Showing posts from 2017

Synthesis Sunday: Pavlicevic's Chapter 10 - Meaning in Relationship

In Chapter 10 of Music therapy in context: Music, meaning and relationship, Mercedes Pavlicevic continues to discuss the perspective of the importance of relationship to the therapy process. She avers that you cannot completely separate music and the client from the client and therapist interaction. This supports what I've been telling interns for the past five years during intern webinars - without the music, the client, and the therapist, music therapy cannot happen. You have to have all three of these elements in place in order to have music therapy. Now, Pavlicevic didn't say this - I did, but I like it when I find something that supports what I believe about music therapy.


The rest of the chapter offers a perspective on psychodynamic theory and how music therapy fits within that perspective. I have to admit, this is not a theory that I am completely comfortable with - often the folks that I've met who practice within this framework have been very dismissive of m…


In my most recent posts, I've been lamenting the fact that I made a choice to get behind in my clinical documentation. Let me be COMPLETELY clear about this - I CHOSE to get behind, and I paid the consequences. I didn't do the work when I had the time to do the work, and I had to adapt and not get to do what I wanted to do because I (and ONLY I) made a choice.

I am happy to report that I am no longer behind in my documentation.

That's right. I finished all of my clinical notes. I am completely caught up with my professional responsibilities. I have 20 more sessions and 186 more notes to do before Winter Break, but that is the normal amount of notes and sessions that I do every week. I can get those done at the usual time (as long as I keep up with them the way I usually do...).

It is easy, isn't it, to find excuses for not doing the work that is expected of each of us. I'm a champion procrastinator, so I am used to putting things off, even when I know that it isn'…

The "Must Do" Rather Than the "Want To Do" List

I am a product of my behaviorist background when it comes to personal and professional management. I use incentives, reinforcers, and clear expectations for myself so I can get through the things that I must do and the things that I want to do. This is the basis of my "30 minutes on, 30 minutes off" chore process. I have to spend 30 minutes on something that I must do in order to get 30 minutes of time to do something that I want to do.

That's my plan for today - "30 minutes on, 30 minutes off" is my mantra for this Friday.

I made headway on the pile of documentation that I need to finish for the week, but I'm not finished yet. So, today will be a day of "30 minutes on, 30 minutes off" until all the notes are done. The problem is that I don't have much that I want to do that I can do at work. Maybe I'll spend some time playing the piano during my want to do times. Maybe not.

To organize myself, I will make my lists - my "Must Do" an…

Thoughtful Thursday: Searching for Interest in What I Have to Do Rather Than What I Want to Do!

I have a problem. It's not a major issue as far as life goes, but it is coloring everything I do lately.
I'm not interested.
Have you ever had a time when you just weren't interested in what you had to do? Now, I'm still interested in my clients, but the other stuff is boring me. I would rather sit and listen to music for my upcoming theme (Future/Dreams/Occupations) than do my documentation. I'm not interested in cleaning my office because I am too busy organizing my sensory closet (it looks BEAUTIFUL!!). I haven't spent much time in my administrative duties because I am too wrapped up in my creation process.

This could be a problem.

I know that putting off my documentation is something that will get me in the end. Documentation has to be done, so the list of classes that need to be finished is growing rather than shrinking. I will have to tackle that list specifically this morning and tomorrow as well in order to catch up. Since I chose to put off those notes, I…

General Updates of Things I Do...

Looking back over the school year at this point, I realize that I've tried several new things. I've found a bullet journal format that works for me for session strategizing, and I've also worked through including centers in some of my music therapy sessions. I've also included a "daily happiness" routine and attended some presentations and training about topics that are not part of my regular way of doing things. All of these things were challenging and fruitful. None of them were easy to find my way, but that's what life is - if it offers a challenge, I enjoy it. If it is too easy, I find it boring and not worth talking about.

Here are updates of where I am in my list of things that I do on a daily basis:
Bullet Journal Schedule Strategizing - On a weekly basis (usually on Friday afternoons), I sit down with my bullet journal and strategize for upcoming sessions. Right now, I am able to plan about 2-3 weeks out from the current session. I sit down, look at…

TME Tuesday: Button, Button

I missed a post yesterday because my computer decided it needed to upgrade to the new version of Windows, and, after two and a half hours of waiting, it was still only at 28% downloaded. I had to go. As a result, no mindbending post from me yesterday. (It's amazing how amazing I am in my own imagination!) Today, though, the computer is upgraded, and I have a game to share.

It's not fully fleshed out into a therapeutic music experience, but it is one of my Grandmother's favorite games, and I enjoy playing it with my students. When we play it in music therapy, I add a musical stimulus or beat for entrainment purposes. Other than that, it doesn't have any music paired with it. Make up your own song to go with the game. Enjoy!

Therapeutic Experience Button, Button Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Synthesis Sunday: Chapter Nine - Music in Dynamic Form and Dynamic Form in Music

It is Sunday again, and it is time to dive into the next chapter of Mercedes Pavlicevic's book, Music Therapy in Context: Music, Meaning and Relationship. Chapter nine, "Music in Dynamic Form and Dynamic Form in Music," begins with the reminder that musicality is innate and emotional in nature. We use sounds to communicate prior to the development of speech, and we learn to adapt sounds to let others know what we want or need. We have those "that's her sleepy cry" moments when we are getting to know infants.

"In clinical work, is usually the distortion of this innate musicality that is addressed, that points the way towards how the person can be brought towards a state of equilibrium and balanced flexibility, signalling a fully mutual expressive being." (p. 118)

Dynamic Form - "the intrinisically organised dynamic forms of emotions which are present from birth and generated in interpersonal relating" (p. 118).

So, when I place this tho…

Accomplishment - One Organized Cabinet!!

I spent some of my preparation day at work straightening one of my cabinets.

Doesn't sound like much, does it? It was amazing to see what was crammed into my sensory material cabinet (all spread out on the singing carpet in my room) and then to organize it, make labels for all the storage containers, and write everything down. I now have an inventory that indicates what I have and where I stashed it so I can find it later. I feel a bit more confident about running my center ideas now that I know what I have in the sensory cabinet...

I was inspired (by my art therapist friend) to start thinking about thematic programming for music therapy. Every time I start to think about this, I find myself stuck in a self-doubt loop and things just don't gel for me. I don't want to be doing things like "Penguins" or "Monsters." I want to do things that are more based on coping skill or character development - things like "Kindness" or "Friendship." S…

Facing Friday - Not as Bad as It Sounds!

I didn't do any of my clinical notes yesterday. For some reason, my brain just wouldn't work and couldn't get going on the notes. As a result, I have double the notes to write this morning. Fortunately, I have lots of time today to get those notes finished.

Yesterday ended with a student who started shredding my room - one piece of furniture at a time. The student returned to the room and assisted with the clean-up - something that I felt was crucial to the process. We picked up pieces of bulletin board border (shredded), the client pushed the cabinets back into place and replaced the posters that were torn off the Velcro dots. (I've found that my clients get less satisfaction ripping things off the wall when pieces of paper are attached with Velcro than with tape. I Velcro EVERYTHING these days!! Maybe it is something to do with the ease of replacing the materials that makes it just that much less satisfying...whatever, I'm using it!)

Today will include a session of…

Thoughtful Thursday: Explaining The Energy Bus to a Client

On my cabinet that is behind my head when I run music therapy sessions, I have a bus ticket. It's our motivational thing this year - The Energy Bus. The bus ticket is what my administrators are currently giving out to teachers who are "caught being positive." I received one last week and have received none this week because my administrators NEVER actually come to my room. Anyway, last week, we were encouraged to turn in our bus ticket for a drink from Sonic. Now, I have this strange reaction to the water in the town where I work, so I decided that I would rather keep the ticket than get an intestinal infection. I posted my Bus ticket on my cabinet.

It has been fun to see who pays attention to my cabinet decorations and who does not.

Yesterday, one of my clients asked me, "Have you read The Energy Bus?" I responded that I had read it. The client asked, "What's it about?"

Hmmm. How do you explain a corporate motivational book to a person who does not …

Post-Moon Mullygrumps

Ever have one of those days where everything and anything just rubs you the
WRONG way? Here we go.

I'm going to blame the moon. I mean, after all, why not? Right? It's just there, waning away, every night. The moon doesn't care if I blame it for everything that is going on in my life right now.

On Monday, a client walked into the music therapy room and rudely questioned, "Why aren't you absent? I don't want to do anything YOU say."

Great. LOVE the attitude.

That one interaction colored my day. Never mind the 62 other students that I seemed to connect with - that one student took my power to feel good about the work I was doing.

Why do I allow others' opinions to affect me and what I do? I am human. I've developed a rather thick shell over the years (you have to when you work with adolescents!), but there are chinks in the shell where my emotions ooze out. Zip - right into the chink.

My rational brain says things like, "Now, you don't know that …

TME Tuesday: Boom-Chick-a-Boom!

One of my favorite things to do is to take a song that I've loved forever and ever and see what types of therapeutic purposes I can find in that song. This is an example of what I mean.

I am a Girl Scout (I am also a Boy Scout, but that has little to no relevance to this post, so I'm not going to talk any more about that...), and I went to camp almost every summer between 4th and 12th grades. I was a camper, a camp aide, a counselor-in-training, and a counselor. I even ran a camp or two before I graduated from high school. If it was camp, I did it! I was at sports (ha-ha) camp, fine arts camp, horse camp, overnight camp, day camp, and every type of camp that my council offered. If I could find a job where I could be at camp all the time, I would quit my full-time music therapy pursuits, and I would GO TO CAMP forever!

After all that, the reason I am waxing rhapsodical about camp is that I have selected a song I learned at camp for today's TME Tuesday.

Therapeutic Music Experi…