Showing posts from May, 2019

Music Therapy Internships - The More Things Change, the More Things Stay the Same

In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like you to know some things right off the bat. First of all, I was an intern in the last century, so it's been some time since I was an undergraduate getting my initial degree in music therapy. Secondly, I am an internship director and supervising music therapist, so what I write about is from the perspective of someone who deeply cares about music therapy clinical training but who is firmly entrenched in how things are run. Lastly, I have been a clinical trainer for long enough to be able to see some generational shifts in how music therapy students complete specific tasks. Everything that I write about here on this blog is my opinion, based on years of observation and experience. There you go.

I am a person who feels that you never really know how to do a job until you actually do it. I am a big fan of an immersive experience in music therapy, supervised by a music therapist, before becoming one yourself. I know that my internship real…

Thoughtful Thursday: Coming Down on the Side of Too Hard on Myself

It's towards the end of my break, and I am getting melancholy about having to go back to work. I am not refreshed enough for all of the things that need to happen in the next three weeks, and my next real break will be after our summer sessions are over. I'm hoping that two weeks of time with Mom this summer means that she will not come out to visit during my July/August break so that I can rest and refresh. My plans to do that last year were thwarted by well-meaning parents who did not listen when I asked them to schedule things at times that were more convenient for me than for them. Oh well. Maybe I can rest this year. Poor, poor pitiful me!

I am looking at the mounds of stuff that I still haven't addressed during this week off, and I'm thinking about the upcoming visit from a pet sitter where I need to be able to walk someone through my home without having to dodge things, and I'm feeling very stressed out.

I have made progress - I really have - but it is…

Classroom Theme - Oh, the Possibilities!

I have a great idea for a classroom theme that I will never get to use because I am not that sort of classroom teacher and my sister who is that type of classroom teacher would NEVER go for this type of theme!

(Sorry for the run-on sentence - it just seems to be how I'm going to write these days...) 

My classroom theme even has a theme song!! It popped into my head yesterday as I was looking at this great collection of clipart that I have purchased a license for - Scrappin Doodles. I stumbled upon the Detective art, and I am hooked! The song is all about solving puzzles by using the information that we know.

I think that a detective theme would be so wonderful, especially for fourth grade. I'm not sure why I've arrived at fourth grade, but I like that age of kids and they seem to be interested in learning about the hows and whys of the world. I think I could whip all this into an engaging classroom theme if I devoted some time to it. 

This is one of the greatest regrets that I…

Just Filling Time

Breaks are always guilt-ridden times for me. I sit in my house thinking about all the things I should be doing, and I tend to fall into a pattern of self-defeat because I see all the things that need to be done, but I don't do them. Maybe a better way of doing all that I want to get done is to list the things that I have actually done during the first four days of this break.
I went through all my fiction books and took out the books that I no longer want. Some of these are silly romance novels, some are science fiction/fantasy that are just parts of entire series, some are the duplicates that my Mom has collected and shared with me, and many of them are silly books from the Dollar Tree that I picked up because I can't seem to walk past a book shelf without getting something...The dishes are almost finished. I have about a quarter of a dishwasher load left to go. This has freed up much of my counter space, so I've done some work on my kitchen surfaces.I've started attac…

Resetting the Brain to Home Mode

Today is Memorial Day in the States, but it is also my first day of break. One week from today, I will be back in the music therapy clinic, trying really hard to get used to a brand new schedule, and starting treatment for a brand new classroom experience that we've never done before. For now, however, I am sitting in my home, knowing that I have no place that I have to go today or for the next six days.

What a luxury.

The goals that I will be working on this week include thinning out the stuff that I have in my home and cleaning things around home. The church that I work for is having a rummage sale in two weeks, so I have a place to take things and a deadline for the first bit. I started with the books yesterday. I have a 40-gallon tote almost full, and I've only gone through some of the books. I hope to have two totes of books ready to go tomorrow as well as some bags of clothes. I also have a bunch of cords and random wi-fi things that I don't need, but that I keep aroun…

The End of the (Regular) School Year

In August, I posted thoughts about my resolutions for the new year. Since yesterday was the end of the regular school year (we do have 28 days of an extended school year that will start in a week, but the regular year is now over), I thought I'd take today to see what progress I made this year. The original information is in italicized print, and my updates are in bold below.

So, here are my new school year resolutions for the 2018-2019 school year!
Daily happiness: Over on some of my other social media feeds, I have a practice of finding something in my life that is a positive. During this past year, I've found that this focus on positive thoughts in the morning really helps me focus on something that is good rather than dwelling in the negative. Today's post? About the past computer problems that I've had on this day - seriously, I've had to replace my computer twice on August 13th, the internet seems to stop working on this day, and monitors blow - it'…

The Tragedy of Hurt Feelings

This is another rant. It is also a way to express some of the frustrations and things that are currently happening. I've written time and time again how this blog is about music, therapy, and ME - and that things that I write about are not always fluffy pink and blue thoughts. This is definitely NOT a fluffy pink and blue thought type of post. At the same time, I do think that it is important to write about all things that affect my life and my role in this world as a music therapist.

So, here we go...(you've been warned!)...

I am very sensitive today. This is a culmination of many different things, including my grief and the end of the school year, and waking up so very early on this Friday morning. I'm sure that my hormones are acting up as well, so it's really a perfect storm of all things able to prime me into a hissy fit all coming together at once.

I REALLY dislike it when someone takes it upon themselves to change my work without talking to me about the…

Thoughtful Thursday:...And That is Why I Will Never Be a Hospice Music Therapist or Clergy Member

I went to the funeral of a dear friend yesterday. He passed away very unexpectedly a little over a week ago, and I felt that I needed to be at the ceremony celebrating his life. I don't usually go to funerals, mainly because of reasons I will iterate in the following paragraphs, but this one wasn't as wearing on me as some of the others that I've had to attend. The experience of yesterday reinforced some things that I know about myself, but that I've never really put into context before.

I work at a church as the director of music and worship leader. I fill in for the pastor when he is gone, and I preach sermons and coordinate worship and do all the things that the pastor does during worship on a pretty regular basis. Some of the people in the congregation have complimented me on my ease with public speaking and have encouraged me to think about becoming a minister. It was on my list of things I thought I could do before I heard about music therapy. I know that role is …

I Have Money to Spend

Yesterday was my birthday, and I have some birthday money to spend on something frivolous and completely unnecessary. Some people don't like money or gift cards for special occasions, but I really enjoy getting some extra "found" cash to spend. I saved my birthday money from last year, and I got a surprise refund check from my gas card, so I have about $400 that I can use to do something fun.

There is something fun about all the possibilities that are available to me with a bit of cash to spend. I recently received an Oriental Trading Catalog that has lots of things to buy, but most of those things are for school - that's not something for birthday money. I need new underwear - for some reason, every single one of my bras decided to break this week - but underwear isn't fun - it's a necessary item, so that comes from my household monies. I could always invest in new instruments, but that is also work-related. I don't want to spend this money on something p…

This World of Music Therapy

I admit it. I was not someone who was very knowledgeable about music therapy outside of the United States for much of my professional career. My views on what music therapy was (and, to some extent still, is) is very US-centric. Most of the texts that I have accrued since my undergraduate days are by US authors, and most of the research that I read (when I read anything at all) comes from the US journals that I receive. 

In 2010, however, I saw a thought on the Music Therapy listserv. Yes, fellow MTs, WAY back in 2010, our primary way of communicating with one another was a listserv with emails sent out to people who wanted them rather than posting comments on another platform. The email was sent by a music therapist from Canada who was interested in starting an online conference for music therapy. It sounded like something that combined my interests nicely, so I reached out and said that I would be very willing to help, but I didn't really want to have a large role.

Bam! I became t…

Cultural Considerations: Making Something All About ME!

Today's post is brought to you - you guessed it - courtesy of social media. Oh boy. The current debate is about the use of a specific term, "microaggression."

Isn't it interesting how easy it is to pull language from one context to another and then appropriate that language for our own purposes? We are all guilty of this one time or another - it is how language develops - but there are often problems when language is used in ways that does not line up with the intents of the original users. 

The folks who initiated this discussion did so through the use of a blog post written by a music educator who experiences specific attitudes from other educators for being "different." The original author (not a music therapist) termed these attitudes as "microaggressions." A quick search for this term (yep, I used Wikipedia - see the link below) reveals that the term itself was first used in 1970 and is based in interactions between people that demeaned one gro…

Loss, Love, and Being Lucky to Share in the Lives of Others

This morning, I am getting the Talent Show CD ready to go. Today is our annual talent show, and I have a list of interesting acts to coordinate. I have difficulty coming up with all the music every year as my students aren't always the most detail-oriented people I know. I've been looking for a song by Skillet called Replay which doesn't seem to exist.

At the same time, I am mourning the loss of a good friend of mine who died unexpectedly on Wednesday evening. He was a coworker, a faith leader, and a good, good friend. He went to the emergency room and did not leave it. I found out about it last night and am processing it.

My faith tells me that death is not an end. It is just an end for sharing experiences here. I know that his faith told him the same thing, and the strength of his faith is helping me with this situation. I am mourning his loss for his family, especially for his wife who is also a good, good friend of mine. I know that she is in shock and will be in shock f…

The 36-hour Migraine Haze

At about 10:30am on Monday morning, I started getting some sparkles in my field of vision. This particular phenomenon is called an ocular migraine, and I've been getting them more frequently since I've started doing chiropractic care a bit more routinely. I tried to stick out the occlusion of my field of vision (everything goes sparkly and I cannot see for a period of time) and the subsequent headache (ended up wearing a sweatshirt, headphones, and sunglasses) and then the fire drill happened. I very nearly cried when the alarm when off, but I did the safe thing and led the class of adolescents and young adults out to our evacuation site. It was about then that I realized that I wasn't going to be able to stay at work and actually get anything done. I had to go home. I put on two pairs of sunglasses and headed off into the bright spring day to crawl into my bed.

I cannot take anything for my migraines. I have to just go through them, so I do. It usually takes me about 24 ho…

Three More TMEs for the Database

I've determined that my current "NTM" TME challenge level is 3 "new-to-me" therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) per week. I've tried hard to break into the 4 per week level, but I'm not sure that I can do so - 4 seems to be an unattainable level at this time. By Thursday, my brain is trenched in rut and does not get out of it at all. I also use Thursdays to catch up my groups so that they can experience the new TMEs.

I am enjoying this process since it is making me look for new ideas to bring to my clients. 

A side effect of this particular personal challenge is that I also am finding some old TMEs that I haven't used for quite a bit of time, and I'm using those in music therapy as well.

Last week's selections were things that my most recent former interns wrote and introduced to our clients. Some of the students that are with us now don't know these TMEs, and the ones that do are great models - they just sing strongly to familiar songs. I …

Systems in Music Therapy: Six Things Rule

As you know, one of my biggest issues with myself is my penchant for stuff - all sorts of stuff. You want a Disney movie to watch? Chances are that I have it on my movie shelves (that's right - shelves). You want a book to read? I have hundreds and hundreds. You need some toilet paper tubes for a craft project? I've got quite a few (I NEVER throw those away - you can do SO much with them - I just heard my mother's voice in my head saying that very phrase...). I like stuff.

I am quite sure that I would have ended up as a special educator if I had not heard about music therapy when I was 14 years old. I love going to educational supply stores and browsing through the bulletin board strips and the calendar pieces and the manipulatives and the books and curricula and the tools that teachers use on a regular basis. I love all that stuff, and I have to restrain myself from buying it all! If I had become a special educator, I am sure that I would have almost everything that is in …

Thinking Things Through

I'm spending lots of time inside my head these days - not lots of time doing things, but lots of time visioning and trying to get to the next steps in lots of projects.

I had an interesting dream last night - I was moving into a new house with a family (not my real family, but in the dream it was my family). The house was full - I mean so full that things were all over the place, and I could barely move without knocking something over. I was trying to find my room and the walls kept getting closer and the sleeping areas kept getting smaller and smaller as I kept looking for my place. I woke up before I found the place I needed to find.

I find the thought of dream interpretation to be very interesting, so I went to the Dream Moods Dream Dictionary. Here are some of the elements that they recommended for my dream...

House To see a house in your dream represents your own soul and self. Specific rooms in the house indicate a specific aspect of your psyche. In general, the attic represents…

Thoughtful Thursday: Context, Sub-Context, and Sub-sub-context...

Several people have noted on posts lately that their well-intentioned comments have been taken to an entirely different level by people who are reading things from their own perspective and are commenting from that perspective rather than from the perspective of the original poster. Boy, do I understand the frustrations of someone taking your post and making it into something other.

I don't do much posting on social media sites about my thoughts or products because of a situation which happened many years ago. I posted some thoughts that I shared on this blog, and I got yelled at by someone who (I think) didn't read the piece that I wrote. This person took offense that I would write about internships and interns and started to accuse me of acting illegally because internships in music therapy are (mostly) unpaid. I engaged with this person for about 10 exchanges and then I disconnected from the conversation. The person involved was not interested in what I had to say and just w…