Showing posts from April, 2013

The Library Update - Week One

It is now the first week (+ one day) of my foray into my personal library. I have spent about an hour each day reading something in my music therapy library, and now it is time to start reflecting on that reading.

First, process reflection...

I set out to read a portion of a music therapy textbook for an hour every evening. Starting out, an hour was very easy to accomplish. As the week went on, though, other things started to intrude - work situations, medical issues, and disinterest in the subject matter started to interfere. CHALLENGE! I expanded my definition of "music therapy text" to include the songbooks that I also have been collecting for years and years and years. This appeared to be a solution for my unrest later in the week.

I read book chapters by Wigram, Baker, Plach, Campbell, Nygaard Pedersen, Hirsch, Jellison, and Bonde. I also found musical inspiration in some of my songbooks from the Wee Sing series.

The process is interesting. I take some time at the end of ea…

New Inspirations

One of my music therapy "friends" (in quotes because I have never actually met her, but have read her blog and conversed with her in several different social media formats over the years), Roia Rafieyan, just posted a link to a blog that she reads. I checked out the blog, What a Shrink Thinks, and found that it resonated with me as well. Thank you, Roia, for sharing this valuable resource!

Here is a link to a post that I found especially relevant and interesting:

This post talks about the fine line that therapists have when being a secret keeper and it acknowledges that the secret keeper has to be able to analyze and set down the secret in order to function. The author, Martha Crawford, speaks frankly about her need to blog in order to assist herself in processing what she experiences as a psychotherapist. She is very clear that she does not blog to ask for help with client issues and remains in the ethical and confident…

What Your 2nd Grader Needs to Know

Way back when I was getting my Master's degree, I became VERY interested in cultural literacy, specifically in using music to assist folks in learning information. I bought two books edited by E. D. Hirsch, Jr. that listed "core knowledge" for specific age groups. I recently saw these books on my shelf and decided to crack them again.

I love these books. I love how they are compendia (please excuse my possible misspelling of the plural of compendium) of general knowledge. In the book for second graders (the grade my sister teachers), the folks who contributed to this idea of core knowledge decided that students should know lots of things. There are stories and poems, myths from Greece and Rome, and some parts of speech. The next section includes world geography, world civilization, and American civilization. Then we come to fine arts. Second graders are supposed to know about musical instruments, melodies, scales, octaves, volume, and different forms of music - patriotic,…

The Library

I am going through things here at home during my snow week. I am taking an inventory of my therapy stuff and am organizing things a bit to make room for the stuff coming home during renovation year at work. It has been interesting to see all of the stuff that I have tucked away over the years.

I am probably close to being a hoarder - I blame the generations before me that were my models, depression-era grandparents who never threw anything away, and a mother that has inherited that tendency as well.

Anyway, one of the the things that I am taking some time to do is to catalog my music therapy library. I have lots of books about music therapy, about human development, and about philosophy. These are the result of my recent education addiction, something I've had to give up cold turkey since I can no longer afford to throw money away on a degree that I will never actually earn, but I digress. I am fortunate to have an original copy of Music In Therapy, edited by none other than E. Thay…

Snow Week

It is day four of snow week, that nifty situation where I get time off after working on days where the weather is nasty. I have chosen, due to a bunch of work situations, to take an entire week off this week. I am a bit over half-way through, but I am enjoying this time to myself.

During this week, I have been challenged to organize my living space. I have a deadline of Thursday since I will need to start storing my extraneous stuff at home instead of at work. (There are major renovations starting at work, so I will need to move out of my big, beautiful music room for a closet shared by the art therapist, my music therapy intern #21, and me. Space will be limited, so things need to be stored here at home. Also, things need to be easily accessed here at home so I can take things to work as they are needed. I am trying to figure out how to do those things. In order to get there, I have to clear out things around here.

So, that is my job - clearing things out. I am throwing out things dail…

Other Duties As Assigned...

Yesterday was a day filled with out-of-the-ordinary work tasks. We had the luau (our prom-alternative) followed by the first ever participation of my facility in another school's event. It was a VERY long day, but it was a good reminder for me about several things.

First, kids like to have fun. Staff members like to have fun. There need to be times when kids are the priority, not the fun of staff members.

Second, not everyone is like me in personality and demeanor. Others do not find it strange that kids are roaming around unsupervised while 17 staff members are cheering other staff members on in the bouncy house.

Third, we all have fun in different ways.

Fourth, extroverts are not always good at things like planning fun days or field trips. They have the idea and decide it will be so - leave it to the others to figure things out.

Fifth, blue food coloring stains hands.

Okay, rant over. (I think.)

I enjoy watching my clients engage in fun activities. I like watching them play, and I REA…
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I love Emerson. He almost always has something to say that resonates with me and my situation. A music therapy acquaintance (someone I have never actually met, but you know how that goes) posted this quote on her facebook feed and I took it as my own. 
That's it for today, because I feel that's enough for me. Enjoy your day.

Snow Week is Coming!

What is a "snow week" you may ask?

Well - remember all of those snow days where I spent the night at my facility and worked with a skeleton staff to provide services to the residential students? Now I get to reap the rewards of those days! I get to take some time off!

This is a strange situation, but it works for us, so I don't complain. I have three snow days left to use before the end of June. The original plan was to take days off when kids weren't in school (we have FOUR inservice days at the beginning of the summer session for goodness' sake!), but recent developments have changed that plan drastically.

Our school is long overdue for an update, and we are getting one. Construction may start as soon as July 1 and will last for 6-8 months. During that time, all of the classrooms will be relocated outside of the building. I thought my new music room would be safe, but sadly, no. It will be needed as a classroom during that time, so into a closet I go (along with t…

Into Every Apartment, A Little Rain Must Fall?

You know, I was feeling sorry for myself, being broke and lonely during the recent SWR/MWRAMTA music therapy conference (if you don't know what this is, don't worry about it!). Then, as I posted a couple of days ago, there was a small leak in my apartment. The leak was reported and it just plain old got worse. By yesterday afternoon, the leak was a regular waterfall requiring lots of attention and the cut-off of all water to the place upstairs! I found my silver lining in this situation - It was a GREAT thing that I was at home instead of traveling back to find a swamp...been there, done that!

I took the reassurance of the building owner (I've got HIS number on speed dial!) that something would be done. I went off to work after moving Bella-cat's food into the bedroom so she didn't have to sully her little cat feet by walking across the large pond in the hallway, and returned to find a fan. The guy moved my fan and my dehumidifier (left over from the last water cata…

Sniff, Sniff

I'm currently sitting on my bed, at 4:30 am, listening to the dehumidifier and the constant drip, drip, drip from the apartment above, thinking about things and feeling sorry for myself. Yep, that's right. It's an overwhelming feeling of self-pity going on out here in my abode. Poor me, poor me, poor me!

Pretty silly, hunh?

This weekend, my Facebook updates were full of music therapists doing music therapy things in the company of other music therapists. It was conference weekend and lots of folks were out in various locations in their regions doing things. I had friends who were excited about giving their first presentations, friends who were enjoying time with other friends, and friends who were learning new things about music.

I am not there. Now, before I get too far down Depression Avenue, you need to know that I am not at the conference due to my own issues and situations. A trip to the emergency room this winter, increasing costs of living, things breaking around me, d…


Last Friday, on my way into work, I spent lots of time imagining scenarios with co-workers and administrators. (In my defense, I am on some pretty heinous medications that are messing with my attitude, mood, and sleep cycles - almost not worth the purported cure...but I digress here...). I went to my job and found that some of those scenarios were not hypothetical. Ugh. I went through my morning routine. The day progressed. Two co-workers were not going to be available to assist in running the day's sessions. Bus room was cold, hectic, and frustrating. One co-worker snapped at me when I was trying to do my job. I was feeling frustrated, unappreciated, and invisible.

Then, I received an email that sent me over the edge. We have a traveling trophy that is really quite hideous. It moves from person to person in a monthly rotation. Folks add something to this "Prophy" before sending it on to the next person. I got it this month. The email that came with this dubious honor sta…

Philosophy Shifts


As funding for children with developmental and psychiatric concerns is changing in my state, the way these kids obtain treatment is dramatically shifting as well. This is leading to new challenges for the people who have the task of providing meaningful treatment experiences. I am one of those people.

There is something interesting about living in a time when health care is changing rapidly, but there are MANY challenges as well. Let me explain what I'm thinking about here...

For years, I have worked with kids who were with us for a significant period of time. I was able to establish a therapeutic relationship based on substantial observations and interactions. I was able to adjust my schedule to accommodate their needs, once those music therapy needs were identified. Now, a kid comes to us for about 90 days - we have had a complete change from that of developmental/intellectual disability to mental health funding, necessitating the changes in the facility.

I find myself …