Showing posts from May, 2018

...And Now I'm Singing to the Cat

I read an article somewhere, a long, long time ago, that attempted to explain earworms - you know, the tunes that go through your head over and over again without any real conscious decision to recall them? Earworms.

The theory was that the brain created stimulation when there was a lack of stimulation in the external environment.

Okay. That's interesting to me. I get earworms pretty often, and I've learned to extinguish them pretty reliably. I have been accused of giving others many earworms over the years. Just one note can trigger some of my coworkers into singing songs with me - songs they would rather not sing...

I've found myself singing things this week - just bursting out into song at times. Guess my brain is seeking musical stimulation and the soundtracks of my television programs is not cutting it. Those songs haven't become earworms - yet - but I am on the watch to see what sticks.

I've spent quite a bit of time this past week in solitary pursuits. My only c…

New Desks

My major project this first summer break is reorganizing my living room/office space in my home. I have completely ripped my front room apart, and there are things all over the floor at the moment. I have piles of things to donate, to put back on the shelves, and to repurpose. I have my new desks in place with the bookshelves keeping them stable, and I am putting things in places that seem to make the most logical sense. For example, all of the file folder assembly things are in the same place and on the same set of bookshelves under the creativity desk. The reference books, compact discs, and some of the boring writing utensils are on the shelves of the writing desk. My goal is to have everything I need for my various interests within easy reach no matter what I am doing. I am also trying to keep the top of the desk areas (hollow core doors) as empty as possible to encourage me to engage in work on these surfaces. 

At the moment, there is more stuff off shelves than on.

Eventually, tha…

TME Tuesday: I Have an Apple (from sing about autumn)

I am already thinking about Autumn these days. The temperatures and humidity are rising here in my state, so I am yearning for the cooler temperatures of the next season. Summer is NOT my favorite time of year, so I often look forward to cooler temperatures (it's also a way to avoid working on my EXTREMELY messy front room right now!). This is not a therapeutic music experience (TME) that has to be only done in Autumn, but it fit that theme a bit better than some of my others. Enjoy!

Therapeutic Music Experience I Have an Apple Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Make It Monday: Taking a File Folder Pattern and Making It into a Therapeutic Music Experience (TME)

It is Monday, and I'm in the mood to make something, so here is a post about taking a file folder idea and making it into a therapeutic music experience (TME).

I feel very strongly that the materials that I use in my clinic have some sort of need for music in order to be used in music therapy. I don't really feel that just adding a song to an existing something (idea, visual aid, etc.) is really music therapy, but there's a place for the use of music in that manner. I want the music to drive the activity, not just be an accompaniment. I often wonder if I am the only person who feels this way, but then I re-read Bruscia's Defining Music Therapy and know that I am not alone.

I often find really cool, free file folder kits on various social media sites, and I take advantage by downloading and making them into folders. It is hard to resist, especially when things are free. I then either put those folders into my storage areas or figure out some way to incorporate these visua…

Just a Song Sunday: Forgotten Treasures Found in Song

One of my friends recently posted one of those "tell me which song reminds you of me" requests on social media. It was interesting to see what songs people associated with her, including some that I taught her and others that I hadn't thought of for quite a while. Why haven't I sung Mister Sun for years and years??

I find it fascinating which songs come and go in my music therapy mind. For years I sang a specific song for a specific client. It was the first song that he sang in front of his classmates. He would look at me with a twinkle in his eye and start to sing the verses he loved the best (angry and sick). He passed away two years ago, and I haven't been able to sing that song to anyone else. I have a reason for not singing that song, but there are many others that I used to sing that I no longer use during therapy.

There are many reasons why songs come and go in our music therapy lives. Some are associated with a particular client, others with a specific type…

Not Working is More Difficult Than Working

It is "vacation" time for me - the first week off of the summer. There will be another week off at the end of June and beginning of July and there will be two weeks (bliss!) at the end of July and the beginning of August.

I don't do very well with stretches of time without structure. I make all sorts of audacious plans and then I don't do any of those things during my time. This time off is no different, but I am trying. I am a person who uses structure to organize, and a lack of structure leads me to turning around in circles, wondering where to go next.

As a result, I am structuring my time a bit more than usual. My bullet journal/task list is helping with this. I'm writing down what needs to be done, I'm prioritizing each task, and then I'm working on the tasks so I can cross them off the list. I'm also using my 30 minutes at a time structure to frame my tasks.

Today, after I finish blogging, I'm going to start deconstructing my desk storage to pr…

Shopping Spree

I went on an early evening shopping spree yesterday while I was waiting to go to my movie. I went to both Michaels (birthday coupon) and to Five Below (new store in my area). I also dropped by Hobby Lobby, but I didn't purchase anything at that store (HIGHLY unusual!).

I don't often go on spontaneous shopping sprees (except at the Dollar Tree - I go there all the time on whims). This was unusual for me, but somehow very satisfying at the same time. (For the record, I only spent about $60 on my spree, but that's lots when you are used to pinching pennies!) My spree haul included a new paper cutting board, some blades for the cutting board, rolls of Washi tape, some small star boxes, four Melodicas, two electric guitar toys, and four small word sentiment stamps. I have some plans for these things, and I am getting ready to start working on these plans.

First, though, I need to purge. I thinned out my former intern files yesterday. I threw away everything from my tenure in the …

Thoughtful Thursday: The Saga Continues...

Did you think that this was going to be a post about me and my work as a music therapist?


Sorry to disappoint.

This post is going to be about my favorite movies of all time. The Star Wars saga - birthed by George Lucas and continued by Disney. Uh-oh, I just lost about half of you when I revealed this fact about the post (and myself).

Okay, I love the Star Wars movies - all of them - from the first to the most recent, and I get to see the latest installment TONIGHT! I am going to see SOLO.

Most folks don't realize how much of a big deal this is for me. I am going to an evening movie (never do that) that I paid full price for (again, NEVER do that) and sit in a completely full theater with my fellow Star Wars enthusiasts! I will get the free small popcorn that I got for my birthday earlier this week and a Sprite in a commemorative cup! I will go to my seat, H-13, recline a bit, and settle in to watch this next story. I may even wear my Star Wars Table of Elements t-shirt just to re…

La-a-a-a-ast Day, Last Day of School!

I was singing the title as I was writing it. There's a bit of a melody to the idea of the last day of the regular school year. I am pleased to have made it this far, and I am looking forward to a short break before starting our Extended School Year.

Yesterday was the largest graduation ceremony that I have ever experienced at my facility. Nine graduates - almost 8% of our total school population. We had a chance to celebrate them as they go into the next phase of their lives. Now it is time to get to the business of closing up the therapy room and getting serious about time away from work. 

You know me, I write about self-care quite a bit. I firmly believe that every single therapist MUST have a healthy self-care plan in place in order to help handle incidents like burnout, compassion fatigue, and secondary trauma. I feel that each music therapist should have such a plan, but I admit that I don't always run my plan the way I should. Self-care should be a constantly evolving prog…

TME Tuesday: Time to Update the TME File

I am currently in a period of creativity and songwriting. I spent many therapy hours improvising with and for my clients in the past couple of months, but I haven't done much on formalizing these new songs and therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) yet. It's time to start fixing these TMEs in permanent form.

My process of doing this is simple - I use my TME form and get things written down.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? And it really is, but it is very time-consuming to put together all of the different elements and get things ready for others to use or replicate. When I am in this type of creative, songwriting bent, I produce lots of music, and I do not often set that music down on anything other than a post-it note or my favorite 4X6 inch index cards.

It takes me about an hour for each TME that goes into my database. That includes the writing, the use of the music software program, and putting everything together into a file. That's lots of time, and I don't often have t…