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Showing posts from January, 2018

I See the Moon, the Moon Sees Me

It is just now 4 am, and I've been awake for about an hour and a half now. I've finished all of my morning electronic chores, and now I am sitting down to start blogging and get ready for my work day. Last week at this time, I had a variant of the flu and just gave up when it came to trying to get things together. This week, I'm not feeling really peppy, but I am better than I was. I started the chill, headache, fatigue cycle again yesterday morning. I am hoping that this doesn't morph into more flu stuff. I don't have the time.

Today is the blue, eclipse, full moon. It's starting here pretty quickly. We won't be able to see the entire eclipse, but all these things happening at the same time is pretty interesting. It will be interesting to see if anything happens at work that is out of the ordinary.

When I was a baby, my mother used lullabies to soothe me to sleep. She did this with all three of us, and we all had different lullabies that worked. My lullabies…

TME Tuesday: I Don't Have My Computer Hooked Up to the Database, So...

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Today is one of those days where I don't have my database handy, so I'm going to offer something a bit different from what I usually share here. Instead of a therapeutic music experience (TME), I'm going to spend some time with my newest venture - centers - and how I'm finding my way into making things, helping my students reach independence, and making things new within a habit. Please keep in mind that I've only been doing this formally for a month now, and things are still works in progress, but here goes.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how and why I wanted to change some of my music therapy time from what I've "always done" to something different. There are several reasons - some of them practical, others a bit more selfish - but reasons nonetheless. I needed something to challenge me and the center idea seemed to be that something.

First of all, my caseload has exploded, leading to bigger group sizes and no corresponding increase in sta…

Most Organized = Most Productive? Well...

I dragged myself to work last Friday, probably before I should have, for a couple of reasons. First of all, I am out of official sick time. Second, it was a non-therapy day where I could hole up in my office and work, and third, I needed to straighten my office area so an intern applicant could fit, stretch out legs, and engage in an interview.

It took me all day to work on my office space, what with in between fatigue episodes and other tasks that popped up, but my office looks pretty good right now (well, compared to how it looked before!).

I have faced a fact in my life that is pretty much part of everything. I am not a "neat" person. Another fact about is that I like stuff, and I want that stuff near me for when I need it. At the same time, though, I crave minimalism and fantasize about white walls and labelled drawers and cabinets. It's an interesting dichotomy to me and one that I'm not able to achieve because, well, stuff.

(Did I mention how much I like stuff?)

I …

Synthesis Sunday: The Final Chapter of Music Therapy in Context by Mercedes Pavlicevic

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It's the end of something today. I have finally reached the end of Music Therapy in Context: Music, Meaning and Relationship by Mercedes Pavlicevic.

This has been an interesting journey through someone's thoughts and ideas about what we all do - music therapy. I have found my ideas about being a music therapist challenged by what I read in these pages, and I am glad that I've taken the time to go through this text. I haven't agreed with everything that was written, but I've found my way into understanding, and that is the most important part of any learning.

The last chapter, "Why do we become therapists," offered yet another perspective about why music therapists become therapists to begin with. Rather than a position of love for music and for helping, Ms. Pavlicevic's viewpoint appears to be from a "wounded healer" perspective (Guggenbuhl-Craig, 1971, p.177-178). I'm not sure that the perspective is the only way to engage in thinking abo…

Cats are Popping Up in My Feed All of a Sudden

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Cats have figured prominently in my social media feeds lately. I'm not exactly sure why, but there is probably some sort of algorithm in place that ensures that I get to see everything about cats that comes across the internet.

I'm NOT complaining - I love my Bella-cat and all things cat - but I do feel that it is a bit strange that there are so many cat things recently. I do have other interests. Maybe it's because my friends are finally coming around to the cat life. Hmmm.

One of my friends is going to be crocheting a cat sweater. She has a kit and everything! Someone posted a cat bath/rap video on Music Therapists Unite, and I just marveled at how calm that cat was in the bath, being rapped to, and at the skill of the guy, cuddling the cat while bathing said cat. My cat would NEVER be that calm or interested in my rapping when presented with the situation of a bath. NEVER. In fact, she is currently staring at me as if she knows what I am writing about and resents me for e…

Getting Ready

I have a visit from an intern applicant on Monday, and I am getting ready to show off my music therapy space and what I do in that space. This takes a bit of time and effort, because (as you know if you read this blog regularly) I am a pack rat and organization is something that challenges me. Last Friday, I organized the storage room which will double as an intern office once I have an intern. I organized all of my cabinets so I can show this applicant (and the three others who will be coming) what type of materials are available. Today's task is to tackle my office space.

The clearing and cleaning of my office helps me also declutter my brain - something that I need to do more often so my brain can work without getting bogged down in extraneous thoughts and problems. I keep my idea book near to me so I can write down tasks and ideas as they occur, but not address them until there is time to do so. The more I organize, the more things I find to do. It is amazing how that works.

As …

Thoughtful Thursday: The Written Word

My mother writes me a letter every week. She has written me a letter for every week that I have lived away from her house. I have them all.

The letters aren't deep or anything - they give me a glimpse of what Mom is thinking and doing. When she was writing to her mother and my brother as well, there were times when she would forget to remove the paragraph about what she thought I was doing with my life, and I would see those paragraphs. It was always interesting to see what she thought I was doing with my life.

My grandmother passed away almost two years ago, and my brother recently moved back to the area, so Mom is stuck writing only to me and my Aunt. There's a bit less information about my life these days, but I still enjoy getting the envelopes every week.

Several months ago, my mother mentioned that she misses getting letters from her mother. I've started writing to her every week.

I combine my love of making things with my letters to Mom. I make two cards every week, and…

I've Got the Chills - and Not the Good Kind, I Think!

Last night, I walked over to put my dishes in the sink after dinner and was overtaken by chills. I ended up shivering with my teeth chattering for about 45 minutes after that. I turned up the heater, put on my socks, covered up myself in about 8 blankets and afghans, and covered my head. I remained covered up that way for the rest of the night. I think I went to sleep about 6:45 last night...and the night before that. My temperature is still a bit below "normal" for most folks, but I am about a degree higher than I usually am, so I think I am running a bit of a temperature as well. I have needed my asthma medicine a bit more than usual, but nothing else is happening. I'm currently debating about whether this is the start of the flu or if it isn't.

My major problem is that my usual, everyday way of living has many of the characteristics of the flu. I almost always have a cough, sneezing, and a runny nose. Those haven't changed. I don't usually get bone shaking …

TME Tuesday: Songwriting with Adolescents

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One of the things that I struggle with is getting my students, all with a developmental disability and at least one psychiatric concern and about 75% with an additional intellectual disability, to engage in making original music. They all want to be songwriters, but no one wants to work at the actual process of writing music. They all like the idea of making up raps and songs and being famous, but they are often uninterested in learning how to do those things. I get frustrated with the disconnect between what they KNOW to be true (they will be rich and famous musicians) and what I know to be true (being a rich and famous musician isn't an easy path). Most of my students want to be Luke Bryan without realizing that a) that role is already taken, and b) that Luke Bryan did lots of work in music areas, networking, and other jobs to become the country star that he is today. It wasn't simply a matter of thinking "I'm going to be famous," and POOF! There were lots of s…

Medical Issues and Being a Spectator

Yesterday, a good friend of mine collapsed in the middle of a church service. This good friend is also the pastor, and he got really sweaty, somewhat disoriented, and had difficulty with his balance. He wasn't slurring his words, but he fainted once and was caught by two of the younger men of the congregation. Fortunately, there were enough of us to bully him into going to the emergency room rather than staying around to do Sunday school. He really wanted to stay for his class and for the second service. We insisted that he go.

Turns out, he has a bladder infection. 

He scared me. Here was a person that I cared about who was in distress, and I was scared that he was having a stroke or a heart attack - I felt like it more stroke-like rather than heart problems. I was scared for him and for his wife.

I was confronted once about not wanting to take courses about working as a hospice music therapist. I stated that I was unable to handle the subject matter, and I was ridiculed by some peo…

Synthesis Sunday: Chapter 12 of Music Therapy in Context: Music, Meaning and Relationship

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I am almost finished with reading my current music therapy text. I have one chapter left after this one, and I am looking forward to the end of the book. It has really enriched me and my understanding of improvisation and music therapy.

Having said that, I want to share that I had lots of difficulty with understanding and even liking this particular chapter, Psychodynamic meaning in music therapy.

Full disclosure here.

I am not a psychodynamic music therapist. I was "raised" in a behavioral context as a music therapist, trained as a sensory integrative therapist, and have decided upon humanism as my primary philosophical view. I don't recall anyone ever saying anything mean, inaccurate, or degrading about folks who are psychodynamic or psychoanalytical in nature during my educational processes, but I've never felt comfortable with the entire set up.

I went into the chapter, trying very hard to figure out what was being said. I kept getting caught up in the verbal nature …

Improvisation - There and Gone

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I spent most of the latter half of this week improvising motor therapeutic music experiences (TMEs).

I love doing that.

I took my guitar, started a chord progression, and let everything develop as it went along. Clients were engaged, everyone was moving, people were tapping their toes and clapping their hands, and I cannot remember a note of what came out of my mouth.

Not one note.

That always happens with me. I improvise wonderful songs that evaporate immediately. I wish I could remember them, but I've learned over the years that those songs aren't meant to be repeated. They are important for the clients in the moment, but they are meant to be replaced with the next song.

Over the years, people have made suggestions about how to keep those songs for posterity - use a recording app, write them down immediately, lots of things - but I just don't worry about it. For one thing, I would have to record every session on the off-chance that I might improvise something worth recording,…