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Showing posts from November, 2018

Thoughtful Thursday: I Am READY!

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I am ready to start heading towards the AMTA National Conference! This has been a long week of anticipation, making lists, and getting myself ready for interactions with lots of music therapists, but I think I have everything I need (once I shut down the laptop and put it in my bag). I have the addresses of TWO In-N-Out Burger locations (I can taste that goodness already). I am ready to go.

Conference is always a good vacation from my job. It is also one of the most stressful times of the year for me, but I continue to go. Lots of people talk about the cost and the inconvenience, but I have always made this interactive time a priority in my life, so I don't see it as an inconvenience. I guess perspective has lots to do with perception.

I don't go on fancy vacations. This is it for traveling to new places for me on a pretty regular basis. In fact, other than going home every so often, I haven't taken a "real" vacation in about 13 years.

Now, don't get me wrong. I…

I Did Something That Was Really Good For Me...

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Sometimes, it is the smallest of things that relieve the most stress and anxiety from my reality. I did something this time that really was very good for me in helping me manage my stress and anxiety during this AMTA conference season.

I made a list!

I've never done this before, but I made a packing list and put it in my bullet journal planner.
Regular readers are probably rolling their eyes right now, thinking, "Well, of COURSE you made a list! You are ALWAYS making lists. Why is this something that you are writing about YET again???" Well, dear readers, this list has helped me in immeasurable ways this week as I have been preparing for one of the the best and most stressful weeks of my year.

This is specifically a packing list. (By the way, the clothing that I am taking is listed at the very top of the left page - add in some undergarments, and I am done with the entire clothing thing! Everything else is either stuff that I need - shampoo, jewelry, cash - or road trip stuf…

Umbrella Groupings: Getting the Most Out of Your Conference!

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I read a comment on one of my social media pages from a person who is attending conference as an MT-BC for the very first time. This person was a bit confused by the idea of umbrella groupings (as I have been in the past) and was asking questions about how they even worked. So, I rolled up my sleeves and answered the question.

Here's the deal. Umbrella groupings are our opportunity to select presentations that support our individual continuing education needs. So, I get to choose, attend, and justify my selections for as many CMTEs as I can possibly get during the conference.

Umbrella groupings are one of the sneaky little things that we MT-BCs can take advantage of to glean as many CMTEs as possible from our conference fees.

Basically, if you can justify your presentation attendance and demonstrate learning that directly applies to the CBMT Board Certification Domains, you can get extra CMTEs. For example, my presentation selections seem to be primarily based on private practice/mar…

Planning My Learning for This Next Week

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On Friday, I did something I've never done before.

I sat down and went through the entire AMTA conference schedule to plan out my concurrent session attendance. Now, I have no idea if I will actually go to these sessions, but I now have a list of topics that I am interested in learning more about when I am at conference. Almost everything is either marketing or supervision this time around - with a couple of things like Special Education ideas and a Philosophy Slam thrown in for good measure. I've also signed up for a marketing consultation with a friend of mine, and I finally have something to share at the Music Therapy Business Owner's Task Force meeting. Add in a couple of times to sit with some OCMT friends, and my conference time is filling up.

I have things that I need to do to get ready. My packing list is finished, but the packing is certainly not done yet. I need to go shopping for road trip snacks, a new computer bag (mine is splitting at all the seams), and for bu…

Song Conversion Sunday: Brainstorming TME Ideas for My Selected Song - Week Two

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Last week, I analyzed a song from my sheet music archive. I separated all the musical elements that I use during music therapy sessions, and I organized my thinking into a graphic organizer - the likes of which I use quite often. Here's the picture:
So, I've been half-singing this song to myself all week (when it has defeated the therapy songs that my interns have been using), and I've been spending a bit of time thinking about what I could do in therapy, with my clients, while using this song.

In this stage of TME-izing a song (do you like that new term? It started here, folks!!), I engage in creative brainstorming and just go for every and any idea possible. Here's the process in prose (this is often a picture-type process as well):
Lyric analysis - the lyrics talk about a woman waiting for a man who is at war. It talks about generational trauma and ideas that are prevalent in trauma-informed care such as acknowledging the happenings and making decisions to change. This…

My October Theme Box is Overflowing

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Earlier this year, I transformed my front hall closet into a storage area for my music therapy materials. I have instruments, visual aids, and monthly theme boxes stored in there at the moment, and I am often getting in there to put stuff into the theme boxes. Since Halloween just finished, I found some 75% off children's books and went into the closet to put them away.

What I found was astounding.

My October box is full up to the brim, and most of the stuff in there is Halloween-based. This is actually pretty interesting to me since I do not try to "celebrate" or "highlight" Halloween in my music therapy space - it just seems to hype my students up SO very much! There is just so much out there for Halloween that it makes it easy to fill up a box!

Inside that box, I found lots of books, several copies of Halloween carols (that are not my work, so I can't share them), my visuals for choosing carols (also not my work), some ideas that came from Music Therapy Mai…

Thoughtful Thursday: I HAVE to Get the Laundry Done!

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It's time to get ready for a trip into music therapy land. I look forward to this interaction (almost) every year, and it is almost time to go! In the next several days, I have lots of things to do and to cross off my to-do list. That's right - I have a trip to-do list! I'm sure that doesn't surprise many of you.

Tonight's task is laundry and packing. I have to do this a bit ahead of any trip that I take because the cat gets very suspicious. I have planned out several outfits, and I just need to get everything organized to make myself feel like I've accomplished something this week.

I found out that next week will include our annual Body Venture visit. The state department of health or something-or-other comes out with a huge display that we set up in our gymnasium and then usher all of our students through to tell them about the body. There is a theme of healthy eating and exercise throughout the body procession. I get to be the mouth. I think that's fitting…

Checks and Balances

I am relieved this morning that someone that I voted for won yesterday's election. I find it very frustrating to live in a state where my vote is ALWAYS in the minority. It makes the exercise of voting seem futile at times, but I still vote. I still find it to be a small thing that I can do to participate in my country's bigger picture. That's all that I want to say about voting and politics because I find voting to be a very private process and that's it.

Participating in our voting process always makes me think about how we attempt to regulate or watch or oversee or manipulate or what's another good word other people to do what we want them to do. I like the idea of checks and balance as a desirable outcome for governing. I like that idea for ethical behavior and therapeutic interactions as well.

How does this work in the music therapy world?

I am a member of my professional organization. This is one of the first steps that I take to ensure that I am doing what I ne…

TME Tuesday - New Video, and a Bit of a Rant Included For Free!

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Good morning, all. It is Tuesday here in the States, so I am posting my latest TME Tuesday video. For the past three weeks, I've been involved in a songswap hosted by Music Therapy Kids over on Facebook. Every week, we are challenged to share a TME idea (not the fully fleshed out TME) based on a very general goal (this week was academics). People are sharing all sorts of things, and I am torn between being excited about getting lots of new songs and being a bit sad because of how we are labelling these TME ideas.

Here's my video - on academics. Sorry it is so out of focus - I am still learning how to use my different cameras - this is NOT one I'll be using again...(the camera, that is!)


Academics is something that is part of everything that I do. I think through various subject areas with every single TME that I present to my students. Think we're just throwing balls at drums? Nope. We are experimenting with geometry, physics, scientific questioning, and throwing balls a…

Working on Self-Improvement

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I constantly work to improve myself. I work to increase my effectiveness and my creativity. I work to improve my knowledge of music as a therapeutic medium. I try my best to work on things that enrich my life rather than complicating it. There are times, though, when my penchant for self-improvement becomes onerous rather than productive.

I am someone who has always used a calendar and journal. I have always used to-do lists and self-reflection as a part of my personal and professional lives. Right now, though, I have become a bit overwhelmed with thoughts about what I "should" be doing as part of my life rather than what I "am" doing. The preceding statement is the reason that I have three words that I call my "goblins" - would, could, and should. 

I have a list of self-improvement habits that I want to get started. They include daily exercise (I have NO excuse except that I just don't like exercising), eating better (again, no excuse), being purposefu…

Song Conversion Sunday: Week One - I Don't Want To Wait by Paula Cole

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Welcome, everyone, to the beginning of a new blog series! I've decided to go back into the world of song analyzing for the purposes of enriching my therapeutic music experience (TME) library and to shake up my repertoire for use with my clients!!

So, here's how this is going to work...

Week One: 
Step One: Choose a song using the super scientific random method that I've developed - AKA, go to one of the many places where I have sheet music books stored, close my eyes, choose a book at random, and open up to a random page in that book.

Step Two: Go to the beginning of that particular piece of music (I, for example, opened up on page 111 in my current book, but the piece starts on page 109) and sightread the piece vocally. (This step is MUCH simplified if I already know the song - which I do this week! Hooray!!)

Step Three: Find the song on YouTube so I can hear it as well as play it (after sight reading to see how accurate I was the first time around - gotta keep those sight sin…

Preparation for Tomorrow's New Series

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Welcome to the other side of the first holiday mountain that we traverse every single year - that of Halloween angst and anxiety. With this particular holiday over, my work place will go back to "normal" for a little bit before the next holiday hoopla begins. Fortunately, I get to go to conference and then straight to Thanksgiving in the middle of all that hoopla, so this next holiday doesn't register too much on my radar.

Anyway, now that Halloween is over, I am happy to be able to concentrate on a brand new series for Sundays at this blog. I think I've decided to call it - Song Conversion Sundays - and the idea is that I'll choose a song at random from my music library and then develop it into some therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) for use with my clients and with other clients. It may take me a bit to get into my groove here, but I think that I will probably use one song per month and really go deep into how I can use the song for therapeutic gains, outcomes…

New Gadgets and Gizmos

I got a new version of an old gadget yesterday, and I am getting it set up and ready to go. I enjoy a bit of technology, but I am not extremely experimental when it comes to tech in my life. I do not go out and purchase every single thing that I can get my hands on - I am extremely picky about technological things, so I find something I like and then stick with it. The only reason I have a new example of this old gadget is that my old one is several years old and is starting to act like it. In addition, I got a REALLY good trade-in offer and my new device cost about the same as the old device, but with significantly expanded storage!! I am now getting the old device ready to go back to the company so I can cash in my trade-in offer and get started with the new thing sitting on my desk.

This is something that I get from my father - the interest in things technological - but he is one of the people who has to get the brand-new smart phone two weeks after it is released (I am definitely N…

Thoughtful Thursday: The Day After Halloween Should Always Be a School Holiday...

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I want to advocate for the idea that the day after Halloween should always be a day where we all take the day off and sleep off all the candy that we indulge in on the day before. (Just for the record, I had ZERO pieces of candy yesterday, but I did pass out over 700 pieces!) For some reason, though, the stress of being stuffed in my trunk (that was fun!) and being in costume was enough to send me into an asthma attack and now I am exhausted and trying really hard to stay awake enough to get to work.

I am longing for a day off, but that isn't going to happen for this bone weary, getting REALLY old music therapist.

My entire body hurts today, so this is going to be a short post. Happy All-Saints Day, if you celebrate, and Happy November 1st if you don't!