine.

Soon, we will welcome another intern to the facility. This will shake up my current intern as well as me and my clients. THREE MUSIC THERAPISTS? It will…

TME Tuesday: Take This Song, and Turn it Into a TME

It's that time again - time for my students to go back to school tomorrow, so rather than come up with a TME to share, I thought I would challenge you all to use a specific song and make it into a TME.  

FULL DISCLOSURE: I will use your ideas in my music therapy interactions with my clients, but I will NEVER share them outside of my own clinic without explicit permission from you, and I will make sure that you are listed as the source of the TME idea in my TME file for perpetuity. I will NEVER profit from your idea in any way. Someone stole one of my songs and TMEs once - I don't want anyone else to ever have to go through what I've gone through.

So, here's the deal. I have a song that could have so many different uses in a music therapy session, and I'd like to know what you all think and how you would use it. This is a participation deal. Please comment below. In your comment, tell me if you want me to publish it so lots of folks can see your idea. If you don't…