Showing posts from July, 2019

Another Use for My Bullet Journal - Theme Brainstorming

I enjoy using a bullet journal for many aspects of my life, and session strategizing is no different! I have a couple of journals that I use on a regular basis - there's my home journal, my work journal, and a collections journal. Today we are going to focus on my collections journal.

To put it simply, a collections journal is where you keep lists of things that aren't time bound. My collections journal is where I keep my lists of movies I want to see and my bucket list and just a variety of thoughts. It occurred to me that this journal would be perfect for storing my session theme brainstorming ideas! Off I went into the process of recording my ideas!!

I am going to allow myself to doodle and brainstorm on these pages, so I decided on using a two-page spread for each theme. If the pages get filled up, I'll thread the pages to the next set of pages (threading is where you indicate the next page that relates. It looks like this: 47-->52). I will sketch out my songwriting i…

Nothing to Do With Music Therapy - Movie Edition

Yesterday, I made a bit of an impulse purchase. 

I bought an annual movie pass. 
Now, I am the type of person who loves to go to the movies, and I love to go all by myself! I like movie theaters where I am alone in my seat row, and I love it when I am the only person who is in the theater (that happens occasionally), so I rarely go to movies when they are first released. I almost always see them after about a month so that I can sit in my favorite seat (back, middle - under the projector is ideal!). You know the episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon takes about five minutes to find the acoustically perfect place in a movie theater?? That's me, but I know exactly where I want to sit before I even make it to the theater.

My local theater participates in this program, and there are other theaters around the country that will honor my pass, so I'm feeling like going to see movies can become a greater part of my self-care plan!! Before now, going to see movies got to be pretty expe…

Vacation Dilemmas

I am starting the only full week of my Fall Break, so things are firmly settled into vacation mode as of NOW! I have decided to spend most of my break time working on a small business challenge (I referred to this a couple of posts ago...), and trying not-to-do any stressing about what I "should" be doing and not purchasing any type of school supplies (because I already have MORE than I need). I've managed to go to the Back to School displays at both Target and Walmart without purchasing anything but post-it notes (the one thing that I did need). I reached my reasonable post-it note purchase limit, so I have 10 days of possible temptation to work my way through before I am back to school!

I finished the laundry yesterday (including the bedding!) and the dishes are about 60% finished as of this writing. I am getting ready to do things like vacuum and organize and re-do some things. I organized my paper stash yesterday, so it is now arranged in rainbow color order (ahh) and…

Song Conversion Sunday: Week Two - Analyzing the Music

So, since I selected "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls last Sunday, this song has shown up at least daily in my everyday encounters. It is somewhat spooky, but I'm choosing to take this as a sign that it is time to focus on this song. There you go.

This week's post is all about analyzing the musical elements that are present in every song that we use in music therapy. I spent some time with my favorite graphic organizing software (Inspiration - love this program!!), and here is the song chart.
I do these charts because they help me figure out what sorts of options I have when I use this song with my clients. This reminds me that I can change the tempo if my client needs the song faster or slower. I can alter the timbre to accommodate client preferences. Since this song has lyrics, they can either remain as is to illustrate something that a client is addressing, or I can change the lyrics and use other parts of the music to go into other goal-based interactions.

I find that th…

The Biggest Challenge of All - For Me, At Least

I'm currently doing a business challenge led by two music therapy business superstars, and there were some questions about why I was attending, and that started me to think about my feelings and knowledge and the biggest hole in my education and professional knowledge of being a music therapist.
I know very little about being a business person, and the thought terrifies me!I have never been able to take a class on basic business concepts or methods, and my primary way of being comfortable in doing new things is to study it thoroughly in every way possible before trying it out.

Do you know that I've had a business-focused website for 24 years? Do you know that my passion is to help you, fellow therapist, with some of the chores that we all have to do? Do you know that I want to help you stay a music therapist through offering you some fresh ideas, some ways to make things easier, and helping you work smarter, not harder? I just don't know how to do these things in a business …

New Bullet Journal for a New Year and Some New Ideas

It is time. I have spent about a year and a half in my old bullet journal, and I have about 40 pages left in this one, but it is wearing out, and I have decided to move to something new. I'll be using the rest of my first journal (my beloved R2-D2 journal) to take notes for Rock That Practice. I have a new journal that my sister gave to me (she's a regifter), and I'm starting to get things set up in that book. I have to set up some information that I have in my old book into the new one, so that's what I'm going to do this morning before I can do other chores.

I know, what does this bullet journaling thing have to do with music therapy? Well, it's definitely a peripheral topic, but it does affect my organization and task completion rates. I know that many people don't do this sort of thing, but I do, and it works for me, so my recommendation is to find what works for you and DO IT!

Bullet Journaling works for me.

Now, I am someone who loves watching other bull…

Thoughtful Thursday: The Upside of Goodbye

The day has come when it is time to say "goodbye" to another intern as she heads out from under my direct supervision into the world of music therapy professionalism. I have done this many times, and it always makes me feel simultaneously very happy and very sad.

We've been preparing our students for the transition for the past 4 weeks. We don't often get to go through official termination of treatment procedures at our facility - students often come and go and we don't have a voice in the decision - but I do ask my interns to prepare my students for their absence in the next school term. So, we've been talking about "graduation" and how the intern will be returning to find her own music therapy job. This is a topic that my students understand - we celebrate graduations around our place pretty seriously.

As we've been talking about graduation and moving on, we've all experienced different emotions. We talk about these emotions, we sometimes si…

Thoughtful Thursday: I'm Humbled to Accept That You Now Follow Me on Twitter...

Do you ever have an "ultimate fan" moment? You know, the type of request on social media that just makes you feel a bit excited and very humbled and somewhat curious about why someone wants to connect with you? A retired music therapist (who isn't really all that retired, just on to different adventures around the world) just posted that she had such a moment, and I just had one, too!

Now, this wasn't a huge thing, but it is a step closer to something that I really wanted to be part of, but wasn't nominated for - it was my own fault, really - I didn't let anyone know that I really wanted to be part of this big step for our professional organization, but I still really wanted to be remembered and part of this process. Maybe someday...

Anyway, I went over to one of my social media accounts today and found that the Commission on Education and Clinical Training (I refuse to use the rest of the commission's title because I think we should be forward thinking rat…

My To-Do List is Growing

I have three days left before the end of our extended school year session, so I am starting my to-do lists for the upcoming break. So far, the list is more specific things that need to be located rather than tasks. I need to find the HP ink box with the color cartridge. I've found the one that has the recyclable old cartridges, but I cannot find where I put the new one. The other thing that I need to locate (at the moment, at least) is the rolls of stamps I bought a time ago. I think my to-do list this time around will be more of a "treasure" hunt than a task list.

That may be the way to go this break. I often make a long list of tasks that I simply do not do, so I end up being disappointed and disgusted with myself because I "SHOULD" be doing many other things. I think my running to-do list this break will be things that I need to find - things I know I have somewhere, but that I need to find in order to do other things - like mail letters, print out photos...


Trudging Into the Last Week

I'm hot and I don't feel good and I spent all night shivering (I know, silly to think about due to the first part of this sentence) and it is the last Monday of our extended school year (ESY) so I have to go and I really don't want to, but I'm going anyway.

I am looking forward into a week of kids being able to go outside because the weather is supposed to cooperate - depending on where you look for forecast information. In fact, the forecast that I am looking at right now (which is my favorite at the moment) says that we will not break out of the 80's (Fahrenheit) all week! These lower temperatures and the ability to go outside and run off some energy may make for less cranky students and a less cranky therapist. We shall see.

Here's what I have to look forward to this week:
Saying goodbye to intern #27 as she finishes up her time with me and moves on to bigger and better things. Constant questions from teachers about the fall schedule - as far as I know, I am f…

Song Conversion Sunday: Back to the Basics

I've been out of the habit of looking at songs and making them something to use in a therapeutic environment lately. That's because this summer, I've been bored out of my skull with all things routine, so I haven't done my usual writing themes, but the summer is almost over for me (school will be back full-time in 21 days), so it is time to get back into what gives me some structure...back into my routines!

Over the past year, I've tried to take my Sunday mornings for some cognitive exercise. Specifically, I have selected a random song from either my sheet music collection (wow, I have LOTS of sheet music) or from my iPod (and, I have LOTS of recorded music as well) and then analyzed it the way I like to analyze therapeutic music selections - looking at all of the various elements of music available to be selected, adapted, and used. 

I have a graphic organizer set up in my computer files that helps me with this concept. **NOTE: If you are interested in getting a cop…

Courage: Again, My Word of the Year Helps Me Move Forward

At the beginning of this year, I selected a word to act as a focus tool. I wrote it in my start of the year 2019 pages and have added some notes about what this means to me since then. I also added a graphic on the other page that exemplified this particular word to me. In the picture, there is a stylized person standing on the edge of a cliff which is labeled "What We Are." There is a gap and another cliff. The gap is labeled "Leap of Faith" and the other cliff is labeled "What We Want to Be." (I do not know who the original artist is, so I'm not going to put a picture of this graphic here on my blog - I insist on being able to source all materials presented! It's a copyright thing, you know!) The graphic really spoke to me since the person standing on the cliff is looking down over the cliff into that leap of faith. I very much identify with that lonely figure at the edge of "What We Are."

I took another leap of faith yesterday when I d…

Thoughtful Thursday: The Power of Music

Yesterday, I had the privilege of watching a client find preferred music in the music therapy clinic. It's something that I get to watch every so often, but yesterday's experience was one of the ones that reinforces to me that this is a great profession that means something to my clients.

One of my students sang and danced through the entirety of "The Greatest Show" from The Greatest Showman. This in itself is not a surprising event, but the particular client who responded was a bit surprising. This client was even able to mimic all the choreography from the opening number and then requested a second song from the soundtrack. The client's affect went from closed and the attitude went from uninterested in all things music therapy to full open and positive affect and full participation - all because my intern found the "magic" song. 

These are the moments that make the rest of the challenges of this job really worth it.

I may be someone who is frustrated wit…

Current Challenge - An Inventory

I'm currently doing a five-day, free business challenge led by Rachelle Norman and Mary Owenby Altom, and my current challenge is to take an inventory of what I have around me. Their suggestion was to inventory the instruments and materials that are part of the music therapy stuff that we all have tucked away, but I already have that in place for my full-time music therapy job (not the business that I am growing), so I wanted to do something that would benefit my business,, rather than something extraneous. So...

My current challenge is to go through all of the digital files that I have and see what is available right now to be released as a product on my website. I know that I have bunches of file folder templates that I can tweak a bit and then post on my Teachers Pay Teachers site. I have courses that just need an approval from CBMT to make them work. I have books of therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) that people seem to like, but no one really knows anyt…

Today is Getting Off to a Rough Start

Today is a case of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say nothing at all."

I'm going to acknowledge my feelings and then move into this day finding as much positivity as possible. My facebook feed's daily happiness post includes only the words, "ten more days." That's how much time is left between now and the next school break, and I really need to know that there are seven work days and three weekend days in between now and then.

The humidity is killing me. I feel that this may be a literal statement as my breathing is more difficult with the level of moisture in the air. When I was in California just recently, I felt the heat, but I didn't have to use my inhaler. I could move and function well. Out here, I just can't do the same thing, and I can't get away from or avoid the air. It's everywhere. So, I struggle all during these months.

I slept an hour later than usual. It was not a restful extra hour, so I am heading ou…

#MusicTherapyMaker - Music Preference Books

It is Monday again, and I actually made something for use in my clinic this weekend. I wrote a bit about it on Saturday (see this post for more information), and I finished it up yesterday. I thought I would write about it - the process and the purpose - today.

I have been toying around with an idea about making books out of these little booklets that i've been picking up at my Target Dollar Spot. I get eight of them for three dollars - a good price and something that I am naturally drawn to - empty booklets. I have had several books in progress that I've started over the years. Some of them have to do with instruments, others are specific songs, and I try to make them as useful and accessible as I possibly can,

I have one classroom that is now constantly changing, and I have some new clinical challenges that are happening because of this change. As a result, I find that I cannot focus on the "new" clients as much as I like to because everyone is "new." Prior…

My Positive Thoughts for Today - Change Your Focus, Change Your Heart

I am so very tired of the ranting mode that I've been in lately that I've decided to give myself (and you as well) a break from complaining and attempt to be uplifting for myself (and you as well, maybe) during this post. It's more than time, and I just have to realize that there are many more negative people out there in the world than I usually encounter. Also, I have to remind myself that people are much more likely to complain about the negative than to remember the positive. I try not to sink into my own patterns of negativity (which are more prevalent in the hot humidity of summer than in the winter), but not everyone has an active positive campaign going on in their lives like I have in mine. I wish they did.

So, being positive, I am going to think about music, therapy, and me.

My job is the same as every other job in the world.

There are good things about it and there are bad things about it. There are days when the bad things take over my attitude and my outlook, but…

New Project - Genre Selection Booklets! #MusicTherapyMaker

I've had a brainstorm! I got a package of these books at my Target Dollar Spot for $3. I grab these whenever I find them because I really like blank journals, and I have all sorts of book ideas based on therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) that I want to manifest in my (HA!) spare time! So, I have this collection of eight, black-covered, blank books with 16 pages to use and play with.
My brain started working, and I looked back over the brainstorming parts of my various journals and post-it notes and saw that I was trying to figure out a way to assess musical knowledge and preferences of a constantly changing client population. The problems? Too many to list here. The way to do this? A-ha!!
I love A-ha moments! I love it when a plan comes together (directly stolen from the A-team), and when I can figure out a way to offer many options to clients with little to no need for an advanced degree in music therapy to implement. This is something that is desperately needed in one classroom …

Who Ever Said That This Job Would Be Easy??

Lately, I've been kinda disgusted with some of the things that I've been experiencing in my job, reading on social media, and watching develop in the music therapy professional forums that I've decided to be part of. Every thing is just converging upon me along with my annual descent into Seasonal Affective Disorder (yep, mine happens in the summer), so I'm feeling more and more of the negativity that's in the air. It's somewhat hard for me to release all of this emotion because it seems to be permeating every single cell in my body.


That sounds a bit dark. I am okay, but I am a bit disappointed in what I am exposed to right now. I am considering getting off a specific Facebook group where people seem to less considerate than what is expected of therapists (in my opinion, of course!). It is getting so that you cannot post an opinion without being ridiculed for your language or told that the system that you are a part of is illegal or discounted because of yo…