Showing posts from September, 2017

The Day Off

Today is my day off.

It is the only day of the week where I don't always have to do things that are part of working. It's a very good thing to have some time to be on my own, and I cherish my Saturdays. Some Saturdays, I meet via Skype or GoToMeeting with some dynamic music therapists who enrich my life immensely, but this isn't one of those Saturdays. Other than an appointment for some routine car maintenance, there is nothing that I HAVE to do!

I am going to take my current book to the dealership to read while I wait for my car. After that, I may go shopping. I have some coupons for money off things. I like that. Money off. Of course, the best way to get someone to spend money is to make it seem like they are saving money, but I am happy to be convinced.

I feel the need to do some more creating today. I had so much fun making some non-TME related games and folders for a friend of mine, that I think I'll do some more. Does anyone want a lapbook about shapes and pumpkins?…

Calm-Down Bottles

Last Friday, during my preparation day (I swear, I keep TRYING to get music therapy scheduled on Fridays, but teachers just don't seem to want extra music therapy on Fridays...), I made some calm-down bottles.

"What are calm-down bottles?"

Well, interested fellow therapist, these are things that I found on Pinterest. There are many different ways to make these bottles, but I decided to use glitter and water to make mine. I also made something similar with rocks and water, but I decided that this version would be the glitter based bottle.

Here's the idea. The bottle gets shaken by a person approaching a crisis emotional state. That person then has until the glitter settles down to be in "time away" or "cooling down" mode.

Here are mine. The first picture here is the glitter bottles in their more relaxed state (I'll explain the glitter concentrations in a bit) and the second picture is what the bottles look like when they are shaken (agitated? In th…

Thoughtful Thursday: Daily Happiness

Lately, I've been doing a bit of a personal experiment. I start my day with a "daily happiness" post on my personal Facebook feed. I sit down at the beginning of my day and find something that makes me happy in the past 24 hours. It's part of my "me" plan - my current goals in the areas of emotional development, nutrition, professional focus, and musical focus. I have an index card (because I LOVE index cards) taped to the shelves right by my computer that lists my four goals. (By the way, it's color-coded to my current system for identifying therapeutic domains...)

This is the goal that I am doing the best on at the moment (the nutrition one isn't really all that fun to pursue), but I am progressing on all of these things. This was my "new school year" resolution list, and I am proud of my accomplishments.

Some days I find it easy to come up with something that makes me happy. Some days it is much more difficult to find something to appreci…

Update: The Plan That Wasn't Much of a Plan

This week, my session strategy consisted of a post-it note stuck on the side of the guitar. Fancy - that's how I do things - purple post-its in the shape of a square on the side of the guitar. I went through my TME file and wrote the titles of TMEs that we hadn't experience in a long time - some singing TMEs, some games, some general ideas - and then led the ones that I thought would work the best with each group. Things have gone very well, considering that my students have been extremely grumpy and short-tempered with each other, considering that staff members have also been very grumpy, and I have had to deal with rude comments, people who think that they are in charge of what I do (when they are NOT!), and two fire drills in 10 minutes yesterday (I was in the middle of My Aunt Came Back. My aunt never even got to go anywhere...).

In between all of the grumpy responses to any and everything, we've made some music. I've used all of my knowledge of music as a therapeut…

TME Tuesday: Hot and Cold

One of my favorite things to do with my clients is to take games that I know and love and adapt them to something that addresses therapeutic goal development. This game is one that my clients (most of them, at least - the ones yesterday weren't very interested, but that's typical for them) seem to enjoy. They seem to enjoy the featured roles - hider and seeker - but not so much about the giving clues part...

I use a small, stuffed Grover character for my hiding purposes, but we have also played this game using different instruments. Enjoy!!

Today's Plan? Not Much of a Plan

I am heading off to lead sessions today with a limited plan. It is Musician of the Month reveal week so I've got that, but there isn't anything else written on my session strategy planner for this week.

This is something that I do every once in a while. I head into my sessions without a set session strategy. Instead of writing things out, I spend time engaged in improvisation with my clients. We will probably work on some of the concepts that we've addressed recently - belly breathing will make a return appearance (coping skills are important to review often with my clients). By the end of today, I will probably have more of a plan than I do right now. Maybe I won't.

I've found that improvising sessions is something that keeps me paying attention to my clients. It is easy to get into a routine, but heading into a session without a plan allows me to focus on my clients in their groups. I can shape the music to the group without having a specific theme or TME to comple…

Synthesis Sunday: Mercedes Pavlicevic and Music Therapy In Context

This is a (semi) new series of blog posts that are designed to get me back in the habit of reading about my chosen profession. I am hoping that reading a bit more regularly will get me back into thinking more deeply about what I am doing with my professional life. It also gives me some structure, which I know that I crave and which allows me to explore my creativity.

Welcome to the first post.

I'm not exactly sure how I will settle into writing about these texts and articles that I read, but I can tell you a bit about how I start. When I read music therapy texts, I keep a stack of post-it notes next to me. If something makes me think, I write it down (along with a reference of where to find it again) and stick it on a page of my notebook. I use one color of post-its for quotations, another for definitions, yet another for things to investigate further, and one more color for random thoughts or synthesis - for those "A-ha" moments.

Once I have finished the article or the c…

My Vision is Getting More Clear Every Day

About six months ago, I led a presentation at the super regional conference for the Midwestern and Western regions. The title was "Been There, Done That, Now What?: From Slump to Career Pivot." During that presentation, I encouraged participants to dream big. We spent some time thinking about our future lives - what would be if we stayed in the same place, what we could be if money was no object, and then a combination of the two. My "lottery winning" plan continues to challenge me - it is always at the back of my mind when I drive past the lottery sign on my way to work. What would I do if I had millions of dollars??

If I had an unlimited amount of money, I would start a music therapy community clinic in my parent's town. I would want to employ several therapists and be able to offer music therapy services to all sorts of clients. I would want to have a community band and a community choir for people to come in and use music for recreation and well-being. I wou…


Today is Friday, my catch-up day.

It wasn't originally intended to be a catch-up day - it was supposed to be an individual treatment day. Part of the deal of moving to my big, BEAUTIFUL music therapy room was that I would also play host to our student incentive store. So, for four hours today, I will have all of the classes tromp through my room to go shopping in one of the adjoining closets.

It is difficult to run therapy sessions with an audience (not to mention, completely unethical!!), so Fridays are my day to get things finished and coordinated.

I have to do my documentation from yesterday (I have finished all other documentation from this week - hooray!), but then I am finished with administrative requirements for this week. I have some time to finally make something new for my clients. I'm thinking calm-down bottles.

I bought baby oil, clear glue, glitter glue, glitter, and some beads for my bottles. I'll put them together, super glue the lids, and I'll have some ca…

Thoughtful Thursday: Auguste Rodin

It is Thursday again, and I am sitting at the computer, thinking about the quotation that I have in my small quotation box.
"Patience is also a form of action." ~Auguste RodinHunh.

Patience can be action. 

Isn't this especially true for a therapist? 

Therapy isn't something that happens immediately. Therapy isn't a bandaid, it is a long process of work and reflection. It can't be rushed.

Have you ever come across a client who expects that a song will cure them of their ailments? When they start to realize that therapy is a long-term commitment, they are no longer interested. In this world of instant gratification, two-day shipping, and online shopping, I find that we, as a society, really don't have much patience anymore.

I'm good at being patient with my clients, but I am not as good about being patient with myself or with my co-workers. Yet, time after time, being patient has proved to be the right way to do things. I just don't remember that in the m…

What to Do Now?

Yesterday, I spent some time engaged in busywork. You know the kind - work that someone thinks has value but really just takes up time and siphons energy away from other tasks. Fortunately, it was only 15 minutes worth of time, but the exercise itself had nothing to do with my job or my vision for my job.

The exercise was related to a book that we are all reading this year for our jobs. The book is entitled "The Energy Bus," and was a quick read. It is about finding a common destination and getting people onto your bus who will add to your energy and get you to your goals. It is a good idea and a wonderful story, but the process that we are taking to find a common idea is not really clear.

Disclosure: I am not someone who enjoys team building exercises. I am not someone who enjoys most group projects (with the exception of this one we did in eighth grade). I am the type of person who does best when I am allowed to be on my own with occasional check-ins with the others. So, thi…

TME Tuesday: Repeat Post - How I Write TMEs

I believe that I have shared this before, but this seems like a good time to share it again. This is the format that I use when I am writing my therapeutic music experiences (TMEs). Parts of this came from my undergraduate education, parts developed during my internship, and the rest are the things that I've found to be helpful while sharing my TMEs with other therapists - interns, students, and professionals. This process and format has developed over the years and continues to change and morph into other ways to think about writing your TMEs to share them with others.

 Therapeutic Music Experience Title Name of Therapist