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Showing posts from 2013

Goodbye 2013!

I am very glad to see the end of this year. When it started, things were looking up for me - some money in the bank, an end to an education that just wasn't working for me, appliances that worked well, a new car... various and sundry good things that made the dawn of 2013 seem like a fresh start.

It didn't last long.

I'm not going to dwell on all the things that happened this year. Let's just say that the end of this year is not something to regret around me.

So, on the dawn of this new year, here are some music therapy things that I am looking forward to...
a new intern, maybe two this year, maybe three...the launch of another series of webinars...CMTE pre-approved provider status - FINALLY!presenting at the Midwestern AMTA regional meeting in Springfield, MO this springwatching the new music room being built - brick by brickadvocacy month followed by membership monthtalking to IDs and interns about important music therapy stuffand, most importantly, GETTING TO WORK WITH …

Fun Stuff - A Completed Project - Maybe

Can you keep a secret? (You really don't have to, if you don't want to!) I think I've finished the first draft of my first Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) book! I am being somewhat cautious 'cause I've had these thoughts before and just watched them fizzle away... but, this time I think I've got it!

As I have explored with you in many MANY other posts before, I get bogged down by feelings of inadequacy - I call those feelings my "woulda, coulda, shoulda goblins." I had a particularly bad episode with the "shoulda goblin" a couple of weeks ago that led to me having some rough nights coupled with insomnia and an allergy attack. This was after influenza, but before the start of my winter break. It was not a good thing.

So, anyway, after wallowing in the "poor me's" for a time, I looked around for something that would be a proactive step towards banishing "shoulda" for a time. I came up with an idea that I have been tryi…

A Gift to Music Therapy

It is almost time for the dreaded registration fees to come around again. Now, I have never felt that membership in AMTA was an option. This may have been influenced by my mother and her insistence that she always be a member of AOTA (the American Occupational Therapy Association) even when she was not actively practicing, and this was definitely influenced by my first round of professors. AMTA membership was not an option!

Due to those two reasons, I always re-up my membership around the first of the year.

It is time to do so again, so I'm going to my banking site and will be sending out the first payment towards this new membership year. Like I said, this isn't an option for me.

Do you know what I've noticed over my many years of being a music therapy association member? AMTA does lots and lots for each and every one of us, even when we are not physically involved in a situation. Also, when you are physically involved in a situation, the folks at AMTA will drop what they ar…

Looking Forward

It is the time of year to spend some time trying to figure out personal goals and objectives for the next 12 months - resolutions. Often these statements start with "I resolve to..." and follow similar patterns - lose weight, eat better, save money, work out, blah, blah, blah. Many of us stop following through with our resolutions within a week or two. I am one of those people, so it is time to make a change in how I approach the New Year.

So, rather than making resolutions, I will make some predictions for 2014...
I feel that 2014 will be a better health year for me (2013 was very rough and EXTREMELY expensive health-wise)I will FINALLY get my CMTE pre-approved statusThere will be big changes in my personal and professional future that will happen during 2014...That's it.

That's all I got!

...and that is okay!

Happy New Year, everyone!! (Just a couple of days early!)

Revisiting the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

It was another "early-to-rise" day in my household. I awoke at 2am with a raging sinus headache and a non-stop runny nose - darn expired allergy medications! I quickly realized that neither of these things would be conducive to returning to sleep, so I started my day. I picked up the house and have just finished making breakfast/dinner (sloppy joes are good any time of day!). I have played several mind-numbing games on the computer, and I have finished my gift wrapping.

Every time I am up this early in the morning. my mind goes towards the need to be occupied in some sort of task. I wonder why I need a task to work towards, but I do, so I embrace that part of myself and move along. Today, my primary tasks have been of the sorting and cleaning type, but I am pretty well finished with what I can do before the decent hour of 7am, so here I sit watching Farscape and thinking. Sorry about that.

What do I think about? Anything and everything that pops into my brain at this time of t…

The Exception That Proves the Rule

So, you may have read through my rant about not liking the music saturation that pervades the months of October through December. Now, the music that is the exception to my rule of no music (outside of work, of course)...

John Denver and the Muppets
This album of music just warms my heart in ways that no other seasonal music does or can. I love these songs, mainly because I grew up with the Muppets and have ALWAYS loved John Denver. This album puts me right into the mood of the holiday season, no matter where I am, what I am doing, or who I am with at the moment.
There aren't too many people out there (that I've found, anyway) that share my enthusiasm for this collection of songs, but I still love them all! It is difficult for me to pick my favorite song, but here I go...
Best for a giggle - Twelve Days of Christmas (especially Miss Piggy!) The ones that make me cry - Noel: Christmas Eve 1913, When the River Meets the Sea, and Silent Night
The others are also great, but not ones tha…

Music? Bah, Humbug!

I am a Christmas music Scrooge. I am the type of person who avoids all stores from the period after Halloween to the post-Christmas sales simply due to the constant and pervasive repetition of hymns, carols, and songs that permeate my every conscious second. I cannot ignore the music that is played, and it bothers me.

Most of my friends don't understand this aversion that I have to singing the same old songs over and over and over again. They love listening to the "all Christmas, all the time" radio stations that pop up around here. I have to escape and retreat into silence.

Lately, I have noticed that others (in my social media life, so mostly music therapists) are starting to post about their own aversions to the music of this season. I have been relieved to know that I am not the only Christmas music Scrooge out there.

In my therapy sessions, I find myself waiting until the very last possible moment to bring in the Santa-themed songs and the Christmas music. I try to rem…

Just Full Up

I am full up of the music therapy goodness that happens often for me - it is a refreshing change from the goblin-filled thoughts of a day ago...  

Yesterday was a good therapy day.

I actually had a chance to run music therapy groups (with drums) during my day, and I spent some time with some great kids! It was the perfect way to banish that shoulda goblin from the forefront to the background (but he hasn't left entirely yet...).

We used a variety of drums yesterday in my two groups. With my students, I typically do not do anything really fancy with them until we can entrain to a steady and common beat. This is always an interesting exercise. Some of my students entrain quickly and easily - others do not. It seems that most of my nonentrainers are higher functioning, need less supports, and have diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum towards the Asperger's range. Sometimes they seem to be fighting the urge to entrain to a beat. If I change my pattern to match theirs, they change their …

The Shoulda Goblin Strikes Again...

I am a fan of a blogger/artist/author named Danny Gregory who draws things and is quite the philosopher. He talks lots about his creative process, the people that inspire him, and about his doubts about his own talent. He wrote a series of posts about his "monkeys" - the doubts that sink into his brain and stay awhile. I can relate.

My doubts don't take the form of monkeys, they come in full-out goblin form. (See my former post, Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Goblins for more.)

Yesterday, the most difficult of my goblins, the Shoulda Goblin, came out in full force.

I had an off day. I had a change of schedule that meant that there was less opportunity to run sessions than usual. I was supposed to have physical behavior management training that kept me out of the other music therapy session that was scheduled. I asked my intern to take over that session, which she did since her session had been canceled. I went up to the training room with three other people and sat there for a tim…

5:38 am - Therapeutic Music Experience Time

Thoughts About My Next Project

So, I am happiest when I have a project, problem, or conundrum. I am currently thinking and searching for my next idea...

Here is the thought process...

Hmmm. I'm bored. Things are going okay, but I don't feel challenged. Hmmm. Let's go troll around the music therapy blogosphere to see what's out there. Hmmm. Not much that's new. What if I type in "music therapy with adolescents?" It's all about lyric analysis. BORING! I hate only doing lyric analyses. There is SO much more to music therapy than just lyric analysis... Hmmm...
The birth of an idea.
So, how about a collection of therapeutic music experiences for and by adolescents? Does that sound interesting?? It's interesting for me. Hmmm. What have I got in my TME file?
So, now I am going to start plugging away at getting an e-Book ready. Something to do in my spare time over the next couple of months. We'll see.
Step one: just start Step two: keep going Step three: keep going again! Step four: figure out what t…

Major Fail on My End

So sorry that it has been so long since my last post. I REALLY try hard not to be one of those bloggers that posts something once every five or six months. I REALLY try to post something weekly, even if it is just some random thoughts that have been rattling around in my brain...

Anyway, it's been two weeks since I last posted something on this page. I have no defense other than to say that life has been a bit overwhelming lately culminating with a case of influenza that has knocked me down a bit. I'm now on the mend and starting to get myself under control (I think!).

SO...

I figured out something about myself last week. Now, this is not really a new something, but something I had forgotten. Are you ready? 

I am happiest when I have a problem or puzzle to solve.
I think this is why I stayed a student for so very long. I love puzzles, problems, and conundrums - the more difficult and convoluted, the better when it comes to me! I love looking for answers and all the ways of getting …

Thankful Things

Over the past four weeks, I have leading a Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) with my students. We are talking, singing, and rapping about the things that we are thankful for. Now, these kids have developmental/intellectual disabilities and concurrent psychiatric issues, so most folks don't expect too much from them - wrongly so! We made Thankful Turkeys and then sang about what we put on our Turkeys. Most of the responses were to be expected from kids - my family, turkey, an X-box, pumpkin pie. Some of them were profound. "I am thankful that I have shelter." "I am thankful that this is a good place." "I am thankful that I can eat everything I want." "I am thankful for being away from my family."

TMEs like this always challenge me on a personal and professional level. Professionally, I need to be reminded that my clients do not always know what I knew as a child - consistency, shelter, food, security. I need the reminder that I am a person wh…

What a Crew!

I'm not exactly sure how it got started. but there is a fun feed on Twitter right now - #FakeAMTAProposals. I would like to take this opportunity to state that music therapists are a creative, punny bunch of people! Gotta love the things that are going on in the minds of music therapy students, interns, and professionals out there! Check out the feed!

So, what would you accomplish if you had an opportunity to create something for the benefit of music therapy?

I often think that no one out there would be interested in the things that I do and make for my music therapy practice. One of the good things about being connected to this vast world of music therapy in social media is that there is always someone out there who is interested - you just have to let people know!

This seems as good a time as any to make some goals for the year...
To get preapproved provider status from CBMT for once and for all!To offer products and courses - things I REALLY love doing with and for the people I lov…

Disappearing...but Just for a Time

Well, I set off for the AMTA National Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, fully intending to blog about my experiences daily, but...

As you can see, I did not do so at all! Now, after a day of walking around in a semi-hysterical fog, I feel like I am starting to recover from the activity that happened this past week. It's now time to start thinking about what I did and what I learned during this conference! So, here we go!

The best thing about this conference was talking - to groups of people and to individuals - ESPECIALLY the individuals! I had a good discussion with my former professor on the plane to Jacksonville - we were assigned seats next to each other and spoke about anything and everything - music therapy, retirement, professional career development, AMTA membership - lots of information in a 45-minute discussion! I spent some time with a therapist who was introduced to me last conference and who has become a good friend. We talked about board certification and our own ch…

The Amazingness of Technology

I finally have joined the iPod wave. For this year of renovations at work, I realized that I would not have my old reliable CDs and stereo system attached to my cart, so I asked for an iPod. Now, I am NOT an apple person AT ALL, so the decision to get an iPod was carefully considered and extremely difficult for me. I decided the iPod was the way to go since my iTunes program was more easily accessed using work's network and servers than Windows Media Player or the whole Zune fiasco. I also like the 160GB of memory that allows me to sync most of my music library to one device...

So, I am now getting used to the iPod. My clients seem to enjoy the fact that there is something for everyone on that little box. They do not understand why I bought the iPod classic rather than the Touch version - I did it so I would have a bit of control over what they were seeing and listening to...

This just amazes me.

When I started my career as a music therapist, CDs were the newest thing - pretty intere…

An Introvert at AMTA

It is almost time for the AMTA National Conference - a time of great fun, friends, and an utter switch in how I spend my life. I'm an introvert. I like to spend time by myself and need alone time to relax and re-energize. Alone time is a scarce commodity at the conference.

I am getting myself ready for this next week by making my plans.
Scheduling one to one meetings at various timesOpting out of some social events in favor of sleeping or just sitting in my room for relaxing and thinkingPlanning my time carefullyTaking my art journal for on-the-spot relaxationIt's not a fool-proof plan, but I am hoping it works for me.

I will be the person who is finding a place to sit so I can watch others socialize.If you are also an introvert, look for me on the fringes of the exhibit spectacular and sitting just outside interesting presentations (not inside since I have to leave during most of them for one meeting or another...). Please talk to me since I probably won't initiate a convers…

AMTA 2013 is Only 10 Days Away!

Yipes!

Only 10 days left until one of the most fulfilling and most challenging times of my year - the American Music Therapy Association National Conference!

In 10 days, I will be leaving home for the riverfront of Jacksonville, Florida for five days of meetings, networking, discussions, and opportunities to immerse myself in music therapy. It is wonderful to be able to sit in a meeting and listen to people who know what music therapy is without having to define it over and over again. It is great to be around a community that uses music everyday for therapeutic reasons and outcomes. I enjoy seeing old friends, meeting students, actually personally interacting with people that I only know from social media, and making new music therapy connections. That is fun, rewarding, and fulfilling for a therapist who spends lots of time on her own in a job where only one other person even has an inkling of what music therapy is about.

Now for the challenging parts. Conference is a busy time and esp…

Darkness

It is the end of Daylight Savings Time and things are just plain old dark around here these days. As you know from one of my MANY rants about this, I do not understand why we change our time, but this post will not continue down that path. Today, I am going to muse about the things that I like to attribute to the descent of darkness.

Any time we monkey around with the time, my pet, my clients, and my own functioning level change. This week was just plain old strange. Clients did not respond to music therapy the way they usually do - it was just plain old strange. The cat has no problem waking me up at 3:45, exactly one hour earlier than I now need to be awake. She hasn't really understood that it is fine to stay in bed an extra hour. I slipped and fell AGAIN on Monday after school which I blame on the fact that it was actually "home" time instead of "work" time. I was exhausted and fell in a hole. Ugh.

I am a person who enjoys a good night's sleep. I have alw…

An Extra Hour

I have never understood why we change our clocks twice per year. People go on and on about how it saves electricity and is better for the farmers... I still don't get it. There is the same amount of light available during the day whether we call it 4pm or 3pm. Animals and plants respond to the sunlight available, not the time on the clock. It is ridiculous.

If we have to do this every year, I'm glad for this day - FALL BACK DAY! There is a luxury in having an extra hour to take care of work, play, and other pursuits of happiness. Today, for example, I woke up at a unknown time (but well before the light clicked on at 3:25am. I enjoyed the opportunity to stay in bed for an extra hour before arising to feed the cat, answer emails, and blog. Now, I have lots of time before leaving my place to go to my Sunday morning job. I am ready to go now, but I have more time! What a luxury that I wish I had all the time!

Today I am choosing to use my extra hour for music therapy work - corresp…

I'm Truly Humble

When I logged into Blogger this morning, I found that the number of blog views has hit 10.063! Wow! Now, I know the scheme of all things "bloggy." 10,000 may not be a great statistic in 7 years, but for a little place where I post random thoughts and ideas about music as a therapeutic medium and what happens in my small world of music therapy, it is pretty tremendous to think that people out there in the internet have looked at these posts over 10,000 times. Thank you!

So, anyway, back to the normal state of things here at music, therapy, and me

This week's inspired Therapeutic Music Experience (TME), the Anger Monster Mash, seemed to be a hit for most of my students. Depending on the overall level of function for group members, we talked about our responses to feeling angry. We evaluated whether the responses were "good" or "bad," specifically in terms of hurting self, others, or property. One group labeled each of the 11 monsters with a behavior. Ot…

Inspiration

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I am a borderline hoarder. I have lots of stuff and have difficulty throwing things out, but you can still see carpet and flooring in my home, so I feel pretty good about my borderline status. The only reason that this is relevant is that I want to write about inspiration and my home contains most of my materials.

One question I get asked lots is, "Where do you get your ideas?"

The answer to that question is difficult as I do not have any one place or technique that I use to find ideas. I engage in some mindless wandering, directed brainstorming, and feverish writing to get all the ideas down.

So, my house becomes my inspirational starting point.

As you can see, I have lots of stuff. I have poetry books, stuffed animals, and instruments within reach of my desk. There are pockets of instruments scattered around the front room. I have random bits of whimsy on the shelves, the walls, hanging from the ceiling. I use all of these things to help me find inspiration when I am stumped.

W…