Showing posts from March, 2018

Change the Focus

As I am sitting here in my illness stupor, I am thinking deep thoughts...well, some of them are deep thoughts. Some of my thoughts are of the "I really want some ice cream" variety rather than anything profound. I'm to the point in my illness right now where I have slept and slept, and I need to be doing something, so thinking is what my brain and body have chosen to do.

What do I think about? I think about Master's Level Entry into our profession. I think about differences between my job and that of a hospice music therapist. I wonder if I will get any ideas pulled together for AMTA's national conference this year. I think about my friends currently traveling across the country. I wonder if I'll finish any of my projects in the next couple of weeks. I think about the future of this profession. There are lots of things to think about.

I'm trying to figure out what presentation proposals I want to submit to AMTA this year. I'm thinking it may be time for…

Sometimes Anxiety is Anxiety, Sometimes Anxiety is Sickness Coming

On Wednesday evening, my anxiety came to a head with me crying hysterically on the phone while talking to my father about how I was feeling. My father, who doesn't really like to address deep feelings, suggested that I call my sister who is better at addressing those feelings. So, I did. After talking to her, I made some proactive changes to my sleeping and went to bed. I tossed and turned all night, sweating through my pajamas, and waking every hour or two.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I was exhausted and sick. I got dressed in my work uniform and attempted to blog (several different times). I took the last dose of my stomach medication and prepared to go to work, but I couldn't get going. I called and arranged for a sick day. Then, I went back to sleep until the cat woke me up. I went out to get some medication, a new thermometer (mine always seem to go missing when I want to take my temperature, some water filters, and a new book to read. 

Isn't it amazing how the br…

The State of Anxiety

My first post idea for this morning was a rant about anxiety and worry. I decided not to post it as it seemed to be a bit too personal for this blog. However, one of the things that I strive to do in these posts is to acknowledge everything that happens as part of my life as a music therapist, even when those things tend to be less on the music or therapy side of things and seem to be more firmly centered on the me side of things (hence the title of this blog - music, therapy, and me - the commas are purposeful!).

I am currently a bit more prone to things like worry and anxiety right now. I started the week off with a very specific anxiety dream firmly centered in my work life. It left me a bit shaken two mornings ago. When I remember my dreams, they are often based in anxiety - I'm being chased, I have to hide, and/or I have to address challenging behaviors in my clients in a public situation. I had one dream where we had set up an obstacle course with a mud pit, and the one clien…

TME Tuesday: Repost - Frustration

I am very frustrated right now, so thought this would be a perfect time to share a specific therapeutic music experience (TME) again. The original post was shared on May 13, 2014, but it is VERY appropriate for my feelings right now...

Here is a TME that I use with my students who have very low frustration tolerances. We discuss our ways of handling frustration. Therapeutic Music Experience Frustration Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC Purpose: To provide outlet for emotional awareness; to increase emotional awareness in others; to encourage self-examination regarding emotions; to acknowledge emotion of frustration; to problem-solve appropriate responses to feelings of frustration; entrainment to steady beat; social interaction Source: Original song by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. © May 8, 2012 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. Materials: None required; OPTIONAL: dry-erase board and marker to assist in songwriting and problem solving or Frustration Song Blank (see below) Environment: Gr…

Make It Monday: Mini Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

You know me, I like to make things.

I sat down on Saturday in the midst of my paper crafting materials, and tried to make something new. I had no idea what I would make when I sat down, but I did have fun coming up with an idea. 

I decided to use my mini file folders for this project. I purchased a whole slew of folders several years ago when they arrived at the Dollar Tree (I love dollar stores!!), and I've used them for many projects. My mom, a retired Occupational Therapist, said that her clients would complete a mini file folder without complaint but would complain about having to do a big folder. I made sure that there were just as many tasks to do on the mini folders as on the big folders when I made them for her and for her clients, but the lack of complaints continued. Her clients seemed to think that they were getting away with doing less work when they had a mini folder.

As you can see, the mini folders are about the size of a 4X6 card and are smaller than a regular file fo…

Music Therapy Ideas I Wish I Had Thought of First

You know how you sometimes find things and think, "Wow! That's a GREAT idea. I wish I had thought of that!!" This post is all about those things that I wish I had thought of that actually are present in the world. 

[NOTE: If you decide to take advantage of these, let me know what you think, but also know that I get NO financial benefit from any of my recommendations.]

The Music Therapy Activities Wiki - So, this is a good idea in concept and theory, but it hasn't really taken off (as far as I can see). This is a repository for therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) and offers several ways to search through the ideas contributed by others. There is an opinion survey that I just finished. This is the type of resource that I will start to recommend for all those requests for "I need a song to sing with my population" that happen on my social media feeds all the time!Music2Spark - This blog, written by JoAnn Jordan, offers ideas, situations, and opportunities for m…

Fun Friday: Five Silly Things I Love About Music Therapy

I admit it, I am someone who loves this profession of music therapy. Sure, there are good things and bad things about it, but that's the way of any and all professions, so I've learned to make the bad things sting a bit less and to appreciate the good things just a bit more deeply. Here are some of the silly things that happen in my life as a music therapist that I just simply love.
Having to explain myself EVERY SINGLE TIME I tell someone else what I do: Does this sound silly to you? Or is it something that makes you cringe? Having a bit of history in the profession allows me to have a bit of perspective about this process. These days, everyone has an idea about what music therapy is and should be. Many of those ideas are not entirely correct, but nobody really just stares at me with a blank expression. My old joke went something like this..."So, what do you do?" ME: "I'm a music therapist." Silence for about 6 seconds. "So, what is musical therapy…

Thoughtful Thursday:

My quotation box is something that I use for inspiration. It is a small box, not at all decorated in my type of colors or style, and it is chock full of small, black, double-sided cards. Every so often, I switch the cards around so that I can see a new thought, a new quote from someone out there.

This is the quotation for today.
"Let your mind be quiet, realizing the beauty of the world, and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store."  ~Edward CarpenterFor me, this quote seems to encompass the entire idea of mindfulness.

I haven't spent much time this past week in mindful practices. I've been thinking lots, spending time with myself and the cat, and moving from task to task, but I haven't been doing these things in a mindful manner. This kind of quotation offers me a reminder, from my little copper and white striped box, to stop and be mindful.

I need little reminders every so often. I need big, audacious reminders at other times. Right now, the lit…

iThing Trouble Again...

CAUTION: If you are a fan of Apple products, I would suggest that you just skip this post altogether. I am frustrated and am taking out my frustration through digital yelling (AKA CAPITAL LETTERS) and being VERY negative about Apple iThings. If you like iThings, please, do us both a favor and skip this post!
I have an intense dislike for all things Apple. It's strange that this should be so, since my first ever interaction with a computer was with an Apple IIe, but it is. It has always been this way. For some reason, I do not think like an Apple product. I never have, and I never will. I know, I know - there are very vocal music therapists out there who will never give up their Apple products, and that is just FINE with me. My intense dislike comes from the fact that I personally cannot interact with an Apple thing without something messing up and making my blood pressure go through the roof!

In case you haven't noticed, I am struggling with my iPod at the moment.

I had a whole …

TME Tuesday: Decision Trees That Help Me Develop TMEs

I am not really in the mood to be writing a therapeutic music experience today, so here is another one of my resources. I think better when I have a visual aid rather than just words, so I use one of my programs to make visuals for concepts that I find either difficult or very important. This is one of the important ones.

I'm often asked where I get my ideas for therapeutic music experiences. This is a decision tree that demonstrates where I get some of my ideas. It starts with a song. Any song.

When I find a song that I want to use for therapy for some reason or another, I go through a process of looking at the lyrics and thinking about my client. Thinking about both of these things helps me to decide what to do next with the song as a therapeutic music experience. Just so you know, my thoughts about the song don't stop there. I take the song through another form of decision tree. Here's an example...

Once I've gone through these two steps, I have a pretty good handle on…

Six Things - Brainstorming

I have a rule for myself - basically, it is a way to keep myself from taking anything and everything that I could ever possibly use into my home and clinic space. The rule is that I must think of six separate things to do with every single material before I will find a place for that thing in my limited storage spaces. Six separate therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) for every instrument, prop, visual aid, and other type of material in my music therapy clinic.

So, here's where this particular rule for myself comes in handy.

I went to the Dollar Tree a couple of days ago. I always wander around the store in a set pattern - up and down the peripheral aisles first and finishing with the center aisles. My first purchase was two sets of animal Easter eggs. They are SO cute, but I knew my rule and so I started thinking. Before I left the store, I had three TME ideas, so I justified spending the four dollars for the 40 animal eggs.

After I got home and unpacked the school supplies and the …

My Staycation - Spring Break 2018

Today is the start of my staycation for Spring Break 2018. I am not planning on going too far from home, but who knows what will happen later this week. I like staying home as part of my self-care routine. I love to travel, but I don't often have the funds to do so. I REALLY love free trips, so if you need anyone to travel to your place to talk about something music therapy-related, let me know! I'll be there as soon as possible!!

Anyway, I will be spending my Spring Break the way I spend most breaks - at home with the cat, making lots of plans that just don't seem very important when it comes down to it. I must clean. I must throw things out. I want to be able to buy a new bed at the end of this week, so I have to organize and clean out enough to get the old bed out and the new bed in. I also have my new bullet journal routine (see yesterday's post) to continue to establish into a habit. I also need to do some grocery shopping, cooking, and eating.

So, what does all thi…

Bullet Journaling and the Music Therapist

I am starting a new routine. A new bullet journal. A new way to organize my tasks.

Now, I am someone who likes lists. If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I often have to-do lists and not-to-do lists. I make lists when I need to concentrate and when I have lots to do. I love my lists.

Now, I also love the idea of a bullet journal. I look at all the pretty layouts and creative ways to display different things, and I just fantasize about being someone who could spend the time to draw cute banners and make gorgeous calendar headings. I am not that person. I just don't have the time!

So, most of my journeys into the world of bullet journaling have resulted in glorified to-do lists. I a modified bullet journal set-up for session strategizing and long-term planning. I use my student planner for organizing my thoughts, but I also use pencil and don't do the fancy coloring and pretty things that I want to do. 

I'm going to change all that.

I returned from my most recen…

Thoughtful Thursday: Taking Time to Get It Right - Or, at Least, Better

I often feel rushed. I feel like I never have enough hours in the day to get the things that I want to do done, and I want to do it all! Of course, I can't, but I still want to and sometimes feel inadequate when I am not able to live up to my own expectations. This is usually a signal that I'm heading towards illness or burnout. So, I take time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate my body and my brain.

(Just for the record, I don't really feel that way at this point, but I am getting ready for a break, so I am making audacious plans that I will never get accomplished during the week I have to do them. I know there is a break coming!)

I guess, as I sit here, trying to make sense of what I am writing and what I want to convey, is that nothing comes to us without time and effort. If I do n't spend the time to do what I need to do, then things won't get done. If I rush through my session planning and documentation, those things really reflect that lack of time and engagement…

What Do I Want? Does Anyone Know??

I am in post-conference reflection mode at this point. I am sitting on the bed, later than usual, listening to the deep, rumbling purr of Bella-cat, and I am engaged in deep thinking. I always do this after I return to my house from visiting my home - the place I really would love to live full-time but seem to think that I can't be there!

This often leads me into a period of contemplation and introspection. 

I spent the past week in sunny (sorta) Southern California, sometimes surrounded by other music therapists, sometimes surrounded by my family members. I was able to see the mountains and the ocean, and I loved the visit and the environment. It is becoming more and more difficult for me to be happy to leave when I go to visit. I offered my ideas to folks while I was in California, and I spent some time listening to the ideas of others. As always, I was challenged to think of my role as a music therapist and what I want to get and be as part of this profession.

I have come to the c…

TME Tuesday: Lonesome Traveler

I am getting ready to make a journey back to my house from my home. This is the part of going home that I really dislike - leaving, but this song gives me a bit of a chance to think about why I live where I live and the choices that I have made in my life to take me where I need to be...

 Therapeutic Music Experience Lonesome Traveler Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC