Showing posts from June, 2019

Taking a Break

I am going to take a blogging break.

For the next several weeks, I am going to purposefully vacate my current state and take a break from most things social media. I may still post the occasional thought on Facebook, but I am not going to spend any time posting blog posts or doing anything other than sitting on a beach and eating chocolate. (Seriously, that's what I'm going to be doing...well, that and driving in the car.)

So, if you read this blog in the near future and are wondering where I am, it is easy to answer - I'm on vacation. Feel free to search through all the posts that I've written over the years. Some of them are interesting, some are pure dreck, but there are many, MANY years of thoughts about music, therapy, and me!

Thanks, all. See you next month sometime!

Slogging Through

Today is a day where writing is not coming easily to me. I can usually sit for a time, write a couple of paragraphs, and find my way into various ideas and topics, but not today. I've been staring at the blinking cursor, using the backspace key, and eliminating entire posts because they just aren't interesting me.

I know that this happens to other people who write as well, so I'm not really worried, but I really don't like this feeling.

I'm even struggling with coming up with my personal happiness statement. Nothing seems to be motivating me today. I'm not sure why, but I think it may have something to do with my upcoming vacation (which is both a source of distress and eustress) and seems to be taking up my entire life at the moment. It is certainly taking over my thoughts which are darting from place to place and task to task. It is interesting that writing lists (my usual way of quieting a busy brain by putting things on paper) is not really working to ease my…

Self-Care Thoughts and Letting You Know About a Break

There are so many views on self-care these days. That hyphenated word has become a trendy thing to talk about, and lots of us are talking about it. The views include those who justify all sorts of things as self-care and those who feel that we should always be giving without refilling the stockpile. There are all sorts of things that we consider to be "self-care," and the definition changes from person to person.

I waver between feeling the need for my version of self-care and feeling guilty about taking the time and the money for something viewed as frivolous (in my opinion). I have periods of time when self-care is the only thing that gets me to move in the morning, and other times when I just don't have the time to focus on what I need as a human being. It can be quite frustrating.

As a music therapist, I spend lots of time focusing on the needs of other people. It can be a slippery slope which can lead to feelings of self-importance (what will they do if I am not there…

Thinking the Deep Thoughts...In the Midst of Nursery Rhyme Songs

Yesterday afternoon, I took it upon myself to sit down and work on the large stack of visual aids that I had been producing. I (goblin alert) should have been cleaning my bedroom, but I did get to that later on during the day. I sat down with my stacks of cardstock, my scissors, and my laminating machines, and I knocked out a bunch of projects - all while thinking a bit more deeply about the Therapeutic Function of Music model developed by Dr. Deanna Hanson Abromeit, Ph.D., MT-BC.

I love the dichotomy that is often present in my life. I am sitting there, working with nursery rhyme songs, while contemplating something that I feel is the foundation of what I do as a music therapist. Theory and practicality - all in the same moment.

This happens to me quite often. I may be internally reviewing the therapeutic function of music within a session all while saying things like, "Play with your hands, not your head," or "Hands on lap," or "Pants stay on in music therapy.…

One of My Favorite Topics of ALL Times!!

The therapeutic function of music!!

This topic is one of my favorite things to talk and write about, and I recently found out that the person that I started talking to about this topic has her students do things in a more research-based context rather than the way I do things, so now I have even MORE ways to think about this topic!! Hooray!

If you are interested in reading more research about this particular topic, then please follow these links to some excellent writing.
A Conceptual Methodology to Define the Therapeutic Function of Music - Blog - TFM Worksheet - pdf -…

Having to Go Old-School - For a Time

After the iPod was killed during the last week of school, I've been floundering with ways to get client-preferred music to my music therapy clinic. Before the great demise, I had my entire music library with me at all times. Now, I am dependent upon something that I thought I wouldn't really have to rely on again - CDs!

The last time my computer needed to be replaced, I had very limited choices because I wanted a CD-burner. All the computers that were readily available to me did not come with that feature. I found exactly two options for this particular tool. TWO! I snapped up the one that I liked the best, and I am very thankful that I did! Flash forward to 2019, and I find that I need this "outdated" technology to keep the music playing in my clinic.

Now, we are figuring out how to stream music via Spotify, but that's had all sorts of complications as well, including folks who don't respond to the consistent emails for assistance and a need to get funding app…

Thoughtful Thursday: Back to the Index Cards

If you have read this blog for a long time, you know that I started out writing all of my therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) on 4X6 inch index cards. I did that because that is how my first TME writing assignment was given - we had to use cards because that was what was readily available to us at the time. We got to choose which size card we wanted, so I chose 4X6 inch cards because they were the perfect size to sit on the sides of my guitar. This was before I found my need for super-sticky post-it notes (another tool that I love!). 

I have made an effort to use my favorite and longest lasting music therapy tool this week - my index cards.

While I've been sitting at my desk, watching my intern lead her sessions and thinking about my "NTM" TME challenge, I've been pulling out some index cards for notes. I've started lists, I've written lyrics, I've jotted down adaptation ideas. All of those things are placed on my cards. They are starting to pile up as I c…

Moving Slowly...Oh So Slowly!

Nothing is broken!!

I went to the doctor yesterday who did all sorts of strength tests on my various joints and bones and his diagnosis is the same as mine - lots of sprains, but no breaks in my post-fall body. We chatted a bit about balance development so that I don't end up having to go to a nursing home when I'm a bit older due to falls such as these. We also talked about how much more difficult it is to get over things like this now that we have reached our age (that's right, my doctor is my age). I went home, put on some topical pain pads on the ankle and the arm, wrapped up in compression bandages and then rested by printing out 42 pages of visual aids and sitting and cutting things out.

I feel better today than I did yesterday, but I'm still moving slowly. 

The good thing is that my sessions do not require me to move quickly. I may be able to tolerate high fives and fist bumps today - we'll see.

I have found that I am slowing down in all sorts of things in my cu…

Too Much...

I fell on Sunday, spraining parts of the left side of my body and bruising part of the right side of my body. I gathered together my bruised, aching self and went to work where I spent the entire day in pain because I had no liquid I could drink to take the Tylenol that I had in my bag (long story about why I had nothing I could drink). Kids kept asking for hugs and high fives and the like, and I had to disappoint them every time because even thinking about skin contact made me hurt.

Today is worse.

I woke up at 2:30 am in pain. I decided that I would be in a better position to serve my clients if I got all of this addressed today, so I am taking the day off to get to the chiropractor and/or the doctor to get myself checked over.

I have a high pain threshold, so the fact that I am so miserable and in pain right now means that I really messed myself up. I can feel the after effects of my fall in all of my joints. Holding the guitar hurts. Standing hurts, sitting hurts, reclining hurts. Th…

Where's the Bubble Wrap?

I fell yesterday. I tripped on a bag that contained cans as I was trying to toss my shoes into the washer, and I twisted my ankle pretty severely. In addition, I sprained the pinky and ring finger of my left hand and banged up my right knee and right shoulder. I avoided splitting my head open on the door of my brand new dryer (I don't know how I avoided that), and then I laid on the floor for about three minutes as the pain crested through my various body parts. After the pain started to subside, I did my head to toe check (learned in First Aid training) and determined that I hadn't broken anything. I then stood on my feet, hobbled over to the couch, and cried for a bit.

In my family, I am known as the klutz. I am the one who spent her entire life encased in ace bandages because I never really broke anything, but I sprained everything - over and over and over again. I was the one who tripped at the skating rink and jammed both of my elbows so severely that I was unable to exten…

Three Days is SO Much Better Than Nine Days

It's a strange paradox for me, but I find that shorter times off are more refreshing than longer times off. I usually get more of a sense of renewal and rest with my three day weekends during the summer than the nine days that I had at the beginning of the summer session. I'm not sure how that is, but it works for me, and makes me look forward to the summer session every single year.

I usually work six days per week. On Sundays, I have a part-time job directing a choir and leading worship music, so it is not a day off. It is a day of work. The other five days per week are my regular work schedule days, so I tend to be busy lots of the time. During summer, my part-time job goes on hiatus because they don't want to have to pay me. I get my Sundays back during June, July, and most of August. I also have a four day work week because our residential program can function better with more consistent days in school than long breaks between sessions, so we get a longer amount of wee…

Introverted Music Therapist Here - Any Others?

One of the most challenging things that I have in my life has nothing to do with being a music therapist, but has LOTS of influence on my life as a music therapist, and that is my label as an introvert. 

NOTE: If you've never missed out on opportunities because "You're just so quiet, we didn't even think about you," or "You just don't know how to have fun," or "You are just so serious," then you are probably not an introvert and won't really get what I'm trying to say, so you may just want to move to another blog post.

I am an introvert.

I am about as introverted as you can get on every single type of scale that measures human interaction and how we engage in society. I have always been this way, and it is just now that we introverts are starting to assert our own strengths and power. This is a wonderful time for me (and probably for most introverts, but we probably will NOT shout it from many mountaintops - we are, after all, introve…

Busy Day Ahead...Week One of Our Extended School Year is Over

Today is a day off from work. During our Extended School Year, we have school from Monday through Thursday, and we have Fridays off. During the summer, I have the luxury of three day weekends - something I really enjoy. During the rest of the year, I have one day weekends, so three days is a mini-break every week. I love this schedule and would love to have it all the time (I've tried to figure it all out, and it doesn't work for our contracts...).

Anyway, today is a day away from work, but it is not a day of rest. Today is the day that everything has to happen. I have a new washer and dryer set coming sometime between 8:30 and 10:30, the new cat sitter comes to check us out at 11:00, and I have lots of laundry to do (because of the need for the new washer and dryer) as well as about seventeen errands to do as well. Everything happens today.

I've spent this past week getting back into the routine of working. I arrived early every day (not good for me or my morning routine) a…

Acknowledging Failure - An Important Part of Growth

I failed at everything that I set out to do yesterday.

I wanted to write down two "NTM" TMEs. I didn't.
I wanted to clean my house last night. I didn't.
I wanted to have a full serving of vegetables or fruit yesterday. I managed to get in about a third of a serving. 
I wanted to stay up until 9pm. I didn't.
I wanted to get my documentation completely done. I didn't.

I did manage to interact with students in six different therapeutic encounters without any type of behaviors of concern happening from anyone. I did manage to engage diverse learners into therapeutic interactions, and I did sort bus duty into a process that took it from 40 minutes of mayhem on Monday to 18 minutes of controlled release on Tuesday, so it's not like I failed at everything ever!

I did fail at some things, but I succeeded in so many more things.

The problem that I have is that I tend to dwell on the failures rather than celebrating the successes. 

I have learned that failure is not as bad …