Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sing A Song Sunday - Weave Me the Sunshine

Today's song is on page 120 of Rise Up Singing. It is by Peter Yarrow, one of my favorite performers and composers. You have to know Peter Yarrow - he's Peter from Peter, Paul, and Mary and wrote songs like Puff the Magic Dragon and many, MANY others. Today's song is Weave Me the Sunshine. I have to admit that I didn't know this song until today.

Like most of Peter Yarrow's songs, this one sounds folksy and follows a predictable pattern of chorus and verse. Unlike most of Yarrow's songs, it starts on the Subdominant chord and ends on the Dominant chord rather than finishing all nice and neat on the Tonic chord. It seems to be designed specifically for a fade rather than a definite ending.

This song seems to go on and on and on. I will need to spend several hours listening to this song before I can replicate it in any specific form. I wonder if it is written down in any of my fake books... I've never heard it before now.

I am thinking that Sing A Song Sunday is coming to a close. It's been a good run, but I feel that there may no longer be a need for this particular topic. Maybe it will morph into something else very soon...


Videos? I'm not sure about that, but I'll start brainstorming for the new and different Sing A Song Sunday. Ideas??

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Online Conference for Music Therapy 2015

It's that time of year again. Registration for the Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT) 2015 is now open and running.

**Now in the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that I'm a founding member, the continuing education director, and the treasurer of OCMT, so keep in mind that most of this post is written from the point of view of someone who is deeply involved in many of the things that happen at the conference. There you go! **

When I answered a post on the music therapy listserv in 2010, I never imagined that I would still be as involved in this conference as I am now. I was nominated by my fellow founding members, John Lawrence (who was the first founder), Aksana Kavaliova Moussi, and Demian Kegotuk, to be the treasurer. I protested. I thought I would be better as the conference organizer, but the simple truth was that I was the only American music therapist, and all of our bills required payment in United States currency, so I got the job by default. Five years later, I'm still the treasurer, so things must be going pretty well.

Anyway, that first OCMT, in 2011, was an interesting experience. We offered two days of online streaming, and I think it went well despite technical difficulties, times when presenters would disappear completely, and the fact that we had no real idea what we were doing. We learned while going along.

OCMT 2012 was smoother. We used a different software platform, found many more helpers to work on the decisions and planning, and became a bit more organized all the way around. We switched to a 24-hour format and off we went! Our participant numbers grew. We started offering CMTEs through one of our sponsors.

The next OCMT was in 2014. Here is where I feel we really came into our own way of doing things as an online conference. Our international participation grew, our organizing committee grew, and our attendance grew. Last year's OCMT was chock full of interesting presentations, great keynote speakers, and lots of learning! We again offered CMTEs through one of our sponsors, Wellman Therapy Services and music therapists from everywhere started to talk about us.

This year's OCMT is shaping up to be the best ever. This year, OCMT has become a pre-approved provider for continuing education through the Certification Board for Music Therapists. We are able to offer educational experiences for music therapists under our own provider number. We have two keynote speakers, Michael Thaut and Gerhard Tucek, who will offer their ideas about music therapy. We have 16 presenters coming to us from Russia, Canada, Poland, Australia, Greece, China, and the United States. The topics range from discussions of specific models of music therapy, current practices throughout the world, specific population topics, and general tips for engaging clients of all shapes, sizes, and age ranges in music therapy treatment. The sponsors (I'm one of them!!) assist us in presenting the conference as well as assisting us in advertising. The organizing committee, an international group of music therapists who spend LOTS of time behind the scenes making sure that things happen, run smoothly, and are planned, meet on a regular basis (using our platform, by the way) and make the decisions involved when you are coordinating a conference.

This experience has been a good one for me, both as a professional and as a person. I never really understood all of the nuts and bolts that go into running a conference. We don't have to worry about finding a hotel or conference space. We trade those difficulties for finding a webinar conferencing program that will support our music therapy committee. We don't have to worry about making sure that there is food available, but we do have to worry about what we will do when someone's technical interface stops working (it's inevitable - it's technology). We don't have to think about whether one session will be interrupted by another session, but we do have to plan how to gather all of the interested music therapists into one presentation with limited difficulties for 24-hours! We also coordinate things with CBMT for continuing music therapy education credits. We have to offer access to the recordings of all presentations for those who just cannot stay awake for 24-hours and be coherent enough to finish post-tests! Being involved in this conference has offered me lots of growing experiences, but it has also enriched my music therapy life in ways that I did not expect.

This is my usual view of OCMT
My involvement in OCMT has enriched my view of what music therapy is all over the world. I've realized that my education and viewpoint has been VERY much US-centric. I have enjoyed hearing about music therapy in different parts of the world. I have enjoyed figuring out what terms others use for the things I do during my own music therapy sessions. I have also been confused, challenged, and supported by the discussions offered by others. OCMT has been one of the best and most challenging music therapy experiences I have ever had.

Let me finish by encouraging you to think about attending the fourth Online Conference for Music Therapy: Interconnectivity in Music Therapy. It will start at midnight GMT on February 7th and will be finished at midnight GMT on February 8th. (Start and stop times will vary based on your location on the planet. For example, here in the Central Time Zone, the conference starts at 6pm on February 6th and will finish at 6pm on February 7th.) As a conference, it offers a truly global perspective on music therapy right from your very own computer. How can you beat that?

I hope to see you there!


Friday, November 28, 2014

Favorite Things Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!

I'm trying to think of something that I can write about today. I started this post with a diatribe about Black Friday, and then I realized that I didn't have to sink into that particular morass of thought, so I broke out of that post into this one. So, today I'll write about 4X6 index cards - my favorite type of index cards!

If you are still reading, bear with me. I think it will get more interesting.

My love affair with the 4X6 card started in the Spring Semester of 1989, when we were assigned to start a TME (Therapeutic Music Experience) file in our Music Therapy Observation class. We had the freedom to choose the type of index card that we wanted to use, and I started my exploration of what was out there.

It was a Goldilocks-type deal.

I bought a package of each type of card and went to work.
I tried the 3X5 cards.

They were just too small. I ended up with 5-10 cards per TME. I couldn't get enough stuff on them to make them doable, so I went on.

I tried the 5X8 index cards.

The 5X8s were just too big. While there was plenty of room to write, I wasn't able to juggle them well while simultaneously playing the guitar and facilitating groups (which I wasn't doing that much in the spring of 1989, but I was starting to think like a therapist).

The 4X6 index cards were the best. They were large enough to write an entire song on one-two cards, and they fit on top of the guitar when I was playing. So, I went down the 4X6 path and never looked back. As you can see, I have used these cards for everything and anything I can think of that has to do with music therapy. I have basic ideas jotted down on these cards. I have full out TMEs on these cards. I have works in progress recorded on these cards as well. I've cut out and pasted things to 4X6 cards. I've cut the cards into little pieces, and my card box is never far away from my clinical creation space. I no longer rely on index cards for my TME file - I've gone electronic - but I still have to have them around for those moments when a song just pops into my head or when I need to write a note. I also spend time flipping through the cards when I'm stuck in a creative rut. One of the things that I've found useful over the years is that I can cut out the printed sheet music I create and tape it to a 4X6 card to keep on the side of my guitar (if I haven't really memorized the song yet...).

It's a little thing, an index card, but it has been one of the most valuable tools in my music therapy arsenal over the years. That humble index card offers so much space, so much promise, and so much security to me.

One of my favorite things - the 4X6 inch index card!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts and Musings

This morning, I awoke at my usual time (translation - very, VERY early) and spent some time trying to deny that I was awake and spent some time listening to my mind wander. It's my own kind of mindfulness, I guess. I spent some time paying attention to where my brain was going. It started with, "I don't have to wake up this early. I don't have to go to work today," and then went down the road of "I need to get green chiles for dinner tomorrow." That morphed into "Thanksgiving is on Thursday," to "Mama Icie would have been 103 last week. Thanksgiving was her favorite holiday. I remember all the years of having to toe the Mama Icie celebration line..."

Remembering my grandmother, Mama Icie, led me into some of the conflicting feelings that I have about this holiday. I love the idea of a day of giving thanks, but I don't think that I can only be thankful when I'm faced with green bean casserole, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. In fact, I am not very thankful when faced with a plate full of that type of food. Give me a good old meatloaf, and I am VERY thankful for the bounty before me!

My expression when posing for my very own portrait.
Many of my conflicting feelings about Thanksgiving started in celebrations at my grandparents' house. Mama Icie was the consummate hostess and loved entertaining. Me, not so much. We always had an open house to celebrate both Thanksgiving and my grandmother's birthday. We had to dress up, smile on command, and be perfect children. I have never enjoyed command performances, so spent many of my Thanksgiving holidays with this type of pout on my face. 

Did I mention the dressing up so we could take family portraits? That was something this 3-year old decided she didn't want to participate and that attitude continued.

We had to eat everything that was presented, and it was a traditional Thanksgiving meal - all the fixin's mentioned above plus other food stuffs that you can typically find on Thanksgiving tables. I was and still am a picky eater, and turkey never really makes it onto my plate (if I can avoid it), but, being at the grandparents' house meant trying a bit of everything before dessert. Of course, dessert didn't really motivate me since I don't like pumpkin pie either. (As a matter of fact, even being in the house when most of these foods are prepared makes me feel nauseated. Thanksgiving food really has quite a bit of issues for me!)

My grandmother was the closest family member to me when I was at college. My folks and I had decided that traveling home to California was not really feasible, so my dad arranged for me to spend Thanksgiving with Mama Icie. A couple of weeks before the holiday, Mama Icie called me. Here's how the conversation went...

MI: "I was thinking that we should order our Thanksgiving food. How much turkey will you eat?"
Me: "Um. I'm not a big fan of turkey, so I won't each much. Get a small one."
MI: Silence. "So, you don't like turkey?"
Me: "Nope."
MI: "I don't like turkey either."
Me: "Then why are we getting one?"
MI: "Well, everyone eats turkey at Thanksgiving."
Me: "But, if you won't eat it, and I won't eat it, wouldn't it be a waste?"
MI: "Do you like ham?"
Me: "Yes."
MI: "Well, then let's get a ham!"
Me: "Okay!!"
MI: "So, the next thing to do is to order pies. We'll get one pumpkin. What should the other one be?"
Me: "Well, I don't like pumpkin pie, so I won't eat any of that."
MI: hesitantly "I don't like pumpkin pie either. How about cherry?"
Me: "I like cherry."
MI: "How about pecan?"
Me: "I love pecan!"

For the first time in forever, my grandmother and I connected over something that I would never have thought - our mutual dislike of turkey and pumpkin pie. I asked her why she always served the traditional foods and she stated, "The rest of the family loved that food, so I made it for them." We had a wonderful couple of years celebrating in our own way - ham and cherry pie. The preparation was light, the leftovers were great, and we spent good time together without all of the holiday stress that had been part of our tradition in previous years.

My grandmother loved putting together parties, making things look great, and feeding people. My sister seems to enjoy many of the same things. I get some of my creativity, musical talent, and stubborn nature from her. She and I butted heads more often than not, and she was one of the few people that I would go toe-to-toe with, even as a toddler. It was wonderful to spend time with her where we just were able to be ourselves - cranky, stubborn, well-fed, and able to share other ideas, thoughts, and dreams other than the conflict-filled ones. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to spend time with her away from the big parties, traditional Thanksgiving feast, and portraits. I understand her much better now, and I hope that she understood me a bit better.

This year, I am going to make Crepes Ensenadas, a french-mexican hybrid casserole, for my Thanksgiving meal. My grandmother would have approved (it has ham in it!). I will spend some time being mindful and thankful. I don't know if I'll blog tomorrow, so...

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Americans, and Happy Thursday, everyone else!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TME Tuesday - Autumn Song

This may just be me, trying to stave off the icy reality of winter, but here is an Autumn improvisation idea for this cold, windy November morning.

Autumn Song TME
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC
All rights reserved.

Purpose: To increase awareness of environment; to engage in creative improvisation; to address social interaction; to provide opportunities for decision making and executive function; fine and gross motor skill development; symbol-meaning association; social interaction; increase knowledge of electronics and music production

Source: Original idea. © 9/6/2011 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Materials: place to write ideas for use by group; writing implement; instruments (Orff instruments, rhythm instruments, or other instruments to be used in the improvisation; OPTIONAL: guitar for accompaniment purposes; recording equipment

Environment: Group members within group setting, easy reach of instruments, and with eye contact with the therapist

Song/Chant/Words: Variable due to improvisatory nature of the experience.
Suggested Chord Format: minor blues progression

Procedure: R = Reinforcement opportunities; C = Redirection/Cue opportunities; A = Assessment
  1. C= ask group members to name the season
  2. A= assess whether group members know the name of the season
  3. R= reinforce all responses to cue through acknowledgement of correct answers and redirection of incorrect answers
  4. C= ask group members to name elements of the season that are typical of that season.
  5. Write all answers down where group members can see the words
  6. C= ask group members to choose 3-5 words for improvisation
  7. C= choose one word for first improvisation
  8. C= ask group members to choose instrument for first improvisation
  9. C= start improvisation with appropriate conducting gesture. Encourage sounds to correspond with the words chosen.
  10. C= ask group members to demonstrate how words sound
  11. R= reinforce all ideas and demonstrations as there are no wrong ideas in improvisation
  12. Play sounds for a set amount of time.
  13. Repeat steps 7-12 until group members start to show s/s of boredom, disinterest, or disengagement, or until time runs out.

Therapeutic Function of Music:

May pitch in specific sounds to illustrate different moods

None or improvised
Chart adapted from Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A Closer Look at the Therapeutic Function of Music. Presentation at 2010 American Music Therapy Association National Conference: Cleveland, OH.

The music is the experience in this case, allowing for creative and group expression. As the music is the output of the experience, the therapeutic elements of music will vary between groups, sessions, and moment to moment.

  • Formulate rules about the musical product
  • Use pentatonic or modal scales to build improvisations

  • Change elements of the musical elements listed above to change the style of music produced. Ask group members to verbally process (if possible) the changes in the musical product.

Monday, November 24, 2014

700. Celebration.

This is the 700th post on this blog. It amazes me that I've been able to come up with 700 topics to write about in the past eight years. The best thing about titling the blog, "music, therapy, and me," has been that I can write about anything and everything on this site. And, I do.

One of the things that frustrates me greatly in the music therapy blogosphere is when I find a blog that I like that has only two or three posts with the promise of more, but no more. In my early years of writing, that was me - only, without the promise of more or even anything good to say. I had to practice my writing in order to figure out what I wanted to say here. It took time and practice to find my pattern. 

So, here's what I do these days. I wake up every morning, log-in to my spot, and start to write. Some days, I have good ideas. Other days, it's a struggle, but I keep writing. I write about ideas to do with my clients, about my thoughts about music therapy as a profession, and about the little things that happen in my life. I've found some patterns to my blogging - Sing A Song Sunday, TME Tuesday, and Favorite Things Friday. I've learned how to post pictures from my blog to Pinterest and have found other ways of letting people know I'm out there in cyberspace. The topics either come easily, or I don't write anything. I finish up my posts and go to work.

I often troll around the blogosphere looking for music therapy blogs that offer the types of things that I need as a professional - ideas, support, illustrations that I'm not the only one out there trying to make it in this profession. I find inspiration in Janice Lindstrom's TalkRadio blog. I look at JoAnn Jordan's blog on a regular basis. Roia Rafeyian always has something deep to say at her blog, The Mindful Music Therapist. There are others that I just visit sporadically to see if there is anything out there that I am missing or need to know. I look at elements of those blogs to see if there is anything that I could also be doing here. I am appreciative of how much we therapists do on a regular basis to create, to educate, and to inspire.

So, 700 posts. Tomorrow is TME Tuesday and post 701. I'll keep going. Please keep reading. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sing A Song Sunday - Movin Day

Today's song is on page 88 of Rise Up Singing. It is part of the "Good Times" section which makes me laugh just a bit since the words aren't particularly happy but the musical presentation is very happy - lilting and skipping and all. Here is a link to Charlie Poole playing the song - it does get to the words eventually. Here's the link to the melody line.
Just another chart about the therapeutic elements of music...

I like this little song. It has a melody that just lilts along. I could have used it quite a bit over the past 17 months of moving from here to there. As I listened to the song this morning, what struck me was that, even though they are getting kicked out of their living quarters, the singer is pretty happy. That started me wondering, "Has this happened to them before?"

I know a person who refuses to own more than she can cram into her car. I wish I could be like that, but I cannot. Movin' Day for me takes a couple of months to accomplish - going through things, packing other things, and deciding what to give away. It's a production and never as happy as this song presents it to be.

I know that some of my clients have been through situations like the one presented in the song. I would use this song carefully with my kids, not wanting to bring up sensitive topics unless we are all prepared to handle the feelings in and out of music therapy. But, I can see a place for the melody and the song itself - maybe with different words to make the song less of a reminiscence song and more of a celebration or process song.

Now, for me, the challenge has been to get comfortable enough with the songs that I analyze here in my music therapy clinic. As of yet, I haven't really used many of the songs that I have analyzed in my clinic. This seems like a good goal for this next month, and something I can work on while I'm celebrating Thanksgiving this week. If you are looking for some different songs to use with your clients, check out the Sing About Sunday tag in the list on the left. There are many songs there that have a myriad of clinical uses. As for me, I think I'll work on this one first.

Have a wonderful week! 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I Am Thankful For...You

This is the time of year to be thankful (here in the States it's almost Thanksgiving), so I think I'm going to post the things that make me thankful about being a music therapist.
  1. I am thankful for my clients. Without them, I would not have found this wonderful profession. My clients challenge me, learn from me, and teach me every single second of therapy. Their engagement with and through music makes my life rich. They laugh with me, cry with me, get angry with me, and teach me about the importance of being authentic and human.
  2. I am thankful for music. I love that there are no "wrong ways" to make music. I can make music however I want or need to during the moment. I can find a song to match the mood that I have at any time. If there isn't a song already out there, then I can make one up... and I do!
  3. I am thankful for employers who recognize the benefits of providing music therapy to their consumers with the services of a trained music therapy clinician. I am thankful that I get paid to do something that I love with my clients.
  4. I am thankful for the American Music Therapy Association. The people who make up AMTA, from National Office to committee members to volunteers to regional members to local members, challenge me to be the best music therapist possible. The folks at National Office help us on a national and international level. They are constantly representing me (and you) in matters that may not directly affect my life, but would often have ramifications if not addressed. The volunteers who give of their time, energy, and wisdom are what make AMTA work. Without us, folks, there would be no AMTA.
  5. I am thankful for Music Therapy Colleagues out there, every day, working with clients all over the world. As I've "grown up" as a music therapist, I have met music therapists from all over the world who have made differences in my life as well as in the lives of my clients through me. I am thankful for those who came before me, and I am thankful for those coming into the profession right now.
  6. I am thankful for a rich music therapy social media community. Seriously. In the past, I've felt very isolated in my small area of the world, but no longer! I pick and choose which media I use, but it is wonderful to have a community of fellow therapists to reach out to when needed.
  7. I am thankful for you, dear reader. You have taken time out of your busy day to read the thoughts of a music therapist out there. Together we've gathered over 24 thousand views on this little blog. That means so much for me - that people actually want to see what I've written about this profession. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
I am thankful for so much during this time of the year, and I hope that you will have some time to reflect on thankful things of your own.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Favorite Things Friday - Bruscia

One of my favorite music therapy authors is Kenneth Bruscia. I have three different editions of his book, Defining Music Therapy, and I enjoy reading them all. I just received the last edition - and he swears it will be the last edition coming from him - right before conference, and I read bits and pieces of it throughout the conference. As a result, I am thinking quite a bit about the things that he writes about in his books.

For me, one of the best things about this text is Bruscia's description of how he approached the writing process for this new edition. He essentially recruited a bunch of music therapy professors and clinicians to go through the past two editions and start to talk and discuss what we music therapists use as a definition. My second favorite part of the book is the list of definitions of music therapy from all around the world and history of music therapy.

Most of the time, I find Bruscia really easy to read, but not always so easy to understand. I struggle with some of the concepts presented in editions one and two - the whole music in therapy and music as therapy thing confuses me. I am constantly swapping the Bruscia meanings and thinking of things in ways that Bruscia does NOT. This is a function of my brain rather than Bruscia being obscure, but I still need to read what Bruscia says about the topic when National Roster Internship philosophy statements arrive in my inbox. The concept still confuses me, even though I know what Bruscia is saying - I just get the two ideas flip-flopped in my brain.

The last two chapters are the ones I have read the most at this moment. I encourage you to check them out. The book is more than worth the $42.00 price tag (for the hardbound version - I can't do electronic things yet). 

I'm off to read some more of my current Favorite Friday Thing - Defining Music Therapy by Kenneth Bruscia and distributed through Barcelona Publishing. Check it out.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Something Interesting - Brain.mic

My music therapy friend, Beth Schwartz, from Raising Harmony, posted an interesting link today. The link takes you to Brain.mic which is a collaborative link between GE and Mic. One of the elements of the page states that this is a one-month Spotlight Series that "explores the universe in our heads." The thing that drew me into the site was the "Map Your Mind Quiz." I found it absolutely fascinating - I even posted the results on Facebook (which I RARELY do with the quizzes that I take). The best part of the quiz, in my opinion, was that it displayed areas of the brain that were probably activated during the decision process. I thought that was particularly interesting.

My result was "You are the child of Abraham da Vinci" implying that I have characteristics of both Abraham Lincoln and Leonardo da Vinci. How can I argue?

I am looking forward to delving into the rest of the Brain.mic site. I've already found an article about the difference between the brains of Conservatives and Liberals and one on how we have been brainwashed to like pop music. I think this is just my kind of site!

Back to the brain...

One of my music therapy obsessions continues to be how music is processed in the brain. I am interested in how we humans experience, process, manipulate, and use sound stimuli to complete many different things. One of my favorite books for the technical parts of this interest is The Cognitive Neuroscience of Music, edited by Isabelle Peretz and Robert Zatorre. Published by our friends at Oxford University Press in 2004, this book addresses all types of music cognition and neuroscience! Are you thinking that I'm an uber-geek yet? When it comes to music and neuroscience, I am!

I want to know how we process music. I want to know if there are any similarities, differences, or patterns that occur. I want to know if my students with specific diagnoses process these sounds differently from those with other diagnoses. There is so much that we know, and infinitely more that we don't know!

Now, I am not the type of music therapist who believes that I have to know exactly what is going on in the brain before I can do music therapy. I can see the benefits of music applied in a therapeutic manner every day, but I still want to know what's going on in my students' minds. I believe that the things we are learning about the brain and about music are enriching what we do as music therapists.

Train of thought derailment here - I don't think this is a philosophy of music therapy, but a framework for music therapy. I think that is a significant distinction to make here. I need to develop these thoughts a bit more before I can state them somewhat more clearly (obviously), but I think I'm onto something here...

Whew - that really shifted my thinking pattern. I think I'll take my Peretz & Zatorre to work today so I can read a bit during my intern's music therapy sessions. Off I go. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

AMTA Aftermath

It's been more than a week since the end of the AMTA Conference, and I am still trying to get back into my regular routine. I forget how much I rely on the Thanksgiving break to help me finish my processing, chores, and conference experience until I don't have that time immediately after conference. I keep remembering things I need to do when I'm driving myself to work, but I can't do anything about those things in the car, so they keep jumping to the AMTA To-Do list. The problem with this list is that I haven't actually written it down, so I forget that there is a list until I'm back in the car. Good news, though, Thanksgiving break is in five work days, so I should be able to start and finish my To-Do list next weekend. Whew!

Since I've returned, lots of things have happened in my music therapy life.
  • I've moved into my new music therapy space.
  • My schedule is now full of individual sessions, adapted music lesson master classes, and the group sessions I've been doing all along.
  • I've started a long-term project with the goal of a written project in mind.
  • I've sent out information about my internship handbook to the first round of reviewers.

All of these things in nine days. No wonder I'm tired!

It's time to sit down with my notepad and write down my new To-Do list - this is the first step in closing my AMTA 2014 experience. See you soon!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TME Tuesday - The Future

Today's TME seems really apropos for me as I am in a "Future" kinda mood. Enjoy!!

The Future
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Purpose: To introduce the topic of long-term planning; creativity; abstract thought; timeline concepts; social interaction

Source: Original song. © 2002 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Materials: Guitar, body percussion; OPTIONAL: large piece of paper or paper for each group member; magazines, glue sticks, scissors; colored pencils, crayons, and/or marker; other art materials as desired

Environment: Group members need to have enough space to complete the project and still be within hearing range of the therapist providing the music

Song/Chant/Words: The Future.pdf
      I                 vi                  ii                               V7
The future, the future, we’re looking towards the future.
           I                        vi                        ii          V7         I
We’re planning, we’re planning, we’re looking past today.

I want to finish school, graduate, and get a job. I want to finish school and then get a job!
      I                 vi                  ii                               V7
The future, the future, we’re looking towards the future.
           I                        vi                        ii          V7         I
We’re planning, we’re planning, we’re looking past today.

Procedure: R = Reinforcement opportunities; C = Redirection/Cue opportunities; A = Assessment
  1. Complete future vision paper prior to the start of the session to demonstrate to group members one idea of a vision
  2. Place all materials within arm’s reach of group members while starting step 3
  3. C= start singing the song, looking for responses from group members
  4. A= assess whether group members sing along with the music
  5. R= reinforce all attempts to sing with song and redirect group members who do not appear to be paying attention by using names or using proximity to gain attention
  6. C= Continue to sing the song, asking for volunteers to share their own dreams for the future

Therapeutic Function of Music:
Music is the accompanying element to the main task of exploring the future possibilities open to group members. The music starts as the impetus for the experience, offering a format referencing planning and the opportunity to dream about what group members could do in the future. The music continues as a background figure while group members complete the creative planning aspect of the vision board and start to determine plans for the future. Group members complete the composition by changing the lyrics to fit their own plans for the future, individualizing the experience for each group member.

Simple, repetitive, small range
Variable based on client’s preferred ranges
Ta, ti patterns, repetitive
Variable to gain attention of group members
I, vi, ii, V7

Variable to gain attention of group members
Vocal – guitar if desired; body percussion
Variable based on group members’ preferences – could be rap, rock, country, etc.
Repetitive with opportunities for word replacement to accommodate group members’ interests and contributions
Chart adapted from Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A Closer Look at the Therapeutic Function of Music. Presentation at 2010 American Music Therapy Association National Conference: Cleveland, OH.

I'm still trying to figure out how to post a pdf to this program, so I'll post the song on my website.

How could you use this song with your clients? Let me know in the comments!