Showing posts from April, 2019

Circuits and Levers and Everything All at Once, Oh My!


I was all ready to go to work yesterday morning when my electricity went kaput.

This was on top of the lever that runs from outside the toilet to the flapper inside the toilet that flushes things breaking the night before and an interrupted night of sleep due to body functions (no more details, I promise) and a pretty gnarly thunderstorm. All of a sudden, the socket where I have my modem plugged in, the computer plugged in, and the wall of lights for my living room and kitchen just stopped. That was all. Only the socket and those particular lights. Everything else worked fine, but those things just stopped.

I learned a couple of things about myself yesterday.

First of all, I have to have internet access to contact my management company. Fortunately, I just moved plugs across the room to different outlets to get the modem up and running again.

Second, my home is NEVER drop-in ready. I had to spend some time getting things picked up so that the electrician could access the outlets …

Make It Monday: The Free-For-All!!

I recently had a chance to visit my aunt and my cousin. They came out here for a week-long art doll making workshop and it happened to be about an hour away from my home. It is unusual for me to be that close to family, so I jumped into my car and I went to where they were.

They were making some fantastical dolls with Sculpey and fabric and paint and wire and feathers and all sorts of things. They started with the same patterns and then they went on their own. There were six people at the workshop and their creations were enthralling. I was drawn in by the variations that they found while making the same things. For me, it all goes back to my inspirational quotation by Corita Kent

This weekend, I wanted to make something, so I went through my substantial stash of stuff and pulled out anything that made me think there were possibilities. I ended up with lots of stuff out of the boxes, and I used most of it as well. 

This idea came from a comment that My Aunt made during my time with the…

The Brain Starts Going...

Have you ever watched a client learn something? You know that moment. The one when a client makes a sound on an instrument for the first time. The moment when the tempo of the music is perfect and your previously quiet client starts to sing all the words of a song. The moment when a client realizes that you are improvising music based on what he/she/they are doing and then start to manipulate the music - taking control of the music that is created.

I love those moments. They happen quickly and not every single day, but they do happen. You can see when someone grasps a new concept and when it becomes something real to them. I bet this moment is why teachers are teachers. I know that these moments are part of why I am a therapist.

I work for persons who have been diagnosed as having an intellectual disability or a developmental disability. In addition, all of my clients have chronic psychiatric concerns as well. Learning does not progress at a speed or method that is "typical." …

Therapeutic Music Experience Explosion!

So, I've been writing about my current self-imposed challenge - my "NTM" TME challenge. (See the first blog post explaining everything here!) 

It's been three days.

Do you know what I've noticed? I can do this. I can find a therapeutic music experience (AKA: TME) that I haven't used in therapy before and then use it! I include using songs and then turning them into TMEs - something I love to do! (See my Song Conversion Sunday posts for more information about this particular process.) I take some time the next morning writing up the TME into my specific format (Here's a post with my format and some of my ways of thinking about music!). I'm doing all of this while at work, making my work time a bit more therapeutically productive.

This week, I've developed TMEs for an old vocalise/camp song, a brand-new to me Good Morning chant, and two variations using a book about emotions as the center of the experiences. Four TME plans in three days. This is wonder…

Thoughtful Thursday: Structures and Restraints

This is a quotation that I keep on one of my bulletin boards at home. (I should probably get a copy for my office at work...hmm). I have had this quotation around me somewhere ever since I started to work as a music therapist. I have no idea where I first found it, but it wasn't given to me - I did find it all on my own, and it really spoke to me then. It still speaks to me now.

I've done a bit of research on Corita Kent recently and found that she was a Catholic religious sister who expressed her ideas about social justice and tolerance. She is classified as a pop art icon and silkscreen was her primary medium. Most of her artwork brings back memories of color schemes and the times in which she created - very 70's and 80's. When I first found this quotation, I had no idea who Corita Kent was, but I really felt that her idea about structure encapsulated my feelings as well. So, I adopted this quotation as my own. (If you are interested in more about Sr. Kent and what I …

At Least I Started a New Therapeutic Music Experience...

I went back to work yesterday after a (sorta) restful five day weekend. I was greeted by about 70 emails (not bad for being gone for 3 work days), and the news that several students had left and new ones had arrived. In other words, a typical return after being gone. My office was a bit more cluttered than usual, thanks to an order for the student incentive store, but I could still get where I needed to get and was able to do some stuff. I settled in to figure out my morning, and readied myself to watch some therapy. The first three groups went very well. We do five groups a day, so I'm sure that you can extrapolate what I am trying to say here.

During my morning, when things went well and kids seemed to enjoy being with us, I was able to do some journaling. I'm trying something that I have never done before while I am at work. I'm actually doing some daily journaling and bullet journal type tracking of my mood and my productivity. In my home journal, I don't do these t…

It's TIme for Another Giveaway!

I spent some time fooling around with paper again yesterday. I've been making notepads and notepad covers and pretty note sets with my considerable stash of paper and beads and frou-frou. My stack of completed projects is growing, and I am ready to send some of it out into the music therapy universe! The last time I did this, I did get the name of a music therapist, and I sent the package off into the ether - I hope the person received the envelope full of goodies that I sent. It was fun to send something out into the world. I'm ready to do that again.

So, here's the deal.

I am interested only in nominations of other music therapists - no self-nominations, please - fellow MTs who could use a surprise from another MT. I'll add a note, something that I've made, and a couple of music therapy products specifically made for that therapist and their primary population.

Here's what I need from you...
the name of the music therapist that you are nominating.the type of clie…

The End of a Good Thing

I'm finishing up a television show that I really enjoy - Person of Interest. It was something that aired from about 2010 to 2015, and I stream it on my Netflix account. This is the second time through that I'm watching this, and I really enjoy the show. I like the premise, and I find it "a triumph of the human spirit." Now, if you do not like shows with lots of conspiracy theories and shooting and fighting, then I would recommend that you avoid this show, but I enjoy a good conspiracy, so it's just what I enjoy (at times).

Anyway, I am watching the last episode of the fifth season of this particular show. Everyone of the main characters looks like they will die in their pursuit of their cause, and it is moving towards a somewhat satisfying conclusion (I forget exactly how it ends, so I'm really involved with this particular episode). Oh - there goes one of the characters...

My involvement with this particular show leads me to think about other endings in my mus…

Song Conversion Sunday: The Songs I Keep To Myself

Forgive me as I deviate from my usual conversation this week - I'm feeling a need to talk about something a little bit different. It does all make sense why this post at this time, but it may take me some time to get there. Please be patient with me.

I am a music therapist. As such, I use music all the time to assist my clients in finding paths to their goals and objectives. Sometimes that music is completely improvisational, at other times, the music is the client's preferred music. My work day is full of music, and I love that fact. 

One of the problems that I've always had with this job is that I find myself listening less to music now than I did before I was a music therapist. Now, I was never one of those people who had my headphones plugged in all the time - my mother would NOT allow that behavior - but I did enjoy listening to music, and music was my accompaniment to cooking dinner and cleaning the bathroom and other chores. My relationship to music has deepened, but …

I Feel Like I'm Herding Cats...and Enneagrams...and Other Random Thoughts

I struggle with delegation. It's something that I've always had a problem with in the past, and I continue to have a problem with it now. For me, the quickest way to ruin any sort of project is to make it a group project. I do not work well with others, but I work really well if I have the ability to do things on my own. If something does have to be a group project, then I have to make myself stay within strict boundaries so I don't end up taking over and doing everything. It's not pretty when that happens. I end up having lots of frustration and then finish things up the way they need to be done with an attitude of smug "I informed you thusly" and resentment that the people who said that they would do something just didn't do what they said they would do.

I can see what has to be done, and I know how to do it, so I usually just do it for myself. If I don't know how to do what needs to be done, I figure it out.

Lately, I've been reading a bit about …

Daily Happiness, The Heavy-Duty Medications, and Sleeping the Day Away!

It is time for my mini-break, and my bass allergy voice has arrived, right on schedule! I am currently sitting upright (this is taking LOTS of effort), in my pajamas because the cat insisted on being fed. I took a half dose of the heavy-duty medications last night, and it has thrown me into my acclimatization pattern - drowsiness, dizziness, and difficulty with coordination. I am having a bit of difficulty with my fine motor coordination to type things - I've got all the letters, but they are NOT in the right order. I am having to backspace type quite a bit this morning, but that's what this day is all about - getting so I can breathe clearly again - AKA, the heavy duty medications!!

One of my morning routine elements is a daily happiness focus on my personal Facebook page. I try really hard to find something to be happy about, even on the days when happiness is elusive to me. It is a practice that I've done for a bit over a year now, and I think it has helped me be a bit m…

"A Break" Almost Always Ends Up Being Illness For Me...

I am getting ready for a mini-break, and my throat is aching and my sinuses are full. This is pretty typical for me - anticipation for some time to rest and then my body taking over to remind me how important rest actually is. I'm not too worried about this - it is my typical allergic response to spring, but I can't take the heavy duty medications until tonight - they knock me out for 24 hours and dry me up. So, I am going to suffer through today with my lightweight medications and then sock the allergens with the big meds tonight. Tomorrow will be most of a loss for my goals since I'll be in bed where the dizzy spells and the extreme fatigue will be able to overtake me without injury, but this would have needed to be done due to the Easter lilies that will surround me on Sunday morning at my church job. I have only 18 hours to go before I can medicate.

I don't know why my body tends to do this, but it has become a tradition - especially for spring here in my state and …


I've harped on my need to get into my morning routine enough on this blog that the recurring theme is bringing me down. Let's just say that my routine is not as firmly established as I would like it to be - translation: I'm reverting back to my habit of arriving at work very early and leaving late - lots of unpaid time spent at work...

I haven't spent much time at my crafting desk lately, and it is part of the routine that I had really started to enjoy.

I have two mornings left of this workweek, and I want to do something creative and get my routine back where I want it to be. For now, though, I have to take my shower so I am ready to leave my home at my (shudder) later time.

Time is something that causes me anxiety. It's silly to want to make sure that I am not late that I get places very early. No one cares at my work if I'm on time except for my interns. They care. No one else. Sure, we have badges that log when we access the building, but no one ever checks or…

It's Almost Spring Break #2!!

I am having some interesting (at least, to me) thoughts this morning. Lots of them are centered around this week and how I will be spending my self-care time later this week. You see, I'm taking this Thursday and next Monday off. I already have Friday off on the school schedule, so I am using some snow day time to extend this holiday weekend into a five-day weekend. This will allow me to skip the Luau (my own special kind of agitation - everyone else seems to love the event. I do not and never have, so I decided to skip it entirely!) and have a day after Easter to relax before getting back into the world of music therapy.

I have plans. I have something that I really want to do, but I'm not sure if I'll get it finished. I am going to try my best this time around to do this task from beginning to end, while still finding time to sleep. It will be interesting to see if I can get this done.

Originally, I was going to try to find a place to go to do some dreaming and some thinkin…

Song Conversion Sunday:


This week's song is Little Gem by Euphoria. It's on the CSI Soundtrack and was released on the soundtrack in 2001. Euphoria is a Canadian band that falls into trance, techno, and electronica musical genres.

On first listen, the piece seems to be closer to trance than techno, but that is part of being somewhat unused to listening to this type of genre. The tempo is at a good pace for my clients - moderate and consistent. The music itself has some repetitive figures with embellishments in various instrument parts. It doesn't get too repetitive (though that seems to be more about my preferences for music than about my clients' preferences).

Another search for this group of performers without the title of the song led me into the various groups that use the same name. There is a Canadian group called Euphoria at present, but it is not the Euphoria of my song. There is also an Indian group called Euphoria that seems to be a bit more well-known these days, but, again, it…

Outlines, Outlines, Outlines

I have lots of work to do, and I am going to get started on it all. 

Here's the deal. I have work to do for another organization, but I also have lots of ideas for my own organization, so I'm getting myself ready to buckle down and knuckle under to get some stuff finished today. In addition, I have family members within driving distance (that NEVER happens to me!), so I am getting ready to head out to see them during the last part of their art retreat. Things always seem to happen when I have lots on my plate, so I get used to bursts of important things to do and then periods of doldrums and nothing to keep me going. 

This is one of those burst times.

Yesterday (I think it was), I shared that I had a burst of brainstorming for a new continuing music therapy education (CMTE) course that I want to offer. In order to do that course development, I will start with some outline brainstorming. I already have some topic areas, now I will start to flesh them out with resources and activit…

This Has Been a Good Week

This really has been a good week. I have felt happy, calm, and stimulated by my thoughts and ideas. The conference last weekend tired me out, but I think it also reminded me of the parts of this job that I absolutely love. It also gave me an excuse to sleep the rest of the weekend. Maybe that should be part of my self-care plan from now on - intellectual stimulation from people who are somewhat like-minded about things and lots of time to sleep afterwards.

I have felt a bunch of calm since I decided not to propose any type of presentation at the national conference this year. I have been trying to come up with presentation ideas that don't bore me to tears, and I've been coming up with absolutely nothing. I realized that I was putting pressure on myself for something that ABSOLUTELY nobody cared about EXCEPT FOR ME! I mean, most of the people who will attend the conference this year will not miss me at all. That's okay, and to be expected. I will probably have some pangs ab…

I'm Being Courageous By NOT Doing Something This Time Around...

I have a word for my year - Courage. I am striving to do things that make my stomach turn when I think of them. It has been amazing how much I avoid some things, and this outlook is making me focus on what I am avoiding and then doing something about it. My latest courageous step is something that I have never actually done before.
I am NOT submitting a presentation proposal to the AMTA National Conference this year. Not a one.I have been struggling to come up with an idea that I want to talk about with other music therapists within this time frame, so I've decided not to pressure myself. Any ideas that I come up with will be offered here via my online platform rather than in the hustle and expensive bustle of conference.

I'm feeling some peace about this decision. I was driving home yesterday, thinking about where to look for old ideas to resurrect and submit, and I just thought, "what if I don't submit?" All of a sudden, my stomach flipped, but everything else re…

Strawberry Scented Allergic Pink Eye

There was a strong scent of strawberries in the air in the education wing yesterday. I had to travel down there three times yesterday, and this morning I woke up with a goopy eye - sure sign that that scent was put into the air by some sort of aerosol - one of the things that others can use that causes me to have an allergic reaction. I get allergic pink eye when I'm around things sprayed in the air - air fresheners are a double whammy because I also have scent-induced asthma in addition to my eye reactions. So, I am heading into classrooms to do music therapy where I am supposed to breathe so I can sing, and I can't because someone else decided to spray stuff all over the environment. I'm currently coughing up a storm and am only able to see out of half of my head because of the goop. It is time for a gentle reminder to others that scents are not the best thing to share.

Everyone has excuses for why they need to add things to the air that we all breathe. I understand that …

Returning to the Day-To-Day Routine

It is time to return to my regular routine of work, home, work. The Midwestern region conference is over, Holy week hasn't started yet, and it is time to move back into my every day schedule. We now have to spend time getting ready for the graduation ceremony happening at the end of this spring semester and that's about all I have to plan for at work. Home stuff, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. I have lots of things that I have to do between now and May 24th (the last day of school for the regular school session).

Since it is time to get back into my regular routine, I am going to start with my morning routine again. I've started leaving earlier than I need to leave so I am arriving at work way earlier than I want to be there. It is time to focus on what was working so well before our winter of snow days. I am going to track my leaving and arrival times again - that seemed to work well for making sure that I was on track and getting to work at my desired arriv…