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Showing posts from April, 2012

A-ha Moments

One of the best parts of my job as a music therapist is when I get to share in someone's A-ha moment. These are the times when something that didn't make sense previously all of a sudden is understood and is acted on. I am privileged to share in some of these moments with both my clients (children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric concerns) as well as with my interns.

I love seeing those moments.

Recently, my intern has started to realize the power that music brings to a music therapy session. She has moved from the stage of overemphasizing her role in the session to the stage of emphasizing the role of the client in the session, but the role of music is starting to occur to her as well. She is starting to purposefully manipulate elements of music to increase or decrease the effect of music on clients' behavior. She is starting to recognize the changes in behavior that her clients are displaying and is relating those changes to the shifts in the music. A-ha!

Forced Creativity

One of the assignments that my interns have to do is to complete 75 therapeutic music experiences (AKA, applications, interventions, and SHUDDER, activities) to use with clients. I require 25 original songs to be included in the TME file, but the other 50 TMEs may be plans developed by other people and adjusted to fit my clients.

As each intern starts in my program, I emphasize that the TME file sounds like an easy assignment, but that each and every intern that I have trained has expressed that they should have started the original songs from the very beginning. Each time, the intern looks at me and nods, but each intern seems to find herself in the same predicament in month 4 - lots of borrowed ideas, but the original songs have to be forced to arrive.

Having just received the last batch of TMEs from my senior intern, I am amused that she followed the same pattern as the 18 interns before her. For some reason, the concept of writing original songs is not an easy one for music therapy …

Creativity Surge

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So, after yesterday's post, I finished the pumpkin visual that I had drawn forever ago, and then I launched off on a wave of creativity that resulted in ideas for seven file folders, one new song, a memory box, and a Pez display board. (The last idea was not at all for my music therapy clients, but for me and my ever-growing Star Wars Pez dispenser collection - I know, geeky on several fronts, but what can you do?)

Sometimes I find that creativity has to be nudged in order to bloom. By setting an expectation for completing one task, all of these other ideas were sparked.

Off I go to finish "The Present," Song Lines File Folder, Code Breaking File Folder, Ta-ti Note Game, Musical Road Signs Game, The Turkey Tango/Chicken Cha-Cha Visual, Notation Sliders File Folder, and the All About Me Rap! Oh, and to get started on that PEZ display board.

Visual Aids - Making My Own

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Do you ever have a flash of creativity that takes over your entire being?

I do, sometimes. Now, unfortunately, these flashes do not come to me often or in a predictable schedule, but I have learned to take advantage of those flashes when I can!

Recently I have been in a creative slump. I get these every once in a while and have learned that there are just times when I will not have any new ideas. I have, however, also learned some techniques to spark some creativity in my life. I try these techniques, and they work for me.


Today, I am trying the tried and true method of looking through all of my previous notes about Therapeutic Music Experiences (what I call what I do with my clients in therapy sessions). From now on, I will refer to these things as TMEs. I have learned the hard way that an idea comes and goes. Many of the best songs I have ever composed have been improvised in front of a group of clients. As they have been occurring, I think, "Wow, this is a GREAT song. I really ne…

Big, Audacious, Hairy Changes

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Change is difficult.

There are currently so many changes going on in my life that my head keeps spinning. I am sure that some of you have the same types of things going on in your lives. Changing ideas, paradigms, and "the way we do this" is often threatening when it is personal.


Change is something that must occur. If organisms do not change to accommodate their environment, they do not survive. This is not easier when I am the organism, but I have learned that adaptation is essential.

Change requires a completely new perspective. It is important to let go of the old ways and thoughts to be able to be a visionary. Sure, things may be fine as the status quo, but there are times when you have to go back to the beginning and start completely over. This is when the big, audacious, hairy changes start to occur.

(FYI: I love the phrase "big, audacious, hairy changes" - it was first introduced to me by Bishop Scott Jones of the Kansas East Conference of the United Methodist …

Carrot Cake

This post has eluded me for quite some time. I have been sitting here, in my hotel room, before attending the ETAB Town Hall meeting at the Midwestern Regional Conference tomorrow morning, attempting to write something cogent and appropriate for a blog about music therapy. It hasn't happened yet, but I keep trying.

Tonight I went to a restaurant by myself and ate dinner. I always feel awkward sitting alone in a restaurant but often find myself in that situation when I am traveling. Anyway, I opted to get dinner in the Beefstro (seriously, that is what it is called) rather than getting room service. I ordered Chicken Parmesan and carrot cake to go. The carrot cake was complimentary since I am such an important member of the hotel rewards program! I brought the carrot cake back to my room where it is sitting on the other bed. I am anticipating that it will taste good in a little bit.

The anticipation of something is often more intriguing than the actual event.

As I am thinking about ca…

Potpourri

A mishmash of thoughts, comments, and things to know...

I will apologize for this blog post in advance. So, here goes my current state of mind word salad...

Worker's comp - a baffling tool when you need it. It is something that you never want to have to use, but it is nice to know that it is there if something does happen. Here I go into the world of comp doctors, examinations, and paperwork. Ugh.

Behavior Management - I wonder if folks realize that allowing a screaming person to have whatever they want is not the best idea if you want that person to stop screaming in the future.

Chinese food - When I have a day like the one I had yesterday (see the two topics above for a small glimpse into my recent experiences at work), the best remedy is food from Peking Taste, my favorite Chinese food place. They deliver, so I do not even have to go to them. They bring all types of delectable morsels right to my door. Yum!

Frustration - There are moments when I am stymied. I am currently in one of …

So, When Is the Right Time??

The most recent controversy in the music therapy world has come in the form of two position papers submitted to the AMTA Assembly of Delegates by the Education and Training Advisory Board. In the interest of full disclosure here, I am a member of the Education and Training Advisory Board (or, ETAB, as we refer to it using an acronym - whole other story) and was actively involved in writing both of the position papers, so please take my comments with all of the bias that is present from being actively involved in this situation...

ANYWAY,

These papers, available on the AMTA website at the following addresses:

Master's Level Entry: Core Considerations
http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/Masters_Level_Entry_Core_Considerations.pdf

Master's Level Entry: Moving Forward
http://www.musictherapy.org/assets/1/7/Masters_Entry-Moving_Forward.pdf

...have been the topic of Town Hall Meetings and discussions around the music therapy regions of the United States this spring. It has been inter…