Showing posts from May, 2017

Looking for Inspiration - Found It!

I took a day off from writing yesterday because everything that came out on the keyboard was just whining. Today may be little to no different. I am coming down with something and it affects my thought process. Anyway, enough discussion about this. Let's figure out what to talk about today.

How about a post from Pinterest that tweaked my interest enough to follow up on it...

Have you seen these posts? They are bright and colorful and attract my eye every time I see them on my Pinterest feed. I admit, I click on these posts more than the more neutral posts (or the ones that I've seen a million times - I am no longer interested in the "bible" of music therapy songs - been there). So, I tend to go for these posts.

This one has a list of songs, coordinated with links to musical examples and sheet music of children's songs. It leads me to another link:…

3 Reasons to Keep Materials in Your Music Therapy Clinic

In one day, I have to take stuff to the annual church rummage sale. I've decided to donate some of the stuff that I have laying around - including some novelty instruments, games, DVDs, and clothing. It is time to start loading up the car.

I have been storing toy instruments in my house since we had to downsize due to renovations at my facility. Now that I have space for all the stuff, I haven't really found that I need those instruments at my facility, so it continues to sit in my house. There is no reason for this, so I am going to give away some toy drums, some keyboards, and toy guitars. I am going to keep the Fisher-Price story tellers and the cartridges - I can make plans to use and store those things.

Every break, I get into a "why do I have this?" type of mood, and I yearn to clean up and clear out. I also find myself keeping things much longer than I need them - mainly because of the "what ifs" that go through my head as I am cleaning out. IT is time…

Just A Song Sunday: Sears and Affectively Ordered Behavior

It is Sunday again, and that means another trip into Music in Therapy, the first trip into music therapy theory that I ever took (way, WAY back). It is taking me a long time to get through this relatively short chapter, but I think that is because I am thinking deeply about this chapter yet again. Eventually, I will be finished, but that time has not come this week.

This week's topic is "music evokes affectively ordered behavior" (p.37-38). In the paragraph that Sears spares for this topic, I find myself saying quite often, "Yeah, but..."

Sears used this one paragraph to illustrate the responses of groups of clients to different categories of music. While not using the words "sedative" and "stimulative" music, those terms are definitely implied. He starts off by averring that:
"Slow tempos, smooth (legato) lines, simple harmonies, and little dynamic change are characteristic of music that tends to reduce or sedate physical activity, and,…

The Next Big Step Forward

Today, I am going to do it. I am going to finish the first course module for my new CMTE course, Composition and Creativity. I received a new web cam that I purchased with birthday money, and I am now ready to demonstrate the first part of the course - a Make and Take course demonstrating how to make a music therapy tool. I simply have to fix a lamp, find a way to get more light involved, and then finish up the powerpoint presentation. Then, it will be time to go!

I have been rehearsing the spiel on the way home from work for the past month, so I know what I want and need to say, but we'll see if it actually happens. I have my outfit ready and there will be ukulele music in the interludes. I am ready to get this all started.

Now that the day is here, I am finding lots of things that need to happen before I can accomplish my task. I need more light. I need to finish the powerpoint presentation. The content is ready, I just need to do it!

It is time.

Failure, Failure

I failed at something last night.

I think I know what happened, but that doesn't negate the fact that I experienced a frustrating failure last night. I had a webinar scheduled that did not happen. I think my virus checker interfered with the webinar cast, but I am not entirely sure. Anyway, I wasn't allowed back into my own webinar, so I stopped the entire thing and sent out apology emails to the folks that arrived. This morning, I recorded the webinar and will send it out to the participants later today.

Over the years, I've failed lots of times. I hate when it happens, but I have learned to take the situation and try to find the good in it all.

Sometimes it takes lots of trying.

I can now add "check to make sure that the virus program isn't actively running during the webinar" to the list of things that I need to do when running webinars. There are so many things on that list.

Oh, failure.

Today, I am going to go into my daily schedule with confidence and thinkin…

Thoughtful Thursday: Chance Encounters and Advocacy

I started my break with a donation of two violins to the music therapy department. I now have to remember my string classes (good thing I still have my strings method instruction books) and remember how to play. Apparently there will be more instruments coming from a generous donor who got a hold of my therapy wish list.

My department is rarely on the donation side of things for some reason. Our marketing director applied for a grant a while back, and she spoke to me about what I do at the facility so she could complete the grant. She was staggered at what happens during music therapy. She attended a couple of sessions and appeared to understand what went on. Later, I found out that she had a brother who had Down Syndrome and who loved singing and playing the guitar. He passed away recently, and I think that seeing our kids playing instruments and engaged in making music made her remember her brother. She brought us his guitar - a half-sized, very well loved instrument. After she spent…

Making Stuff

It's been some time since I've made something that I can share here on this blog, but never fear! My brain is churning around and around as I am planning my summer themed sessions, working on content for various and sundry webinars, and getting some CMTE courses pulled together. I am thinking about making some cardboard animal finger puppets for my Carnival of the Animals summer theme, but I'm not sure if I will get them finished before June 5th (the first day of the summer session).

The other thing that has been making me think about doing more pictures is my recent time on Pinterest. (Never good when I am tired and yearning for vacation! Everything on there makes me feel more tired. I should just STOP!) Anyway, I am getting ready for some time at home where I hope to clean out (still) and create.

I brought my laminator home from work last night to get ready to create some course content for my newly approved course offerings. Are you wondering what a laminator would have t…

Getting Ready to Say Goodbye

Today is graduation day at my school, and we have five graduates getting ready to transition to adulthood and the next chapter of their lives. Graduation is always a bittersweet day at my school because sometimes our graduates know what they are going to do away from us, and sometimes they do not.

As anyone who works with students knows, getting them ready to go out and away from the learning environment can be a stressful time for both student and teacher. Questions abound - "Did they learn what they need to learn to successful out there?" "Will they be able to make it?" "Did I teach them what they need to know?" Only time will tell.

Today, we will celebrate the ways that these clients have grown and learned during the years that they have been with us. After the ceremony, we will all have a barbecue (interesting, I always spell that with a "q", but spell-check doesn't like that). Most of my students who are not graduating are more interested…

Last Day of Therapy at School

Today is my last day of therapy for the 2016-2017 school year. After today, I have a day and a half of planning and cleaning to go through before school is out for our early summer break. I've spent some time thinking about my summer sessions, and I am going to start figuring out what I am going to do with the kids during the summer session.

I've decided to try center stuff again. I am going to make it a bit more casual and things that the students can do without staff assistance (but I still need staff oversight for some of the stuff). There will be coloring sheets, hat-making, and sensory boxes. We are also going to spend some time working on coping skills and listening to the music of Saint-Saens.

So, the next two days will be dedicated to coordinating the graduation choir and finalizing planning for our extended school year (ESY). I can only do that when I have the time and space to take everything out of the cabinets, closets, and corners. I can clean everything and take st…

Just A Song Sunday: Ability-Ordered Behavior

The journey through the second chapter of Music In Therapy, edited by E. T. Gaston, continues this week with an examination of the second part of William Sears' outline under the delineation of"Experience within structure." This week's thought is "music permits ability-ordered behavior."

Sears defines this thought further on page 36 of the book. "Behaviors ranging from simple to complex may coexist among several individuals, as in group performance where the behavioral requirements of one musical part are of a more simple nature, such as beating the bass drum, than those of another part, such as playing the melody on a trumpet. Also, especially desired musical experiences, such as playing a certain piece, can be modified or adapted (rearranged) to fit the capabilities of each individual" (p. 36). Under this section of the outline, Sears points out that music does a couple of different things as well - music allows humans to engage in ways that are …

Session Planning: Pinterest-Style

I admit it, I've been sucked into the world of Pinterest again. I've started a work-related account and am spending some time daily looking for TME ideas. I enjoy Pinterest, but I always start getting feelings of inadequacy when I look at it too long.

Right now, however, I am pulling together 7 weeks of session plans for our summer session. I figured that I could probably find some ideas by looking at what others have done, so I started off on Pinterest. Here's what may be happening in my music therapy clinic this summer...(if I get myself coordinated and dedicated to actually doing all of this)...

The Carnival of the Animals... I've never really used this music in therapy before, but it seems to be one of the foundation pieces of music education, so maybe my students are missing out on something. There are 14 movements, so it fits neatly within my 7 week plan. I figure we can put together fingerpuppets, hats, coloring books, instrument experimentation, and some songwrit…

Thoughtful Thursday: Grief and This Therapist

This has been a difficult couple of weeks. I found out, by reading it in an attendance list, that a former client of mine passed away. Earlier this week, a former co-worker went to sleep and did not wake up. Neither of these situations were anticipated and served to shock many of the people around me. They shock me as well, but I seem to be responding in a way different from most of the people around me.

I am thinking about these people. I'm remembering times that we spent together in various settings, but I am not prostrate with my grief. I am not crying all the time, nor am I planning to engage in the funeral that is going to happen tomorrow. I cannot.

Instead, I immerse myself in the memories.

Over the years, I've found that grief is a part of working with human beings. While I work with young clients and death is not expected, it has been a part of my life as a therapist. I've had to help other clients and staff members through their own grief. I've had to provide mus…

End of the Year Wrap-Up

I am a bit ahead of myself since I technically have another week of work before the 2016-2017 school year is finished, but I only have two therapy days left, so I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel right now. It seems like a good day to contemplate what has happened this year.

I started this year in a small room designated for music therapy. It was gray, had one window, no light switch, and no room for any type of movement therapeutic music experience. Did I mention that the walls were curved? Only one right angle in the entire room - made acoustics horrible to navigate and no place to put the piano without taking up valuable floor space. Kids would come in, sit with their backs against the wall, and we would do music therapy. If anyone had to leave, they would have to walk over all the legs of peers and staff members. It was not the type of place that I enjoyed, and I dreaded going into that room every morning. I spent most of my planning time away from the room, sitting whe…

I'm Singing

This may be a strangely titled post, but it's true. I've been doing lots of extemporaneous singing in sessions lately. There has been improvisation all over the place, and I can feel my songwriting process starting up slowly...very slowly, but it is starting.

It's been some time since I've managed to write a new piece for therapy. I don't often stress about my creative blocks, but this one has been extended - not usual - and I've been a bit stumped about how to get out of the slump. So, I've just maintained my skills and focused on improvisation rather than on publishing songs.

I now feel the spark of composition starting to kindle new ideas in the back of my head. It's time to start recording my improvisations and then transcribing them (thank goodness for dictation classes!) and writing out their full therapeutic purpose into my therapeutic music experience plan. It simply takes time (which I don't have much of these days) to do the process and to j…

10 More Days

With the Talent Show last Friday, I officially started the end of the school year process. I have only one more thing to do before break, and that is getting the graduation choir ready to sing on the 23rd. After that, I am finished with duty for the 2016-2017 school year. The difficult part? Keeping myself going until then.

I am tired.

I am not alone in my exhaustion, but you know it is getting bad when several co-workers mention that you look tired as you are sitting there, doing your morning duty. Several of them have said "I am as tired as you look." I am choosing to take that as an indication of how much I have been working lately and my messed up sleep schedules lately as well.

There are 10 days left until I get some time off to sleep. There are definite advantages to being a school-based therapist - one of which is that you get some time off. My time off has become more splintered in the past couple of years. I never really get enough time off to get bored with myself and…

Just a Song Sunday: Sears and More About Experience Within Structure

It is Sunday again, which means another dip into the writing of William Sears. This outline is taking more time than I thought it would - must be because I am really thinking deeply, right?

Anyway, last week I wrote about the first part of Sears' concept that music provides experience within structure and demands time-ordered behavior. I was privileged to see an example of this during our annual Talent Show last Friday. I have a client who has severe involvement with a diagnosis. This diagnosis impacts every area of life, but is most evident when the client is asked to respond in a timely manner to an external stimulus. We're seeing some decrease in processing time in music therapy (and in other conversations with me specifically outside of the session), but there is still a significant delay between prompt and response. Not so on Friday.

On Friday, this client opted to swing dance in front of the entire school. The client was able to focus on the partner, perform the steps in t…

The To-Do List

Today's to-do list is a combination of the necessary (but mundane) and challenging (and open to all sorts of possibilities). I must do some cleaning - the kitchen needs it, the bathrooms need it, and basically, every thing needs it around here. There are dishes to do and laundry to clean. I also have some CMTE course content to create. (I still get a strange thrill when I get to say that!! P-165!) I need letterhead and materials for course demonstration elements. I need to spend some time in Paypal organizing things. I need to structure my website a bit differently. The list keeps getting bigger and bigger all the time.

It is also my Saturday - the only day of the week that I don't have to work outside of my home. That means that I can take a nap when I need to, and I often feel the need to do so during the early afternoons. I will chip away at the tasks that are on my list, but I will relax about getting everything finished - there will always be more to put on the to-do list.

Being a Leader

I enjoy it when a comment on social media starts my blogging mind going. Yesterday, there was a comment about being an introvert and having some struggles with introducing new therapeutic music experiences to clients. The poster was asking for specific steps to take to be able to teach/lead new interventions in ways that would be comfortable to her and lead to compliance from her clients. I'm not exactly sure if I answered her questions in my response post, but this started me thinking about my own introversion and how it affects my leadership style in the music therapy session.

For me, the introversion doesn't really come into play during leading sessions. When I am leading a session, I am not as much of an introvert as in other situations. I know what I am doing, so I am able to complete the session as a leader. What stands in my way is my tendency towards wanting perfection. My "woulda/coulda/shoulda" goblins come out, and I am not willing to risk my perception of …

Thoughtful Thursday: Exhaustion

I am absolutely tired to the bone today. I know why, but that doesn't make getting myself up and going any easier. My quotation for this week has every thing to do with self-care, so it seems to be a good thing to focus on for this post. Thank you, Tina Turner, for this reminder that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity.

Thursdays are my most difficult day for waking up and getting going. This is mostly due to my Wednesday evening routine. I am out of my house, being a church music director until after 8pm, and then I have calls to my family members that often keep me up past 9! Last night, Dad called me at 9:30 - unheard of in my family - and talked to me until almost 10pm when I begged to be let out of the conversation because I was exhausted!

Those things make my Thursday mornings different than any other day of the week. I often feel groggy and in need of more sleep on Thursday mornings. The rest of the week, I wake up extra early and ready to go rather than wanting to slee…


I received my official letter approving me as a pre-approved provider through the Certification Board for Music Therapists yesterday. I am official. I am P-165!

This has been an idea that's been rattling around in the back of my head for a long, long time. Now it is time to coordinate and get things moving. I am trying for an August 1 launch date for my first menu of course offerings. As a result, I need to start my recordings and get all of my content organized and up and going.

It is time to move forward.

I am going to spend time in the next several weeks generating content and organizing the website to make this work. It's time. The first step? Doing the asynchronous recordings and generating the demonstration elements. Second step? Configuring the website. Third step? Advertising and marketing! After that, we'll get going.

Gotta go to work for an extra long day due to the need for a 44-hour workweek this week, so that's all for now!

I am P-165!

What I Did This Weekend...

I spent a very busy weekend, making some things that are a bit difficult to explain, but were very fun and challenging as well. My friend, Tawnya, is the art therapist at my facility and is a spiritual woman as well. For a while now, she's been working on the idea of running spiritual workshops with an art product at the end. I've been very enthusiastic about this idea and have attended the two different workshops that she has offered so far.

Here's the concept.

The product is a series of scripture cards that have specific messages for the attendees. This past weekend, we focused on worry and anxiety and the messages that is offered to us through scripture. All of the cards had a central theme - Shield - an acronym that Tawnya researched and developed. The letters stand for saves, heals, is always there, empowers, leads, and defends. The verses are related to each one of these words and the cards illustrate the concepts as well.

Tawnya spent lots of time putting these ideas t…