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Showing posts from May, 2012

Being Authentic to Who You Are

I have been crawling in the virtual music therapy world again, and I stumbled upon a post on Music Therapists Unite about "being stuck." This comment struck a chord with me (as I am sure that you know if you have been reading my blog lately). The author asked if others ever felt stuck in their work. The comments were varied, occasionally on topic, and interesting to read. Some folks recommended supervision. Now, in these situations, supervision often refers to a one-to-one session with a therapist (sometimes music, sometimes not). Some folks think that supervision or counseling should be a requirement of being a therapist, and they aver that supervision has made them better therapists. Other music therapists feel that such a requirement is not necessary. I fall somewhere in the middle of the argument. For the past nine months, I have participated in a formal meeting with the art therapist at my facility. While this is not necessarily professional supervision or counseli

Things I Love to Use in Music Therapy

You know, after 19 years as a music therapist, there are just some things I cannot live without in my clinic. This post is dedicated to those objects, materials, instruments, and just plain old stuff that I love. Some of these things are your typical things, others are very unique. I will try to include links to more information as I can find them. Round Bells - I fell in love with these during my internship and bought two sets as soon as I found them again. Unfortunately, the company that made the bells, F.M.T., does not seem to be making them any more. These really seem to satisfy the self-stimulation needs for kids who enjoy things that spin, and they make a very good sound. The bells are tuned to a C diatonic scale. I bought my sets from an obscure music company 10-15 years ago for $39.95 each - more than I like to pay for ANYTHING, but these were more than worth it!       Rise Up Singing Songbook - This songbook offers the lyrics and chord structures for over 1200 folk and popu

Crawling the Blogosphere

One of the things that I enjoy about vacation is that I spend some time crawling around the music therapy blogosphere. It is always interesting to see what my fellow music therapists are writing about, and I do not always have the time or the inclination to look around during the school year. There are some amazing music therapists out there, writing about important and semi-important things. I do not have a list of people that I track on a regular basis, but when I type "music therapy blog" into my Google search window, I get lots of options to visit. Did you know that there are people out there selling their music in mp3 song format and/or CDs? There are music therapists who are leading sessions via Skype. There are music therapists that use their blogs to preach their own form of music therapy to the masses. There are folks out there like me who just ramble on and on about anything that comes into our heads. So many different therapists doing so many different things

Sense of Accomplishment

Today I completed a project. Does that sound unimpressive? I am sure that it does, but I am very proud of myself. Today I created my very first file folder game instruction booklet. I eventually hope to sell this to interested parties for a small amount of money, but right now, I am just looking at the finished product with pride. I created a template, filled it with specific information, drew the graphics, and printed out the entire thing!! I am very excited. Of course, this project has nothing to do with what I want to accomplish for the next eight days, but I am off to a good start. I'll keep you posted on any other accomplishments that occur...

Vacating for Vacation

The school year is officially over! There are 10 bliss-filled days of vacation stretching in front of me until the Extended School Year session starts. The opportunity to "vacate" is thrilling to me at this point right now. You can never underestimate the importance of being alone (now, I am speaking as a VERY strong introvert at this time!). I love being around people, but I need time by myself to truly refresh and reinvigorate. The next ten days offer a chance for me to be alone, seeking interaction with others on my own schedule, and to prepare for the next chapter in my music therapy life. I will not be idle, however. List of things to do in the next 10 days... Composition and Creativity: Part One Webinar (this evening at 7pm - register on my website) CLEAN my home! There you go. I will also spend some time making visual aids, composing songs, cooking food, swimming in the pool, taking walks, settling in for long naps, and chasing the cat from room to room. I

The End of the Year

It is the end of the school year. You know, when I was a student, I really didn't realize how much teachers looked forward to the summer. I naively thought that they would really miss standing in front of us on a daily basis. Then, I became a school-based therapist. I can tell you that teachers and school-based therapists look forward to summer breaks, winter breaks, spring breaks, and days off with the same enthusiasm as their students. Thinking about this, I realized that being a teacher is grueling, not necessarily in the body but in the mind. Being a good teacher means that you have to constantly adapt your teaching style, presentation, and information for a large audience. You have to learn your students' expressions to determine whether they are not only listening but also comprehending your information. You then have to change how you are conveying information so you can ensure that all students are learning the lessons. That requires lots of energy. There are

Just Be SIlly

I enjoy being silly. There is something quite liberating about acting like a fool on purpose. To that end, I write silly songs to use with my clients. There's a Pickle on my Head - This pickle!! Forgive a little cross-promotion here, but I have published a therapeutic music experience (TME) titled There's A Pickle on my Head . Here is a link to my website and the Ideas and Experiences page. (Click the word link above). This song is just supposed to be silly. Of course, if clients also have a chance to work on body part identification or social awareness, that is just a happy accident, right? Right! This is just one of the new songs and ideas that have arrived lately due to my attempts to jump start my creative brain (which has been dormant lately). Unlike the Flamingo Flop , which was directly inspired by one of my interns who has been singing about the pink birds, this one had no clear inspiration. It just popped into my head during office time. Then, the melody

Creativity and Composition - Part One

In 6 days, I will be hosting my second ever webinar for music therapists and music therapy students. As I tend to come up with ideas about what I want to learn by looking around my life and wanting specific topics to appear in the music therapy world, this one has come out of a creativity desert. So, what did I do? I went back into my old presentations and culled out several things that helped me break out my creative rut into an increase of songwriting and creative applications I can use in my music therapy practice! Before I get distracted, here are the details about the webinar: Title: Composition and Creativity - Part 1 Description: A 1.5 hour seminar focusing on composing songs for use with music therapy populations. Music therapists and music therapy students welcome! Bring a pencil, some staff paper, and follow these steps to increase your creativity in music therapy sessions. Date & Time: Thursday, May 24th, 2012 at 7:00 pm CDT Please register for

Intuition Wins Out Again

Several months ago, I spent lots of time talking about professionalism . My posts on Sept. 23, Oct. 30, Nov. 6, and Dec. 23, 2011 were all centered around my relationship with a difficult co-worker, one who attempted to bully me and who was not an appropriate teammate at all. That co-worker was fired on Friday. As I have been thinking about the past 10 months and the utter lack of professionalism that has led me to my various rants, all I can think now is, "I knew it!" I get strong feelings about some people at times. When I have such a visceral reaction to a person, I try to figure out why I am responding so strongly. Past encounters have demonstrated that my intuition is a good indication of who to spend time with and who to avoid. Unfortunately, a creepy feeling about a person is not enough to convince others about possibilities. That intuition is a good thing as a therapist - a lousy thing as a co-worker. As a therapist, intuition assists me in figuring out how t

Give a Kid a Microphone...

On Friday, I coordinated our annual school Talent Show. This event is an easy one to run - students sign up to present talents, and I provide the materials. It is always an interesting afternoon, and this year's show was no exception! One of the things that has always fascinated me about my students is that most of them have no fear of performing. It is rare that I find a kid who has stage fright. Give 'em a microphone, and their inner hams come out to play. The audience of 100+ people doesn't give them pause. They don't always know the words to the song or the chords to their piece, but they go on, soaking up the attention and the applause. This year's performers included an 8-year old playing the drum set, one young man doing crunches, another shooting baskets, and a duet singing the Oompa Loompa  song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory . There was a flash mob, several singers, and a surprise rap by a young man with autism who does not always participa

The Scholastic Book Fair Warehouse!!!

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to enter nirvana. Confession time - I am a bibliophile. If I had to choose between food or books, the decision would be VERY difficult. I would certainly decrease the quality of my food choices so I could also get books. The best thing EVER is a library card - I can use books and then get new ones. I love history, mystery, scientific texts,  music books, poetry books, atlases, journals, science fiction, romance novels, anything with Grover from Sesame Street in it, and more! I am afraid to start to count my books - there are a mind-numbing number of books in my home. I enjoy everything about a book. I love holding them, I love listening to them as I use them, I like the way they smell. Books have been such a huge part of my life that I do not feel complete without a book at my fingertips. So, an invitation to the Scholastic Book Fair Warehouse sale was a social event I could not resist! My sister is a second grade teacher in California, and sh


A couple of the skills included in the AMTA Professional Competencies are to:  22.7     Express thoughts and personal feelings in a consistently constructive manner. 22.8     Demonstrate critical self-awareness of strengths and weaknesses.  As an internship director, I require that my interns keep a personal journal to assist them with these two competencies. I was required to keep a journal. I am sure that my ID had to keep a journal during her internship, and I am sure that the tradition can be traced back to the first internship director in the first music therapy internship program way way back. Journaling has been a way for us to express our thoughts and self-awareness since time began (for MTs, anyway).   This year, I started a formal journal along with the acceptance of the first intern after about six months of just being the therapist at my facility.   I made several "rules" for my journaling process, primarily because I like structure. The rules a