Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Archives

(Let me just say, I know I am a nerd!)

I just spent three hours in the music therapy archives housed at Colorado State University and an additional couple of hours looking through materials housed in Dr. Bill Davis's office. I have scanned 140 pages of historical material directly related to clinical training and skill development. I am exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.

If you ever need to access information from the archives, please do. It is a nondescript building on the CSU campus, very loud from all of the ventilation, and not very interesting to look at, but VERY accessible and easy to understand. Dr. Davis and the archivist, Linda Meyers, have been extremely accommodating. I went in with some inkling of what I was looking for (that helped), and Dr. Davis helped me find more information in the archives. Linda gave me a space to work, access to electricity, and left me to it.

We have over 70 boxes of materials in the archives. There is information about academic programs, internship programs, committee meetings, vitae of all of the big names in music therapy, and, occasionally, snarky letters between music therapists. I had so much fun looking through the materials. I had to keep myself from following tangents. For instance, I found two of the music therapists that worked at my facility before me. I also found pictures of my professors from early days of the association - what a hoot!

I get to go back tomorrow to root through more materials. This is good. Tonight I will organize the materials that I have already scanned into my computer and will start to write more on my paper/treatise.

You know, I think that it is important to document ourselves as a profession, as professionals, and as individuals. There is something comforting in reviewing documents from the 60's and finding that the therapists then were just as concerned with how to train students as we are at the present. There are no simple answers, and it is reinforced when you look at the trace left by others.

I have always thought that my simple life as a therapist was not archive worthy. I'm starting to reevaluate my concepts and may be sending information to Dr. Davis about my program soon - poor man!

So, tomorrow more time in the archives. Saturday, some sightseeing in CO, and Sunday, heading home.

How can you resist this view?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Colorado, Here I am!

I made it to Fort Collins in nine hours. I started the trip at 4:18 am. The trip went very quickly which was great, considering the scenery for most of the trip. Western Kansas is not too very stimulating, but it does seem to flash past quickly at 74 mph.

I am looking forward to my first trip to the archives. BIG thanks to Carol Ann for the paper - it definitely steered me in the right direction for my sojourn into our past as a profession.

My room is very small. I guess you get what you pay for, and I obviously did not pay for a closet or a comfortable chair. The price was right what with the price of gasoline.

Back to research!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Looking forward to 91/2 hours alone in the car...

It may sound strange, but I enjoy long trips in the car. I always have and probably always will. I especially like driving places by myself. I'm going to Colorado tomorrow and will be on the way before dawn, driving to the west in my little car.

I am also glad for the evolution of cell phones. This may seem like an unrelated comment, but let me explain. Before the advent of cell phones, people looked over at someone like me, alone in the car, chattering away and attempted to put as many miles between us as possible. Nowadays, folks just assume that I am talking to someone on a hands-free device and continue to talk to their friends on their cell phones.

Here is my car trip tradition.

  1. I already have directions to the hotel - Yes, Tawnya, I did download the directions at the beginning of June and have posted them on my bulletin board where I ALWAYS put trip details. This way I can find them in a hurry.
  2. Today I will do laundry, pick up prescriptions, wash dishes, and pack. I take two coolers, one for water, and one for food. I will pack everything into the car this evening before I go to sleep.
  3. I will set out early tomorrow - the earlier the better, probably around 6am. This should bring me to Fort Collins sometime around 3pm, accounting for bathroom and gasoline breaks.
  4. I will take a book full of CDs for my listening pleasure during the trip. This will increase the likelihood of singing rather than talking to myself, but I am not at all afraid of being caught talking to myself during the trip - hence, the beauty of cell phones!
  5. I will drive 5 miles over the speed limit at all times - just enough to feel like I am breaking the law (because, technically, I am), but not enough to catch attention of any state troopers out there looking for speeders - Thank goodness for cruise control!
  6. Once in Fort Collins, I will hunt out a place to purchase everything that I have forgotten at home - tradition, and call my contact at CSU.

I like spending time completely alone, and I typically take a road trip during this time every summer. The difference this summer is that I am not going to Southern California (the place I call home), but to a place that I have not driven to before. No In-N-Out Burgers - sniff. Lots of time to sing, plot, practice, fantasize, and ponder.

Oh! And play the alphabet game.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Colorado Bound

It is fall break, and I am going to Colorado for several days. The trip is purely for research purposes, but I am going to try to include some sightseeing in the mix while I am out and about. It was supposed to be a family vacation, but my CA family decided it was going to be too expensive to come out. I'm a bit disappointed, but I have to get into the archives, so have to go regardless. I am looking forward to going somewhere, even if the somewhere is related to my job and education.

I am a competency geek. I enjoy the AMTA Professional Competencies and use them in my training sessions often. I am curious about how they came about and will be looking at the process taken by therapists before to find out. Jolly old fun!

Only three days to go.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Saying Goodbye, why is it sad?
Yesterday, we finally said goodbye to our boss and colleague. A Muppets song kept running through my head...

"Saying goodbye, why is is sad? Makes us remember the good times we had."

The song goes on, but I cannot.

I feel that saying goodbye is an important process in a professional, but ESPECIALLY in a therapeutic relationship. My experience as a transplanted youngster probably contributes to this feeling. I had to say goodbye to lots of people when I was in elementary school. I am used to being the one who is leaving rather than the other way around. It is strange to be on the other side of the experience and be left.

Currently, I have been acting as a quasi-therapist to many of my co-workers as they express feelings of grief and progressed in the DABDA process. It is amazing how many people have come to the music room to chat about how they are feeling about our boss moving on in the world. Someone mentioned that I should spearhead something to increase morale, but I was not able to think of an appropriate gesture. I also felt awkward about providing a forum for folks to express their feelings while we still had our boss around. Maybe something will come to me over Fall Break (which started today!).

The process of saying goodbye has ended. We've said what we need to say and are moving on (Another Muppets song).

Here we go.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Reinventing Yourself

There are some things that happen in a lifetime that are difficult to understand. One of those things is the phenomenon of changing your personality to suit someone else. There are natural times to change: starting a new school, changing jobs, moving your home, starting a new relationship, but I always have questions about the need or impulse to change.

My personality includes many contradictions (as I am sure many of ours do). I am a bit perfectionistic ("Ha," my sister, the equally perfectionistic is saying, "A BIT???"). I am a mess when it comes to housecleaning. I have lots of ideas, but often peter out when it comes to implementing these ideas. I enjoy new experiences, but do not often seek those new experiences. I will travel anywhere, as long as I have a job - most of my "vacations" have something to do with my vocation. I am, at heart, a person who enjoys structure and patterns. I like knowing how my friends are going to react if I make a comment. I am also an introvert everywhere except in front of an anonymous crowd (go figure!). Put me in a small room with a bunch of strangers, and I am the one sitting on the edge, sipping a ginger ale. I do not do well in small social settings - one of my limitations in so many ways. It takes me a long time to make strong friendships, and once I feel I have a good friend, I will do anything it takes to keep in touch with that friend, no matter where we are. If I feel betrayed, I can walk away from the relationship with regret, but with little interest in continuing the contact.

I have tried, with varying success, to change my personality to fit the people around me. In the end, however, I feel most comfortable being myself - flaws, foibles, and all. I have to be authentic to the self that has developed, otherwise my true friendships are forever altered. I believe that people enjoy me better when I am truly myself rather than when I am attempting to put on an act.

It distresses me when I see others completely reinventing the perfectly fine versions of themselves to accommodate the expectations that others have of them. It is one thing to want to be the best you can be, but does it have to be the best version of what someone else wants you to be? I've tried fit into the expected mold. It was not a comfortable fit, and I decided to break away from that mold. It has caused LOADS of stress, but in the end, I feel that I have made the best choice for me as a human being. I know I can't change the expectations, but I can choose not to participate. I can also choose to try to make the mold fit me - and, believe me, if I could, I would!

Be true to yourself. Be true to your SELF.

I am trying.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Monkey Moments in Music Therapy

Yesterday was a monkey day in the music therapy room at my facility. Please read on so I can explain.

There are some days where things move along swimmingly - clients entrain and get into the groove with little extra effort from the therapist, the therapist is able to be effective with many different clients, and staff members seem to understand the therapeutic outcome of every experience. Then there are other days. In honor of my current interns, I'm christening these days, "Monkey Days."

We had such a day yesterday.

The therapeutic aspect of the day was not too bad. The one group that has been giving me gray hairs was relatively controlled - I termed it "controlled chaos" - and the clients appeared to be in the therapeutic groove in the other groups, but some of the staff members seemed to do everything possible to sabotage, interrupt, and dictate the therapeutic process.

At one point, my junior intern made a sound that sounded like a small monkey. EEee. I just looked at her. Later the same day, my senior intern started to move like one of the clients who had made a movement that he had never made before. It looked like a monkey dance, so it was a monkey day in music therapy.

This, of course, ended up being the start of mass hysteria. Fortunately, the hysteria was of the giggling and laughing type. It made us realize that the staff member(s) who had caused us SO much frustration during the week was really just not in the groove at all and was only a minor part of the process and gains that we had accomplished during the day and the week.

Monkey moments - gotta love 'em!