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

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 at drums. We are also addressing fine motor control, upper extremity gross motor control, social interactions (we have to hit the ball on the drum before it hits someone else), and hand-eye coordination. In addition, we are expending energy to prime our brains for learning, not only in music therapy but in other academic environments as well. There is NO therapeutic music experience (TME) that we run that only covers ONE treatment domain!

Okay. Are you starting to see my rant building up here? I hate it when we label any specific TME as one thing. I think we do ourselves a disservice when we consider any TME as working on one treatment domain in isolation.

I worked with a practicum student once who only used rhythm sticks in her sessions. She had written goals and objectives (without my input) that only incorporated rhythm sticks. My students hated her sessions because they could only play rhythm sticks. You can only do so much with rhythm sticks, by the way, so we repeated things over and over and over and over. I had a colleague who did the same thing. She wrote a goal that included one specific motion, but only designed one TME to address that motion. After she had led the same TME three times in a row, the client refused to engage any more. The client was bored, and SO was I! I think we start to pigeon-hole ourselves when we label our therapeutic music experiences as just one thing.

My OPINION here is that we have to realize that music is not something that can be shoved into only one domain at a time. If I go into TME development with the idea that I will be writing a piece of music that only addresses academics or movement or relaxation or whatever, then I miss out on all the other opportunities that are present. I believe that EVERY TME includes opportunities to address multiple treatment domains and should be thought of in that manner - music is multisensory, so it stands to reason that music therapy experiences would also be multisensory - so, if A=B and B=C, then A=C, right? If I ignore the multisensory nature of music making when I am writing TMEs, then I am ignoring one of the things that makes music so wonderful. Listening to a song about numbers does so much more than just impart knowledge. Right??

So, when I write TMEs, I endeavor to think about every single possible thing that my clients are doing during the experience. Are we addressing mathematical concepts? It goes on the list. Are we playing an instrument while doing this? That opens up sensory, motor coordination, and impulse control aspects of treatment as well. Are we engaging in cued start and stop situations? Receptive communication is added to the list. There are so many reasons to use that particular TME that we miss if we just categorize it as "an academic TME."

We need to be aware of all the treatment options that music and music therapy actually offer our clients through the use of one TME. If we are not able to classify our interventions in a way that demonstrates all that music offers and all that is actually included in singing a song about numbers or letters or what have you, we are easily replaced by someone who just sings to kids. We have to strengthen our awareness of what goes on during a music therapy session to demonstrate and explain all of that to people who cannot see beyond "happy children making happy sounds." There is so much more to any particular song than just "movement" or "academics" or "relaxation" or "whatever I have to work on with this particular client."

When I find my updated jumpdrive with my TMEs on it (I actually know where it is - it's in the computer at work), I will post an example of this concept. Look for it next Tuesday, along with the last of the videos for the songswap. I think I'll keep up with the TME Tuesday videos, though, even after the songswap is over!!

If you are interested in hearing more about this type of thinking, please consider coming to my presentation at AMTA on the 18th at 8am (I know - early, but I didn't choose the timing!!). We'll be talking more about this in the context of individualizing music therapy group treatment.

Also, if you are there at AMTA, let me know. I have three copies of sing about winter to give away to the first three blog readers who find me and let me know that they read my blog! After those three copies are claimed, I'll have a coupon for that edition of sing about songs - you may not get a free copy, but you will get 20% off that particular edition!

See you soon? I hope so!!

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