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Showing posts from September, 2018

Synthesis Sunday: Adding to the Graphic Organizer for Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach

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After the week I've had, I am going to spend some time trying to work on my graphic organizer (a tool that I use to organize my thoughts) for the text that I am currently reading, Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach, by Elizabeth Schwartz. I'm going to add to what I have already started, trying to fill out the smaller parts that make up the whole.

There is so much information contained within these chapters, that I am finding it interesting to watch the developmental process start to develop. The problem? There is so much information that the graphic is getting larger and larger all the time. The nice thing about my program, Inspiration, is that I have all the room I need!

Here's the updated graphic. Hope that it makes sense for my fellow visual learners out there! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Happy Sunday.

Technology: Wonderful Tool, Until It Isn't

I have had one of my strange encounters with technology this week. Does anyone else have days where everything electrical that you touch freaks out? No? Just me? Hmmm.

This was one of those weeks. I had several streetlights explode their bulbs as I passed under the them - different times, different cities. That's usually my first indication that something is happening. Computers stop working for me, and last night, I broke YouTube! Seriously. The video I was trying to put up would not process if I was sitting at the computer. I had to leave it completely alone, move into the other room, and go to sleep before YouTube would process my little 45 second video! Then, this morning, when I went to check and see if it was ready, YouTube wouldn't let me publish the video. I tried all my electronic tricks, and nothing worked! I recorded a completely new video and, voila! No more problems.

I enjoy technology, and I use it on a pretty regular basis, but I have learned that there are times …

My Ever-Continuing, Obviously Never-Ending, Possibly Futile Quest for Organization

Stuff is threatening to take over my life - yet again. I try to fight it back every so often, think that I've found something to help me in this journey, and then watch as the stuff just takes over. I know why the stuff is so overwhelming, and I know the habits that I have that are contributing to this situation, but I seem to prefer stuff to order and maybe I just like to organize...hm.

I had an internship applicant come into my office on Monday. Now, I had arrived early at work, cleared off my desk, and tried to straighten up as much as I could before that applicant arrived. By the time we were doing the official interview, however, the desk had stuff on it and things had crept out of their spots. I tell all applicants that my office is always cluttered and is sometimes VERY cluttered. I used to work for a principal who said that she only told one lie during interviews. That lie was that her desk never looked like it did during interviews - it was always much cleaner than the pre…

Thoughtful Thursday: Exhaustion, Quotations, and Musings About School

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Today is exhaustion day. I have a low voice from all the allergy stuff happening, my throat is scratchy, and I just can't seem to wake up completely, so I went over to Goodreads to see if there was a good quotation about being exhausted that resonated with me...
“I let it go. It's like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”
― Joanne Harris, Five Quarters of the OrangeHere's what called to me about this quotation - I think it is a good call and reminder for taking the time for self-care. 

I talk about self-care lots and LOTS on this blog, mainly because I need to do so. I don't always do the best things for me when it comes to self-care, and I need the reminders. Writing about it helps me to remember that it is important to take time to go to the doctor or schedule some time to sleep into my busy-ness.

This week has been busy. I've hosted an applicant for my…

Time to Write Things Down - A Luxury

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I have arrived at the time of every intern's existence where I am not needed as much. I am currently spending lots of time in my office where I can see and be seen but where I am obviously "working" while my senior intern runs her therapy sessions. I am there for oversight due to regulations about volunteer interns and staff supervision, but I am essentially bowing out of the therapeutic relationship and moving more into the role of observer. As a result of this shift in responsibility, I am finding myself sitting and watching the same things happening with different groups of people, and I tend to get sleepy during all the observation time.

So, I am manufacturing things to do to keep myself engaged and attending to what I need to attend to during these observation sessions.

Yesterday, I sat through a drum set TME and a rhythm game TME and wrote up a new TME for my files. I've been making some file folder activities to put into my theme boxes. I'll be trying to pri…

TME Tuesday: All Through the Night

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Yesterday was a busy day. I had an intern applicant visit, a mid-term evaluation, and the start of my other intern's time as therapist for her caseload. I felt like I was running around all day, shifting my attention from one thing to another in a rapid manner. Once I got home, I found out that the cat was having some issues, so I had to figure out what was going on. I forgot about a video challenge that I had signed up for, so I had to figure that out. The first camera made my chin look all fuzzy and blurry, so I recorded myself several different times. Everything seemed to be all consuming (even though it was NOT so), and I just had to do everything because these things needed to be done (emphasis is my own - not something placed on me by anyone else). So, I ran from thing to thing and had to devote my attention to the task at hand each time there was a task at hand. I wish I had remembered this particular song last night as I was trying to quiet my body and my brain.

I love this…

Breathe a Little...Breathe a Little...

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I am stuck in breathing limbo. I have some struggles when breathing, but nothing is getting worse, so I really can't go to the doctor yet. All they will do at this point is tell me to use my inhalers to open things up (which I am doing). In addition, I am moderately busy these days, so breathing comes up in regards to self-care as well as to life.

It's time to focus on breathing for a bit.

I have always been a singer, so breathing has always been something that I've used to center myself, calm myself down, remain calm in stressful situations, and to sing. My first music therapy clinical demonstration was centered around belly breathing for kids very similar to those that I work with right now. I sing "Up Goes the Castle" from Sesame Street to prompt kids to breathe using diaphragmatic breathing all the time. I have many tricks up my sleeve to get my clients to engage in deep breathing, because I feel that it is the best way of calming a body down - increase oxygena…

Synthesis Sunday: Chapter Ten - Control - In Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach

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Control is an interesting concept, especially for the child. In Chapter ten of Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach by Elizabeth Schwartz, we take a look at how young children develop and demonstrate control through musical interactions and explorations. As a therapist who works with persons on developing impulse control, this chapter has been extremely relevant to my work.

One of the resources that was sorely needed and lacking during my undergraduate education was the Briggs/Bruscia stages of musical development. I wish I had been exposed to these ideas way, way back. They were around when I was in school, so it would have been something we could have accessed, but it wasn't part of my class work. Oh well. Maybe it was better to wait until now to access that information - I can synthesize it much better as a seasoned clinician than I would have as a novice music therapy student. If you are currently a student (and reading this book - Hello, all from Conve…

Benefits of Rest - Brainstorming, Creativity, and Of Course, the Rest...

I took the day off yesterday. After blogging and getting ready to go to work, I made it almost out of my town before feeling like I really needed to be back home. So, after much debate with myself, I listened to what my body was telling me, and I went back home. I contacted my supervisor and my interns and then went back to sleep. I slept for an additional 4 hours, woke up, and remained in bed resting all day. Then, I slept all night as well. Something is going on in my body, and the rest was necessary.

I spent some of my bed time engaged in brainstorming.

I have an idea book and lots of different colored pens near my bed, so it was really easy to record those ideas as soon as they arrived in my head. I filled up about six pages of ideas of things I could make for my Teachers Pay Teachers store, including a bullet journal planner for music therapists. My head was filled with ideas and TMEs and ways to structure my own life.

Now, I have the task of making these ideas into reality.

For me, …

Re-doing the Bullet Journal - Yet Again.

I am a bullet journaler, and I use one for both work and for home - well, kinda. It's been an interesting journey through the world of bullet journaling for myself, and I'm still finding my way to do things.

Reasons Why I Like Bullet Journaling as a Time Management Technique (for me!):
My to-do lists (which I HAVE to have) are in one place.My journal is my own - no one else has to see it.I can change it up to accommodate things and situations in my life.I'm using up all the journals that I seem to be compelled to collect in my life.I get to use my fancy markers to write, draw, and record stuff.I have a record of things - especially in my work journal - so I can track the use of certain TMEs or instruments or songs.Reasons Why I Don't Like Bullet Journaling:
I haven't really found what works for me the best way...yet.I compare my stuff to that of others - and I always come up short of my expectations for myself.I can see what I have failed to do - and I always focus mo…

Thoughtful Thursday: Rough Week and How We Work Through It In Music Therapy

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This has been a long, rough, severely understaffed week at my facility. Only one of the 15 groups that we have done so far have been fully staffed. Most of my groups have only one person coming with them to music therapy sessions. We're supposed to have at least two people in some of my groups and often we have more like four additional people coming into music therapy with our client groups. So, we are understaffed at the moment.

This makes for very cranky staff members and kids who see a gap in supervision and try to take advantage of that gap.

In addition, I've been dealing with some strange stuff behind the scenes - situations where people have overstepped their role in my training program and in areas where they have no business making decisions for me rather than consulting with me. I've had to fix things that should never have been an issue, and that is extremely frustrating for me. 

The week has been progressing really slowly. It is still really hot here, and the humi…

Learning How To Learn

I am fascinated with how people learn to do things. If you have any questions about Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, I'm your gal! I truly believe that there are different ways to learn things, and that we are all prone to learn best in some intelligences and not when material is presented in other ways. I know that I am a visual learner primarily - if I can see it, I can figure it out, replicate it, and remember it for always! I do not have a photographic memory, but my visual memory is close. I can tell you where on a page to look for a specific sentence. I may not be able to tell you the exact page, but I can find it pretty quickly by flipping through. I also have some strange kinesthetic learning quirks (labeled as such by my internship director many moons ago) where I can tell you about how far into the book you should start looking by remembering how far my fingers were while holding the book while reading the information you seek. It's strange, but it's me. It&…

TME Tuesday: Shameless Product Plug - sing about autumn

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It is starting to look at bit like Autumn around here, even though it does NOT feel like it! Since Autumn's official start is coming up soon (the equinox is happening, folks!), today's post is all about sing about autumn, one of the many therapeutic music therapy experience collections that I offer through my website.





Originally released in 2016, this edition of sing about songs offers many different ideas for music therapists. TMEs are designed to be used with a variety of clientele and should be easily transferred from one client group to another. This edition also offers bonus TMEs - rhythm wheels and composition boards - in addition to the features present in every edition of sing about songs. There are some hand-drawn visual aids, and there is a list of performances that support the theme including performer names.

Information on how to purchase this edition is available on the website at the bottom of the "Products and TMEs" page.

Thanks for reading, and happy Aut…

Moving Into Monday

I admit it. I did not want to acknowledge the fact that it was morning this morning. I awoke, thinking that it was still early (it wasn't) and hoping that I had some time to just be quiet in the dark (I didn't). I looked at the time - found that it was 30 minutes later than I usually wake up, and had to get started.

I fed the cat, got some cold water, and sat down at the computer to check email and various and sundry other stuff. My day started off with some good email news, so I am now sitting here, wondering if the rest of my day will go like this morning - ups, downs, and things coming at me sideways. It probably will, and that is Monday. That's the way it is most of the time.

I have two groups to run, two individuals to work with, and two interns to oversee today. I have two new games to teach to my clients (tomorrow), and lots of ideas in development. I have a relatively clean desk (here at home and somewhat at work), and the drive to write some new music and some new t…

Synthesis Sunday: Independence - Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach

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It is Sunday, and that means time to do some synthesis, AKA reading something and then internalizing it within my own clinical practice to make some sense out of what happens during music therapy. So, off we go into the ninth chapter of my selected text - Music, therapy, and early childhood: A developmental approach. Written by Elizabeth Schwartz, this text organizes several ideas about musical development into a book that is a practical guide for music therapy clinicians who work within early childhood populations. With a bit of synthesis and lots of thought, I use this text as a guide for my work with children, adolescents, and others with developmental disabilities. Like all of my synthesis texts, it takes some extrapolation to get from the intent of the author to my own population, but that's what I'm here for - to figure out what is applicable to my students.

Last week, I started an infographic for myself to help me organize my thoughts. Here's the graphic from last we…

If You've Never Read This Blog Before...

On days like these, I spend quite a bit of time sitting and staring at the cursor blinking and blinking. I look for things to inspire me, and come up short. So, I think about my days at work and my self-care plans and try to find something to write about. I am still searching for something that makes me think about music or therapy or me.

This is a place where I sort out things.

Over the years that I've been writing this blog, I've used posts to figure out my thoughts about interns and internships, MLE, my own relationship with music therapy, my cat makes lots of appearances, and I spend lots of time just talking about what is happening in my life at any given moment. I've found that writing almost-daily posts is a good exercise for thinking about what music, therapy, and music therapy means to me as a professional and as a human. Writing helps me work through challenges.

So, if you've never read this blog before, as you go over the older posts, you'll find some thing…

Fun Friday: Making Things

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Okay, okay. I know I write about this lots and lots, but today is a day where I get to make some things...with my interns...during work hours...with my stuff...

That means that I have to collect various and sundry things - my big laminator, my laminating pouches, some punches, some fancy scissors, fun paper, my book of music games (which I found AGAIN!), and my imagination before I leave for work this morning.

I want to make some board games today, so I'll be focusing on using my book of music games (which is no longer in print, so I'm going to be working on making other copies of these games so I have them forever and ever in multiple forms). After our individual music therapy sessions, we are going to make things. I can't wait!!

I went to the Western Regional conference last year and was able to run my first Make and Take session for clinical music therapists. We made a schedule board - something that many of us use in interactions with clients who learn best with a visual …

Thoughtful Thursday: Plato

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I'm currently pretty brain fogged in, getting ready for work about 45 later than usual, and somehow managing to lose every single thing about 2 seconds after I put it down, but I'm also here, ready to write something for the blog. I decided that I need to get my brain in gear, so I went searching for a quotation that is directly important to me as a music therapist. Plato to the rescue!!
"I would teach children music, physicas and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning." - PlatoWhen I was in graduate school, learning about music philosophy, it struck me that music was recognized by so many of the great learners and teachers of the field. Music seemed to be popping up in almost every philosopher's writings as something that was inherently important to the act of being human. Being a musician myself and someone dedicated to using music with those who feel that it is not for them, I found these wr…

An Apology and Lots More Medication Musings

I just now realized that yesterday was Tuesday, and I didn't post a TME Tuesday post this week. Shows you how much my medication messes with my head. I didn't even think about it until just now. So, if you tuned in yesterday to get a TME idea and had to read my sick day rant, I am so sorry! If you tuned in yesterday because you always read the blog and were expecting a TME post, again, I am sorry!

Now I'm not sure what to do - do I try to find a TME to share? Or do I go on my way into the future in a bold manner? Oh, the decisions.

My day includes three sessions with kids, two intern observations, and a meeting. I'll be present until the junior intern is finished with training and then I'll be leaving to go to my part-time job. My senior intern and possibly the junior intern will be going to the faculty team-building event. It will be interesting to hear what the event ends up being. It was supposed to be our Back to School Night, but we changed all that. Now it'…

Sick Day - Long Week - Grumble, Grumble, Grumble

Yesterday, I took a sick day. I woke up with my voice in the tenor register (I'm usually a soprano), with a runny nose, and a wicked cough. I took my heavy duty medication and then settled in for the 24 hours of serious side effects that happen with the heavy duty stuff. I tried to find my assistant principal's voice mail box and finally gave up and just texted him (at 4-ish am). I sent emails to both of my interns letting them know what to do once they got to work, and then I slept.

Today, I have to go to work. 

It is a long, long week at work. We were supposed to be having Open House tomorrow night, but it has been postponed - there are lots of reasons behind this, but all I know is that it has been replaced with "team-building" activities. I can't participate as I have to go to work tomorrow evening halfway through the mysterious trip to team-building. I'm not all that disappointed.

I will be at work for a long time this week because one of my interns is in t…

Synthesis Sunday: Trust in Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach

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Last week's chapter in Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach by Elizabeth Schwartz addressed awareness and the reflex phase of musical development on the Briggs/Bruscia stages of musical development. This week's chapter, Chapter 8, addresses the concepts of trust and the Briggs/Bruscia stage of reflexive child to intention child. 
"Trust is the structuring and organization of response to awareness" (p.59).For my clients, this idea is manifested through the development of the therapeutic relationship as well as through the concepts of music itself. This is one of the reasons that I use opening TMEs as part of my session planning and strategizing. I know there are many people who think that singing an opening song is inappropriate, but I find that my clients respond to that familiar process and often protest when it doesn't happen. There is trust there - trust that I know the process that they expect and that I will support them in their proc…