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Showing posts from July, 2016

Davi the Cat - Adventures in Starting a Relationship

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My sister is sitting here, and I decided to pick her brain about my blog post for this morning (sorry it's late, Janice, my friend!). It's not going to be a Supplemental Sunday post as I haven't made anything this week, but it is music therapy post.

This is Davi. She's a scaredy-cat in all sense of the word. She's skittish, frightened, jumpy, difficult to lure, and somewhat distrustful. We usually talk on the phone, Miss Davi and I, but this the only the second time that we've ever met each other in person. The first time, she allowed me to stroke her while her person was holding her tightly. This time, I am making progress on building our relationship.

Meeting Davi and trying to get her to know me is very similar to building a relationship with clients at times.

Often, my clients arrive at my facility after being shuttled from place to place for a time. They've been in different schools, treatment programs, foster homes, and detention situations. They often a…

Basking at Home

After a full day of get ready, get set, and go, I am now on vacation. This is the first real vacation that I've had in about 2 years due to lots of other things that have happened in the past 2 years, but it is happening right now. I am currently on vacation time and have a bit of difficulty remembering that it is Saturday. 

But, part of the basking and the vacation is that I have no excuses for not completing some of my tasks. sing about the Olympics is getting ready for publication! I think all you MTs out there will enjoy it!

Posts may be a bit sporadic and off schedule this week, but that's part of the fun of vacation (and now that I have the wi-fi password, there are no limitations to what I can do!!).

Time to vacate. Thanks for being here!

Life Interferes

Last night, I had the plan of going to bed early and trying to catch up on some of the sleep I've lost this week. Then, life happened. My sister called in hysterics after a break-in at her house. The alarm worked the way it needed to, but the thief got away with her computer and some rings - one from my grandmother who recently passed away and another that I bought her about 21 years ago when I went to visit our brother in England. She was fine when the police officer was there, but went to pieces as soon as he left. So, she called me.

We fill that function for each other. When I called her on Sunday, full of hurt feelings and very upset, she listened and calmed me down. So, when she called me last night, I listened and calmed her down. That's what we do. My sister is that person in my life.

I've been listening to a newish podcast called Invisibilia. It's from NPR, in its second season, and utterly fascinating. It seems to be primarily focused on social psychology and hu…

Becoming a More Researched-Informed Clinician: Update

I am going to be presenting about my process of becoming a researched-informed clinician at the national conference of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) this year. I hope you'll be there on Friday afternoon, ready to try out this process of reading and assimilating music therapy research into your own clinical practice.

I started this process when I sat down and looked at the journals that I have sitting on my research journal shelf (yep, I have one of those). I realized that I haven't even cracked several of those journals. I find that strange and sad. SARCASM AHEAD - After all, I SHOULD be reading all of my journals in the midst of working my four jobs and doing the other things that are part of life. Snark!

So, I made this into my professional focus for this year - intentionally using research to bolster my music therapy advocacy and practice.

Right now, I'm spending time getting my presentation outline pulled together (that's right, I'm one of those pr…

TME Tuesday: Shameless Plug for an Upcoming Product Release

I am currently deep in the middle of making a special theme packet in the midst of a week full of special events at work, existential crises of my own, planning for a vacation, learning more about being a highly sensitive person, and three other product development processes. Because of all of this, I am going to use this post to plug the special theme packet.

I am making a theme packet with eight new therapeutic music experience (TME) plans that are all based on the Olympics. Here are the titles so far...
Music Therapy Minute to Win It OlympicsRhythm RelayWorld National AnthemsWelcome to RioMovement StationsNational Anthem MarathonThe Olympic RingsOne more... as yet to be determined...The packet includes resources, references, and brand-new ideas for use with clients of all ages!

This will be released on August 1, 2016 for a price of less than $2.00 USD per TME. Check out details here

Thanks for indulging me here. If you are interested in one of the bonus TMEs offered, check out the we…

Just When Things Were Going So Well...

...life intervened.

I had a very productive weekend, full of cleaning, making things, and feeling good about myself and what was going to happen. And then, in one short message, my feelings got hurt and everything changed.

I'm going to spare you the details because, basically, they are just too difficult to recount at this point, but it led to the impulsive decision to unfriend someone who I thought was a close friend but turned out not to be after all. 

Several years ago, my mother read a book by Elaine Aron, Ph.D. entitled The Highly Sensitive Child: Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them. I remember her saying that she felt that the book described my childhood. I haven't read the book, but I am thinking that I need to read the version of the book written for adults...done - it's on my Kindle and ready for reading this afternoon.

There are many things that are good about being highly sensitive. I think it makes me more attuned to what other people are fee…

Supplemental Sunday: Picture Diary

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I had a very productive day yesterday which led to completion of lots of products for my music therapy clinic and for TMEs I've developed. Because of this day, I've almost caught up with all of my laminating (of course, I did find more as soon as I put everything away), and I have a bunch of new visuals to show off. Some of these will be available for purchase on my website, some are just for inspiration. As always, comments are welcome!!














I'm Procrastinating...Cue the Timer

I have lots to do this weekend. So, what have I done already? Absolutely nothing. I took yesterday completely off from responsibility and productivity. Today, that has to change.

The tasks that I have to do include dishes (always), laundry (always), and cleaning (always). I need to clean bathrooms. I've made progress on the bedrooms, the kitchen, and the front room (until I got distracted by projects and happily spent some time puttering with laminating sheets and file folders). Things were a bit complicated by some surprise maintenance work this week, but I'm determined to get back on track.

My best and most valuable tool in this journey is my timer. I use Google Timer and set it for 30 minutes. Then, I start working. I spend 30 minutes on bathroom cleaning and then 30 minutes on something else. The next 30 minutes on cleaning and so forth. (I am currently 18 minutes into my 30 minute time frame here.) This allows me to focus on a task and accomplish quite a bit during my morni…

The End of the Week

It's the end of my work week, and I am reflecting on what happened in music therapy sessions this week. I am two weeks into the return of individual sessions and am pleased with how things have progressed. For the most part, students have transitioned with me willingly and have engaged in music making. We don't have any mutual goals or objectives at this point, but my goals have been to encourage interaction and exploration of the musical environment. I'm starting to identify the clients that I think will be best served through goal-oriented music therapy sessions and those that will be best served through crisis management music therapy sessions.

In the Fall session, I will have 26 individual spots. Some of those will be taken by adaptive lessons (my title for these sessions? Play the instruments MJ won't let us play during group MT very loudly for 30 minutes!!) and by choir, but most will be able to be filled by individuals. I will try to have one crisis management se…

The Next Chapter in the OMTF Journey

Yesterday, I finished my blog post - er, rant - and got into my car to drive to work. I am currently avoiding all things political or news radio due to the emotions those things raise in me, so I am listening to lots of podcasts in the car lately. I was out of new episodes on one podcast, so I flipped over to one that makes me think a bit more than the comedy ones I prefer for my commute. If you haven't heard Hidden Brain, I highly recommend it for pieces that make you think about human behavior and development. Shankar Vedantam (I love the musicality contained in his name) is very good at taking complex neurological and social constructs and explaining them in ways that make total sense to me.

The episode at the top of my podcast list was entitled, "Me, me, me." It was broadcast on July 12, 2016, and it just made the rest of my journey into Old Music Therapy Fogey (OMTF) complete. The premise of the broadcast was that our society is becoming more and more narcissistic an…

Rant Ahead: I'm Turning Into an Old Music Therapy Fogey

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Alright, alright. I'm already there. I am declaring myself an OMTF - an Old Music Therapy Fogey - right now!

Are you an OMTF? Here are some tell-tale signs.

a growing feeling that "people today just don't know how to ____."statements like "when I was in school, I had to..." start to bubble up and out of your mouth when you are trying to interact with othersa growing nostalgia for the "good old days"I'm telling you, I'm there!
As I read through posts on my various social media accounts, I find myself doing the following things more and more:
yelling "What do you think Google is for?" at the screen when looking at yet another request for the chords to a song that is readily available to me via Google...yelling "Didn't you go through dictation and ear training in your education?" at the same posts! Why else did we take all of those classes? Are there music therapy programs out there that do not require music theory classe…

TME Tuesday: Starting with the Olympics

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I recently received some inspiration for some new Therapeutic Music Experiences (TMEs) in the form of a simple sheet of paper with some medals printed on it. My brain went straight into creative mode, and I came up with some new TME ideas centered around the Olympics. I am working on a theme packet that will include eight original TMEs to help promote clinical goals and objectives.

I've decided to make this into a mini-sing about song packet. I'll release it on August 1, 2016 for purchase on the website (the Olympics start on the 5th). Details here. In the meantime, here is another TME based on the Olympics (also on the website - here). Just so you know - this is a bonus TME - it will not be one of the eight included in the mini theme packet.

As with all of the sing about song theme packets that I develop, this one will include ideas that should be applicable to clients in all stages of life (you might have to adapt things a bit). The ideas will be completely unique and never-be…

Tomorrow is the Full Moon

I had a very productive day yesterday. I washed dishes, organized all of the papers in my desk sorter, and cleaned the bedroom. I also rearranged some of the bookshelves, wrote a blog post, made chicken teriyaki in the crock pot, watched lots of Psych and Star Wars, finished one book and started another, and vacuumed. I split up hours into 30 minutes for me and 30 minutes for my home. It really worked wonders for me and my environment.

As I was getting ready for sleep yesterday, I happened to see the moon and found that it was getting close to full. This explained quite a bit for me - I tend to cycle with the moon. I looked it up, and the moon will be full tomorrow. This should help me figure out how to cram more stuff to do into my afternoon and early evening.

I have worked with those who swear that there is no full moon effect on others. I have to scoff because I am a person who has ups and downs associated with the phases of the moon. My poor mother had to wait an extra three weeks f…

Supplemental Sunday: It's Almost Time for the Olympics!

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Yesterday was Music Therapy Mailings day! I heard a knock on my door, went to find the postal worker with an envelope with some goodies inside, and then I started to brainstorm based on the things inside the envelope!

I received a CD - We Are Different, by Pat McManus. I haven't listened to it yet, but I'm enjoying some of the song titles - we are different, anger management, do that, chasing what you love. I have the lyrics to some of the songs as well, so I can see the themes that are being conveyed. I will listen to the songs tomorrow during my preparation time.

In the packet was a sheet with Olympic medals on it. Ping! That was the spark for my brainstorming process! What could I do with my students that would incorporate the spirit of the Olympics and still work on their therapeutic group goals? Hmmm.

I started my planning process. Now, to be fair, I had an idea for small cards that I wanted to use as part of my therapy, so I tried to find things that would let me use the ca…

Presentation Proposals - I'm batting .500

I have now heard about all of the presentation proposals that I submitted for consideration for the annual American Music Therapy Association's national conference. Two were accepted and two were denied. I am pleased that some of them were accepted and am feeling defensive about the ones that weren't accepted. (I always feel this way when I face rejection - I get defensive.) Now, however, it is time to focus on the information that I have to share with others and get it out there.

Presentations are something that I enjoy. I have always liked being the center of attention when it comes to speeches (I don't feel as comfortable in smaller social situations, but put me in front of a microphone with an audience, and I am ready to go!), and presentations are just plain old fun! 

This year, I get to talk to others about becoming a more research-informed clinician and about things to do with music therapy and young adults with intellectual disabilities. In addition, I get to talk to…

Remembering Why

Yesterday I got to natter on about one of my favorite topics - the way we use music in music therapy sessions as our tool for helping. I am firmly in the music therapy philosophy camp that believes that music is a tool for our clients to use to move from one state of being to another. I also believe that music is an art form and experience, but in the context of music therapy, the therapist has to be able to view music as a tool to be used and shaped. 

I was talking about being more conscious when it comes to making musical decisions. I think many of us adapt our music and our interactions to our clients intuitively, but my view is that we, as professionals, must become more direct when we speak about why music therapy is an important treatment modality. We cannot do this if we constantly speak about the benefit of music in terms that just make it seem like we have no plan but just go with the flow. We have to be able to describe what we are doing with the music in order to explain to …

The Difference A Day Makes

Yesterday, at this time, I was debating to myself about whether or not I should go to work. I opted not to do so since I had a massive headache. So, I kept myself at home to stay quiet and still. It was well worth it.

Today is another day.

I've got a full day of music therapy sessions ahead. In addition, I have to finish my documentation before I leave and figure out what I'm going to use as my session outlines for next week. I will also put the Orff instruments back into the closet and rearrange my room to accommodate whatever I select for my session outlines.

The day-to-day routine of any music therapist fascinates me. I like knowing how each therapist plans his or her day. I like seeing ways that tools can simplify routines and help out with things like planning, scheduling, and organization. I often wonder if what I find efficient is something that will transfer to another therapist's daily routine.

To that end, I recently put together a format for a web-based form that wi…

Headache #2 - Need to Stay Home

Today I awoke in the throes of a migraine headache. I had one last Saturday as well, but I was awake for the beginning of that one. This one was there, full-blast, as I awoke from an anxiety dream about clients who were missing, stealing things from the community, and just generally stomping over my very last nerve.

So, I am taking the day off.

I started my day the way I always start my day, getting up and getting into the shower. The shower just reinforced the need to stay away from all things that make sounds today. Then, the self-talk started. "Can you afford not to be at work?" Yes, it may hurt financially, but I can afford a day off. "Can you desert your clients like this? Ah, welcome, Guilt. I've been missing you. My clients would probably enjoy getting some time in the music therapy room without me telling them what they cannot do. "Can I get back into bed before this headache simply takes over my life?" Yes, I can, and I will!

The problem with my migr…

TME Tuesday: Go With the Flow

Yesterday, I returned to the world of individual treatment sessions. I saw two clients and was able to get through the two sessions with just a bit of angst and trepidation. Now, for the first session, I chose a young man who shows lots of interest in music therapy and who I thought would be open to trying a new experience. He was open.

We spent the session moving the drum set.

It wasn't what I thought we would end up doing, but he was determined to move that set from one place in the room back to where it was most of the times he was in the music therapy room. (I moved things around so that I could keep the set organized and able to be used at any time.) I provided some physical assistance and lots of musical support to help him accomplish his goal. I did explain that the drum set would be back in its new spot the next time that he arrived in the music therapy room, and he seemed fine with that statement. 

The best thing about that session was that I was able to use music to reflect…
So, I did something that I don't usually do when it comes to blogging - I skipped two days in a row! I try to blog every day, but there are times when I just cannot sit down and write. I had two of those days in a row this weekend. Strange. I did try to write something, but it didn't happen. I was a bit angsty because I hadn't heard anything about my AMTA presentation proposals, but that's since passed. Now, I am getting back into the routine of writing about something therapy-like on a daily basis.

Today, I return to work after a week away. I have three group sessions and (I think) three individual sessions as well. That's right. I have some individual sessions to do today. Finally. 361 days after being injured, I get to go back to what I consider an adequate music therapy schedule. Individual sessions!

To be completely honest, I am a bit scared of moving on. I know that I can do this - after all, I've been doing this for 23 years - but it's going to be the …

I Simply Cannot and Do Not Understand

I like to think of myself as a compassionate person who loves more people than she doesn't. I like to think that I don't have difficulties with those who are different from me in any way at all (now, I do know that I have biases, but I try to acknowledge them and work with them). I like to think that I have an empathetic nature that tries very hard to treat all people the way that I want to be treated.

I never think that violence is the answer to any situation.

I get very sad when I see things happening in the world, in our country, in my state, in my town that cause hurt to others. I grieve for those who are hurt through the actions of others who make choices to harm others. I despair when I hear stories about police officers hurting and/or killing people, when I hear stories about people hurting and/or killing police officers, when I hear about suicide bombers or gunmen/women who shoot strangers, when I hear about care givers hurting and/or killing those in their care.

I cannot…

Introducing Music Therapy Morsels

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For the past several weeks, I've been working on a project. It turned out to be a bit more than I thought it would be at the beginning of the project, but most of projects are that way. In this case, I've been scripting things, coming up with presentations, and trying to figure out how to make things into YouTube videos.

I've done it.

Introducing the first ever Music Therapy Morsel.


I chose assessments for the first morsel. When I was a practicum student and later, a supervisor, this seemed to be one of the things that confused me and my students the most. How do you figure out how to assess a client? Here's a tidbit of information about what to think about as you go into an assessment process.

There will be more information offered in a short course pretty soon. That's the next step in this process - offering a morsel first and then a full course on the same topic. 

(Do you think I could put in any more cheesy food metaphors??). 

Thanks for reading and watching!

Shhhh...I'm Trying to Figure Something Out

My brain is contemplating some things these days; things that I know are possible, but I haven't figured out how to do them yet. So, I am spending lots of time with my mind maps and with e-How to figure out if I can do what I want to do. Turns out, I can't do what I want to do with Excel, but I should be able to do it with Google Forms!

I'm going off to start these projects, so I'll write more either later or tomorrow...

TME Tuesday: The Reasons Behind

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This will not be my traditional TME Tuesday post - I am currently enjoying the early morning hours of World Music Therapy Day as well as the aftermath of Independence Day here in the states - so just be prepared.

Today's post is called, "The Reasons Behind." This is a brand-new idea that is floating in the back of my head. I intend this to be a song that addresses the reasons that I have for doing what I do - music therapy. This is not really a song intended for therapeutic purposes at this point, but I think it will be readily adaptable to some clientele. (My kids, probably not so much, but I could see this type of song being the TME for a group of people exploring their own patterns...hmmm).

I go into songwriting through different paths.

Sometimes I start with lyrics. Other times, a melody line floats into my head. Today, I feel compelled to start with a chord progression.

I've been obsessed with a specific chord progression lately. It comes into my fingers in those mo…

Supplemental Sunday: The "Six Things" Rule

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One of my forever quests is to make things that have multiple purposes and uses so that I can squeeze every possible value out of the space that is around me. This quest is really evident to me right now as I am making some progress towards maximizing the use of my space and wishing that I had more and more and more space to use. My solution? Trying to make things more and more effective all of the time...

I try really hard to stay in a mind frame of "six things."

Before I can keep any type of material or visual aid, I have to think of six different things to do with the material/visual aid; six things with different therapeutic goals; six distinct ways to use the thing in order to justify keeping it in my clinic area. If I can't think of those six things, I can't keep the material in the clinic. It goes home (part of why I am currently trying to maximize my living space right now).

So, how is this done?

I am a big fan of stream of consciousness brainstorming. I sit down…

Excavating Through the Year

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It's that time of year. It's time to clear up and clean out. I'm doing this because first, it HAS to be done and second, I have someone coming over and that means cleaning pressure!

I started yesterday in my office area. I took things off of shelves, moved them into donation, trash, and keep piles, and then got sick, so things are still piled up here, there, and everywhere. I'm currently in the "it will get even worse before it gets better" mode, and that mode will continue for the rest of the week, I am sure.

The best thing about this chore is that I am finding things that I haven't seen for some time. I really should keep track of things better than I do, but I haven't kept up recently. For the moment, I am enjoying finding these things and finding a place for them as well. Right now, I have two new sheet music shelves, a music therapy text shelving unit, and a non-music therapy text shelf. I've also established a new place for my CD books and con…

Where to Start?

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This post is late because my co-author, Bella-cat, refused to leave me alone until we cuddled a bit. (Sorry, Janice.) We've had our cuddle, she's left me for the peace of the comforter, and now I can spend some time thinking about what I want to write about today.

I see some blog posts about the type of blog posts you SHOULD write to drive more traffic to your site. I read them and don't really feel that things work for what I want to write about, so I ignore them all.

The title of this post comes from the lofty goals that I have for myself this week. I need to clear out and clean up my home. It's been a long time since I've been able to do what I need to do for housework, so things really need to be done. I also have a need to get things organized and cleared out so I can have a pet sitter come and sit for the cat. I am often spurred on by people coming to visit, and no one has for the past year, so things have piled up.

So, now I am sitting here, trying to frantical…