Showing posts from April, 2018

Creation to Get Me Out of the Grumps

I have a case of the grumps - that mood where there just isn't anything that makes me happy and everything just makes me a bit angry. It's silly things, really - my father's ultra conservative posts on Facebook, the fact that the cat wants to cuddle at times when I do not, all the food that I have in the cabinet that just doesn't sound appetizing to me at all, the list just goes on and on. Nothing is really serious, so I'm thinking this is the product of hormones, and I am very grateful that I have another day off before I have to work around others.

It is time to spend some time in my own company. I don't think I'll get an early morning phone call from my father - my family is going to the memorial service for my second cousin once removed today. I'm not going because I am the only one who doesn't live in California. Grump.

I have to make a choice - do I let the grumps take over my life? Or do I work through them. I choose to work through them. I k…

Bone Tired - That's Me

I am absolutely exhausted.

Yesterday was our super-secret special event, and it went very well, but it left me so completely exhausted that I am now thinking about going back to sleep rather than writing any more of this post. I would really like some food other than what I have in the fridge right now, but I will make due with what I have because it takes less work than trying to get dressed and go into the cold morning to grocery shop.

Not only am I tired, but I am lazy.

My to-do list is growing. I have to find out if the mechanic can replace my headlight this morning - I noticed it was out on Wednesday evening. I am going to see if the chiropractor can fit me in sometime this weekend - my body hurts in all of my joints. I need to vacuum which means corralling some of the mess so I can get from point A to point B with the vacuum without knocking over stacks of stuff. I want to clean out a bit more so I can have some space in the closet, so that's on the list as well - cleaning out …

Thoughtful Thursday: Other Duties As Assigned

Tomorrow is a scheduled day off. For some reason, we get a random Friday off in April every year. Tomorrow is the day. I have some big plans for tomorrow - sleep in and then try to uncover some carpet so I can vacuum. I also need to grocery shop. Before all that can happen, though, I need to get through the Super-Secret Special Event at school today.

In the job description of all jobs that I've ever had, there is a handy little phrase at the end - "Other duties as assigned." This little phrase is why I am getting ready to dress up in a cape and spend my day regulating bouncy houses and gift bags - it's another duty that's been assigned.

I don't mind duties like this (I do mind the duty of having to go to endless meetings that have nothing to do with my job, but this one isn't bad). I like having the duty of coming up with something creative and to make some fun for my clients. The day will be exhausting, but it will also be a good experience for my clients.

It's Always a Journey: I'm Not Writing Many TMEs These Days

I was moving from my session area to my office yesterday after a session that had been a bit challenging, and I was thinking about things as I am wont to do. As ideas and thoughts moved through my head, one of them was that I wasn't really spending much time writing new songs and TMEs lately, but my sessions were full of new music.

You see, I've been improvising lots of music lately.

It's interesting that I go through periods of time when music is at my fingertips, seems to flow out of me, and then it completely disappears. Other times, the music in my head simply has to be written down. It rarely happens at the same time. I find this pattern to my creativity within the music very interesting.

On Monday, I used a song that I often use - Put Your Cough and Your Sneeze in Your Sleeve - and improvised several new verses (I should really update my TME file to include the new verses for later...) about other manners and expectations. My clients seemed to enjoy the first verse (we …

TME Tuesday: Strange Things by Randy Newman

As you know, if you read yesterday's post, we are getting ready for our Super-Secret Special Event to be held on Thursday. This year's theme is super heroes. I got my shirts yesterday, and they look great! Anyway, that sent me searching for a super hero therapeutic music experience (TME), but I haven't written any. I had a wonderful intern who wrote a great song, but since it is her intellectual property, I cannot share it here. Here's another something to use - you could adapt it into a super hero origin song, I guess - the changes that occur when you become "super." I love Randy Newman, so try this out and let me know what you think....

Therapeutic Music Experience Strange Things Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

The Super-Secret Special Event

Every year at my facility, we have an all-school event. This Super-Secret Special Event (S-SSE for short - more about the name later) used to be our school prom for our high school students. We changed it into an all-school dance and then a luau. In the past several years, the planning and implementation of this event has fallen on the shoulders of four of us at the facility. We were absolutely exhausted of the luau theme, so we made an executive decision to change the theme every year. This year, our S-SSE is on this Thursday, and I am getting ready.

Why do we call it the S-SSE? My former principal wanted to keep it a secret from our students when she called it the luau. We've continued that part of the tradition - it is still supposed to be a secret. Once we moved away from that particular theme, we needed a new name. The new name is a not-so-subtle reminder to everyone else that no one is supposed to talk about the day with our clients. It rarely works, but that's life. 


Synthesis Sunday: Getting Back Into the Research Groove

It is time for me to get back into my research reading routine. I took a hiatus over the past couple of months, mainly because I didn't want to do any reading. I'm back into a reading mood, so here we go.

(By the way, this reading mood is almost always spurred on by the arrival of music therapy journals in the mail...aahh, guilt.)

My first step is always to gather my materials so I have them near me for the entire process. 

Essential Materials:
Post-It NotesResearch-Informed Clinician Sheets - look at the bottom of the page linkMy favorite pensWith my materials in hand, I am ready to start reading!

I am a bit old-fashioned when it comes to reading research, so I always print out my articles or use my printed journals when I am reading. This allows me to touch the pages - for some reason that is important to me. I've never really got into the whole electronic thing.

I pick up my reading - in this case Music Therapy Perspectives, 34(2), 2016 - and start with the Table of Contents.…


I just spent some time on the CBMT website, getting my recertification process underway. (If you don't know what the CBMT website is, then PLEASE click the link to find out more about board certification and what we music therapists have to do in order to continue to be music therapists!)

I sat down with my vita, my certificates, and my presentation powerpoints and put in all of my activities. I have never had a problem finding things to use for my 100 hours of activities, and I always have things that I could put on my credits that I don't because I don't need to do so. I take advantage of free courses at conferences, I write my own songbooks, so I get lots of possible credits there (didn't have to use any this time around), and I present all the time. I also do service for several music therapy organizations. I attend conferences and have made training for myself outside the world of music therapy a priority for myself during the next five years.

This is the first time…

Forever Goals and Tasks

I am rearranging my music library yet again. This is a seemingly never-ending task that seems to just keep on going and going no matter how much I work on it. I've noticed that there are many tasks in my life that are like this one - never-ending.

One of my friends stated recently that she felt that she had to revise her employee policies after every two therapists that she hired. Never-ending task. I find that my policies and assignments and ways of being a supervisor change with each intern. I make it a point to sit down and think about what has gone right and what has been challenging during each intern's time with me. I adjust what needs to be adjusted and then I go into the next intern's training with some new ideas.

For me, music therapy organization is a never-ending task.

I have a system that works for me pretty well, at the moment. I use different categories and colors to help me organize. For example, at the moment, I have a box full of typical pediatric rhythm inst…

Thoughtful Thursday: Seeking Motivation

I am sitting here, at my computer, watching Father Brown on Netflix, and striving to find something to write about. It is Thursday, and I have managed to make it to work every single day this week (first time in about three weeks that I've accomplished this feat), and I am exhausted beyond belief. I have enough energy for my five sessions today, but I'm not sure that I'll do much this afternoon when I get home.

I saw a post on one of my social media feeds about a lack of motivation. I can relate to that on so many levels. This person wanted suggestions about how to find motivation in a current slump. I can relate to that on so many levels as well. 

I am currently recovering from a phase of "severe lack of motivation." My thought is that most of this lack has been actually caused by my recent illness, but there are other things out there that are affecting my motivation as well. I'm glad to be on the recovery side of this phase because I really do not like havin…

It's Always a Journey: Center Updates

This week is Center week in my music therapy clinic. I have been trying to implement something a bit different from what I usually do in music therapy - just to see if it will work and to increase my treatment options.

Some setting information: I work in a residential and day school program for children and adolescents ages 5-22 who have developmental and psychiatric diagnoses. I have 112 students who come to music therapy for 60 minutes per week. All services are educational enrichment and psychiatric treatment services - nothing is listed on the Individualized Education Plans of my clients. This is both a good thing and a bad thing for my treatment service plan.

The reason I started with Centers: I was finding that my group sessions were becoming less about relationships with clients and more about filling time. I really didn't feel that I knew my clients very well because my focus was on song, song, song. I wanted a way to get to know my clients a bit better, but that is difficul…