Showing posts from September, 2016

Adapting to What's In Front of Me

I had a meltdown last night.

I was frustrated, my computer decided to keep updating itself while I was using it to host a webinar, and I sliced off the top of my pinky toe in the middle of all of the other angst. As I was trying really hard to get my computer updated and back online for the webinar, I cried frustration tears, cursed a bit (mildly - I'm still afraid of my mother coming to wash my mouth out when I cuss), and had a mini frustration fit. I was able to compose myself and move back into the idea of being a presenter once the computer started up again.

I had to remind myself to use my coping skills and that a computer that is interrupted from its job during its job is not a tragedy, it is really a gift. It was difficult to be mindful and appreciative in the situation itself, but I was able to find some humor in the situation once it was all over.

I think that being able to adapt to whatever comes is an essential skill for a music therapist. I try my best to remember that it…

Re-Boot: Thoughtful Thursday

"When you said everything would be OK, was that for you or for me?"  (Fiore, 2016, p. 219).
I received my latest copy of the Journal of Music Therapy in the mail this week. I started my "research-informed clinician" routine to see if there was something that had direct clinical relevance to my population (there really wasn't in this edition) and then started to read for any type of import to my clinical existence.

While the research was interesting, I continue to be challenged to find things that work with my clients in my treatment modality.


The one thing that I came away with was the quotation cited at the beginning of this post. This was a song lyric generated by a group of campers at a bereavement camp, and it really stuck with me.

We say things all the time. As a therapist, I make statements to my clients that are probably often for me rather than completely for them. My phrases? "Ignore him," "Use your coping skills," and countless…

Music Therapy Pet Peeves

Admit it, we all have them. We all have something or another that just plain old bugs us about music therapy, music therapists, and/or how our profession is viewed by others. Some of them are minor, others seem major, and yet others seem to be triggers for the types of behavior that we would never tolerate in others, but seem to feel comfortable with in ourselves...

Here are some of my pet no particular order...and just the opinion of an over opinionated music therapist who strives to understand the world around her...
"Musical therapy" - This innocuous statement makes me outwardly cringe every time someone says it. I don't do therapy that is musical, I use music as the center of therapy. When someone uses the adjective rather than the noun to describe what I do, I feel like the person is focusing on the therapy more than the medium it is centered in. This is often just a misinterpretation about what it is I do and is often very innocent on the half of the pers…

Song Lyric Sunday

I'm going to try something new this week.

I fall in love with songs based on the entire experience - the lyrics have to match the orchestration and the timbre has to support everything else. For me, songs become favorites when I feel that all of the elements of music work together to present the thought behind the song.

As a result, I tend to fall in love with specific songs and stay in love with them forever. When I hear a song that I love, the words are what draw me into the experience but the rest keeps me there - the melody, harmony, meter, chord progressions, timbre, form, style. Without the rest, the words just sit there.

Having said all that, I am going to share some of the lyrics from a song that I love. You can find all of the lyrics here

The song is "What Do You Hear in These Sounds" by Dar Williams. The lyrics that strike me the most (today) are as follows:

And when I talk about therapy, I know what people think
That it only makes you selfish and in love with your…

So Far Out of the Comfort Zone

I did something today that is shaking up my view on what could possibly be. I contemplated a future with a completely new music therapy population and a slew of new challenges and possibilities. I am simultaneously excited and terrified of this situation, but I have made a commitment to me and to exploring what is possible.

Yikes! I am going to sit over here, in my corner, and just shake for a time...

For weeks, I've been talking about the need to shake things up in my life. I think this will do it - it's already making me think about our profession in a new way.

I have always made a pledge that I would examine opportunities that came my way even if I wasn't looking for something new to do. This has led me into many new experiences that have enriched my professional life. I was asked to apply for a job several years ago. The entire experience was life-changing - it showed me that I really didn't want that job! It reinforced my ideas of what I wanted and needed in a job - …

The Beautiful Side of Boredom

My mother has a phrase that she would pop out any time one of us would utter the statement, "I'm bored." After hearing the phrase once or twice, we learned quickly not to make that type of statement within her hearing because she would respond, "I can find you something to do."


What Mom found for us to do was usually something like mopping the kitchen or weeding the garden. It wasn't usually all that fun and did not necessarily combat the boredom issue, but it was something to do.

I believe in boredom.

I believe that out of boredom comes creativity. Mom taught me that. When bored, I can find a path out of that boredom because Mom encouraged me to do so!

I heard "I'm bored" from clients all week this week. Many of them made these statements when they entered into the session room before I was even able to do anything with them. I am wondering what is happening. Once my clients get used to the fact that they had to walk 25 feet down the hall…

Thursday - A Change in the Routine

I don't want to talk about much of anything today. It's going to be a different type of day. I am going to the doctor to get yet another check on my knee. I am going to work to have a group of students on a field trip instead of going to music therapy (and I am FINE with that after this week).

This week has included screaming students, a death threat from a student who was upset about the loud fire alarm, spittle flying all over the room, and a strong fist planted on my arm. Everyone and anyone has been yelling, arguing, and refusing any and all attempts at appropriate interaction. I would love to accommodate all requests to use that bathroom at the immediate second that they demand to use the bathroom, but we don't have the staff available to provide line of sight supervision to students when they all want to leave at the same time. So, the frustration mounts.

A change in routine will be good for me. I think it will be good for some of my clients as well. We all need to do …

Life is Too Short

A music therapist who is also an acquaintance of mine was talking about doing nothing for an entire day. He made the observation that it was difficult for him to plan a day of nothing - no work on presentations, no catching up on progress notes, nothing at all planned...a complete day devoted to self-care and something just for him.

I can certainly relate.

I think many music therapists can relate to his conundrum. How do you get away from the job, enjoy getting away, and find something to refresh you enough to get back to the job?

For me, my issue usually comes in the form of guilt - guilt that I'm letting someone down (I'm usually not), guilt that work will still be waiting (because it always is waiting - it's work), and guilt that doing something just for me is inherently selfish. I'm learning to let those feelings of guilt start, pass through my conscious mind, and then leave me again.

I am part of a Facebook group for music therapy business owners. I enjoy reading the …

TME Tuesday: The Last One - The Manners Song

It's official. This will be my last TME Tuesday under this format. I have decided that it is time to focus more on other things, so from now on, you will still be able to get a TME on Tuesdays, but it will be a subscription-type thing. I'm still working out the details, so the subscription probably won't start next week, but it will be coming soon, so this is the last TME that will be released on this blog.

This therapeutic music experience (TME) is available on the most recent edition of sing about songs: sing about autumn. Click the link for more information about these TME collections. Enjoy!

Therapeutic Music Experience Ten Table Manners for Kids Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC