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Showing posts from October, 2014

Favorite Things Friday - The Musini

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I love these things.

Have you ever seen one before? These are Musinis. I got my first one from my mom and my sister who found it at their favorite thrift store. I turned it on and was hooked! The bigger one (pictured below) was in a huge stack of old board games that was donated. I swooped in and grabbed it before anyone else found it. After that, another little one mysteriously showed up in one of my recent music rooms. So, I now have three Musini (I assume that the plural is just the "i" ending, but have also used the version with the "s" at the end just in case...) 


The Musini (singular) is a motion-sensored toy that plays music when it perceives movement in the environment. It doesn't have a beam or anything, but responds to stomps, wiggles, and movements. You can change the sensitivity to encourage large or small movements with your clients, and the musical selections are also easily changed or adapted.

I first used this with my students with multiple symptom…

Time Traveling

I spent most of yesterday in the past. I greeted one of my clients with, "Happy Tuesday." She looked at me strangely, walked with me a bit, and then said, "It's Wednesday." I had to think for a moment and then realized that she was right. I thanked her for setting me straight. Later, I was sitting down writing some notes about some music therapy reading that I have to get finished and wondered what the date was. I figured that it was October 23rd and kept going. A bit later, I found out that it was actually October 29th.

It's somewhat disconcerting to have this type of timeline dysfunction.

One of the things I learned about way way back in my undergraduate days was reality orientation. We discussed the necessity of providing our clients with a frame of mind that included the date, the time, the season, and other information that would keep them in the present rather than in a state of disorientation. I am sure that there is another term for this process, but …

Catching Up...

I didn't post this morning since I was trying to get some other music therapy work finished and sent to CBMT as well as organizing my thoughts about music therapy for the day, so I'm posting this evening instead.

So, how are things going with you?

I realize that I've been overly focused on me lately. Can I get my stuff done? Why am I having problems with these kids? Why does EVERYTHING happen to me?? (Dramatically throwing myself on my bed and sobbing in a manner fit for a Disney princess!!)

This is probably why things haven't really been going as well as I always hope. I've been focusing a bit too much on the internal and the external things that occur within my personal space bubble rather than looking outside that bubble to the other people sharing my space.

Today was a good day for music therapy moments. We (my intern and I) are finally starting to increase our individual interactions with students, and she had one of our more difficult group members today. They sa…

TME Tuesday - Halloween Carols

Today's post is kinda a cheating post. In other words, I'm tired, have to get to work early, and wanted to sleep in a bit this morning, so I am not sharing my own work, but promoting that of others.

'Tis the season for Halloween songs and carols. There have been lots of lists of music presented on Facebook in the Music Therapists Unite group, but here are some resources that I like...

Halloween Carols - Aaron Hertzman
http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/swil/FILKS/Old_format/Halloween_Carols.html

Alphabet Soup
http://www.alphabet-soup.net/hall/hallcarol.html

Not Just For Kids!: Halloween Carols
http://www.night.net/halloween/halloween-carols.html-ssi

So, these are kitschy and corny, but there are lots of songs included in these collections of songs. Soon, I will arrange and organize these in my TME file, but right now, I'm just going to share this information with all of you.

Happy Halloween - enjoy the songs.

Back To Basics - Again and Again and Again

It's that time of year - time to get back to basics.

"Basics," you may ask? "Yep," I reply wearily, "basics."

This is the time of year when staff members, clients, and, oh, music therapists get restless and need some focus on what is really important during music therapy.

We've had lots of changes in the past three months. We've all moved (some of us SEVERAL times) from our temporary locations into the newly renovated old school building. Classroom groups have had lots of changes lately. Kids are leaving and arriving daily, so classroom climates are changing daily. There is no clear hierarchy of student relationships, and, by the time students start to know where they stand in the pecking order, a new student arrives and throws off the entire order yet again. This confusion and difficulty with knowing how to act with peers transfers into the music therapy session. It's my job to try to provide some regularity in music therapy while still asse…

Sing A Song Sunday - Haul Away Joe

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Good morning, everyone! I had fun with this one - it's in the Dorian mode. (Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE modes? If not, I REALLY LOVE modes!!) It is wonderful when you find something that you love in a state of serendipity, don't you think?

Anyway - here is the song. On page 202 of Rise Up Singing... Haul Away Joe.

It's a sea shanty from the English tradition and has a very strong macrobeat feel that allows for entrainment for all types of outcomes. I don't really like most of the lyrics - they are a bit salty - so would change the words to use the song in my music therapy space. This would be a great song for lyric substitution or piggybacking. I could certainly see myself using this as a gait training song or as a gross motor beat exercise...

Sheet music can be found here. Chords and verses also are here. And here. A YouTube video is located here. And, here's the song chart...
Dorian mode!! Hooray. Now, off to find something in Lochrian (maybe my favorite, …

The To-Do List

Are you a list-maker?

I am.

I absolutely have to make lists in order to do what I need to do, ESPECIALLY at times like this when there are lots of different things happening in the next several weeks. Without my lists, I forget essential things.

Right now, my list is long and is getting longer. Not only do I have a list, but it is divided up into which days I can do which part of the list. There are different categories, different priority levels, and different people I have to talk to about things. It's quite a list.

Today, the focus is finishing my AMTA preparations.

I have two CMTEs and a concurrent presentation to prepare. In all honesty, one of the CMTEs and the concurrent presentation are things that I have done before and am only one of the presenters for, so there is less to do for those than the other CMTE (my first solo attempt at a CMTE!!), but there are still things to do and prepare. The other CMTE is taking over lots of my time, but I think I've got a handle on what I…

Favorite Things Friday - AMTA National Conference - Top 10

Today's favorite thing is also something that stresses me out at this time of year - less than 2 weeks until the AMTA annual national conference. This year's excitement and stress is happening just on schedule, and I am in the throes of dreams, trying to figure out what I want to say to folks, and stressing that I am going to miss some of the meetings that I'm supposed to attend. Here are my top ten reasons for attending the AMTA national conference every year:

10. Time Away From Work - It is really nice to spend some dedicated time away from my clients and from the other stressors at work. I am often so busy that I don't even think about work - it's a nice change of pace.
9. Networking - I find it very interesting to meet new music therapists, and conference is the time when I personally meet people I already know from other places. I don't often meet my social media contacts (since they live around the world) in person, but there is a greater possibility of bre…

I'm Plain Old Tired...

I am frustrated, frustrated, and frustrated with things going on right now. Staff members at work are just simply not doing their jobs when it comes to music therapy, so, I get to be really strong and assertive today. Seating charts for all!! Well, not for all, but for the class full of staff members who cannot seem to understand that it is their job to actually sit next to students and help them do what the therapist asks them to do!

Today's post is going to be a rant. Be warned!!

The following list of grievances contains what I am currently struggling with (it's just a rant, so please know that things will get better):
I am tired of teachers shouting to each other during my sessions - especially when I'm trying to run things like, I don't know, calming TMEs.I am VERY tired of being cramped into a very small space with two other people. I cannot spread out.Incessant humming all the time!!Staff members who watch children engage in inappropriate behaviors and do NOTHING!C…

TME Tuesday - Oh No!

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Help From the Cat

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Over the past several days, I've been doing lots of my computing from my bedroom. This has occurred simply because I have wanted to be there (rather than being confined to my room). One of the things that always happens when I sit on the bed and attempt to write is the "cat-full" phenomenon.

Now, if you've never lived with a cat, you may not know what I mean, but, if you have lived with a feline before, I am sure that you are familiar with this situation. Anytime you sit down to do work, the cat ensures that your gaze, lap, and direct path to your is full of cat. Apparently, I cannot be trusted to do my work without the direct supervision of one of the feline ilk - in my case, Bella takes the job somewhat reluctantly, but always with gusto. The picture above, taken via webcam demonstrates the lengths that she reluctantly goes to on a regular basis in order to provide me with the level of supervision that I obviously require.

How does this situation work into the topic …

Sing A Song Sunday - Djankoye

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Whew. This week's song was an interesting step into part of another culture as well as into some confusion for me. This song was located in the Farm & Prairie section of Rise Up Singing (page 50, if you are interested). It is a traditional Soviet-Yiddish folk song and includes some names of Ukrainian cities (Sevastopol and Simfereopol) located on the Crimean peninsula. One of the presentations listed below identifies this song as a Klezmer song.

For me, the song doesn't seem so difficult - the melody is pretty simple and repetitive - but the language would be extremely difficult. I was unable to find an example of the sheet music for this song, but there are recordings on YouTube. Here is a scratchy one that features Pete Seeger, and another one that is completely in Yiddish. Here is the graphic for this song...

 I have to admit that this is a type of music that I am unfamiliar with, other than listening to it occasionally. There aren't too many opportunities for this m…

Taking A Risk - I'm Going to Do It!

I have an idea, and I think I'm just about ready to make it go. No, I'm ready to go. Yipes! I'm going to put this on my blog so that it is out in the universe, and I can't back out. Here it is (and I'm cringing as I write this because it is a level of commitment that I'm uncomfortable with, but here it goes)...
Internship Handbook Here's the idea.

Over the past two years, I've been offering internship webinars to interns from around the country. In those years, I've noticed that many interns (and, by extension, Internship Directors and faculty members) don't know some of the things that they are expected to know about being an intern. Also, there are lots of implied skills, techniques, and expectations that just simply don't get taught during coursework or in an internship. These are things that do not necessarily have direct links to the AMTA Professional Competencies, but that do affect job performance and satisfaction. Many of these skills …

Favorite Things Friday - Dare I Say It?? Gulp! The iPod!

The Apple company and I have had a rocky relationship over the years. I'm not sure why this is, and I just plain old can't seem to figure out how to make it a stronger, more meaningful relationship, but we just can't seem to communicate with each other.

The relationship started back in fifth grade. Now, youngsters, I am one of the generation known fondly as "X" (though I'm really not all that sure why... Check out this Wikipedia link for more information, but be careful. It is Wikipedia, after all...). This means that my first real interaction with a desktop computer was in fifth grade when each classroom had the option of one computer. My teacher, a progressive young woman in her first year of teaching, was the only one who accepted a computer in her classroom, so we got to do math programs and the occasional spelling game. I had the advantage of being a patient kid who did her work quickly and accurately, so I got to "tutor" the new kid from an Asi…

12-Hour Day Ahead...

One of the worst things about working at my job is the occasional 12-hour day. 

Today is one of those days, and I am trying to get myself geared up for the experience. I have to spend time trying this out since I can't seem to get the hang of so much time at work. It's a good thing that we only do this between 3-5 times per year. The problem is we do this between 3-5 times per year.

Today's agenda includes moving my desk out of the temporary office that I'm in since it is actually someone else's desk. I get a significantly smaller desk that I'll have to share with my current intern. (The hope is that I'll actually be going into my newly built room in 15 days, so I guess I'll be able to share space that long, but I have a large personal space and am not sure that the close proximity will be good for my mental outlook...) Then, I get to sit through 2 hours of talking before starting to spend time trying to get my new desk area organized so we both can fit. …

Music Therapy Minutiae

There are good and bad things about being a music therapist, and most of these things are what I consider minutiae - the everyday stuff.

Yesterday was a day of little things. Home stuff took over my commute and started my day off on a stressed note. Came into work and found that my intern was at home sick. Okay, so the bad part of this particular situation was that I then had to figure out what to do with two extra groups - not really a bad thing, since they are still my students and I know how to run music therapy groups, but it took time away from my workbox development time and was a bit unexpected.The next situation was my computer monitor. I've had computer access from my desk for about a week now, and now the monitor has stopped working. So, all of my work tasks - documentation, developing a CD-ROM of workbox tasks (can you tell I am a bit obsessed right now), communicating with teachers about individual music therapy sessions, and keeping up with the general stuff going arou…

TME Tuesday - New Ideas for TMEs

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There are times when I just plain old don't have any new ideas for TMEs. I sit and look at the computer screen and the TME database and just cannot come up with anything that seems interesting to me.It's a dilemma, but I don't worry. New ideas are all around, you just have to notice them.

One of my favorite things to do is to walk around and just look for things that I could use with my clients. One of the best things about working with children and adolescents is that I have an excuse to play and buy things that I really don't need but I can justify "for the kids..."

So, I spend lots and lots of time wandering the aisles of various and sundry stores looking for new ideas to bring into the music therapy clinic. I also spend lots of time listening to music (of course) and learning different songs to increase my repertoire and expand my use of music as a therapeutic medium. The more time I spend thinking, experimenting, and developing TMEs, the more I find that t…

An Insomnia Weekend

I've had an insomnia weekend where I've spent more time awake than asleep (at least that's how it seems to me). I have these every once in a while - times when I don't sleep soundly but have conscious thoughts going on all the time I am supposed to be sleeping. The lack of sustained sleep increases my stress levels which also increases my frustration and keeps me from resting.

The best thing about insomnia (for me, and I am TOTALLY being sarcastic here) is that obsession comes right along with it. I can usually compartmentalize my life very well. Work issues and ideas stay mostly at work. Home events and situations stay mostly at home. It is a good system that totally goes by the wayside when I cannot sleep deeply.

This weekend's obsession? Workboxes. That's right, the project that is helping me find my creative side and get motivated to be at work is also contributing to my lack of sleep.

I am not sure if I am having insomnia because I am obsessed with workboxes …