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Showing posts from July, 2018

TME Tuesday: Creative Composition

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Have you ever noticed that songs that have to be written are less compelling than those that just happen? I'm kinda in a place right now where that is happening. I want some more songs for a Halloween theme subscription idea that I have, but everything that I think of just falls flat - you know? Like a balloon deflating? On the other hand, songs are springing into mind that have nothing at all to do with my self-imposed songwriting topic. Blech.

I am currently practicing creative composition.

What is that? Creative composition is where I set myself some ground rules for songwriting and then just go where my brain takes me. I find that my creative process is helped out by setting rules. With rules, I end up finding pathways into creative expression that I miss when I am sitting there without any type of structure.

So, I am going to start out by making up my rules. I want a couple of songs to supplement the Halloween-themed lapbook that I am making. On that lapbook, I have a door, a la…

Make It Monday: The 7 Visual Aids Every School-Based Therapist Should Have Handy...

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It is Monday morning, I have two weeks of my vacation from my school therapy job in front of me, Mom is coming tomorrow and my living space is not at all ready for her (but it is much, MUCH better than it was), I've sprained my knee, and I'm trying to figure out what to write about today.

Oh, I know - visual aids - my other interest at the moment! I promise I'll only mention my TPT store this once - I'll be putting up a visual aid kit later this week that contains all of the non-free resources that I recommend below, and that's the last mention! 

Now, some of these visuals are easily made - get a camera, a printer, and some cardstock and off you go! Others are not as easily found, but I have some resources for you listed below of (free or almost free) resources to make and use during your music therapy sessions. Are you ready to see my list? Here we go!
Alphabet cards - this one seems pretty simple when you think of it, but having a set of alphabet cards offers lots o…

Synthesis Sunday: Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach by Elizabeth Schwartz

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"Just make music." - Elizabeth Schwartz, page ixMusic, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach is one of my favorite music therapy texts for working with my population. The book was not written for my particular population - I work with children and adolescents with developmental disabilities and psychiatric concerns - but I find that most of the developmental information transfers nicely into interaction with my clients. It just plain old explains some of the responses that my clients offer to me during their sessions. This has become one of my foundational texts.

Chapter One - Music and young children: How music is experienced

We all have preconceived notions about music and what it could and often should sound like. Schwartz emphasizes that children, especially young children, have no musical labels or artificial ideas about what is "good" music. Music is multi-sensory and just pulls children into interaction with each other and with their own bodie…

Things Are Getting Less Cluttered

I am in Day two of the great purge triggered by the upcoming visit by my Mother necessitating this drastic step. Yesterday was the start of the closet, the start of the craft room, and the filling of trash bags and clothing bags ready to donate to some place that is not here. Today will be the finish of the closet, continuing in the craft room, laundry, and what ever else calls out to be done. Tomorrow will be the delivery of the new air mattress, finishing the craft room (around the new bed), working lots on the front room, and dishes. Mom coming to visit is the snake bite in the nether regions that I needed to get this going.

When she arrives, I think we'll be able to rest a bit. Mom and I are lots alike. Neither of us needs to be entertained much, so I anticipate that she'll be fine with going out to do things every so often, but won't insist on doing big, splashy things all the time. I do have one trip planned out, something local, and something that should be very ente…

It Is Time to Start Planning for Next Year...

Happy New Year!!

Don't check your calendars, it isn't January yet, but it is the beginning of my new year - the one I celebrate most heartily - the beginning of the new school year.

It's silly, really, but I have always been very tied to the school year. I've been in school much more than I have been out of school, so the start of my resolutions and new outlooks are often tied to August and September rather than January. There is just something about the sight of pristine school supplies that tends to get me excited about new beginnings and opportunities for learning and growth.

Yesterday was the last day of the old school year for me.

My facility has an extended school year (ESY), so we have 28 days of school during the summer months. I have to work during that time because I have a 213 day contract. I have not had a summer off since my high school days, and I don't think I'd be really able to handle all that time off. I do know that I need more than 9 days away f…

Thoughtful Thursday: I Need Help - What Do You Need?

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My post this morning started off as a celebration of all things "end of the school year," but it felt a bit repetitive and a bit shallow. As a result, I've changed my mind and my post to something else.

I need help coming up with ideas for visual aids that music therapists will use.

If you are a regular reader, then you know that I have recently started a Teachers Pay Teachers store under my business/website name. My goal for this store is to offer inexpensive visual aids in digital formats for music therapists and others. The TPT links include visuals, instructions for putting things together, and original songs and chants. My website includes links to the therapeutic music experiences of the visuals that I've developed for TPT. (I decided not to include the TME portion of the entire thing to help decrease the idea that just anyone can do music therapy...) I have my list of ideas to put up there, but I thought I would ask others what types of things they would like as…

Time to Get Going

I have six days.

My mother arrives in Kansas in six days for a period of rest and relaxation with me, and I have to work like a fiend to get things done. My "lazy days and time to rest" vacation has become a "clean up everything so Mom can move in the VERY small living space available" time, and I have not been doing all that I can do in the evenings. I'm paying for that now.

I made progress this past weekend - panic tends to do that to me - but there is still way too much to do before I am finished with my odyssey to make this a presentable place. Interestingly, I was doing the exact same thing five years ago when my mother came to visit me because I was getting ready for surgery. This time? No surgery (that I'm planning for, at least)! She just wants to visit me.

The problem? I am exhausted by the time I get home so I'm not doing anything right now...

Last night, I fell asleep (sometime after 8pm because I saw that time on the tablet) with the big, uncomf…

TME Tuesday: One of My Best Resources

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One of the benefits of being an Internship Director is the opportunity to learn new songs and ideas from interns. I require that interns write 75 therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) during their internships, and they submit their files to me during their fourth month at the facility. Twenty-five of the TMEs have to be original songs, and the others can be a combination of original ideas and things the interns learned from other people (including me). I have every file from every intern that I've ever had work with me, and their work is one of the best resources that I have. (That reminds me, I need to take my TME file list for my current intern - she wants some of my resources for her file...)

Now, I have a very strict policy that I will not share any of their ideas or TMEs other than within music therapy sessions. All resources that I have contain their source materials, copyright information, and relevant contact information as well. If someone indicates an interest in a TME tha…

One Thing At A Time

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Let me preface this post with a statement - I am enjoying being an Internship Director again. There you go. I like this entire process and all the stuff that goes along with being a mentor. We are currently in the process of transitioning clients to her as therapist, and I am looking forward to watching her grow exponentially in the next several months.

But...

One of the things that I am reminded of, over and over again, with every single intern, is that it takes time to learn this job. There is a learning curve that needs to be taken at a comfortable speed - not too fast, not too slow. Some interns need to be towed into the curve - they are unsure of themselves as therapists, or just plain old don't want to be therapists. Others start racing and have to be slowed down - they see the end and are so excited that they go fast and miss some of the important things that are along the way.

I have a rule for myself as a supervisor. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it is something I st…

I Got Nothing to Synthesize...

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I've really turned away from the habit of reading for professional enrichment lately. I got a bit too sucked in by the stories of trauma in my current reading, so I've been avoiding all professional reading. This is ridiculous, so I am going to stop beating myself up over it, and find something else to read that I'll be able to process a bit more easily (i.e., without secondary trauma or compassion fatigue).

This is a process that I took up a couple of years ago to enrich my understanding of research in my field. I chose Sunday (merely because of the alliteration!) to be my day of pulling together the things that I read about into my practice of music therapy. It is a labor, at times, but it is a labor of love. See, I believe that a good music therapist is one who knows what is happening in the research world and strives to enrich his or her comprehension of that world through reading, writing, and integrating what is appropriate into practice.

In my opinion, it is that last…

I Need to Curse for A Time...Then Get Back to Cleaning

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My mother is coming for a visit in 9 days.

This completely changes all of my plans for my break as she will arrive smack dab in the middle of my time off and will be staying for exactly half of my time off. I am trying my best to get excited about her visit, but I am currently stuck in resentment and panic mode.

I am a planner, and I've been planning this extended stretch of time by myself for a long time now. Having to be host is not at all what I wanted in my only long break in eight years, but it is what it is, so I am going to try to find the positives in this entire situation...but I can't sit for long - I have to clean. 

Okay - the first part of the house is cleared out a bit. I addressed the space between my desk and the hallway. I often find that I have to do this type of task in bursts - 30 minutes when I work on cleaning, and 30 minutes when I work on something else...something like blogging...or Teachers Pay Teachers files (by the way, I posted my second file yesterday…

A Day of Planning

I decided to go into work this morning to do some things without being paid for them. I have a horrible habit of not doing my documentation on Thursday afternoons - those afternoon groups just wear me out - so, rather than making myself do the notes and then forgetting to do them and remembering halfway home, I decided to plan my day around going in to do my notes and then taking the rest of the day to do some things I rarely do - namely, shop.


I'm ready. I don't have to go in at any particular time today, so I'll leave home when I'm ready. I'll go to my office, do some planning, finish my documentation from yesterday's sessions, and putter around until about 9 am when the first store opens. I'll shop there for stuff for my home until about 10 am when the next store opens. I'll finish up my shopping experience at that store (a teacher specialty store that's having a good sale today), get my fast food, and then go home. If I get distracted by somethin…

Thoughtful Thursday: New Horizons to Move Towards...Starting Now!

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I have many things flitting through my mind these days. Teachers Pay Teachers plans, website announcements, new CMTEs! I have accomplished most of the goals that I established for myself at the beginning of last school year, and I am pretty proud of myself. The old school year is over in seven days, and I have an opportunity to set goals for myself, both personally and professionally, at the start of my new year.

Last year, I wrote my goals down on an index card which I taped up next to my desk. It is still over there (but my desk has moved - I have to rearrange my pictures to put my bulletin board near the new desk - put it on the list!). I wanted to focus on happiness, play the ukulele, get two CMTE courses up and running, and eat better. Well, I was able to get about 75% of these goals finished, which makes me feel pretty good about the 2017-2018 school year. Now it's time to start thinking about next year.

I always set myself some goals, but I rarely get things finished the way …

TME Tuesday?? Um, Okay...

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It's Tuesday again, isn't it? Time for another TME Tuesday. It's amazing how quickly the days go, yet still they feel like they are crawling. Anyway, enough of that.

Today's TME Tuesday post is concerned with how to write TME plans (at least, the way I do it and the way I make my poor, poor interns write them as well - mua-ha-ha-ha-ha!). I wrote this resource a long time ago, but I think it still fits in with my philosophy of TMEs and how to make them functional for me and my clients. I think there is lots of carry over into other clients' sessions as well. Let me know what you think after you read it all! Is this something that works for you in your area of music therapy expertise??