Wednesday, August 31, 2016

I'm Doing Some Wondering

I tend to get somewhat philosophical at times - this is one of those times. I am sitting here, after a long day yesterday and an even longer day on Monday, thinking about deep things like THE FUTURE, and MUSIC THERAPY, and THE EDUCATION OF OUR FUTURE GENERATIONS. (See, a bit philosophical!)

All of my thinking leads me onto different pathways. I follow my thoughts into making new forms, products, therapeutic music experiences (TMEs), blog posts, business ventures, and other stuff. Sometimes my wandering brain gives me something that others can use. Most of the time, though, it doesn't seem to do so.

Right now, I am reading lots of conversations about music therapy eligibility difficulties. There are discussions about SEMTAP evaluations, obstacles in the way of families who are seeking MT services, and the general confusion out there about music therapy as a related service under the provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These conversations are leading me into lots of "what if" scenarios and thoughts.

I wonder how we, as music therapists, can help our clients get access to music therapy services in ways that don't appear self-serving. It is really difficult to advocate for a service that allows for a professional benefit. We are advocating for something that will eventually benefit us as well as our clients. That makes us look suspicious.

Now, you and I know that music therapists aren't usually just out to get more for us, but are advocates for clients. We see that there are people out there that could benefit from the unique nature of what we know how to do, and we want those clients to have access to something that will help them in the long run.

One of the problems with this system is that music therapists are the only ones that can determine eligibility under our current system. Administering a Special Education Music Therapy Assessment Protocol (SEMTAP) requires a board certified music therapist. That type of set-up makes us look a bit suspicious to money-conscious folks.

Can you see both sides? I can.

This leads me to wonder about how we can become more regarded in the field of special education and more present in the educational system overall. We seem to fight the same fight to get listed on Individual Education Plans (IEPs) in every school district. Once we get a foot into the door, the process often becomes easier, but getting that foot in the door is difficult.

So, now my brain is going through a process that happens to me occasionally. I call it the "what if" process... 

I am going to head into my "what if" process (it includes things like mind maps, scribbles on post-it notes, research, and other stuff like that) and see what I can come up with regarding this problem. I have some ideas, but I don't see quite how it will work yet...

I love wondering about things. It makes me happy to find problems to work on - I will try to solve this problem for the others out there struggling with these situations...

Over 60,000 Views - Thank You!!

Yesterday, my view total exceeded 60,000!

In the world of blogging in general, this is not a big number of all-time views, but in the world of music therapy in my corner of the world, this is a BIG deal!!

Thank you.

Thank you for looking at this blog, whether you look at it daily, every so often, or just when another blogger recommends it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

TME Tuesday: The Basics of Writing Therapeutic Music Experiences

It's back to school time, which means that there are many, MANY music therapy students out there getting ready for their pre-internship clinical experiences.

Here is the way that I've come to write therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) which I then turn into interventions for my clients. If you are a regular reader, this format will look VERY familiar to you. If you are new to this blog, check out the label "TME Tuesday" on the left to find examples of how I use this structure to write my TME ideas.

Therapeutic Music Experience Plan
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC



Purpose:       This is where you identify all of the therapeutic skills and elements that you will be addressing. (e. g., To increase eye contact; name recognition; peer identification; fine motor control; entrainment; impulse control) This needs to be a complete list - primary goals, secondary goals, and tertiary goals.

Source:       This is where you cite the source of the application. You need to completely reproduce all information about the composer, the lyricist, and the person that first presented the application to you. Make an effort to find the original composers of all songs – look songs up on the internet for potential source material. If the application/song is your original work, then protect yourself by affixing a copyright symbol to the music that you compose. Include a date. This does not offer much protection, but it could offer something to you if you are ever in doubt about your intellectual property.

Materials:       List all of the things that you (or future therapists who are replicating this application) will need during the session. Do not forget accompanying instruments, specific CD titles and track numbers as well as CD players, electricity, etc.

Song/Chant/Words: Insert a picture of your music manuscript. If you cannot insert your manuscript, then add a hyperlink to the file so it is easily accessed by others. Also, if you cannot add your manuscript, include the lyrics and the chords to the song. If the work is someone else’s add a link to where the music can be found.

Procedure: R=Reinforcement opportunities; C=Redirection/Cue opportunities; A=assessment
  1. This is the section where you perform a task analysis of the application.
  2. You need to think through all of the steps that you will take, that the client will complete, and the possible responses that you will have as options.
  3. Write them down.
  4. Most procedures are very long.
  5. Include times that you will provide reinforcements and times when you will provide redirections.

Therapeutic Function of Music:       Describe why and how you would use music to accomplish the tasks/purposes identified at the start of the TME. What elements of the music itself assist you in completing the skill development of clients? What elements of the music have to remain constant in order to be effective in accomplishing the goals? What elements of music can change to accommodate the ways clients interact with you and with the music? Can this TME be used with different forms/musical pieces? If so, what are the criteria for choosing music for this TME?

In the chart below, make note of the different elements of the music that you are using. For example, is the melody repetitive? Does it move in a scalar pattern or does it skip? What else can you say about the melody? Do this for each of the elements listed below.

If an element can be adapted to suit your client’s needs, note that in the box. For example, if you are providing live music, you can change many of these elements to help your clients participate and engage in the TME. As the therapist, you can change the pitch, rhythm, dynamics, harmony, form, tempo, timbre, style, and/or lyrics.

Melody
Pitch
Rhythm
Dynamics
Harmony






Form
Tempo
Timbre
Style
Lyrics






Chart adapted from Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A Closer Look at the Therapeutic Function of Music. Presentation at 2010 American Music Therapy Association National Conference: Cleveland, OH.

Adaptations:       What could you, as the therapist, do to make this TME work with different populations? If a client enters the session on his/her first day, what can you do to make sure that the client is successful? How do you need to change the TME so all of your clients are able to complete the tasks?

Extensions:       Imagine that the clients are able to complete all of the tasks that you have identified in this TME in two minutes, and you still have 30 minutes left of the session. How could you change the TME to provide more practice without boring the client? What is the next step in skill development? What would be a natural “next step” to the TME. Are there any TMEs that would follow this one logically? Write them down.



**Hey - if you are someone from SMU, mention this blog to your prof and see what happens! You are also probably pretty familiar with this type of format already, If not, you will be. Sorry. 

Are there other programs that are using this format? If so, add a comment!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Changes

There have been lots of changes in my life lately - some initiated by me, others initiated by others - that have made me think about where I want to be going in my life.

I spend lots of time in thought, contemplating various topics about music, therapy, and music therapy. I also spend time thinking about where I belong in the bigger world of this profession. I also spend time wondering what I will be doing when I grow up ('cause I don't feel grown up right now, that's for sure!). I also think about how much my life, attitudes, and philosophies have changed over all of the years I've been part of this profession. Change, change, change.

My Dad is my go-to guy when it comes to helping me clarify my thoughts about changes. He is able to lead me through lots of ideas and scenarios that lead me to decisions about things that I struggle with during my life. He often asks me, "What don't you want to do?" I am often able to identify what I don't want easier than what I do want out of life. His voice is the one I hear when I start to think about where I go next.

I am faced with the inevitability of change. I had an injury that continues to complicate my life, even though it is "fixed" and "recovering nicely." I think I sprained the replacement part when I went through our physical behavior management recertification last week. I haven't been able to walk well since. I'm going to call the orthopedist this morning to see if I can get into the office for a check. Just in case.

It is clear to me that I cannot really do the job that I am doing right now anymore. Having to physically manage aggressive behaviors is no longer something that I can just do - it will take more out of me than I think I can handle, if last week was any indication. 

My next question is "if not this, then what?"

I think I need to talk to my Dad. I know what I don't want. I don't want to have to constantly wonder if I am going to get through experiences whole and without injury. I don't want to be away from my family anymore. I'm ready to go someplace closer to my parents and my sister. How to do that? That's what is keeping me still...

Ah, changes. They are coming.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

My Foray Into a Trend

www.musictherapyworks.com
One week in the Bullet Journal
I am getting into something (that I've always done, but now it's a trend and has a name).

Bullet Journaling!

If you don't know what this is, I recommend that you don't go on Pinterest to find out. It gets kinda overwhelming when you start to see what people do with their bullet journals - they are so creative and make very pretty journals. Mine are not as cool, but they do the same thing.

Basically, a bullet journal is a to-do list system; a way of being organized (Hooray!! I love organization!). Lots of people use their journals to keep track of more than just their daily to-do lists. They have all sorts of tracking pages and stuff. They track what they read, progress towards goals, and use lots of colors. I'm not there yet.

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September's Monthly Page
My bullet journal is pretty basic right now. I actually have two of them - one for work and one for home stuff. They are set up the same way, in the back of some half-finished notebooks or journals that I have going right now. I have a new journal, ready to start doing some more of the other things that I want to track, but I'm not going to start that one until October.

I start my month with a calendar page. I've found that having this helps me to keep track of specific things all in one place, so I can easily see what I need to keep in mind when I am scheduling other things. I have a weekly meeting (Hi, J!) and weekly webinars starting up on September 8th. I have a board meeting and a product release deadline to meet as well. I also have ONE DAY OFF!

The next page has my monthly goals. I want to make my own lunches instead of spending extra money on buying fast food and/or prepackaged meals from the store. I also need to increase my vegetable intake, so I am tracking that each month as well. I am going to be a bit more proactive when it comes to getting my lunch menu planned, and I have a couple other things to do this month as well.

I use my own shorthand, symbols, and codes to help me keep track of things. When I go onto Pinterest to see examples of how others use this type of journal, I get quickly overwhelmed and amused to see that some folks use over 20 types of indicators in their journals. I just can't do that. I use three basic indicators - a box, an X, and an arrow. My list starts off with boxes next to each task/idea. When I finish something, I put an X in the box. If I don't finish something, I use an arrow to indicate that it still needs to be done. That's it. That's all I do. Ooh, I do give myself little hearts in my goal tracking when I do what I say I want to do. There you go, four indicators.

The one idea that I've received from Pinterest that I really like (and that doesn't just completely overwhelm me) is the use of the bullet journal as a mindfulness tool and exercise. There are some folks who discuss that they spend time every evening going over their journal and getting things ready for the next day. I think I can do that on Saturday evenings... spend some time with my markers and colored pencils to focus on getting tasks identified and scheduled as well as to spend some time in creativity. Many journalers include a gratitude page in their monthly setup as well. I don't always remember the things that are valuable to me, so I am going to start that up as well.

If you are interested in learning more about bullet journaling from someone who really knows what it's about, I've found that it's best to go to the source - Ryder Carroll. Here's his website: http://bulletjournal.com/.  The best thing about Mr. Carroll is that he emphasizes things like personal structuring and the absence of "the best way" to do things. His bullet journal is simple and practical and doesn't require the use of pretty handwriting or fancy borders. I like that. (Pinterest often makes me feel that my own meager efforts are indications that I am just not passionate enough about the bujo life!!) What is most important is that I find my way to do this, and I am doing so.

This more formal way of organizing my tasks has helped me figure out my priorities and is helping me finish things that I tend to put off. I know that I will figure out more and more ways to use this format to help me with other parts of my life.

If you are interested in more about how I am using this system here at home and also at work, contact me through the website. If you are a fellow journaler, how are you using your bullet journal to organize your personal and professional lives? Comment below!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Storm and Fury Indicating Something

I woke up several times this morning to a large thunderstorm outside my home. I love thunderstorms - the ones where the wind isn't whipping things into a melee, but the ones where there is thunder and lightning going almost all of the time. There is a random beauty in how the light and sound interact. I fell in love with thunderstorms when I was a camp counselor in the Missouri Ozarks. Out in the woods, by the lake, there was no place to hide from the storms. I learned to appreciate the power of weather when taking shelter under the wooden roof of my platform tent.

When I open my eyes to flashes of light and crashes of sound, I think about this quote from Macbeth... 
“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth 
I always remember the last part of the quote - "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Storms around here are currently messing with lots of things. There are flash floods, downed power lines, broken fiber optic lines, no internet access (at work - not the best thing when all documentation is now located on the server in an electronic format), winds, and other concerns. The fury contained within the thunderstorm causes lots of complications. This type of storming is not a tale told by an idiot, it is something to take seriously.

Around here, storms are sometimes prolonged, sometimes brief. There are times when the storm conditions last for a couple of minutes. There are times when the storms last for hours and days.

The storm analogy also reminds me of my clients at times.

My clients often explode into storm and fury - a condition that always indicates something, but not what it appears on the surface.

Storm and fury are often part of a strategy, but, in my experience with persons with developmental, intellectual, and psychiatric concerns, storm and fury do not always indicate the emotion of anger. The responses of my clients often do signify something, but not always what is apparent or obvious.

Like our weather conditions, client storm and client fury doesn't always last long, but it can significantly alter the environment. The most important part of any storm is to figure out the conditions that birthed it to begin with. If one of my clients is displaying anger, there is a reason, but that reason is not always the experiences that are happening in the present situation. Extra-musical associations can spur emotional reactions. One word can trigger aggression, hysteria, sadness, and any other emotion that is part of the client's repertoire. It is part of my job to help my clients figure out what is at the root of the storm and to start to address that underlying condition.

The last thought that I have this time around is that like a storm, my clients' emotional states eventually change into something else. After the storm, you assess the environment and repair or make changes to your living patterns. You can either strengthen yourself or change your environment to be able to withstand the next storm.

Off into the literal storms of this morning - have a wonderful day.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This seems to be one of these days when I just cannot focus on anything long enough to generate entire paragraphs, so here's what's happening in my life these days...
  • I passed physical behavior management re-certification yesterday. This is a BIGGIE in my life right now because I haven't had to do these skills for 13 months. The residual pain is what I experienced before my injury, so nothing out of the ordinary. HOORAY! CELEBRATIONS! ANTHEMS OF JOY!!!
  • We have a potential big donor stopping by today who "is really intrigued by music therapy." This big donor is not interested in funding music therapy (or, at least the facility isn't interested in the big donor funding music therapy), but he has expressed an interest in meeting me and talking to me about music therapy. I am thrilled and nervous, but I think it will go well.
  • I am in the midst of another OMTF episode - (Old Music Therapy Fogey). Why is it that other people cannot use the resources available to them? Seriously, just Google or YouTube "chants" and then use that resource to learn more chant repertoire. Blech. I'll just sit over here and mutter about the old days...
  • I'm starting to practice my presentations for the AMTA conference this November. I am also getting a presentation proposal ready for the Online Conference for Music Therapy. I encourage everyone reading to submit a presentation proposal for this very unique music therapy conference. You have until September 15, 2016 to submit your ideas.
That's all I have time for at this moment. Time to get myself gussied (wow, that's a Fogey word!) up a bit for the donor and then go to work. 

The life of a music therapist.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

4 Foolproof Tips for Music Therapy Session Planning

As many of us school-based therapists are heading back to full-time music therapy schedules, I find myself thinking about planning sessions and how to go about that task in a way that is efficient, easy, and not as time-consuming as it is right now.

Here are some tips that I've found to be helpful in my session planning routine. What would you add to the list??
  1. Collect ideas in a central location. I have a list of therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) that I started way back when I was an undergraduate, and I keep on adding to that idea bank. I have ideas listed in a database on my TME jump drive. Every time I write a new TME, I put it on the central drive and update the database. When I need a new idea (or just want some inspiration for something that I haven't done 1,000,000 times in the past month, I go to the file.
  2. View session planning as strategy development - not script writing. I can plan all sorts of things for my music therapy sessions, but if the client is not interested in what I have planned, therapy will not be as effective as if the client is vested in the experience. I always have lists of things that we can do to address specific goals. For example, if the goal is increasing hand strength, I have a list of TMEs that provide opportunities for squeezing, grasping, releasing, and working those hands. If option A is not interesting to the client, option B may be. This helps me be goal-focused rather than song-focused. (My opinion is that the song is not as important as how you use the music...)
  3. Simplify the materials that you use. If one session strategy calls for using drums, I make all sessions in that same week drum-centered. That way, I only haul around materials that I will actually use. By focusing on one set of materials, it leads me into brainstorming about how each one of my clients can progress towards his or her goals using that particular material. All of a sudden, I have the challenge of making a conga drum something to address language fluency, letter recognition, impulse control, social interaction, communication of wants/needs, emotional awareness, and all sorts of other goal areas. All of my ideas go into my TME file and into my session strategy lists (see #1 and #2 above!!).
  4. Don't be afraid to go completely off plan. During the session, my clients often seem to want something other than what I want. During individual sessions, I ask my clients to choose how they want to interact within the music. Then, I shape the therapy to their requests. There are times when I want to use drums, but my client has no interest in the drums. The client wants to play the guitar. It is my job to then change my plan to accommodate the wants and requests of the client while still working towards the therapeutic goal of the session.
What tips would you add to this post? What habits do you find that help you figure out the session plans that you generate during your treatment implementation?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

TME Tuesday: A Repeat from the Archives

This week's TME is a repeat from way, way back. Enjoy!

As always, comments, questions, concerns are welcome!! If you are interested in more TMEs, check out the website for information on how to sign up for our theme packets - sing about songs. The next edition is coming soon!

TME Tuesday: Nasty Food

I am going to apologize, in advance, for this post as I am sure that some people will not like it, others will find it funny, and yet others will wonder what type of warped therapy mind would come up with something like this to begin with. (Full disclosure - mine. There are times when I do things just to get the attention of my clients. I am an attention-seeker.) So, keeping that in mind, consider this.

We have a song that we sing about things that we like to eat. It's main purposes (primary goal) most of the time are to assess and expand receptive and expressive language as well as to promote social interaction. Many of my middle-schoolers would take this song and hijack it using foods that even they admitted they would not eat. Hence, the need for this particular song.

It has rapidly become one of the most-requested songs at my facility. I marvel at that fact every time it is requested.

Enjoy.

If you would like the sheet music, please let me know through the comments. Or, you can find us on Facebook here

Again, I am so sorry!

Therapeutic Music Experience
Nasty Food
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Purpose: To promote social interaction, vocabulary, creativity, impulse control, opinions about food
Source: Original song © July 7, 2011 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. Inspired by CB from Room 7 during individual music therapy session
Materials: OPTIONAL: pictures of food items – the grosser the better
Environment: Variable
Song/Chant/Words: Nasty Food.pdf
i                            V7                  i                                 V7  i
Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty, na-sty, Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty food.
i                            V7                  i                                 V7  i
Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty, na-sty, Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty food.
i                             V7                                               i                   iv         V7
Would you eat an earwax peanut butter sandwich? Would you eat that kind of food?
i                             V7                                               i                   iv         V7    i
Would you eat an earwax peanut butter sandwich? Would you eat that kind of food?
i                            V7                  i                                 V7  i
Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty, na-sty, Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty food.
i                            V7                  i                                 V7  i
Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty, na-sty, Gro-oss, gro-oss, na-sty food.
Procedure: R = Reinforcement opportunities; C = Redirection/Cue opportunities; A = Assessment
  1. 1.      C=Start singing the song with limited introduction to task.
    2.      A=assess reactions to items offered as part of the song
    3.      R=reinforce all responses to the song, including the negative ones
    4.      C=repeat the song, substituting other food items for the underlined words
Therapeutic Function of Music: Music provides the structure for the experience, offering a chance to determine personal tastes in a nonthreatening manner. The minor tonality reinforces the words of the song – emphasizing the disgusting nature of the targeted words.
Adaptations:
  • Offer pictures of foods that do not usually go together
Extensions:
  • Use with other food songs to reinforce food preparation and/or healthy eating skills

Monday, August 22, 2016

Signs From the Inspiration Box

I have a small box full of inspirational quotations that lives on or near my desk at home. It came in my first package from Music Therapy Mailings, and it has been the source of many thoughts, blog posts, and mindful moments. This is a post inspired by the last two cards I pulled from the stack.

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The cards - What do you think they are telling me?
I use a random approach to choosing my inspiration. Basically, I pick up the box, shake out the cards, and choose the one that feels right on my fingers. That one goes up front.

The last two cards have been about following passion where it leads.

Fortunately, I know that these two cards are true, at least for me. Following my heart and what I love is how I found music therapy to begin with, and it is what keeps me in this profession. Most of my current wishes include things that are not related to music therapy at all.

That is actually a relief. I often think about burnout, compassion fatigue, and reasons why people stop being music therapists. I have only felt that music therapy wasn't the profession for me once in my career, and it was a work relationship issue. Once I realized that, I was able to resolve the issue and return to a happy attitude about my profession.

These days, I am thinking about what I want to do for the rest of my professional life. I still want to be a music therapist, but I am not sure that I want to spend the rest of my career where I am sitting right now. The problem is that I don't know what my passions are or what I want to do.

I have never been a person who has been able to see what she wants. It is much easier for me to see what I don't want rather than what I do want. My brainstorming and thinking will be centered around what I don't want to do and then will gradually shift into what I do want to do. I've always believed that life is too short to be miserable in what you do, so change it and find your happiness.

Where do you want to go? What are your passions? Those are the questions I'm going to be focusing on in the next couple of days.
 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Supplemental Sunday: The Boxes - A Project Update


It amazes me how tools can make things more efficient, effective, and easier for everyone. Today's supplemental, while not a visual aid, is a tool that helps me with some of the administrative duties of being a music therapist.
A while back, I decided to try something. I decided to make boxes to use with my large groups of kids to assist me in distributing materials, to increase the amount of time that I could actually be doing something therapeutic, and to keep some things contained.

In order to do this, I pulled out some of my favorite containers - scrapbooking boxes. You can see some of them here, including a bunch that I use to make visual aids with and some examples of the ones that I am using at work - the blue and purple ones.

www.musictherapyworks.comI chose four boxes - red, blue, purple, and green - as the basis for my visual aids. I rationalized that color-coding materials would help us all keep things where they needed to be (and it is working!). The green box was wrecked by a client who wanted attention. He got it, but did not really seem to like the attention he got after he hit the box just right and shattered the cover. I am now down to three boxes of stuff for use in my sessions.

Every morning, I set out the three boxes - red, blue, and purple. They always have three things in them. There is a file folder that has many different emotion pictures. There are sentence strips that say, "Today, I feel" and there is a new coping skill reminder mini-poster to help me cue kids who need the reminders. I also have these posted around the room for the sessions that don't include the boxes.

Every week, I add other things to the boxes as well. The first week was rock band ensemble week. I added a folder with common rock band instruments and some explanations about how the instruments are usually played. These boxes have also included rhythm instruments, books for reading, and scarves. (I love these boxes - other than the fact that one has shattered, and I cannot find another green box to replace it - all they have now are clear and teal boxes - not exactly the color scheme I had in mind when I started the project...)

Here's what happens. Clients enter the session, sit down near a box, and open it up. Some of them know to share the materials inside with their peers. Others finish the sentence strips for the people sitting next to them. (We're working on that...but, it is social awareness, right?). Most of the time, everything in the box comes out at the beginning. I'm getting the paraeducators used to the fact that I am not picky about whether things come out early. If they are in the box, I know that students will take them out and try them out. It's part of human nature to try out an instrument, if it's there. Same thing with anything else!

I am liking this system. It offers opportunities for independence from my clients, I get information about emotional states that helps me assess my clients, and I spend lots less time passing out materials and collecting those same materials. Clients seem to like it as well. There is a bit of anticipation as they open up the boxes for the first time in a session. They start to talk about what is in the box while they are choosing their emotions for the first thing we do every session.

I will continue to use these boxes as long as they continue to work. I also have color-coded bags and binders that I am figuring out how to use within the system as well. It may be time for some generic communication boards to keep in the binders to indicate things like "No thank you" or "bathroom, please." Maybe. Maybe not.

Next week is Musician of the Month week - we are going to be talking about Bach - Johann Sebastian (my students aren't ready for P.D.Q. ...yet!). The boxes will contain emotion folders and sentence strips only this week. The instruments that we are going to use will be in bags rather than in the boxes. That will allow me to keep them quiet until it is time to play them. Also, it will forestall the couple of clients that have figured out that the boxes don't always have the same things in them based on which clients will get which instruments. They won't be able to see what's in the bags until it is time. Mua-ha-ha-ha!

This color-coding has helped me with keeping things organized as well. The kids know that the red things go with the red box. The paras, well, they need a bit more training - the kids are helping me out with that. I love to hear things like, "But Para, that's red. It goes over here" coming from students who have taken that responsibility away from me! Love it!!

One small change - color-coded boxes - have changed what happens in my group sessions. What a wonderful tool!

If you are interested in more about organization (opinions from me and from others), check out posts from the past with the label "organization" or visit the website for links to my Pinterest board on organization. (Go to the bottom of the page for the link.) 

As always, comments and questions are welcome either here or on the website.

Happy Sunday!