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Showing posts from March, 2013

Making Something New

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Yesterday, I was in the mood to create, so I started to play with an idea that I've had for a bit of time now. (NOTE: This was inspired by Pinterest which Sarah TOTALLY got me hooked on and who was been aided and abetted by my sister, Kelly, who only stays on the Education page - what's up with that?) Anyway, I am always looking for ways to get my clients to work on skills independently, and this seemed to be a good way to start!


If you do not know what this is, you are not alone!

Lapbooks are becoming more and more popular as a schooling tool. Kids are making them, home-schoolers are using them, and there are several patterns for music education lapbooks out there on the web.

I was interested in these books as they seemed to be extensions of one of my interests which is file folder experiences. What concerned me the most about the templates already available were that they had lots of envelopes, flaps, and pictures to lift up. These are wonderful, but I have a rule that anything…

Can ANYONE Give Me a Hand?

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So, I have some strange things in my house, but nothing more than my fake arm.

It is a strange thing that I picked up at some random Halloween sale (I hope it was at a Halloween sale, but I honestly can't remember - I do know that I bought it, though!). It is amazingly lifelike and a bit creepy as well, but this has inspired a Therapeutic Music Experience (TME).

As you know, if you read my posts on a regular basis, that I work with children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric disorders. I have some students that will NEVER see the arm. I have a couple of kids who could do with a bit of spookiness and who will LOVE the arm!

Anyway, many of my students have issues with asking for assistance when they need it. Often, not asking for some attention leads to inappropriate behaviors that they could have avoided by asking for some attention.

So, here comes the TME...

I am thinking that the group will be mostly older students with pretty solid academic skills and a bit of an idea…

Quick Post!

I have 21 minutes until I start another webinar for music therapists, music therapy students, and others interested. As I am trying to keep myself calm and not jumping out of my skin as I get more and more nervous (typical for me prior to a presentation of any kind!), I thought I would dash off a quick post here.

Tonight's webinar addresses my favorite topic - being creative as a person. We are going to sing, play, and move tonight. This will be interesting because I will be using my very old Casio keyboard to provide us with music making opportunities. I have never done much collaborative music making using the Internet, so I'm not sure what will happen.

I find that I am enjoying these webinars very much! There is something really neat about being able to interact (well, sorta) with music therapists from all over the place while I am sitting in my home, shooing Bella-cat away from the computer. (Do you want to know a secret? I wear my pajama pants during each one of these webin…

Following the Instructions

One of my favorite quotes is:

Structures are restraints - a way of limiting. What you can build within restraints and structures is almost limitless. -Corita Kent
I love the idea of having unlimited ways to grow, develop, create, and expand within the boundaries of instructions, rules, techniques, and expectations. I try to remember this statement when I am engaged in creative endeavors as well as when I am working with others...
The quote reminds me that my way is not the only way out there. It reiterates that I don't have to do things the same way every time. I can only be limited by how I view the world around me - if I get bogged down in the rules, I miss opportunities for expanding my limits.
I keep a copy of this quote, printed in a funky, large, green font, pinned on my home office bulletin board where I can see it every day. It has been there since my first, real (sorta) music therapy job and has moved with me wherever I have landed. The format of the quote has changed somewhat o…

Updating the Music Files

I have an embarrassing number of CDs in my collection. Really, it's embarrassing how many CDs I own and store in my small house. Several years ago, I decided that I could no longer stand to have shelf after shelf after shelf full of CD cases. I moved my collection into many large books. In the process, I made sure that I copied my CDs onto my external hard drive.

Now, for some reason, my computer doesn't always remember that I have all of those files. So, there are times when I have to rerip some (and sometimes all) of my CDs.

I just finished updating my computer files.

It is nice to be able to see my collection. I have obscure pieces of music, popular music, and everything in between. It's fascinating what types of music are out there.

Need a version of The Circle of Life in Gregorian Chant style? I've got it. Need a karaoke version of a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber? I have at least one copy available for my listening pleasure. Want to hear Violet Eyes by the Meat Puppet…

What to Do?? What to Do?? What to Do??

It's the second day of Spring Break, and I am looking for something to do...

Of course, there is the typical stuff that I SHOULD be doing - laundry, cleaning, cooking, throwing things away, and the various and sundry other things that have been waiting for me to "get to them." So, now I have to decide what I am going to do today.

Now, because I am a music therapist and a musician, I often sing to myself. This behavior has been increasing lately as I have been making up short mantras and singing them to myself. For example, "It is not my job to make everyone happy. They have to make themselves happy." This mantra is sung in a major key with lots of syncopation. Another current mantra is, "Spring Break is here."

These mantras allow me to put my emotions into music. I like this for several reasons. First, using music allows me to regulate my breathing, my heart beat, and my muscle tension. Second, the lyrics encourage me to put my emotions into concrete phr…

Vacating for Vacation

I am now, officially, on Spring Break.

The rest of the faculty at my facility have to go to an inservice day, but I do not! This is the benefit of being essential staff on inclement weather days - beautiful spring days off at a time of my choosing! So, rather than sitting in the music room, completing tasks that are completely unrelated to my job, designed to be "team-building." My idea of what is appropriate "team-building" looks VERY different from dancing the Harlem Shake. REALLY!

Anyway, it is time for vacation.

I feel strongly that the purpose of vacation is to "vacate."

In the vein of self-care, the next several days will be devoted to things home- related rather than job-related. Of course, being a music therapist, I cannot completely stop thinking of music as a therapeutic medium, but I am going to make what I want, do what I want, and focus on things that are more globally music therapy rather than on my facility.

So, it is now time for vacation. The …

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

There are times when I overextend myself. Is that really a big surprise to anyone who knows anything about me? Probably not. On the other hand, I tend to do better when I am busy, challenged, and constantly thinking about things that are going on around me.

I saw a post by a Music Therapist acquaintance where she was talking about the importance of self-care. This is always a challenge for me, but is something that is very important to talk about and think about all of the time. 

We are helpers by nature. You cannot be an effective therapist and be completely self-centered. There are times, though, when all of us need to focus on our "selves" rather than on others. Self-care is an important skill for a therapist to cultivate.

Personally, I often find myself in need of serious self-care when I am too busy. At the times when I have too much to do, too much to think about, and too many demands, I find it difficult to take time away from my clients and their needs. After being a th…

Fleeting Thoughts

I am in a situation where I get these random flashes of (well - let's call it brilliance since there is no one else in my brain) brilliance that flash into radiant flame and then, POOF, dissipate into complete opaqueness...

I had an idea about a song just about fifteen minutes ago, but that idea is now gone.

This has happened quite a bit lately. I blame it on snow day schedules, the upcoming time change, exhaustion, lack of sleep, and some mystery illness that causes me to smell burning things all over the place (there is nothing burning around me at all!).

I am not worried about this creative roller coaster since I have been through this time and time again. Eventually, I will even out and start to remember things for longer than just a flash of time. In the meantime, I will walk around with a pad of super sticky Post-It notes and a pencil, just in case I need 'em.

I have always been interested in creativity. How do we encourage that little flash of thought into a reality? How do…