Showing posts from June, 2015

TME Tuesday - We're Great, But No One Knows It!

One of the songs that I loved when I was a camper (many, MANY moons ago) was one definitely designed to address self-esteem and group cohesion. It's one that struck me this morning as a good starting point for a new Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) for my students. So, here's the song...

Lyrics - - this group COULDN'T have composed this since I was singing it WAY before the date that video was made

So, how would I use this in a session with clients who need some work on group cohesion or self-esteem? Hmmm.

If I'm working with an individual, we will start by changing the words a bit from "we" to "I." The song itself leads into discussion. "What will you do to be considered great?" "What are the types of things that make people great?" "What is great about you already?"

It is a wonderful mantra…

Movie Week in Music Therapy

I asked my older adolescents to plan their music therapy sessions for this summer session. They all wanted to watch a movie, so I combined the scavenger hunt from last week to assist them in selecting a movie to watch for the next two weeks.

I usually use movies as a last resort. There are short movies included in my sub plans for when I am away from the music therapy setting, but I rarely watch movies with my clients. I try to have a screen-free environment in music therapy, mainly because my clients spend lots of other time watching the Smart Boards, using iPads, or watching television. This week of movie-watching is something I don't usually do, but I am ready for this.

So, how to incorporate movies into music therapy? I am a movie nut - I have hundreds of movies here at home, so I started strolling around my movie library. My criteria for movie selection? PG or G movies only - all others are not allowed in our school. I also wanted movies that my students were less likely to hav…

Synthesis Sunday: My Week In Review

I have a confession to make. I haven't done anything this week that could be considered "growth in music therapy." I've just been able to hang on and keep moving one step forward. There are weeks like that.

In the life of every person, there are up weeks and down weeks. This was definitely a down week for me. It started a week ago with deep thoughts and is ending today with more deep thoughts.

My thoughts have been varied this week - here are some of them...
It's not my job to "fix" you. Nor is it your job to "fix" me.No one should ever have to do bus duty alone.Why can't clients just get along?I don't really get paid enough.Meetings are often a waste of my time - let's be efficient, relevant, and productive in meetings. Why do I get so tired on Wednesdays? Oh, right, the client-getting-along thing. And the meeting thing.Why is it that I have paralyzing anxiety when I have to do simple medical tests that millions of other women do wi…

Historic Times, Indeed

Wow. This has been an amazing week when it comes to the Supreme Court. Whether you agree or disagree with the decisions that were made, this has been a week of history.

I have lived through many historic times, when I come to think about it. Some of them I don't really remember, but I was alive - the end of the Vietnam War, the resignation of Nixon, the Bicentennial in 1976, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the start of the Space Shuttle program and many other NASA projects (my favorite historical events, by the way), the fall of the Berlin Wall, the tragedies of Challenger and Columbia, 9-11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and countless other historical moments. I have a feeling that this week is one of the weeks that will be remembered for always as a turning point in the lives of many Americans.

How will the decisions made this week affect me? 

Not much. The ruling on Marriage doesn't affect me other than it will compel my father into many, MANY discussions with me about his opi…

Favorite Things Friday: Music Therapy Webinars

I love running webinars. I enjoy sharing what I'm thinking about in the world of music therapy and finding out what others think as well. Lately, however, I've run out of ideas on what to share with others. I still keep talking to interns, though, and find that their ideas and enthusiasm for this profession rejuvenates my own ideas and enthusiasm.

It always amazes me when we start to talk to each other about ideas, techniques, and such. We are a creative people, us music therapists. Who else do you know who writes music about using the bathroom, how to engage in appropriate social interaction, and keeping our hands to ourselves in one 60 minute session? Maybe the folks at Sesame Workshop come close to the things we do, but maybe not.

Maybe it's time for a new webinar on songwriting, composition, or creative TMEs with familiar instruments...

I wonder where I'll be in a month. Maybe a July webinar is in order.

I've been toying with an idea for a Music Therapy Creativity …

I Need A Break

Well, yesterday was a comedy of errors. You know the type of day when everything is just a bit off? That was my yesterday.

It started with my blog post about the Wednesday group that I always dread. Writing about it was a bit cathartic - it allowed me to spend some time thinking through my various strategies. I toddled off to work with good expectations for the day.

I should have known that something was up when I pulled into the gas station. The prices at my gas station are less than the gas stations in the town I work, so I always try to fill up at home. The station is a little bit out of my way, but not so much that it doesn't make sense to get gasoline there. I pulled into the station and took note of the price - $2.66 per gallon (I know that there are some folks out there thinking that is expensive and many more who are thinking, "$2.66 a gallon? Where is that? That's a GREAT price!!"). I started the transaction. As I chose my gasoline, I noticed the price on the …

It's Wednesday Again

...and I awoke with my usual feelings of dread. It amazes me how one group of clients can pull me into a morass of doubt, frustration, and feelings of inadequacy. Last week, I went with the "divide and conquer" strategy. It worked for about 40 minutes before the first major explosion occurred. I am hoping for a repeat of 40 minutes of good things happening before some sort of conflict happens...

Each of these clients would be fine in individual services, but group is what they have available to them. None of them can actually relate to other people in ways that society expects. This translates into disastrous sessions when there is little therapy happening. I awake in the morning, fretting about what might happen (based on actual, real-life experiences), and waste valuable time in a semi-anxious state. I'm a mess really. All on Wednesdays.

I think several things need to change. First, my way of interacting and my expectations of these clients needs to change. For the momen…

TME Tuesday - Emotion Instrument Improvisation


Here We Are Again, Monday.

I followed my typical Monday morning sleep routine this morning. I awoke early and spent lots of time thinking about what I want to do this week - I'm already stressing about my Wednesday group - and what I have to do this week. I'm trying to figure out what's going on out there in music therapy world and how it applies to me. I'm also juggling medical mysteries and some new appointments and the preparation that goes along with all of these new appointments. In order to counteract my sudden plunges into anxiety, I am trying to focus on other things.

This weekend, I bought some music from iTunes. I found the soundtrack for Inside Out (which, if you haven't already, make plans to see) and for Lava. These tracks are being synced to the iPod right now. I am planning on listening to the music during the day today. I don't know when, but at some time today.

I am going to try to counteract the Monday Blues with some good music, and some good thought patterns.

Today is br…

Synthesis Sunday: It Is Not My Job to Fix You

My brain and entire being has been struggling to make sense of the situations that happen here all of the time - not just the event of this week, but all of the events that have been controversial, damaging, hateful, and polarizing in my life.

On September 12, 2001, I sat in a classroom with a bunch of graduate students. We were all in shock. It was the day after 9-11, and we were distracted, mourning, and scared. The class was made up of international students - I was in the minority being a born-citizen of the US - and we took turns presenting information on special topics with curriculum and instruction. The man who was scheduled to present on September 12th was someone who was from a country in the Middle East, I believe it was Saudi Arabia, and he maintained his religious requirements for dress and observances.

I will never forget his speech.

He opted not to discuss his topic of the evening, and started to talk about the events of the past day. It was all that anyone was talking abo…