Showing posts from June, 2013

The Return of the Online Conference for Music Therapy

It's back! The Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT) is heading back to a computer near you in February 2014. This will be the third year that this conference has been held, and I'm looking forward to it.

If you have NO idea what I'm talking about, I'll be happy to explain.

In 2010, John Lawrence, a music therapist from Canada, sent out an email on the music therapy listserv asking for people to talk about starting an online conference. I was interested in learning more about streaming media, so I responded. Lo and behold, I was then part of the founding committee for the first and second OCMTs.

Do you know what I like about this conference? Pajamas!! I love that I have a chance to spend time with music therapists from around the world without having to leave my home. I enjoy the opportunity to soak in knowledge, experiences, and new relationships during an international conference. In addition, I get a chance to earn CMTEs. What a great deal.

Now, if you have only at…

Let's Get Over Ourselves, Folks

I am a member of a Facebook group for music therapists. This group is a good thing and a bad thing. Currently, there is a MAJOR discussion going on about censorship, thread jacking, attacks, purpose, and the way we are with each other.

I've noticed that whenever there is a post that sparks controversy, there are three or four people who take it that direction. They seem to love arguing and will criticize every little thing that someone says. If a person asks for assistance in using a resource, song, or material with a client, we all of a sudden start conversing about conformity. "Why is the therapist forcing this client to participate in an experience that requires conformity with others." No actual consideration of the client, the client's goals, or anything about the client in the discussion. That was not the original intent of the postee. she just wanted an idea about how to use something with a client. The thirty-plus comments about whether we should make clients …

Being an Introvert

Lately, I have been very much involved in the world of introverts. I have a friend who is a life coach specifically for introverts, several new communities of like-minded people, and an increased awareness of what it means to be introverted. It has been an interesting thing to contemplate.

I am an introvert. Every scale that I have completed has shown that I am as far on the introversion side of the scale as you can actually get. It is a bit of a relief to know that I am not alone out there in the world!

As I have been immersing myself in the world of introversion (it's a solitary journey, as we all prefer it!), I have found that many of the things that bother me and many of the things about me that bother other people are traits of the introverted tribe. It is completely normal for me to not want to go to social events, to get there and watch rather than jumping into social interaction with both feet, and to leave before the party really gets going. There are other people out there…

Advocacy - The Best Kind

Today I was sitting in a recovery room after having a CT scan done, and the very friendly gentleman sitting waiting for his wife struck up a conversation with me. It quickly evolved into a discussion about every part of my life and lots of information about him, his wife, and their lives. I had already gleaned some of the information about why they were at the hospital due to a conversation he had had with another person waiting for tests in the waiting room.

The conversation turned towards what I do for a living (he is a pharmacist and has worked at his business for 40 years - first job...absolutely loves it...there you go). I, of course, mentioned that I was a music therapist. We spoke a bit more and his wife entered the room to start her own recovery.

A bit later in the conversation, he mentioned to his wife that I was a music therapist and she asked the inevitable question, "So, what do you do with that exactly."

I answered her the way I always do, explaining that music the…

A Sick Day...Sorta

Today, I am sitting in my home, waiting for a doctor's appointment rather than going to work. It's a sick day that was not expected, wanted, or appreciated, but I am determined to make the best of this time.

Lately, I have been having lots of problems with my intestines (Did you stop reading here? That's okay!), and I think I'm heading into a new round of issues. Blech. This may complicate things like my family's vacation to support me during some medical tests that may not be able to happen if this situation continues. This is causing additional stress in my life that is not good for the gut issues. It seems like a never-ending cycle. First, gut pain, then gut takes over everything that I am thinking about and everything that I am planning. My life goes on hold as I try to figure out things like, "Can I make it through an entire session without exploding?" and other such thoughts that pass through my head at random moments. Client concerns kind of go out…

The Library - Looking Through the Songbooks

I haven't done much reading in my music therapy textbooks this week. Instead, I have been drawn to my TME files, my songbooks, and my books of poetry. I'm not really sure why I have eschewed all theoretical reading for more creative reading, but it may have something to do with the heat, with the things happening at work, and with nothing at all, just boredom.

I think one of the things that I am unable to pass by is a songbook. I love having music. I enjoy looking at the songs that others have composed. I want to know the stories behind their composition, and I use songbooks to help myself become more creative with my clients. It is amazing how many songs there are out there that can be adapted to help my clients meet their goals. With a little bit of practice, I can take those songs into sessions and use them.

My favorite books are Fake Books. If you don't know what a Fake Book is, it is time to look through one or two. I am much more of a guitarist than a pianist. I think …

The Week in Review

This wasn't a bad week. In fact, it was pretty interesting and quite intriguing.

Music therapy sessions went well. I am in light schedule mode as I am organizing my last summer of individual sessions before the renovation. Next year, my plan for individual and small group sessions will be vanishing. There is a problem with being based in a closet that puts a crimp in doing individual therapy... anyway!

This week we explored songwriting lyrics. I am trying out a session series with my older kids who need lower levels of support to complete activities of daily living. Last week, we improvised a simple summer song. We talked about the rules of improvisation (there are none) and then started. Groups were receptive and did everything that I asked - without protesting! This week we completed a fill-in-the-blank song about preferences and non-preferences. The song, I Like, is one that I composed a long time ago, and it lends itself well to song and phrase completion. Once students had comp…

Trying to Revision the Future

So, yesterday my principal called me into her office for yet another chat. This one, unlike the ones that have happened before, felt appropriate, professional, and respectful on both sides. I left feeling like my concerns about our upcoming renovation and subsequent relocation of the music therapy room YET AGAIN were not only heard, but being addressed. The meeting also left me feeling challenged.

She seemed to realize that a 7:30-3:30 schedule was not always the most effective schedule for clients in treatment and challenged me to think about my role at the facility. This was a good sign as I have been trying to communicate the idea of therapy as a separate type of intervention - removed from education but supportive of the same goals - for several years now. It was nice to hear that there could be some appropriate changes in my future as a music therapist.

I was thinking that this meeting would end up differently than it actually did. I am relieved that it took the turn towards thinki…

Random Thoughts About Nothing...and Everything!

So, I completed a week's worth of reading this week - on to a GREAT dessert! My next reward is a book from I'll need to go shopping in about a month.

I ordered checks the other day, and they only sent me 25. I guess I didn't look carefully at the order, but I was REALLY excited about the price! That shows me.

My cat is enjoying her new climber, a hand-me-down from my sister whose cat died 16 years ago. Bella seems to like looking down on me. Aaah, cats!
I really need to move back towards the West Coast. Visiting home two weeks ago emphasized how much I miss the attitudes, the opportunities, and the whackos that live out there. (I'm totally talking about family members, all!) Kansas is fine, but things out here have not gone as planned, so I am ready to escape from the Midwest in favor of more sunshine, beaches, and mountains. How do I ever leave? It simply boggles the mind, doesn't it?

I am getting started on some songwriting adventures with my students - th…

The Library - Starting Over Again

It doesn't seem possible that I wasn't here at home a week ago. I was hurtling across the great states of New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas in an attempt to get home after visiting with my family. Since I have been back, I have been busy but not overly so.

I have made an effort to get back into my reading challenge. This week's selections have included Ethical Thinking in Music Therapy (I am REALLY looking forward to this month's book club discussion) and the Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) files of my former interns. I also dove back into Baker and Wigram's text on Songwriting. I went back to work on Thursday inspired to try something a little bit differently.

One of my assignments for interns is the development of a Therapeutic Music Experience file. I require that my interns write 25 original songs for use in sessions, and I also ask them to write down 50 other things to do in sessions with clients. I have found that this file is a challenging task for my…

Back to the Grind

It is time to go back to work. Sigh.

Now, I am not complaining! I enjoy working, but I really feel that I need substantial amounts of time to refresh and renew my therapeutic resources after a long stretch of working. This break wasn't nearly long enough to accomplish my cycle of enjoyment, boredom, and refilling my bag of tricks. Oh well.

Today was originally supposed to be a day full of meetings, packing, and moving from my big, beautiful music room into a closet office to accommodate the upcoming school renovation. That plan has changed. We will now be starting off with kids from the get-go. I have no problems with seeing kids first - I ABHOR days without clients, but I am not sure about this whole renovation thing. I found out several weeks ago that the plan is to take the big, beautiful music room that I helped design and was assured would be my room throughout this planning process and place me in a smaller space after the renovation. Today, I will be starting to communicate m…

Intern Webinar Series Starts Tonight...

...and I am excited!

This is the second set of webinars that I host for music therapy interns. We have a chance to talk about internship-specific things, and I get an opportunity to network with interns in various stages of their training process. Tonight we are going to talk about the rights and responsibilities of music therapy interns.


(Can you tell that I get REALLY excited about these types of topics?? Do you think that is sad?? I often wonder...)

As the chairperson of the Association Internship Approval Committee of AMTA, it always surprises me how little interns know about what they should be doing and receiving during their internship. Most interns do not seem to know that they can file a noncompliance report if they need to do so. They don't seem to read the documents that are developed just for them. It's kinda sad, but I don't remember reading anything about being an intern when I went off into the great unknown 21 years ago. My internship director, Sheryl…

Music Therapy Lapbooks

Okay, my new passion is music therapy lapbooks. I enjoy making things to use with my students, and these are just plain old fun!

Basically, a lapbook is a visual aid designed for use by an individual. I first got wind of the idea when I was trolling around the education board at Pinterest. It seems that many teachers and homeschoolers use lapbooks for learning and reviewing specific materials and topics. They are often very complex - lots of flaps, pockets, pictures, and information. The music examples are all based on music theory - something good to know, but not something that is really relevant to my clients. So, I have started to adapt the idea of lapbooks into books that are relevant to my kids.

So, I bought a package of file folders and got started.

As a music therapist, I am always looking for ways to use music to assist my clients in achieving non-musical goals. Composition and music theory are fine topics for some of my clients, but many of them are unable to understand the abs…

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

I am back to what resembles "normal" again. After a week of "vacation," I am now back at my house, trying to get ready for the summer session of school. This may prove to be somewhat difficult as I am also preparing to be displaced from my big, beautiful music room as soon as the summer session is complete. Sniff, sniff, WAAAAH!

Okay, enough of that.

It is good to be home. The cat greeted me with non-stop chatter and cuddling - I suspect that I awoke at midnight because she wanted some attention since I do not generally awaken during the night. This morning I moved a new cat climber into our house and she is currently sitting in it, smiling at me. We seem to be at peace.

There is something quite nice about being at home. I know that there is really nothing all that pressing to do, so I can experiment with some things around here. I have an idea for a new lap book format to play around with. I have a webinar to complete and another to publicize. I have started a new bo…