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Showing posts from February, 2015

Saturday Before the Snow

It is early on Saturday morning, and there is a storm getting ready to roll in. Or at least, that's what they say will happen. Of course, folks haven't really been correct about the weather lately, so who knows if we will get the 3-9 inches that are forecasted or not. I'm torn between wanting the snow and not wanting the snow. Snow is really pretty on the days when I don't have anyplace to go. I can sit in my home and watch the pretty flakes fall from the sky. Unfortunately, I don't often have many days that I can stay home and not go anywhere. Today, however, is one of those days. Everything on my to-do list is home-related, so let it snow! Tomorrow, however, is another story. I have a church job about 20 miles away from my home, so I'll need to be able to leave my house and go to the job. I'm hoping that everything will be plowed and treated by the time I have to go out. We shall see. It is cold outside. It will be dark outside once the sun actually

Favorite Things Friday - Parachute

I have a secret shame. Are you ready? ((((I love parachute days at work!)))) There. I've said it for all the world to read. I love the parachute. I always have and probably always will. It is something that I love to play with and to use during therapy. Unfortunately, it is something that I reserve for days when I am gone rather than use all the time during therapy. My justification? My paraprofessionals that accompany kids to music therapy can use the parachute without me. Sniff! Why do I love the parachute so much? I think it stems from being recruited as staff for a sports-themed Girl Scout camp several years in a row. Now, if you know me, you know that one of the words that just does NOT come to mind when you think of me is "sporty!" In fact, I am about as non-"Sporty" as it is possible to be. Much of this is due to a balance disorder and the rest comes from not liking to fall down very much. But, the camp director was a good friend of my mother an

Music Therapists Unite...Again!

There are two different conversations going on right now on Music Therapists Unite. (Now, I know, if this group causes me so much grief, why do I stay? I have no answer...) The first is a discussion about the purpose of the group and how one person wants everyone to comply to a specific vision. The second is about unpaid internships. I have opinions about each one of these topics, and I am hesitant about sharing them on Music Therapists Unite because I don't want to get sucked into the morass of opinions, information, and misinformation. First of all, I agree that many of the posts on Music Therapists Unite appear to be ways to get others to do the work instead of taking a couple of seconds to find out the information that is available at our fingertips. I think this is a generational thing. Let me slip into my codger role here. "Kids today just don't know how easy they have it. In my day, you had to actually go to the library, wade through a card catalog, find a book

Let the Anxiety Dreams Begin...

I woke up really early this morning and it was due to some strange dreams that I was having. This has happened before and will happen again. My subconscious often takes over when I am trying to either figure out a sticky situation or when something big is happening in my life. This is going on right now. Today's dream was about finding clothing to wear.  The anxious part was that the clothing, while it was engaging and seemed to be a good idea, cost money. I didn't want to spend the money, but did at the same time. Over the years, I've had anxiety dreams about my audition to voice lessons, my sister and her non-existent children, my workplace burning down, clients falling into bottomless pits of mud, and various and sundry other things. The dreams seem to be ways of making the things that I'm nervous about into absurdities. That doesn't make them any less nerve-racking, but it does give me a giggle - once the dream has passed, and I've had a time to think

TME Tuesday - Improvisation to Spur Creativity

I - IV - V7 - I - IV -V7 - I - V/V - V - I - IV - V7 - I What is this? Oh, dear reader, this is the chord progression that I used yesterday to improvise several songs with clients yesterday. As a result, I wrote two new songs - one that I remember and wrote down and another that has been blown away into the annals of history and memory. The best part of improvisation is loosening up. Starting a chord progression - ANY CHORD PROGRESSION - offers enough structure for me to create.  Are you wondering how this works for me? Here's a description - sorta - about my process. The first thing to do is to start the progression. Play through it a couple of times, just to hear how it all works together. Listen to the music - where it goes, how it moves. Start to sing about any topic that is needed at the time. I often sing about what group members are doing in front of me or about what group members need at the moment. The song that has blown away from yesterday? That was a son

5 Things Music Therapists Should Know About Business

As faithful readers know, I have recently been going through the process of turning the Online Conference for Music Therapy into the Online Conference for Music Therapy, Inc. We are now officially official, and off to the races as a business entity. As I've been going through this process, I've been thinking about all the stuff I do not know about being part of a business - hence this post. Here are 5 things every music therapist should know about business (whether they are employed by a facility full-time, or heading off on their own journey of private practice)... Know about different types of business models. What type of business do you work for? What is the difference between a non-profit, not-for-profit, or for-profit model? What is the difference between an Inc and a LLC? How does the IRS differentiate between the various models? What are the ramifications for choosing one model over others? Find people to help you figure all this out. Seriously, without our att

Synthesis Sunday - Sorta

For the past several days, I've been a traveling dervish (not whirling - I get too dizzy), flitting from the center of this country to the East Coast and back again via both southern and northern routes. The purpose of all of this travel (all within 49 hours) was to start on the process of becoming part of a not-for-profit organization - my very first foray into the complexities of business. I am very thankful that I am not alone in this process - there are four others from around the world who are traveling this journey with me - as I think I would be sitting in a corner, loudly wailing in fright and fear at this point without them. So, you may be thinking. "What's the problem here? Can't you do this?" If you are, you are echoing my rational brain's thoughts. The emotional side of my brain, however, is shrieking in near hysteria mainly because I seriously have little to no idea what I am getting myself into with all of these new plans and things to do.

Thinking Deep Thoughts...

Things to think about... (by the way, all of these quotes are from Goodreads .  “Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!” ― J.K. Rowling , Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone   “Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.” ― Hunter S. Thompson     “Where words fail, music speaks.” ― Hans Christian Andersen     “Music is the great uniter. An incredible force. Something that people who differ on everything and anything else can have in common.” ― Sarah Dessen , Just Listen     “Beethoven tells you what it's like to be Beethoven and Mozart tells you

A Steep Learning Curve

One of the things that I really wish I had been forced to learn about during my education is business basics. We were not allowed to take classes on business management or basics - they were reserved for business majors - but it seems that a course or two on business theories would be extremely beneficial to us all, even if we don't seem to want to run our own businesses at the beginning of our careers. The reason this is coming up right now is that I am knee-deep in trying to figure out how to be a treasurer for an almost-formed not-for-profit organization of music therapy. Over the past several years, I've been faking it, but now I have to start doing this for real! There will be bookkeeping programs, taxes to file, accountants... I am freaking out! I am thinking that most of us kind of stumble into business methods via trial and error. My advice? Get an attorney and an accountant to help you out! We can't know all things, so we need to ask the experts to help us.

TME Tuesday - Take A Song

One of my favorite things to talk about is how to use music to complete a client's personal goal. I feel that it is our responsibility, as music therapists, to fully be able to not only use our medium, but to be able to discuss our medium with others. To do that, we need to know the process that we use to select music for use in our therapeutic environments. Here's one of mine... SCENARIO: Client walks in and starts to look through the iPod for music. Let's say that this client has goals of increasing communication initiation, appropriate emotional expression, and improving impulse control. The client finds a song and starts to play the song on the iPod. The therapist, in my case, me, needs to start figuring out a way to use the song that the client chose to address the therapeutic goals as soon as possible. How do I do this? It's a quick series of brainstorms, decisions, and actions. Some of that planning starts before the session. Here are some of the questions


I've spent some time fiddling around with a great website - Recite . It's a place where you can make excellent visuals for posting on the web. I really enjoy it, and have been playing around with the different styles. Do you ever need a picture to encapsulate what you have to say? I do. So, I make my own. Here are some of the pictures that I've made over the past couple of weeks.

Synthesis Sunday - Wigram, Nygaard Pedersen, and Bonde - Continuing in Chapter 3

There is lots of information in Chapter three of A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy . Last week, I started the first part of the chapter and now am trying to finish up the chapter as I attempt to synthesize information from this text. Starting on page 113, we start to discuss the models and methods of music therapy. The sheer number of "models" that we have in the profession of music therapy is staggering. GIM, Analytical Music Therapy, Creative Music Therapy, Benenzon Music Therapy, Behavioral Music Therapy, Free Improvisation Therapy, Neurologic Music Therapy are just a few of the "models" that we have to choose from as we develop our own philosophy and way of practicing music therapy. As I continue to work through the concepts and ideas presented, it makes me realize how many things I do not know about music therapy and its practice in the greater world. I am aware of all of these different "models" of music therapy, but I haven't spent lots

Playing Catch Up

This is my weekend to get everything I need to do for all the different places that I work for, volunteer for, and hope to work for all put together and finished. I have been woefully neglectful of some of my "jobs" lately as OCMT took over my life, but it is time to get back into my regular way of processing things and information. I am making my to-do list. It is growing exponentially as I am thinking about what I have to do in the next three days. Laundry, dishes, grocery shopping head the list. Also on the list is a CMTE proposal, finishing tasks for an e-course, laminate visual aids for work, do some research, AIAC applications, OCMT follow-up stuff, taxes, and preparing for two quick trips in the next month. I may need to be clothes shopping as well for something a bit more professional than jeans and t-shirts. Gotta project a facade of professionalism, after all! There are times when I simply have to disconnect from some things in order to catch up on the things

Favorite Things Friday - Organization Tips

Last night, I hosted a seminar about organization. This is one of my most challenging personal activities - trying to get the level of organization that I crave while still being able to have a life outside of my home. It is a challenge... As you can see, my "office" area is quite a bit of a mess of things I think I need in order to do my job. There are music therapy journals, different types of paper, visual aids, card stock, textbooks, markers, envelopes, file folders, laminating supplies, pens and pencils, and lots of stuff. This is just a small part of what my challenge looks like. Now, in my professional life, I am more organized. I have made myself be that way. This doesn't mean that things are always prettily arranged in a manner that would make you want to replicate my methods, but it is very functional. Functionality is the most important part for me. This weekend's challenge? Changing the office a bit. I am going to rearrange the office space a bit,


The acronym, G.I.G.O. (an old computer programming phrase), stands for one of my current sayings, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." Basically, it means that you get out of a situation what you put into it. So, if you put in an honest effort, you should get something good as a result. If you don't take the time to do a good job, your result is not going to be what you want. This has really been proved to me over and over the past week. My session yesterday, the one I was dreading, was as bad as I had foreseen. The two kids who get away with screaming in order to play the computer (because, isn't it easier on us to give them what they want just to keep them quiet? - SARCASM), kept trying to get out of doing everything by screaming and tantruming. I don't feel that it is a good idea to teach kids that they can get what they want by hurting other people, so I don't allow them to get out of doing what they are asked if they are being aggressive or overly disruptive.

The Wednesday "Ughs"

Does anyone else ever get the "Ughs?" These are the feelings when you are not really looking forward to your day for one reason or another. Lately, mine have been landing solidly on Wednesdays, and I know exactly why. My Wednesdays are made up of songwriting lessons, three groups, two individual sessions, two meetings (ugh), and the group that causes most of my "Ughs." Unfortunately, that group is my last group of the day and then I go into an individual session (that usually brightens my mood for a bit), but then I have to go into meetings. After that, I leave to go to my part-time job which usually assists me in getting over the "Ughs." You may be asking, "Why do you put up with the 'Ughs?'" In my experience, the "Ughs" are what happens when something isn't quite right with the therapeutic process. My therapeutic process right now is scattered with this group of clients. There is one client who screams no matter what h

TME Tuesday - Changes in Matter

Today's TME comes to you courtesy of the Novas pod - one of the three classroom groups that I have at work. This is the pod that has monthly themes. One of the themes this month is "Change - water and how it changes," so here is my first attempt at a TME for this theme. We'll see how it goes this morning when I present it for the first time. Therapeutic Music Experience Changes in Matter Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC Purpose : To reinforce science topic of changes in matter (specifically water as liquid, solid, and gas); symbol/icon representation; Source : Original chant. © February 9, 2015 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. Written for students in Novas Pod. Materials : Pictures of water in three states (found on Google images); external beat (from keyboard or beat track) Environment : Group members in arrangement that allows everyone to see the therapist and the pictures Song/Chant/Words : Chant