Showing posts from December, 2014

The End of 2014

It's time for some nostalgia. After all, it is the end of the year, a time when most of us reflect on what has happened and what may happen in the next year.

This year has been an interesting one.

My year started with two interns - one familiar and one brand new. We spent most of the year crammed into a couple of closets for storage doing cart-based music therapy for students spread out in three different buildings. We weren't really able to do lots of individual treatment since the only treatment space we had was the hallway. It's difficult to focus when people are walking through your treatment area constantly. The year progressed into FINALLY moving into a really small treatment space, but it is dedicated to music therapy and music therapy only (for the moment, at least!). It is nice to be able to state that I have a treatment area. My colleague, the art therapist, still cannot make those statements.

The year ended with my last (for at least a time) intern, Intern #23. She…

TME Tuesday - Lyric Analysis Light

Lyric Analysis is not something I do with my clients very often. It doesn't seem to have much therapeutic benefit with many of my kids - they just don't seem to move from the concrete to the abstract, so I don't try very often. It is something that works with about 3 kids at any given time. (Those kids are never in the same classroom group, but now can be pulled out for a small group treatment situation, now that I have a clinic space!!!). So, I'm thinking about starting a lyric group - I need a catchy name for it...


Here is one of the lyric analysis lists that I've made over the years. This one is from 2006. The music is a bit dated, but I think many of these songs have messages that my kids could understand or have experienced. I've since developed this into a specific protocol/procedure to use with persons with developmental diagnoses as well as psychiatric concerns, and I'll send it to you personally, if you are interested. Just leave a comment or…

Challenge Accepted!

I tend to flourish best when I have a challenging project to complete. I don't often get challenges at my place of employment, so I have to create my own challenges. I have done so.

I am currently working on an intuitive evaluation program for use in my internship. I can hear you now...


"What is an intuitive evaluation program? How would it work in an internship? Have you lost your mind out there??"

I have this grand idea of a competency-based evaluation program that would be user-friendly, accommodate multiple grades over a period of time (determined by the primary user), and indicate areas that needed to be addressed in a timely manner in ways that make it obvious where improvement is needed. 


So, I am starting to play around with the AMTA Professional Competencies a bit. 

Now, I'm already a competency-geek! I think that they are a great starting point for teaching and learning the basic skills that all entry-level therapists should kno…

Song Switch Sunday - Not My Work!! Thanks, Kyle!!

I am away from my usual place and all of my instruments, so I am going to be lazy today and post a YouTube link to a playlist made by a music therapy friend of mine - Kyle J. Fleming, MT-BC!!

Kyle's playlist demonstrates one of the therapeutic elements of music that I like to play with - harmony, and more specifically, mode!

So, what Kyle did was to switch familiar Christmas songs from their original modes to opposite modes. A major mode turned into a minor mode and vice versa. He sings the songs as well as plays excellent piano accompaniments. The effect is quite interesting and illustrates the importance of mode and harmony on our perception of familiar songs.

Thanks, Kyle, for such a great example of how a simple change in one of the elements of music can affect everything else!

If you leave a comment, tell Kyle I say "Hello!"

What to Do Today? Why Not Take on the AMTA Professional competencies?

I am thinking about what to do today as I sit in a pretty, purple bedroom waiting for my mother to awaken and signal that the day has officially started. There are several things that I know will happen. My father will want to go out to eat breakfast (I'm already full from dinner last night), we will grocery shop, go to the 99.99 cent store, and then come home. After that, my mother and sister will leave for their day of shopping, and I'll stay home with Dad. Usually my Dad calls me on the phone to share the experience of shopping and stuff while my Mom goes into the 99.99 cent store, but he won't do that today. Not with me in the backseat of the car...that would be ridiculous. On the other hand...

While Mom and Sister go out shopping (they go wherever the wind takes them, and I get REALLY cranky after going to three stores so they leave me, happily, behind), I am going to pick my Dad's brain about how to set up a new form for the AMTA Professional Competencies. I have …

Favorite Things Friday - Home

There truly is no place like home.

Sound corny? It is, but I don't get to go to the place that I consider "home" that often, so when I am here, I really try to savor every moment. This is one of those moments that I want to savor. I am sitting on the couch, watching Monuments Men with my father sitting about six feet away from me. (I really love wireless wi-fi!). Dad often chooses to channel surf incessantly, but this movie has captured his attention, so I am actually able to watch the movie from where we started it (somewhere in the middle) and will probably end up watching it until the end. There are Spritz cookies on the table, Mom is upstairs using Pinterest, and we're all going to my sister's house and then out for dinner later this evening.

I may live in one state, but my home is not where I live. It's where my heart lives. It is easy to abide in a place that is geographically far away when I know that home is there waiting for me - wherever I am. I don&#…

The List is Getting Longer, Not Shorter

I've been home on Winter Break now for two days, and my to-do list is getting longer rather than shorter.

Now, I don't mean that I haven't done anything on the list - I have, but the problem with organizing is that the more you do it, the more there is to do. I've cleaned and cleared the bedroom, the front room, and the kitchen. I've tucked things into corners, I've shredded, recycled, and Cloroxed surfaces, and I can see most of the carpet again. This is a good thing and one that makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.

What does this mean to my day-to-day existence?

It means the cat knows something is up. She is hiccuping - a sign of separation anxiety. She is also spending time cuddling - she's currently sitting on my hands as I write this post.

It means that I can see what I don't need to have around me.

It means that things will be a bit more organized during the new year. Thank goodness.

So, what is still on this to-do list? Clean the entry way. Febreze…

TME Tuesday - Looking Back Over 2014

It is Winter Break, so I am kinda flaking when it comes to writing this week. I'll get better next week, I'm sure. Wait, who am I kidding?? I tried several times to write yesterday, but I think I'll get going today. We shall see.

Where do you get your ideas for how to engage your clients in music therapy experiences? I get mine from a variety of sources, including interns, clients, shopping, my family, Pinterest, blog posts, and books. Lots of books. The best source that I have, however, is you. Each and every music therapist out there sparks my creativity.

Sometimes, my creative response is sparked by thinking, "My students would like to do this in this way." Sometimes it's spurred on by "I don't have a kokiriko, but I do have three guiros." Other times, my creative impulse is started by a specific client - one who sits in front of me and needs something that I've never had to address before. Here is a list of the Therapeutic Music Experience…

Song Switch Sunday - I Resolve - Tempo

Disclaimer - I wasn't able to do a video today since it was either blindingly bright or twilight dark in my home (Happy Solstice, Everyone!), so I am trying to figure out how to add an audio link to this blog platform. It may have to be a link to my least this is getting me to learn more about blog platforms and Windows...

Anyway, Tuesday's TME was called I Resolve. You can find the sheet music here. It's a simple little song that addresses planning, responsibility for one's actions, the practice of making personal goals, and social interaction through sharing one's goals with others.

(UPDATE: I finally figured out how to convert an m4a file into an mp3 file. Let's see if this will work...I think it is the link to the page Ideas and Experiences)

The therapeutic element for today is tempo. This has a story associated with it and it all starts with a client with a diagnosis of advanced dementia. This client was showing my practicum stu…

Saying Goodbye - A Completely Different Meaning Today

My post yesterday concerned a song that I enjoy from the Muppets, Saying Goodbye. Today, I am thinking about that song in a completely different context from yesterday's theme of saying goodbye to an intern. I cannot get into many details, but I found out yesterday that one of my clients is in the hospital in a medically-induced coma. The reality is that this client may not survive the illness taking over. The song is now meaningful on a completely different level.

I still like the last verse the best but the bridge has significant meaning to me right now as well.

Saying goodbye, going away
Seems like goodbye's such a hard thing to say.
Touching a hand, wondering why
It's time for saying goodbye.

Saying goodbye, why is it sad?
Makes us remember the good times we've had.
Much more to say, foolish to try
It's time for saying goodbye.

Don't want to leave, but we both know
Sometimes it's better to go.

Somehow I know we'll meet again
Not sure quite where, and I don't…

Favorite Things Friday - Muppets Music - Saying Goodbye

It's no secret that I love the Muppets - especially the music that comes from the Muppets. So, for today's Friday post, I'm going to post my second favorite Muppet song, Saying Goodbye. Check out the YouTube video at this link.

Yesterday was a day for saying goodbye.

My intern finished up and graduated. She finished up her projects, sessions, and evaluations and then drove off into her future. So, this song popped into my head as I watched her head for some time at home before returning to school. It is always a bittersweet moment when someone I've spent so much time with has to go, but that's the job of an intern. They show up, spend time, and then leave. I know that they will have to leave when they start, but there is always the urge to keep them around, but that urge fades pretty quickly - not because they are difficult to be around, but because they outgrow me.

Anyway, this song comes from The Muppets Take Manhattan. The Muppets have found themselves in a situati…

I Give Up...

My last group session yesterday was a mess.

It was such a mess that I gave up. I gave the only two kids who were sitting without screaming the iPod, a headphone splitter, and two sets of headphones. They sat, enveloped in their musical choices, while everyone around them engaged in full-blown tantrums, screaming, throwing themselves into drums, the walls, and each other. It was a mess.

There was no way I could compete.

The sheer volume in the room alone was ridiculous. Now, these students are students who have some impulse control, functional communication, and who have a bit more control of their actions and reactions to things than some of my kids who are more involved with their diagnoses. Again, it was a mess!

The only thing that went well with the session was that I managed to calm almost every client before they left the music therapy room.

We didn't do much music at all. But, when I looked around the room, I figured that any type of music would just add to the melee and the chao…

The Perils of Pinterest

I woke up extra early this morning - I tend to do that before a break from work. Anyway, with an extra couple of hours, I finished up most of my morning routine before I usually wake up, so I headed over to Pinterest. NEVER A GOOD IDEA FOR ME!

I was introduced to Pinterest by one of my interns who loved it! She found lots of ideas for things to do in sessions and recommended it to me. At the same time, both my mother and my sister started using the site, so I reluctantly started to look around.

Earlier this year, I started my own account. I now have several different boards that I don't use really well yet, but I am learning.

(My personal favorite boards are the ones for Fandom and for Inspiration.)

My major problem with Pinterest is that I tend to get sucked into the old goblins of "I should/could/would..." You know the ones? "I should be doing nifty infograms." "I should be posting on this board every single day." "I should be better at using this …

TME Tuesday - I Resolve

Today's Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) is an idea that I've used now several times. It's interesting how some of my students can complete this and others just simply do not understand what I am asking them to do.

I'll sing the song for Song Switch Sunday, and I'll put the sheet music on the website today so you can see it. (The hyperlink here leads to the Ideas and Experiences page on my website!)