Showing posts from July, 2014

Quotation Challenge - Letting Go of What is Known

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.
Erich Fromm
Read more at Yesterday, we completed a personal challenge during our weekly clinician's meeting. Now, this meeting is often a dull review of insurance policies and regulatory changes, but we try to make one week per month "fun day." Yesterday's challenges were "Two Truths and a Lie" and "Draw on Your Head." I won, mainly because I was able to connect all of my lines, and I put lots of fruit on my tree. (If you ever have to draw a picture on a paper plate on your head, make sure you include LOTS of fruit!) I am a big fan of exploring creativity. In fact, I get to lead a CMTE at AMTA in November on creating therapeutic music experiences for adolescents in treatment, mainly focused on challenging participants to develop their own creativity. It is amazing how creativity can be sparked when you have to engage …

Saying Congratulations, Goodbye, and Get Out!

Today is the day that intern #22 graduates from her internship.

She has completed her 1020 hours of clinical training, has learned everything I can teach her at this point, and is on her way out into the big, wide world.

I love being an internship director, but this is one of the most difficult parts of the job. It's hard to watch someone move on, but it is an essential part of the job of supervisor - recognizing when a person is no longer a learner but is now ready to move out into the world, and then letting them go into that world. It is time. #22 is ready to go out there and be "the" music therapist rather than the "music therapy intern."

You would think, having done this 21 times before, that this would have become an easy part of being a supervisor. Well, you'd be wrong.

I choose my interns carefully. I spend lots of time looking at the application and the reference letters that are sent. Once I feel comfortable with an applicant on paper, I require an 8-…

TME Tuesday - I Have An Apple


Honesty Post - Looking and Looking

I'm in need of some inspirational thoughts.

'Tis the season for sunshine, high temperatures, and the end of summer school. So, 'tis my season for headaches, asthma attacks, and grumpiness. Added to everything else is the need to pack up my entire music therapy storage room and get ready to move as soon as we come back to school on August 7th. Added to that is the fact that everyone else is going to move into a newly renovated classroom, ready to go, while I get to move into yet another closet area. My room will not be finished for at least another month, if not two months. More itinerant therapy - HOORAY?? The good news is that all of my clients will be under one roof again. The bad news is that my stuff will be strewn all over the facility, so getting things ready may be a bit more challenging than it has been this year. Feel sorry for me yet?

So, I am looking for some inspiration.

I want a thought to cling to as I try to run therapy while everyone around me uses that time t…

Sing A Song Sunday - Kiss the Girl

Today's song is from The Little Mermaid. With words by Howard Ashman and music by Alan Menken, Kiss the Girl is a familiar song to many Americans. Since it is over 20 years old, the song has become part of the musical vocabulary of at least 3 generations of clients. Its an easily recognized song and is strongly correlated with the movie which is both a good thing and a bad thing.

I use this song as either a background figure, to spur movement, or to establish or strengthen a therapeutic relationship. Many of my clients seem to be stand offish until we sing a song together. There seems to be a bit of respect given when they notice that I know every single word to their familiar and preferred songs. Using preferred music is always a good way into building that relationship.

Here's the song chart...
 What songs do you use to start interaction with clients?

The To-Do List

Both of my horoscopes this morning encourage me to make a to-do list and ACTUALLY do what is on the list! I guess I will do so.

A couple of caveats here...
I like making to-do listsMost of the stuff that is on my list is going to be cleaning stuffI don't live by my horoscope, but I do pay attention when the two that I have on my news feeds say about the same thing...The list is primarily going to be composed of household chores. Yesterday's list had a crucial item on it - sending off the giveaway materials to the giveaway winner, Christine. One medium flat-rate box later, the compendium of materials is on its way. Today's list will be a bit less crucial and more flexible, but still very important!

Here's the starting point of the to-do list for today.
disheslaundrycraft room organizationfinish a crochet basketmake a gift for my graduating internvacuumbake potatoesorganize my school stuff so I can take it back to work once the new music room is completed...During the attemp…

Quotation Challenge - Thoughts that Spur Other Thoughts

"Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity." - Pema Chodron (Apologies to the original author of this quote as I am unable to replicate the letters exactly as they were originally presented.) Wow. This was in my Pinterest humor feed today. I'm not sure why a person thought it was humorous, but it struck a chord with me. I talk to other music therapists about being human and recognizing that humanity on a regular basis, especially when interacting with our clients. This thought reminds me that is important to not only understand that I am human, but that understanding my humanity is essential to being an effective therapist.  I often talk to therapists who start off many conversations with the phrase, "I should have done..." I often wonder why we, as a bunch…

Daily Practice

I am getting ready for a performance on my cornet in about a month. Now, I haven't played my cornet on a regular basis for several years (let's try since college), but I do play every so often and my lip is in pretty good shape. This task is a labor of love for a family at the church where I work. There is a young man who plays the trumpet who is willing to do special music, and his mom asked if I would play with him. I agreed. So, now I need to get into the habit of daily practice.

When I was just learning how to play the cornet, I was required to practice every night after dinner. I looked on it as a chore some days, but others gave me pleasure. I learned to play in those after-dinner practice sessions. When I went to college, cornet-playing was frowned upon in the dorms, and I switched my musical focus to voice, so my nightly routine changed significantly.

I've found that everything that I love is the result of daily practice.

Writing? My challenge this month is to write i…

Change is... Good?

If you are a long-term reader of this blog, you know that my facility is undergoing significant changes in how we do what we do. If you are new, here's the simple scoop. We are renovating our school area. This has led us to an entire year of being a split community, limited team contact, and itinerant therapy for all departments. This is coming to an end this school year, but not quite yet.

The kicker of this entire thing is that, after years and years of going things one way, we are changing EVERYTHING about how we do what we do!

This is causing panic.

Along with the new building format, our leadership decided it was time to get our teaching format into the 21st century. We're going to make our educational programming much more like educational programming in the other schools here in the Midwest. Many of our kids will have different teachers for different subjects. Some will change classes in a central hallway. 

The changes are coming, and the panic is starting.

I'm a person …

TME Tuesday - Overview of all the Tuesdays...

It's REALLY hot here, and I haven't had the inclination to sit and do work on TMEs this week, so here are the links to all of the TME Tuesday posts that I've done. If you have something that you find interesting or want more information on, please let me know. You can email me through the website.

Thinking of a Song as a TMEOn A Roll GamePassing Song GameRecommended ResourcesWe All Have NamesCan't Smile Without YouCooperative Music CourseFrustrationImprovisationEliminationStereo Symbol MovementNot bad for an idea that started three months ago...

If any of these posts refer to things that are no longer posted on the website, let me know. I'll post the TMEs up again.

Happy Tuesday, and I hope that, wherever you are, you are cooler than we are!!

I Wonder...

(WARNING: I'm feeling somewhat unsettled and uncertain of things, so am tending to go into a philosophical state of mind...)

I wonder what the field of music therapy will look like in the year 2034.
One of my greatest wishes for music therapy is that the clients who could benefit would be able to access music therapy whenever and wherever they are. To that end, I think that music therapy will become a master's entry-level profession. I really think it has to.

I wonder what I'll be doing in the year 2034.
I'll be 64. Yikes! I hope that I will be getting ready to retire from my full-time music therapy job to go into semi-retirement. I hope I will still be working with clients and fellow music therapists at that time. I also hope that I will have won the lottery so I can afford to retire. That last one probably won't happen...

How will music therapy change in the next 20 years?
It amazes me how much music therapy has changed in the last 20 years. Our way of sharing music, t…

Sing A Song Sunday - Peter from Peter and the Wolf

I picked up a Sheet Music magazine from the 1980's this morning for Sing A Song Sunday and found one of my favorite pieces of music inside, Peter from Peter and the Wolf by Serge Prokofiev. Hooray!

My family had a copy of the 1960 recording of this piece by Captain Kangaroo (AKA Bob Keeshan), and my brother listened to it over and over again. My sister and I also listened to it, but my brother really loved the piece. As I was looking over some of the information that's out there about the piece, I found that it was composed in order to encourage children to listen to music, especially classical music. Originally performed in Moscow on May 2, 1936, the piece has been performed, recorded, animated, and acted every since. This piece of program music presents a story.

What I like about this piece is that each character in the piece has a different instrumentation making it easy to identify each character. The differences in timbre make it a bit easier to identify what is going on in…

The TME File - My Bag of Tricks

When I was a lowly freshman in my undergraduate program, more than 2 decades ago, my professor started me off on a habit that has served me very well over the years. We had an assignment to develop 25 Therapeutic Music Experiences (TMEs) - by the way, that's what I call them now, we called them "applications" in the olden days - for a variety of clinical populations. We had to think of applicable therapeutic goals, how to arrange the environment, and how to run the TMEs themselves. I remember it being an arduous task. We all took most of the semester trying to figure out how to write these note cards. This project became the beginning of my TME file. 

When I went to my internship, my internship director required that I develop 50 more TMEs. Her format was a bit less formal than what I had learned at school, but it fit in really well with what I was used to doing at school. I added to what I already had and kept it going as part of my professional practice.

I still have tho…