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Showing posts from September, 2019

Lessons Learned - And Learned - And Learned Again

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I really should know better than to set myself a creative goal and then publish it for others to see. That's always the time that I get caught up in my own issues and can't get things accomplished, but I do this over and over again! This is a lesson that doesn't stick in my brain for some reason. So, I relearn this lesson and then go out to do the exact same thing again...and again...

I have made some progress on my current Composition File Folder project. I've put together two examples, have filmed almost all that I need to film, and tried to figure out how to take time lapse photos of the process. That last bit didn't work out as well as I would like, so I'm going to try some more photos as I work on the third example (there are six all together!). The actual project is coming along. I am almost to the laminating part! I still need the still photos for my TPT file, but that's the only thing that is keeping me from publishing the entire file. 

Here are some …

Systems in Music Therapy: My Maker Box

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It really shouldn't be much of a surprise that I have a box for my making process - making visual aids, that is! At the moment, I have the pieces of my current project (almost ready for Teachers Pay Teachers store release, by the way) in the box, ready to go with all the materials I need to put together the project. I hope to have pictures taken by this afternoon so I can get it ready for release.

My "maker" box for visual aids (I have several different sets of things for different types of projects - I have a "composing" box, for example...) is a recycled small pizza box from my current favorite pizza place. They offer pasta in containers within these small cardboard boxes which seems like a waste to me, except for the fact that these boxes are PERFECT for storing sets of materials for making different things. I am getting ready to set up one box for starting crochet projects - they are the perfect size to fit in my current storage, and the hooks will fit witho…

Well, Then...Something Happened

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Yep. I had all sorts of great plans to blog about putting together my newest digital files and all that, but I got sick...again...for the upteenth time in last 12 months. Every time I get sick, it is the same thing, but it manifests differently, so I have to wait several days before it solidifies into what it actually is so that I know what I need to do to make it all better. I am to that part in the process now.

So, I am back to my blog.

...and, I am exactly where I left off on Monday. I have arranged the original digital files, but they aren't quite finished yet. I have to put the notes into the rhythm wheels and then print things off and then start the next part of this project - putting the files together so I can add instructional pictures to the file and then upload it all.

I'm currently in the middle of some life scrutiny. This is always exacerbated by my illness level, and so, most of what I am feeling right now may be due to the bad germs coursing through my body, but I …

Digital Files - Something That Is Really Not As Difficult As It Seems

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I'm to the point in my current "new idea" process where it is time to start getting the small pieces together into a file format that can be easily replicated. For me, this means setting things up into a digital file - something that I've learned to do through trial and error.

Let me explain.

I enjoy making visual aids, and I often try to make them available for other music therapists. To do that, I have a Teachers Pay Teachers store - musictherapyworkscom - where I can sell digital files for a little bit of profit. The process includes some pretty easy steps, and I will share them with you here...

To create digital files, I use Powerpoint and a pdf converter. That's it. There is something that has to be done to make visual aid files unalterable, and that is how the pdf component works.

So, to make this particular file folder activity, I have decided to include a rhythm component, note names, and rhythm wheels. Each folder will have two rhythm components and wheels a…

Systems in Music Therapy: Taking an Idea from Design Phase Into Actuality

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I've decided to write about my idea process for this entire week, offering you glimpses into how I create visuals, therapeutic music experiences, and songs for my clients to experience during music therapy to get them close to their desired outcomes. It sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it? It's not all that unusual (I think) for music therapists to do any of these things, but here is how I do things. 

Today, we will be focusing on my system of taking an idea of mine and making it happen. (Yep, there is a system for this!!) Think about what you do in this type of situation, and let me know what tips you have for us as therapists - things that work for you!! The things that I talk about are the things that work for me - they are not going to be the same for others - THAT'S GREAT!! Find your way (but share your way, okay??).

Yesterday's post was all about my initial thoughts about what I want to do and what I want to make. I am in a making type of mood, so I started wi…

Ideas, Ideas, Ideas

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I spent some of my planning time yesterday looking at Pinterest, time sucking device that it is, for some creative inspiration. I'm in the mood to make some things, so I am searching for concepts, and there is no better place to look at stuff than on Pinterest.

I now have lots of ideas, and it is time to flesh them out into realities. This is fun part! So, I have lots of cutesy clip art that I've purchased, so it is time to start putting my ideas into that clip art pool and then see what comes out of the mixer. I tend to go towards two poles - really cute and really functional. This help with my students - some like the cute, some absolutely do not - so, I can find use in both types of resources.

The things that I want to focus on right now are multi-step and multi-functional activities. I did some work box activities like this for a co-worker who had absolutely no clue how to assemble work boxes, and I found it to be an amazing thought process. Here's how it worked.

Student …
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It is Friday again. Tomorrow is my day of rest. I have to take the cat to the vet, go to my local store to get my allergy medications, and grocery shop for the week. After that, I have lots of work to do to catch up with my current business challenges - I got behind the last several evenings.

But, today is Friday, so it is time to focus on some fun things. This week, we have been hosting a prospective intern and using drums to foster community, make some noise, and to have some fun. We have all been stressed by various illnesses, folks not feeling well, and lots of folks trying to sleep, so getting up and moving was the best option for us all this week! We threw things at drums. We make SO much noise! It was exhilarating!! My favorite part was the hand massages I got when I placed my hands about an inch off the top of the gathering drums' heads while kids were drumming - that felt SO good on my tired bodies. I'd like a way to get that sort of sonic massage over my entire body -…

Thoughtful Thursday: Stopping to Think

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Oh. This has been a busy week, and it just seems to get busier and busier. Either that or I am just getting more and more tired for completely unrelated reasons. I have been moving from focus to focus in a rapid manner, barely pausing to breathe. This has to stop...now. I need to focus on thinking again.

This past weekend was a good one for contemplation. I spent lots of time with my journals and with textbooks and writing prompts and challenge questions. I mapped out ideas and all sorts of wonderful plans. The momentum that I started this past weekend seeped into my Monday - where it stalled. That's where it stopped.

I find that I often need a bit of time to stop what I am doing so I can think. I don't have that luxury in music therapy sessions, so my brain is going as fast as my body while interacting with my clients and co-workers. That is exhausting at times - this is one of those times.

So, enter the self-care thoughts. These self-care thoughts are reactive rather than proac…

Music Therapy Morsel - My Revelation about the Board Certification Examination

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Yesterday morning, I was inspired to make a short video (I call them "Music Therapy Morsels") about something I realized about the Board Certification Examination. This video doesn't take much time, but if you are a student who is wondering about this exam, please take a look at this and let me know what you think about what I think about this important part of our music therapy lives!

If you are a professional and are interested, please feel free to watch this as well. I'd be interested to see if you agree with my interpretation of the examination's purpose...

I post these Music Therapy Morsels occasionally on my YouTube channel - if you'd like to be notified when I do, subscribe and click on the bell to receive notifications!

See you all tomorrow, I'm off to a 12-hour work day and my part-time job!!

TME Tuesday: Back to the Basics of What I Know

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I spent yesterday listening to the thunder of gathering and bass drums. We drummed in every session, and we will be drumming in today's sessions as well. Rather than going into a completely new therapeutic music experience (TME), I decided to go into the basics of my music therapy training.

My TME of choice this time around is simple. I get out my gathering drums, one of my bass drums, and enough mallets for everyone in the room. I turn on my favorite drumming music - Planet Drum by Mickey Hart - and off we go.

We drum in small groups. I put no more than four people at each drum, and it is fun to watch the community start to form. My clients start to entrain to each other - it may only be for short periods of time, but there is social awareness there. When the interest in drumming starts to flag, I place a shaker egg on top of the drum. Interest renewed. After that, I place wrist bells on the top of the drum.

We don't talk. We drum.

We're going to do the same types of things t…

What Do I Really Want??

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If you have been reading for some time now, you know several things about me. 

You know that I am a well-established music therapist who has done this job now for over two and a half decades. I have finally come to a place where I feel financially stable, and I love many of the aspects of my job while still wanting more for the profession of music therapy. I despair when fellow therapists have to leave the profession because they can't survive, and I wonder what they thought being a professional would mean. I have figured out ways to do this job that make it easier on me, and I like to share that information to other therapists in any way possible. I love teaching but will NEVER be a professor because I don't like the higher education environment as a whole. I am stubborn, unrelenting, and pretty sensitive to the opinions of others. I try to please people, often at the expense of my own self-identity or care, and I often bite off more than I can chew. I enjoy figuring out diffi…

Systems in Music Therapy: Instrument Storage

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Ah, systems. I often think about this particular post series during the week as I go through my regular routine. The thoughts that go through my head include things like, "is this a system?" and "is this even interesting to anyone other than me?" If the answer to both questions is affirmative, then I figure out what to write about.

Lately, I've seen queries about how people arrange their instrument storage, so I took a look at my system of organization. Here it is...

Just like everything else in this series, this is just how I do this task - it is not a recommendation or requirement or even a strong suggestions. It is simply my way of doing things. These posts are meant to give you a glimpse into one way of being a music therapist - not THE way of being a music therapist. Find YOUR way and make it work for you. If things aren't working for you, then look at all the ways and find the combination that you need to do what you need to do in your space.

So, how do …

Book Reading This Week...

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Well, I started my new, personally motivated, professionally enriching book challenge this week. I sat down and made myself a reading tracker to include in my CMTE tracking notebook, and I started with the first chapter of Wellness, Incorporated: The Health Entrepreneur's Handbook by Jennifer Buchanan.

I sat down with my notebook - the cool Star Wars one that I'm using for tracking my continuing education these days - and opened up my Kindle. I downloaded (after paying for) this book when it first came out, because I really enjoy Jennifer Buchanan, and I admire her ability to be a music therapy entrepreneur. I have another one of her books on my reading list as well - one that is more about how to do music therapy than how to do business, but this one is the one I need right now.

I have been working on figuring out what I want for myself and the world of music therapy. To do this, I've been focusing on my vision for my future. I foresee a time when my body will just not be a…

Fun Friday: Shopping for Toys and Games and Stuff for Kids to Buy

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One of the elements of our Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) system at work is a store where students can turn in their points earned to get things. I am in charge of the store, so I have to stock its shelves and make sure that there are things available at all times. Right now, that has been somewhat difficult because I have gone through all of the donations from last year's holiday season, and I have been asking questions about budgets and all that stuff. I now have my answers, and I get to go to our local store and spend money today.

I am beyond excited to spend some time roaming around a store, spending money (that is not my own) on things that my students will purchase. Sometimes I make great choices - sometimes, not so much - but everything eventually finds a home. I have a set amount to spend, so I will get to make lots of decisions. I will find myself pinching every single penny, and that's exciting to me! I love having boundaries and then figuring out…

My Reading List

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I am starting to feel twinges of guilt that I am only reading things for pleasure at the moment, so I am getting ready to get my professional reading habit started up again. I have many books on my Kindle that are waiting for me to access them, and here are some of the titles that I am going to put on my radar for those moments when I need something to occupy my brain (other than jigsaw puzzles...).

There is always a bit of time in my work day where I just cannot think about the things that I usually have to think about. (How's that for a confusing statement??) There are some things that I won't do at work - for example, I won't connect my personal devices to the wi-fi network at work or read my pleasure reading list while I'm on the clock. So, I look for professional topic texts for my work reading - something that will enrich my way of being a music therapist.

I'm also kinda picky about paying for books, so my Kindle list is often dictated by how much money I can s…

TME Tuesday: The Half-Finished Stack

Does anyone else have a stack of post-it notes, index cards, scrap pieces of paper with half-finished therapeutic music experience ideas on them? I've been compiling mine into one place in my home, and the amount of creative effort that has been put into that pile is staggering, and all those ideas aren't finished yet! 

I have a habit of jotting down lyrics and melodies, harmonic progressions and thoughts. I keep post-it notes in my car because many ideas come from my long commutes to and from work, so there are faded notes in my stack. I also tend to compose on index cards when I am at work, so there are small cardstock pieces in the stack as well. It is quite a colorful stack of papers, but it is more than time to make these a bit more formal.

I take my idea stack and start to put it into my therapeutic music experience format.

Purpose? - why would I do this particular TME with any client. I have a table here that helps me identify all the goal domains that can be addressed thr…

Wash Your Hands...Wash Your Hands...

It is officially illness season at my workplace. We are currently battling several versions of ick that are going around, and it is not unusual for kids to be sleeping when they should be schooling. We are all doing everything possible to stay healthy and not succumb to the germs that are happening.

As a result, the mantra that became this title keeps going through my head.

I, of course, have several songs that reinforce this concept of hand washing, and they are on repeat in my brain. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a side effect of whatever is happening around me, but those songs are on repeat.

This also means lots of instrument cleaning. I think I will avoid materials that need to be touched and shared this week in my session strategizing. I'm not sure that everyone holding instruments is a good idea.

Short post this morning - mainly because I am out of things to say about this topic and have lots to do this morning - wash your hands!

Wash, wash, wash your hands...
This i…

Systems in Music Therapy: How I Use My Bullet Journal to Be a Music Therapist

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I am a bullet journaling music therapist. I pepper my posts with all sorts of references to how I use my bullet journal, but this seems to be my most effective system when it comes to being a music therapist, and I'm going to show you a bit why in the following paragraphs. I do this for one simple reason...
It works for me.Now, this doesn't work for everyone. Not everyone needs to write things down to remember to get them done, but if you are looking for a way to organize your life, and if writing things helps you to remember, then bullet journaling may be a good system for you to use as well. If you prefer to use your computer or your phone, then this post is probably not for you - and that's okay! In fact, that is wonderful!! Find what works best for you and then do that! Don't go out and do something just because someone on a blog somewhere says that you "should" try something! You find what works for you!!

Now, I've always had to write things down to ma…