Showing posts from July, 2017

Make It Monday: Collecting Center Materials

Happy Monday, all. One of the best things about being a school music therapist is the opportunity to have scheduled breaks set in the calendar a year at a time so I can plan on doing specific things at specific times of the year. For example, I know that I can go visiting California during the winter break, and the last summer break before the fall semester can be used for at-home things. This tends to be the break where I make new things for my music therapy clinic. This break, only four days old, is no exception.

I am experimenting with a new bullet journal format at work. This started with a free teacher planner (I can't resist something that I get for free). I got the planner, intending on keeping it for a future, as of yet unknown intern, but the more I looked at it, the more I started thinking about my session planning and my bullet journal experimentation of this year.

So, I took the free planner (it doesn't have a grade book, which is good for me - I don't keep grades…

Just a Song Sunday: The Return of the Song

It's been a long time since I've felt like bursting into song at any moment. I've missed that need to express myself in music, but it's starting to come back. You have no idea what that means to me.

I am a music therapist.

To me, that statement means that I am immersed in music. It is something that follows me everywhere I go. It is something that I do. When it is absent, I miss it.

I spent most of the past several years with music being a job instead of something that just happened. I spent most of my days doing music with my clients, but my own musical voice was pretty silent. I wrote songs for therapeutic music experiences (TMEs), but the songs were tasks rather than spontaneous expressions. I hated it because an important piece of my life was gone. I am relieved that I am starting to interact with my world through music again. 

The cat? Not so happy that I am bursting into song at any and all possible moments. Fortunately, she hasn't got to the point where she leav…

MJ and Confrontation - The Strategy

I am lousy when it comes to confrontations. I'm the first to admit it. I hate confronting people about their inappropriate actions towards others, especially when the "others" include myself. I am much better at calling someone out when they are bullying others that do not include me, but I am not good at it when I am the target. I have never been good at this, so I was a target of bullies and teasing and lots of hurt feelings as a kid. Those feelings continue in me as an adult, but my ability to be strong has increased. I definitely am less likely to break into tears in public than I used to be (but I still have that tendency as well).

So, why is this the topic for my blog post today?

I am getting ready for a confrontation that is unfair. I'm not going to go into any more details, but this confrontation is ridiculous, and yet I have to go through it. It has shaken my thoughts for the past two months, and the day of confrontation has arrived. 

This is one of the reasons…


Today is the first day of my longest break this year. It's not quite long enough for me to be completely bored with staying at home, but it's long enough to get some things done. I decided not to go home this break because I didn't have quite enough time to get home, get back, recover from the trip, and then get ready for work. So, I am staying here for my break.

I like these types of vacations - the ones where I have little to no plans and can do whatever I want (with a little bit of money available). I try to "go" somewhere on Google Earth every day. In my past stay-cations, I've been to Bahrain, to isolated islands in the Pacific, to a secular temple in Texas, to Disney's birthplace, to places I would like to work, etc.

I am going to make a list of places to visit vicariously during the next several days. In addition to using Google Earth to see what the place actually looks like, I also look at any websites I can find that relate to that particular plac…

Thoughtful Thursday: My Quote for the Week

As I have said, many times before, I have a box of quotations that I keep on my desk. When I remember it, I look at the quote that is visible, and I spend a little bit of time thinking about what the quote means to me in the place where I am. This week's quote was as follows:
Those who devote their lives to a cause greater than themselves always find a larger, fuller life than the one they remembered. - Wilbert E. ScheerThis quote challenged me a bit this week. I had some time this week when the "self" took over and demanded that I not spend my time on the cause of someone or something else.

My two brains warred with each other. The emotional brain was wailing about not wanting to be where I was and wanting to be able to do what I wanted to do. The rational brain was calmly stating, over and over, that what the emotional brain wanted was unsafe and not possible. The rational brain won out, but the emotional brain kept interrupting what was going on and restarting the entir…

Breathing is Difficult Again, But Things are Still Happening

The heat and humidity are climbing again, and my breathing is more and more difficult. I had to leave work last week because of not being able to breathe, so I took my nebulizer to work yesterday, and I'll be doing treatments once I get to my office this morning. With the treatments, I tend to get sleepy (even though it is supposed to hype me up), so this should be an interesting therapy day.

We are FINISHING the Carnival of the Animals this week. I'm glad that I decided to do this theme-based summer session series because it has given me a framework. I haven't had to plan too much because I had the music of Mr. Saint-Saens to be my structure. I have managed to get the concept of music therapy centers into the heads of my fellow staff members and my students, and the centers seem to be going well. I also have found ways to turn the theme into the TMEs that my clients appear to need as part of their therapy process. I am ready to finish this theme, however. It is time to get…

TME Tuesday: The Allergy Song

TME Tuesday - the picture with the sheet music didn't transfer - if you are interested in getting a copy of the melody, let me know in the comments.

Happy Tuesday, all!

Over 12 Hours Late

You know how you can start the day out with all sorts of good intentions and then one thing happens that interrupts all of that?

It happened to me today.

I was up, I was ready to go, I was organizing my day at work and getting ready to blog at the computer when it happened. The tell-tale sparkles that I get when it is time for a migraine headache. Basically, before the headache starts, I get what is called an "ocular migraine." This is my warning system that tells me what is coming, but it has an interesting side effect. Basically, I go blind for a bit.

I was ready for work. I had spent the weekend in bed between breathing treatments, and I needed to get out and about, but it wasn't in the cards for today. So, I called in with the proviso that I might make it, and took my medicine. I went back to bed where I knew I would be able to stay somewhat safe (surrounded by pillows and blankets) until my vision cleared.

Three hours later, I was still having difficulty focusing my eye…

Just a Song Sunday: Matching the Song to a Client

Did you know, that as music therapists, we have inner knowledge of an amazing therapeutic medium that can be shaped and adapted to any and all clients with a modicum of effort?

Of course you did. You are a fellow music therapist who has studied music theory, psychology, neurology, and the theory of music therapy.

Can you explain what you are doing with the music during a therapeutic music experience to support your client in his or her goal attainment? Do you think about it or do you just do it?

I go between just going on instinct and really analyzing the music I am engaged with during sessions, but I can often identify the ways that I shift the music to either lead clients or follow clients. I know when I am matching the tempo of the music to a behavioral indication. I know when I am changing the tempo and the volume of the music presentation to assist a client in calming. I know when my music just isn't working with the group of clients that are before me. I (eventually) know when …