Showing posts from April, 2015


There used to be an old commercial for Heinz Ketchup that has stuck with me. Two small boys discuss how slow the ketchup comes out of the bottle. The point is that all good things are worth waiting for.

Yesterday, in my blog crawls, I found a post by Janice Lindstrom about a couple of challenges that she is going to be doing. I decided to join her in the challenge offered by Julie Palmieri over at Serenade Designs. Julie, a music therapist with a passion for web design, is challenging us to blog about some common topics over the next month. She will assign us a topic each Friday, and we (the participants) will all blog about that topic. Then, we'll share our posts with the #MusicTherapyBlogger community.

I am looking forward to this challenge with anticipation. I am always interested in what other people have to say, but I don't always have the time or the resources to sit and access all the blogs that are out there. It will be interesting to see what others think about common t…

Time for Another Great Adventure!

Do you ever just go away for a time to find an adventure? I do not. I am mainly a homebody who just sits at home and enjoys structure and routine. Lately, however, I've been craving something new, so I've been moving into adventurous situations (at least, for me!).

My adventures this year have included expanding my reading and writing about music therapy, traveling to different music therapy programs, thinking about internships a bit differently, trying to come up with creative ideas, starting up a non-profit organization for music therapists (look up the Online Conference for Music Therapy), and working on my role in the greater music therapy world. This year has been an adventure, to say the least.

I am not finished with the adventuring.

I am stepping outside my comfort zone yet again. One of my fortune cookies from my latest Chinese food order stated, "Courage is the mastery of fear - not the absence of fear." So, it is time to take another leap into the void of the …

TME Tuesday - Borrowing Ideas from Others

In my Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) file, I have a space for SOURCE. This is one of the most important parts of my TME plan for reasons I will explain in a bit. In this section, I write as much information about composers, authors, recording artists, textbooks, and any thing and every thing else about the music, experience, or idea that I can find.

I am not the author, composer, developer, or arranger of all I do in my music therapy sessions. I only publish things that are my original ideas and my own work because that's all I can publish under the legal restraints of copyright and intellectual property guidelines, but I use lots of things that others have written and composed. I am careful to give credit where credit is due. This is because of an incident that occurred to me during a music therapy conference many years ago.

I attended a concurrent presentation on organizing sessions for preschoolers. The presenter, unknown to me, introduced herself and stated that she was a r…

The Plan for Laryngitis

I have laryngitis. It's a wonderful effect of the asthma medication that I'm on, and it is not getting any better, it's getting worse since the medication has increased significantly in the last three days. Wonderful, hunh? It's time to break out the laryngitis plans and do music therapy without singing or speaking.

Easy to do?

Of course not!


You betcha!

What am I going to do this week? First of all, stay as silent as possible. I will play the guitar, I will start and stop the graduation songs, but I will not be able to sing along. I will do a saxophone and clarinet demonstration - playing what I cannot sing or speak about. If I really get in a bad way, I'll play my clients one of my favorite music-based Disney DVDs. I can also break out the card games, Jeopardy, mini-Uno, rhythm BINGO, the instrument memory game, Instrument Go Fish, or any of the other non-verbal TMEs that I have in my TME file. We could also have a dance party or do karaoke (yet again - I d…

Synthesis Sunday - The Quest for Understanding, Part One

I am trying really hard to understand something that has eluded me throughout my extensive education - why we do specific statistical tests with particular research questions. I've been in about 12 different research courses in my life, and NONE of them have answered my questions about how to determine which test to do. Believe me, I've asked. The statistics folks tell me to talk to the research methodology folks and the methodology folks tell me to talk to the statisticians. It's a run-around that seems to confuse just about everyone. So, I am going to dedicate my reading time and some of these Sundays to trying to understand why specific statistical tests go with research questions.

I started with some old research. I'm currently reading Standley and Prickett's Research in music therapy: A tradition of excellence which was published in 1994. These articles come from the library of research from 1964-1993 and are described as "outstanding reprints." Might…

Early Morning Routines

I was reading Janice Lindstrom's blog the other day (She's doing an A-Z blog challenge) and found "R is for Routines." In her discussion, she wrote about getting inspiration from, and I went over to the website to see what it was all about. I am now a subscriber. I started thinking about my own routines.

My early morning routine is my most consistent routine at this time. I wake up about 4:45 (if it's a late day and I get all the sleep I want!!), use the bathroom, take a shower, and then go to the computer. That's right, I start my day with hygiene and then the computer. I go to all of my email accounts and answer emails or place them on the to-do list for later. I then move to my blogger account. I blog for a bit, and then I play my three games. I fix breakfast and lunch in there somewhere. After that, I leave for work.

I don't have a consistent after work routine.

I have lots of work routines. My first step is to turn on the computer and look a…

Favorite Things Friday - The Library

My favorite Friday afternoon activity is a quick crawl around the small library in the town where I work. I completely skip the non-fiction section (I know that I should probably be finding things about factual things, but I can firmly suppress this goblin - I LOVE FICTION!). I can usually get in and out in 15 minutes. I enter, take my bag, and roam the fiction section. I have some authors that I go to first right now. I am enjoying Janet Evanovitch and Dave Berry right now, so I go there first to see if the next books in the series are available, and then I just go on impulse.

There is nothing more comforting to me than rooms and rooms full of books.

Library books are there for the taking - albeit temporarily - but, there for the taking! I can get any book that I want. I can also get movies, CDs, ideas, and inspiration at the library.

(And, it's free as long as I do what I am supposed to do. I admit, I have had to pay fines occasionally, but, in my defense, the last time, I had the …

Remember Why I Do This

Yesterday was Wednesday, the day that I dread more than the others because of one group of kids. They are not a cohesive bunch and just plain old need individual services instead of group services, but our service model does not include two music therapists, only one, and group services instead of individual services, so we're kinda stuck the way things are (run-on sentence, Ms. Stark would NOT be proud of me AT ALL!). Anyway, that group ran GREAT for the second week in a row, and the student who screams when no sounds are present laughed during the cacophony of "Big Instrument Exploration" with nary a complaint.

I was singing and playing during one of my sessions (I can't remember which), when I had to cough. This is a persistent problem right now with the blooming and blossoming that's going on out here. I stopped playing and singing in order to cover my cough (which is just going on and on and on). One of my students said, "Why'd you stop playing?"…

My Plate Is Too Full - Time to Go On a Diet

Do you ever have one of those days where you realize that your plate (either real or metaphorical, like mine) is simply too full?

This morning, I awoke earlier than usual and my brain started working and working and working. It would not quit, and it just kept churning over and over again. So, I got up and started my day.

I started answering emails, planning my day, thinking about committee work, trying to figure out what was the priority, and then getting to the list. The list got longer and longer, but I did get some of the items off my (metaphorical) plate.

This time of year is always a bit too busy. There are reports to file, sessions to plan, people to talk to, other duties as assigned, talent shows and graduation ceremonies to arrange, meetings to sit through, training to complete, housework, documentation, and the list goes on. When we have snow days, I get to take another week off during this time of year to escape some of the tasks that continue to appear. Alas, no snow days thi…

TME Tuesday - Changes In Matter

One of the things that I really enjoy is writing music for education curriculum. My dream job is to write music for Sesame Workshop. Anyway, I had a theme here that included changes in matter as a topic for science for kids with severe intellectual involvement. The idea was to give kids a chance to identify different states of matter. It was pretty successful - I spent time finding pictures of water in liquid, gas, and solid form. I laminated them, but still don't have five other things to do with them, so they are in a file folder here at home. I have to figure out five other things to do...

Here's my logo for products that take educational concepts and make them into musical offerings.

Changes in Matter TME Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC 

Other Duties As Assigned

There is a phrase in my job description that gives me fits. It is the last thing on the description and states, "other duties as assigned." It is this phrase that has led me to be a presenter for PBIS last week and is leading me into teacher interviews this week. Teacher interviews are not arranged around my schedule, so I am having to figure out what to do with three groups today (my only groups today - I actually get some planning time today for the first time in four weeks) without me. (It would have been nice to have the planning time BEFORE having to go into interviews, but this isn't a perfect world!)

As I have aged (and aged and aged), I have realized that I need to know what the other duties could be before I commit to something. I also have to contemplate taking anything on that is more than I can handle at any given time. This is difficult for me to do. I want to be superwoman and do it all, but I have learned that I cannot do it all.

My vision board (started on

Synthesis Sunday: The Reading I Did This Week

I tried to start my hour of reading every night habit this week. I got two nights finished before my schedule intruded. So, this week's goal is three nights of reading (or more, if I can fit it in, but no pressure on me).

This week, I finished reading the book I started quite a bit of time ago. A Comprehensive Guide to Music Therapy was an interesting read. It's a wonderful overview book and opened my eyes to many of the music therapy domains and realms that I have not explored. There are still many, many more that were not described in this book, but there was enough information in this text to make it valuable in my continuing journey to find my way in this vast and complex music therapy world. There were lists of names of music therapists who have developed theories, methods, and supported their ideas through research. There was a discussion about Evidence Based Practice in a format that allowed me to understand what it was we are constantly talking about. I spent lots of ti…

Visioning - Planning for a Future

I am involved in many, MANY organizations and committees and boards that are concerned with planning for the future. We've been slinging around the term "Visioning" lately. I know what "Visioning" means, but it was worth a bit of time sitting down and doing a bit of exploration to see what others vision and how they do it.

Start with a question. Something along the lines of "Where do you see yourself/music therapy/this organization in __ years?" I've found that, lately, I need to start with "Why do you want/need to be in this organization?" And, "What do you want to be doing?"

After you decide what you want to do, it's time to start thinking about the future. "What will I be doing in this role __ years from now?" "What do I want to be doing with myself __ years from now?"

I am going to get some visioning started today. I have to think about things in several places, but I have to also vision for myself. Wha…