Showing posts from March, 2016

Thoughtful Thursday: Buckminster Fuller

A different kind of life.


This quotation has been living on my desk for the past two weeks, and it has challenged me every time I have paid attention to it.

I know that this quotation was true to what happened when I first heard about music therapy. From that moment, in a dusty music classroom at the University of Evansville, at a fine arts professional seminar through Girl Scouting, I heard the words "music therapy." Just hearing those two words were magic for me. I actually heard an audible click in my brain and knew that I was meant to do this job. I had a similar click when I realized that some music therapy clients were those with diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum. I knew that I needed to work with persons with those extraordinary brains through music and music therapy. Click.

Lately, my life has changed, and I am not sure what I really want to do with myself anymore. I still love being a music therapist. I still love working with individuals in the music therapy envir…
This may be a short post. Be prepared.

This has been a long night, and I don't really feel well, so I think I'll just put a couple of thoughts down on this blog and then go to work. I know, I know. Go to work? Yep. I have to. I have no more sick time so I have to go to work.


There have been several themes that have popped up in my life this week. The first is self-care. The second is perfectionism and anxiety. I don't know if Facebook is in any way linked to this blog (probably is - hello, Big Brother), but things have been popping up on my newsfeed about both of these topics. 

I spent some time working through my first art journaling assignments in my e-course - The Art of Imperfection. I will be continuing. Friends have been posting links to articles, memes, and other links about these topics as well. I don't think that many people know what I am currently seeking, but they seem to be seeking the same. I think that's why they are my friends.

Have a good Wednes…

TME Tuesday: Name That Tune

You know this game, right? It's a great standard for groups working on reminiscence, theme-based programs, music awareness and preferences, and is just plain fun. You know the game, so I'm not going to post too much information about how to play, but here are some ways to change the game to accommodate different group members... If you have additional ideas, then post them in the comments either here or in Facebook! I would love to see your ideas!

Play in competitive teams who play as the game was presented on television long, long ago - each team takes turns stating how many seconds they need to identify a song. When both teams agree on a time frame, play the music for that amount of time. The team that is the identifying team has to figure out the song in the amount of time indicated to get a point. The other team can steal the point if the first team cannot.Play Family Feud style where two clients go head to head and then take control of the music field until they strike out…

Presentation Mode Commencing in 3...2...1

Just kidding. I'm not presenting anything right now, but I am thinking ahead to several other presentation opportunities. I have a bunch of ideas percolating in my head, and I am in the process of refining my ideas into presentation proposals. (No spoilers here since I don't want others to see my ideas...yet.)

I like being a presenter. I enjoy public speaking, and music therapists are my favorite audience. I get to talk (which I enjoy) about my favorite topic, being a music therapist (which I love), so presentations are something that I look forward to and heartily relish.

I have a small book that has my presentation ideas in it. It joins my small books that hold my business ideas and my wild ideas in a small notebook that I can carry around with me. I am going to spend some time fleshing out my ideas so I can start to put them into the AMTA proposal website. I also have to create my TMEs for a project that I have going with another MT-BC - so I can keep up with every project th…

Supplemental Sunday: Stereo Symbol Movement

I think I've shared this before, but here is a bonus TME for you that uses visual aids to assist in the development of independence and life-long leisure as well as gross motor development, body awareness, vestibular and proprioceptive awareness, and social interaction. 

Looking for the symbols so you can make your own? Go to your nearest iPod/mp3 player/CD player. The symbols are almost universal these days.

Becoming a Research-Informed Clinician - Part 5

I've done it.

I've refined my process for reading research so that I can use the ideas presented in my very own clinical practice. I have figured out what I want to learn from my reading, how to organize it, and how to then synthesize the information into something that makes sense to me. Here is the format for my thoughts and process. It is the finished product as the first reading doesn't look this neat. (Click this link to get to my website and download the file...)

Here is an example of what reading a research article looks like around me...

My first read-through of any type of research article or book requires many different colors of post-it notes. I usually use about 6 different colors. Each color has a specific significance for the article. (I always make a color legend so I know which color is which.) In the picture below, the light pink indicates terminology that I need to further define. The blue slips are additional references to look up and read. The purplish sli…

Thoughtful Thursday: Never Underestimate the Importance

Isn't it amazing how everything just starts to come together and that patterns are apparent when you start focusing on something important?

I am on a quest to be okay with not being perfect. In the past two weeks, I've signed up for a course on The Art of Imperfection with Brene Brown, I've gathered all my materials to start, and I am reading the book, one chapter at a time. In the past two weeks, I have noticed more and more memes, news items, articles, and comments from others about perfectionism.

Now, I don't know if there has been a recent upswing in these types of things in my environment or if they have been there forever and I am just more likely to notice these days. (I really suspect a combination of both.)

I received a message yesterday from a friend of mine who noticed that I didn't post anything on this blog. She inquired if I was okay.

This was important. It was important to me and made me realize that there are times when perfection (which I was striving …

TME Tuesday: Take a Song

I just had an idea for a therapeutic music experience (TME) flash into my head, so this is not as put together as my TME Tuesday posts usually are. Please forgive me for being so spontaneous, but these things happen and are usually good for me!

So, this idea is influenced by something I saw on Pinterest. The idea was to encourage adolescent girls to take lyrics from a specific song and then make them into a collage with self-esteem images and art journaling. My clients are not really able to fully immerse themselves in the reasons why we would do something like this. Most would be able to complete the concrete parts of this experience, but the deeper thought would be difficult for them to complete. They just don't connect the process with a product or challenge for themselves.

They often have the same difficulty with lyric analysis - I think it's in the personalization of the lyrics where we struggle the most. Many of my clients can use their vocabulary skills to think about wha…

Monday Morning

4 am comes very early after a time change and a week of sleeping in. It's time to go back into the work routine, so it's time to wake up and get ready.

It's been a week since I have been in the music therapy room at my facility. 

This week has been full of napping, trying to figure out what to do with my life, and cleaning bits and pieces of my home. It has been a good week, but it is now time to get back into the music therapy clinician routine. I have a very small idea about what I am going to do with students this week. We are going to figure out our Musician of the Month through word scrambles, music listening, and discussion. Other than that, my current session plans are wide open. They will be more firm as of this morning at 8:30 am (the first kids arrive at 9 am).

Mondays are my plan and preparation days. I do not have an afternoon group, so I get some time to arrange and organize the next couple of weeks. I hope I can concentrate. When I am medically cleared and off o…

Supplemental Sunday: Drawing Things

I am not the best artist in the world, but I find lots of joy in drawing. I've found that I'm pretty good at line drawing, especially if I have something to look at as a model. This art, however, was drawn (almost) without example and completely for use with one of my favorite Sesame Street songs, I Don't Want to Live on the Moon

Now, I could find images on Google for my visual aids (and I often do so), but there is something very satisfying about drawing my own visuals.

So, how do I start?

I listen to the music and read the lyrics. I find key terms that I can actually draw. Some songs are completely abstract - I don't often find success drawing things that aren't concrete - so, those songs are not really good for making visual aids. (Home is one of those abstract concepts, and my clients come from many different homes, so I wasn't really able to draw a good picture of what home is to us.)

I make a grid - this one was folded into eighths. I was able to draw one c…

It's Important

I am sitting here, trying to figure out what to write about this morning. It is almost the end of Spring Break, and I am sitting in my "in progress" cleaning process. I have a meeting in less than an hour, so I am not really able to do much of anything else right now. I could start a load of laundry and let that run while I am meeting. I could also keep ripping CDs to my computer. I could do both of those things simultaneously! Be right back!!

Okay, that's started. This has been a good week. I did the things that I had to do, but spent the rest of the time doing things that I wanted to do. I spent some money on more scrapbooking and paper tools for making visual aids. I grocery shopped and made some food for later this month. I finished my taxes and the tax process for the not-for-profit business that I am part of. I am getting ready for an influx of money that will allow me to move into new business practices. I made some progress on a project that I am doing with a good…

The Music in Music Therapy

Last night, I had a chance to talk about one of my favorite music therapy topics to some of my favorite music therapists - interns! We talked about becoming more purposeful in how we use music in our therapy sessions. This is my favorite thing to ramble on and on and on about, and sometimes it leads to deep discussions about our therapeutic modality. Sometimes we just ponder what is going on as we think more deeply about what it is we do that makes us different from other musicians in our area, facility, or location.

I have an ulterior motive for talking like this to music therapy interns.

I think that many of us practiced veterans of the music therapy profession do not really know how to talk about music therapy to people who make funding decisions. I think this is why we are sometimes replaced by other music programs - we don't know how to delineate what we do that makes us different than the other musicians who interact with clients.

This is something that we seem to struggle with…