Friday, June 29, 2012

Happiness Initiative - Things I Love...

This post is dedicated to the things that I love...

  •  Sleepy cats - This is the look that I get when I am flashing the camera when her highness is trying to sleep. Don't you love the personalities that animals convey?

  • My music room (the view from my desk) - When my facility decided to make a new gymnasium wing, I was asked what I wanted in a possible music room. My answer, "SPACE." I got almost everything I asked for and am grateful every day I get to work in this beautiful music room!

  • Mandalas and other Word Art - One of my favorite forms of relaxation is to doodle words and small pictures. This is one of my offerings from the past year. There is nothing that I like better than a blank piece of white drawing paper, a big box of markers, and some time to just cover the paper with words.

  • J's Rainbow - Shortly after a young client of mine passed away, I saw this beautiful stormy morning and this glorious rainbow. The child's teacher always refers to her students who have left this world as her "rainbow children." J's rainbow reassured me that he was on his way to wherever we go.

  • One tree on my drive home from work - I love this tree. It stands alone by the side of my country highway about 20 minutes away from home. I love the asymmetry, the way the branches are uplifted, and how the tree looks completely different from the drive to work versus the view from the drive from work. This tree inspired several tree sculptures over the past several years.

  • Making mallets - I love making mallets. There is something satisfying about making something that generally costs lots of money for pennies on the dollar. The repetitive nature of the work also soothes me and lulls me into a sense of relaxation. The music that comes from the time that I spend on making these mallets is also something I love deeply.

  • Making Visual Aids for silly songs - There's A Pickle On My Head - I also like drawing my own visual aids. This one turned out pretty well, even if I say so myself. If you want to learn more about this visual aid and the therapeutic music experience that goes with it, please check out my website at www.musictherapyworks.com. 
  •  Kansas Skies - Another view from my drive home from work. There are times when the Kansas sky makes me pause in my tracks. This day I was driving into a storm but wasn't quite there yet. I keep my camera in my car and snap pictures when I see views that I love.
Thank you for indulging this post about things I love. What do you love?? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Happiness Initiative: Update

Check out this post by Gretchen Rubin, who is not my inspiration, but may be someone I start to follow:

http://happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2011/03/from-ray-bradbury-love-what-you-love/

The combination of Happiness Project and Ray Bradbury really called to me. I love Ray's comment to his young fan about loving what YOU love regardless of what others think.

My happiness initiative is in its third or fourth week - I actually have forgotten. I am trying the best that I can to focus on positives - hot days? An excuse NOT to go outside! Cranky clients? An opportunity to rejoice in the clients that are pleasant and a joy to be around. The strange communication from the principal that makes little sense to me?? Hmmm.

I am getting ready for the next in my series of webinars for music therapists. It will happen on Thursday evening and should be pretty fun. If you are interested, look at www.musictherapyworks.com for details on how to register.


Keep seeking happiness!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Old Joe Clark

I have a "go-to" song that I use in therapy sessions when I need to get behaviors under control - my behaviors and those of my students. I learned a version of this folk song at my internship at the Center for Neurodevelopmental Studies, Inc. in Phoenix. Arizona, and have used it many, many, MANY times over the years. I use it for its repetitive nature, its opportunity for some social interaction, and for its familiarity to me. I can sing and play this song on autopilot - a skill that allows me to think more about how I need to adapt the song to manage behaviors rather than the music I am presenting.

Now, my version of the song is simple.

Old Joe Clark, he built a house, sixteen stories high, And every story in that house was filled with chicken pie.

Rock and a rock, Old Joe Clark, Rock and a rock, I say. Rock and a rock, Old Joe Clark, we ain't got time to stay.

Being of a curious nature this morning, I decided to see if there was more information about the song out there.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

Old Joe Clark is a folk song, a mountain ballad that was "sung during World War I and later by soldiers from eastern Kentucky."[1] An early version was printed in 1918, as sung in Virginia at that time.[1] Joe Clark was born in 1839,[1][2] a mountaineer who was murdered in 1885.[1] There are about 90 stanzas in various versions of the song.[1] The tune is in mixolydian mode.[3]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Joe_Clark

Here is what a song lyric source has as verses and the chorus (I was glad to see that there weren't 90 stanzas!).

Old Joe Clark's a fine old man, Tell you the reason why, He keeps good likker 'round his house, Good old Rock and Rye.
Chorus
Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark,  Fare ye well, I say, Fare ye well, Old Joe Clark, I'm a going away

Old Joe Clark, the preacher's son, Preached all over the pain, The only text he ever knew Was High, low, Jack and the game

Old Joe Clark had a mule, His name was Morgan Brown, And every tooth in that mule's head Was sixteen inches around

Old Joe Clark had a yellow cat, She would neither sing or pray, She stuck her head in the buttermilk jar, And washed her sins away

Old Joe Clark had a house, Fifteen stories high, And every story in that house
Was filled with chicken pie

I went down to Old Joe's house, He invited me to supper, I stumped my toe on the table leg, And stuck my nose in the butter

Now I wouldn't marry a widder, Tell you the reason why, She'd have so many children, They'd make those biscuits fly

Sixteen horses in my team, The leaders they are blind, And every time the sun goes down There's a pretty girl on my mind

Eighteen miles of mountain road, And fifteen miles of sand, If ever travel this road again I'll be a married man

http://www.bluegrassnet.com/lyrics/o/old-joe-clark

Do you know? I think I will still use my version of the song, but it is interesting to see what else is out there to sing with others. 

Happy singing! 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brainstorming

My current blog themes vary between my current happiness initiative and creativity. Today's blog post will be creativity-based as I am currently a bundle of energy in search of a project. Do you ever get that way?

Now, I enjoy lots of different creative projects. I like to sew, craft, paint, sing, compose, write, draw, you name it! I am a jack-of-all crafts, master of none. This lack of specialization allows me to dabble in lots of things allowing me to find things to do that challenge my current mood.

Right now, I am without a specific project or goal in mind. So, it's time to start brainstorming...

WARNING: Creative process and stream of consciousness writing ahead! Proceed at your own risk!!

I bought three pencil pouches yesterday at the Dollar Tree (love that store!). This got me started thinking about contained activity packets for my M-ee (Music-enhanced education) products...a pencil pouch with three to four therapeutic musical experiences (TMEs), small file folder activities, and songs. Hmmm...

I have some large sheets of paper (also from the Dollar Tree) that have the following statements: IF I RULED THE WORLD and IF I WERE THE PRESIDENT. I have the beginnings of some melodies to go with these visual aids, but nothing has really bloomed yet.

My current senior intern is getting ready to start a position as an itinerant music therapist, so I am thinking about useful storage. I have an idea that incorporates some fabric, a milk crate, and velcro. No clue if it will work the way I want it to, but that is part of the creative process as well.

For me, brainstorming always starts with "what if." 

What if I could make something that would help other therapists keep their clients engaged outside of the music therapy session?

What if I could write a song to go with this visual aid?

What if I could make a tool that could help with organization and transportation of musical instruments in the back of a therapist's car?

Then, and this is the important part for me, I have to write it down! Brainstorming is often based in a moment, and if I do not write things down, I waste time trying to remember my "really great idea." So, I write it down.

Brainstorm over, time to make at least one of these things a reality. I'll keep you updated!

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Summertime Blues

It is summertime - officially now - and we can feel it here. The past three days have been hot, humid, and windy.

The kids are restless, the staff members are cranky, and there may not be a break in the near future. As a result, we are starting to get the summertime blues.

What are the summertime blues you may ask? According to Wikipedia...

"Summertime Blues" is the title of a song co-written and recorded by American rockabilly artist Eddie Cochran. It was written in the late 1950s by Cochran and his manager Jerry Capehart. Originally a single B-side, it was released in August 1958[1] and peaked at number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 on September 29, 1958 and number 18 on the UK Singles Chart. It has been covered by many artists, including being a number-one hit for country music artist, Alan Jackson, and a notable hit for the English rock band, The Who.   
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summertime_Blues

In my reality, the summertime blues manifest themselves as ennui, lethargy, and lassitude in both myself and the persons I serve. The same old songs just do not cut it anymore. So, I find myself looking for new experiences for both myself and the kids in my sessions.


This week was the third round of sessions for my new targeted goal groups. We are finally becoming groups who work with each other rather than three individuals and a therapist. We engaged in some pretty awesome improvisations. 


Ah, the blues. There is a time to wallow and a time to shake yourself out. I am ready to shake myself out of this particular form of blues. Here I go!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Simple Joys

I had a chance to run therapy groups today.

This may sound like a natural thing for a therapist to do during her workday, but I am now supervising two interns, so my work load is pretty much split between the two of them. I don't get much time to make music with my clients these days - I spend most of my time with a clipboard, taking notes, and offering constructive criticism.

I ran two therapy groups and an individual session today. Another group canceled and the guitar lesson folks did not show up.

Today, I had a meeting with the director of therapeutic services for our psychiatric residential treatment facility's residential side of things. Now, you would think that this would be a natural progression for a music therapist, but I am hired by the school rather than by the residential facility. So, after 16 years at the facility, I finally had a conversation with a person who kinda knows what I do and can kinda understand. Kinda.

I started some targeted goal groups this summer and lo and behold, now the PRTF clinicians are doing the same thing. We talked about the program and how music therapy will be fitting into it today. A simple joy and a "duh" moment, but something good for today.

I went to the small library in the town where I work today. I signed up for the summer reading program and got my reading packet. It is focused on reading before bedtime and should be a fun thing to do. There are other events and a book club as well. A simple joy - reading, but one I do better than anything else in the world!

I cleaned the entry way and vacuumed it all up. So, chocolate zingers in my future!!!

Simple joys - part of the happiness initiative. Be happy, friends!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Never Underestimate the Power of Chocolate

The only promise that I make for my interns is, "There will always be chocolate." I cannot promise that I will always be the most effective supervisor, that my attitude will always be positive, or that I will be able to be a good example of a music therapist all the time. I can, however, always promise that chocolate is available when it is needed.

Darth M stands watch over my stash!
My love affair with chocolate started when I was just a small child. My mother potty-trained me with the use of M&Ms. One use of the toilet = one M&M. She used to watch me when I was not aware and states that I only took one M&M after I was finished each and every time. That love affair has just continued as I have become older.

I have started a personal reinforcement schedule involving housework and chocolate. Each morning I establish a task that needs to be completed. At the end of the day, if I have completed my task, I get some chocolate. If not, no chocolate.

My kitchen floor is now sparking clean.

The office should be cleaned and vacuumed by the end of this morning.

The trick to being a good therapist is finding everyone's "Chocolate" - that thing that spurs them on to accomplish their goals and objectives. For some of my clients, the drum set is the most reinforcing thing I can offer. For others, complete control of the stereo's remote control. For yet others, playing with some of my manipulatives is the most reinforcing thing that they can do in the music therapy session.

Once you have found that "chocolate," the key is to use it judiciously. Make that reinforcement contingent upon the desired behavior. Time to exercise some self-control, clean the office, and then get some CHOCOLATE!!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Happiness Initiative - Week Two

My happiness initiative was sorely tested this past week. My brother continues to struggle with his health, his fiance called off their relationship, and he found out that his job is in jeopardy due to his health situation. My entire family is struggling with this situation. In addition, I had a bout with colitis that kept me bedridden for two days. When I went back to work, I found that my paperwork, meeting schedule, and other elements of work have now changed significantly - all decisions made by people who do not have a clue about who I am or what I do.

Sigh.

I am trying to figure out where the happiness is in all of these situations. I am able to find it in my own situations, but the ones with my brother and work are not as easy.

Still, I made a promise to myself to focus on happiness this summer, and I am going to.

I am hoping that my brother will take an opportunity to figure out his life. Unfortunately, as his older sister and a therapist, I want to swoop in and fix what is wrong. Based on past history, that will not be the way to proceed. He has to initiate his own recovery from difficult situations. There is no amount of discussion, assistance, or advice that I can offer that will be helpful. I will wait here until he reaches out to me, sending thoughts of peace his way.

At work, I am going to try to work within the system to change things in a meaningful way rather than just blindly accepting change for change's sake. We have a new vice-prinicipal, the best friend of the principal, who seems bent on making everything at our school the same as the way they did things at her old school. We have extra meetings, more paperwork, and other things happening so she can feel comfortable in her new location. While I do not agree that we should have to change our school atmosphere to make her feel at home, I can understand why she wants some familiarity around her. One of the things that tends to happen with new administrators is the same as what happens with new interns - an overfocus on self rather than on the people being served.

Happiness ideas for next week:
  • three day weekends are wonderful!
  • My Senior intern has only 20 more days - not many more senioritis moments left!
  • My Junior intern is starting to understand things and demonstrate that understanding in her work with clients
  • I have groceries in my pantry again
  • my cat is healthy and a convenient example when I want to take a nap
  • there is chocolate in the music therapy cabinet!
Be happy, friends!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Simplicity

An online music therapy friend of mine posted yesterday that she had witnessed the power of a drum with a client who is mostly nonambulatory. Apparently the child took several steps in order to keep playing the drum, surprising both my friend, the client's father, and the child - once the child realized what was happening.

I love stories like that. I love that it is often the simplest of things that make music therapy such a meaningful form of treatment for so many people. I love that music reaches us all, but I especially love that a trained music therapist is able to recognize the significance of how that music reaches each one of us.

Often the simplest therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) are the best with my clients. There is nothing wrong with making sounds with one another in a free-flowing pattern. I often turn on a background beat (from the organ) and pass out instruments. We play music with one another. The sophistication of our musical experiences vary, but we are all contributing to the experience in real time, in a common environment, and together!

My friend's story illustrates to me the fact that music often allows for work to become play, an almost unconscious interaction for the client. 

Another example of this. My mother is an occupational therapist who works with children with a variety of therapeutic and educational concerns. One day, I went to work with her and followed her around as she worked with kids. She had one little child who needed work on finger strengthening and asked him to place small chips in a color-coded sorting box. He was not showing any interest in the task. She finally persuaded him to try one chip, and I made a strange sound when the chip went into the correct slot. He stopped, looked at me, and picked up another chip. When he had placed the same type of chip in the same slot, I made the same sound. He picked up another, a different color this time, and placed it in its correct slot. New sound! We kept doing this, chip, slot, sound, until he had completed all of the chips three times. He had never completed the task before that time.

Drop the complex visual aids for every TME. Don't bother with having props available all the time. It is important to get back to the basics - rhythm, tempo, meter, and simply making music.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Philosophy

Every so often, I review my written philosophy of music therapy. I require that my interns write a philosophy statement for their marketing packet, and it is important that I have my own as an example. So, I review it periodically and change it as needed. As I have changed in my clinical interaction, my philosophy has also changed. I find the exercise of writing a personal philosophy of music therapy practice an interesting and revealing one.

I have taken my inspiration from several places throughout the years. I was raised by Gaston/Sears descendents, so Gaston and Sears are my first influence. The first two chapters of Music In Therapy offer me the general truths about music that I firmly believe. Music is human behavior (p. 7). Rhythm organizes and also energizes human behavior (p. 17). Esthetic expression is part of being human (p. 21). Music is interpreted through social and cultural modes (p. 22). Music is communication (not a universal language, by the way; p. 23). Music requires time, ability, and sensory ordered behaviors (p. 33). Music provides clients with opportunities to interact with others in real time in a group (p.33).  I could go on and on.


My second major philosophical influence is Kenneth Bruscia. Through reading and rereading his text on defining music therapy, I have found many elements that challenge my practice as a music therapy clinician. I continue to debate whether my level of practice is auxilliary, augmentative, intensive, or primary. I have had to decide that my level of practice flows through all four levels at various times. I find that Bruscia's thoughts about defining music therapy help me to analyze this thing I do every day.


My last major philosophical influence is Carl Rogers. I do not have a text reference for him, but his humanistic approach to psychology and education, with its focus on person-centered planning, has influenced my own ideas about client-directed therapy. His thoughts seem to inform my way of working with my clients rather than what I do with my clients in sessions.

  


Bruscia, K. E. (1998). Defining Music Therapy (2nd Ed.). Barcelona: U.S.A.
Gaston, E. T. (Ed.) (1968). Music In Therapy. Macmillan: New York.
 

Friday, June 08, 2012

Happiness Intitiative - Nuts and Bolts

This is the end of the first week of my happiness initiative.

If you missed the first post about my attempt at changing my amygdala and responses to specific situations, it is the one preceding this post. I will go into some more detail about exactly what makes up this initiative in the following paragraphs. Please bear with me as I work through all of this on this blog...I think well when I can produce a product that I can see.

Anyway, this decision to seek happiness has been an interesting experience. It has required some changes in who I see, how I interact, and what I do in particular situations. Let me explain...

Take a Breath - Do you ever find yourself in situations where you are not breathing in a healthy manner? I do. I have asthma and respiratory infections on a regular basis and find breathing to be a challenge at the best of times. When I am involved in a situation that I find negative, I tend to engage in shallower breathing than necessary. 

Breathing Initiative - I am purposely taking deep breaths whenever I can, and one just doesn't cut it. I am breathing and feeling the oxygen (as well as all the other gases) moving into my body.

Sing - When I was an intern, my internship director noted that she could tell when I was getting stressed in an interaction because my vocal pitch started to climb. She told me to sing instructions rather than to say them.

Singing Initiative - Taking advice from my ID, Sheryl Kelly, and from the article cited in my last post, I am now singing as much as I can. Picture me hurdling down the rural highways, singing about the dinks who cannot follow the basic rules of the road. I find it to be a funny picture. I am singing to myself, to my clients, to my co-workers. The combination of breathing and rhythmic awareness helps me regulate my emotions.

Leaving - There are just some people out there who are not healthy to hang around. I have decided that I will not become toxic in order to be accepted, so, I am not staying around.

Leaving Initiative - I listen, and then disengage. I also seek out others who are more positive about the job, about their circumstances, about life in general. It is easy to be pulled down and more difficult to be pulled up. I choose people who lift me up.

So, you may be wondering what this has to do with music therapy...

A therapist, first and foremost, has to be able to focus on the client in the session. As a human being, a therapist may have situations going on in a personal life that interfere with focusing on the client. A therapist who is unable to focus on the client is not effective. A therapist who loses focus on the client is heading towards burnout.

Now, I am not saying that a therapist has to be devoid of all emotion. That is not possible, but if a therapist is only able to focus on the negative situations in life, then he or she is not able to assist the client towards their goal. All the therapist will see is the failure, not the small successes.

My goal for the next 7 weeks is to become happier in all areas of my life - work, home, family. Join me?

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Happiness Initiative

I am practicing positivity in my life right now. Just in case you don't know, things were pretty rough last year and being positive was difficult. I do not like to be a negative person, so I am actively practicing positivity.

I was helped along yesterday by an article on the MSN page, http://living.msn.com/life-inspired/find-happiness-in-unexpected-places . This little article was just enough to continue me on my path towards being happy in my work situation and reminded me that happiness is a learned habit - thanks, amygdala!

Much like learning to do anything else, our brain needs practice in being positive. The article states that our brain evolved as a finely tuned instrument for survival. We had to be able to recognize negative or dangerous situations, react to those situations quickly, and engage in our fight/flight response immediately to simply stay alive. As a result, our brains have a tendency to react more strongly to the negative happenings in our lives. We have to help out that amygdala every once in a while to see the other things going on - the daisies, the good books, the ice cream cones. By actively practicing happiness, we give the fight/flight response a rest, and we are able to see positives in more situations than before.


I work with kids who have VERY finely tuned fight/flight responses. Many of them have had to develop sophisticated strategies to avoid abusive situations. Those patterns are difficult to change, even when they are no longer in dangerous situations. It is amazing to see the amygdalar (is that a word?) response to a nonthreatening (at least to me) stimulus in a small child. One of the most important parts of our job is to assist clients in learning about safety and how to respond to potential threats.


Working with a client who has reason for fear is often challenging. It requires patience on the part of the therapist in waiting for the client to approach, in providing examples of appropriate reactions and responses, in teaching what society expects, in modulating responses, and in sharing the joy of accomplishment. The therapist cannot install enjoyment into the client, the client has to make the active decision to engage, enjoy, participate, and find their own happiness in their treatment.


We are fortunate. Music is a great way to find enjoyment and induce engagement, participation, giggles, and relationships. Music therapy is a wonderful modality for assisting clients to find some happiness, to give the amygdala's fight/flight response a break, to provide positive interactions that offer so much more than just talk.


(Did you notice that the second suggestion for turning negative situations into less stressful situations was to sing?)


Off to find a positive at work today.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Administrative Tasks

I find it interesting that most interns do not seem to understand what an administrative task looks like. As the AIAC chair, I don't think I am leaking a big secret when I say that interns regularly score their Internship Directors and Supervising Music Therapists the lowest on teaching administrative tasks during internships. I find this tied to an unclear definition of "administrative tasks (ATs)."

Yesterday, I spent quite a bit of time with my two interns teaching them about scheduling (AT). I demonstrated my process in a way that would be easy for them to see. I placed the names of all 93 students on sticky notes (I LOVE super-sticky post-its in all types of colors and sizes!) and placed the names on the cabinets in the music room. I then took a large piece of paper, divided it into four sections (lessons, small group, individual and ???), and asked my interns to place each child in a place on the paper. They had to place all kids in the category where they fit the best - the ??? category was reserved for kids that were new and unknown to us.

After all kids had been sorted, we started talking about prioritizing students based on interest, need, and goals. We grouped students together, we talked about pairings, we arranged our dream groups, and then set off to finish the schedule.

Aaah, scheduling - a never-ending process of negotiation, rearranging, and compromising (all on my part) to get the kids that I want together together in the music room.

During this entire process, I kept reinforcing the concept that scheduling is an administrative task - as well as session planning, staff meetings, advocacy for music therapy, and marketing. We shall see how my interns rate me on teaching administrative skills!

Monday, June 04, 2012

...And I'm Off!

It is time to go back to work. This thought both saddens and excites me. I am sad because I have to be awake and ready to go by 6am - blech! I am excited because it is time to get ready for a new school session. There will be new co-workers, new students, and new music therapy sessions.

The only problem is that there are two inservice days to get through before I can get to the new music therapy opportunities.

I am not a person who sits still easily. I fidget and squirm and yawn and have to take notes in order to stay awake. Fortunately, I am in the midst of a professional bunch of people who are also attention-challenged. I feel that this version of hyperactivity goes with hyper-acuity - something that serves us well with the kids that we serve. We must be able to move and anticipate what clients will do before they respond. What makes us a good team for kids with developmental and psychiatric concerns does not make us a good inservice audience.

After the inservice portion of the day, I will spend some time scheduling my individual sessions and my adaptive lessons. The final parts of the schedule that need to be completed are some brand new groups focused and targeted on specific psychiatric goals and objectives. Tomorrow is a longer sitting day.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

The End of a Good Thing and the Beginning of Another

Today is the last day of my summer break. Tomorrow, I go back to work for our Extended School Year. It is time to get back into the therapy groove, into supervisor mode, and finding new ways to engage clients in using music to reach their goals.

Vacation is one of the best things to refresh my work ethic.

I enjoy time off, but I also enjoy my job. There is something about being alone for an extended period of time to reinforce that I enjoy being around my clients. I look forward to getting back into the routine of groups, individual sessions, and daily interaction with people.


Over the past week, I have spent time by myself. This is an essential part of my renewal and refreshing routine. I looked through my music therapy texts, songbooks, and TME file. I have completed a project and have started a couple more (of course!). I am now getting back into "work mode," and I am starting to make plans for the next seven weeks of summer school.


There are several things that I want to accomplish in the next two months. The first is survive the session. The second is to start a new focused therapy group format with some of my higher functioning kids. The third is to enjoy some time away from work.


The end of vacation is the beginning of a good thing. Talk to you soon!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Random Thoughts

There are times when I just post random thoughts on this blog. This is one of those posts - sorry in advance...

Sometimes clients are like mystery stories - they are a puzzle to figure out. How should this person be approached? What is the best way to engage this client in this particular time and mood? Why doesn't the "prescribed" plan work? Lots of questions for a therapist to consider and figure out.

My bag of tricks... Yesterday, Cathy Knoll posted the following:
WORD OF THE DAY for Friday, June 1, 2012 from Dictionary.com
armamentarium \ahr-muh-muhn-TAIR-ee-uhm\, noun:
1. A fruitful source of devices or materials available or used for an undertaking.
2. The aggregate of equipment, methods, and techniques available to one for carrying out one's duties.
She used this as an example of her "bag of tricks" that she takes from session to session. I think of my personal "bag of tricks" as my Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) file. My TME file has been with me for many years - more than I've been an MT. It started as an index card box and is being transformed into an electronic database as we speak. 
This armamentarium of mine has been my cache of ideas, my inspiration, and my challenge. I have placed ideas of mine, of my interns, of music therapists that I revere, and of complete strangers into my "bag of tricks." It is my lifeline to creativity, and I encourage others to find their way to find creativity as well.
Living in the moment...There is nothing better than getting so wrapped up in what you are doing that you forget all about time.
I hope that you have the opportunity to be creative, to live in a moment, and to figure out the mystery of a client in music therapy.