Showing posts from 2020

My Time Consuming Quest

I have been on a quest lately...

It's taking over my front room and spreading to my back room and just piling up everywhere. Even through the mess, I am really excited about what I am doing in my free time.

I have signed up to be an exhibitor at the Midwestern Region Conference for the American Music Therapy Association.

This is a big deal for me because I've never really thought about doing this before and several people have encouraged me to think about it and now I am moving out of my comfort zone and into my unsteady future by putting myself out there for others.

I have started my process of making visual aids for my exhibition hall debut. I have made a stack of visuals for all sorts of therapeutic music experiences, and I am getting myself organized so I have things to offer my fellow therapists.

The bits and pieces that go into making complete visuals are currently stored in a small box awaiting lamination. I have pigs and coins and animal cards and dinosaur rhythms. Everythi…

Finding Grace for Myself and My Faults

I am my own worst critic.

Anyone else find that to be true? No other person ever seems to think that my failings are as catastrophic as I find them to be. I lie awake and think about every misstep that I have taken in my life and I end up in anxiety patterns that interrupt lots of other situations.

This seems to be a trend in those of us who are music therapists. We are naturally drawn to be with others. We love music so much that we want to share it with everyone in a way that allows those others to experience music with a therapeutic benefit. We constantly face skeptics and naysayers and people who think that they can do what we do because they have made a playlist. We fight for recognition in almost every interaction that we have with other people, and it can become exhausting. We often figure that our lack of recognition has much to do with our selves rather than with our society, and that is easy to personalize to the point of fatigue.

I have to stop and remind myself that I do what…

Tuesdays at Teachers Pay Teachers: 2 Learn Play and Grow

My featured resource today is a Teachers Pay Teachers store, 2 Learn Play and Grow. I have the Circle Songs Growing Bundle and have found lots of song suggestions in that particular file. I'm not going to use these with my current clientele due to the simplicity of the files, but I enjoy having these resources in my library for inspiration.

There are 17 free files offered on the site, and most of them have very little to do with my role as a music therapist, but are things that I could see using if I was teaching. The store does offer three free music-related resources - a Learning Letters Circle Time Song set, a set of songs for fall circle time, and a toothbrushing song set. I love free resources, and these are very visually engaging.

One of the best things about Teachers Pay Teachers (in my opinion) is that every time I browse, I end up with more TME ideas than I can accomplish. I can find lesson resources on almost any topic ever, and this always stirs my creative juices to the …

Synthesis Sunday: Winnicott - The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship

After a hiatus, I am getting back into my process of reading things and starting to look at them from my professional perspective. Inspired by several of the folks that I heard during the Online Conference for Music Therapy, I decided to FINALLY read Winnicott's writings about holding and relationships and every single thing I could find on the internet for free. (I don't have lots of extra money to be spending on subscriptions, and I could use my state library card to get access to more, but I'm not exactly sure how to do that, so I'm not going to dedicate time to that process right now...) The first thing that I found was an article that was written in 1960.

Winnicott, D.W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship1. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 41:585-595

It was free, so I have it printed out and am ready to start reading.

Here's what I know about Winnicott before starting to read all of this. Lots of people reference his writing, especially in the internationa…

Time to Buckle Down and Get Going

To-Do List:
Board of Directors Annual Meeting for OCMTMake file folder activities for MWRAMTA in AprilLaundryDishesVacuumCat BoxCat WaterBloggingMaking other things for MWRAMTA's booth Change filters in my waterSet up new work plannerWrite TMEs for May release - sing about mini editionPrepare talk to local high school for Monday at 1pmGrocery shopCook large meals and portion them out for freezingTaxesOrganize every little thing around me!!Sounds realistic for a three day weekend, right?

I like three day weekends better than longer vacations. Three days is enough to get lots of things done, and they tend to refresh me better than a week off. In a week, I just get into the habit of afternoon naps when it is time to head back to work. If I can get through two weeks of napping, I tend to saturate on naps and I want to go back to work. We don't get two weeks of vacation anymore so I never really feel completely rested. Anyway...

Three days is enough time to get a bit of rest and is al…

Ugh. Valentine's Day.

I am such a holiday Scrooge sometimes. I am not a fan of holiday hype of almost any kind, but I really don't like Halloween or Valentine's Day. I don't know why, but it's probably based in years of having to celebrate in an extroverted way - cards for everyone! Costumes and opening the doors and going to people's houses - not really something that I like a whole lot. 

I don't really get into too much celebration in the music therapy room. This may be because I really don't care about the holidays, but I also justify it in the fact that kids often get REALLY wrapped up in strong emotions around the holidays. (Wow, three "really"s in one paragraph...I need to get out my thesaurus!) If I'm going to spend some time and effort on coming up with something new to do in the month of February, I will usually focus on historical events or Groundhog's Day or something completely unrelated.

For me, the day will be a planning/preparation day at work. I d…

Ice Day - I'm Staying Home!: Thoughtful Thursday

I have always made it part of my pride that I was able to go to work even on the most snowy days. I used to spend the night at work when the weather was really bad so that I didn't have to get out and be a problem for the transportation department. I spent nights camped out on the music therapy room floor, somewhat comfortable on couch cushions borrowed from around the facility. I no longer do that.

Today I awoke to find that it was slick and icy outside. Now, I went to the transportation department's website where it indicated that all the roads that I take were "partially covered." Translation? There may have been a couple of treatments done, but nothing is clear yet. I went outside to check - sidewalks are very slick and the drive is also slick. There isn't much sense in trying to drive 50 miles when getting out the drive takes 15 minutes (it's 147 feet to the street). The folks on the street were not going very fast, so I opted for safety for myself and my…

When Illness is All Around You...

I am currently in the throes of my February ick - something I get every year at this time, something undefined and vague, but something that happens in February every single year. I went to the doctor last week and had a flu test (because that bug has descended upon my primary workspace) which came back negative (after starting a nosebleed that lasted for about 25 minutes). My clients have a combination of influenza and/or strep, and I'm actually thankful for my own kind of ick because a)no one has the same symptoms as me AT ALL, and b)this ick seems to protect me from the other forms of ick going around.

Now, here's where I stress the idea of using universal precautions.

The idea of universal precautions means that you treat the bodily fluids of every single person as possible sources of germs...which they are...and treat them the same way all the time. Hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and instruments, and wearing gloves when needed are basic ideas and tenets to this concept…

I'm Just Not Interested in This Right Now

I have moved from a place of wanting to post every single day on this blog to my current viewpoint of "Eh." Since my attitude has changed so recently, I haven't posted much in the past three weeks. I've been so silent that Facebook is noticing! "You haven't posted in a while. Why not post something on this page so your followers will keep in touch." Thanks, Facebook, just what I need - an algorithm that chides me for my shortcomings!

So, here is my explanation post.

I have no explanation. I just haven't wanted to write lately, so I've been giving myself permission to stay in bed or to skip things entirely. I'm calling it mindfulness and all sorts of other things to justify why this is happening, but I really think it is just part of the ebb and flow of life. There you go. Sometimes ideas come to you quickly and other times ideas flit around, just out of reach and refuse to settle into a semblance of a paragraph.

I believe that writing daily is …

The Week That Was

It has been a long, difficult week - in good difficult ways and not-so-good difficult ways. The Online Conference for Music Therapy was about halfway finished at this time last week. I was firmly in my moderator role, listening to folks talking about music therapy in their places in the world. I always love this conference - this very wonderful change to increase my perspective on what music therapy is and should be - but it always wears me out! I am almost always either sick or getting sick at this time every year, so I have the double whammy of lots of things to do as well as lots of need for rest and self-care.

This past week was exhausting. My students are getting influenza and strep. I went to the doctor on Tuesday because I wasn't sure that my particular bit of germ donation to my environment wasn't the flu. (After an EXCRUCIATING brain probe to test the mucus in the back of my nasal passages) I found out that I was negative-negative for influenza. I was back to being a m…

Finally...A Planning Day!!!

I am going into work on a regular Friday!! I am going to work a regular Friday!! Today is a regular Friday!

Why all this enthusiasm for going to work?? Why am I emphasizing a regular Friday?

Well, readers, for the past two weeks, our Fridays have been inclement weather days which means that I have had to do extra music therapy groups for our residents. They still have to come to school on snow days because we only have the school staff available to coordinate their care on those days. So, I trudge through the ice and snow (when I can) to go down and do music therapy on those days - sessions that are completely different from our regular therapy - these sessions are more geared towards energy expression and fun than our usual sessions because, hello, SNOW DAY!

Most of my students live at the facility full time. It is not something that they choose - they have to be there. Since they don't get much choice in whether they come to school when the rest of the world gets to stay home and w…

Thoughtful Thursday: Realizations Occur Even After 27 Years of Doing This Job

I had a revelation and realization yesterday as I was in a supervision session with one of my interns. When it occurred to me, I felt amazed that everything was finally all together and a bit ashamed that I hadn't figured this out before.

This revelation may not be as wonderful for others, but I realized that my procedure sessions had to reflect the music therapy purposes established at the top of every therapeutic music experience that I write. If I write down that the purpose of the TME is to address fine motor skills, then I had better have a part of my implementation procedure where I assess and reinforce or redirect fine motor skills.

Duh, right?

I'm not sure I've ever thought of this before. There has to be a link between what we are doing in sessions and what we say we are doing in sessions. Now, my procedures change based on the clinical goals of my clients, so I may not have to assess fine motor skills with a particular client. If I don't write it down, though, I…

Recognizing Stress in Myself and Working On It

Every year at this time, my stress level climbs to extreme levels. It is entirely due to my involvement in the Online Conference for Music Therapy, and it is a labor of love that I know will take over my life for some time and then be done for another year. Let me make this clear - IT IS MY CHOICE TO DO THIS JOB AND TAKE ON THIS STRESS! It is also the time of year when everything has to happen all at once, so I end up getting more stress because I have to fit all this in with everything else that is going on.

Again, this is MY CHOICE and MY CHOICE only.

Due to this scheduled stress ramp-up every single year, I know that it is time for a bit of self-care and over consideration for myself. I can't PROVE a correlation between my level of health and my overly stressed week, but it happens that I get sick every time this conference comes around - bronchitis, allergy stuff, fevers, etc. It seems pretty close to being a correlation, but I cannot prove it.

This year, when my throat started g…

Tuesday at Teachers Pay Teachers: David Row at Make Moments Matter

Twenty-eight free resources are what David Row offers to us as music therapists. His store includes behavior point sheets, lots of visuals about music education standards, and folk song units for free and many other resources for sale.

I love it when I find resources that get my creative processes stirred up. I enjoy finding things that make me think a bit deeper about my music therapy sessions and how I can get my students involved in learning. I downloaded the July musician bulletin board set - 30 pages, and all for free! I'm considering the full year packet - $30.00 worth, but lots of good facts and pictures that could make my musician of the month series really easy to keep going!

David Row at Make Moments Matter incorporates all sorts of things into his shop. There are forms to organize your music use (this is how he got to me - ORGANIZATION!), folk song outlines, lots of things about rules, things to put up on bulletin boards, and labels and the like. 

I'm going to have to …

Making the Most of My Time

I am an okay time manager.

On weeks like this, when I have a major event coming up, I tend to get things done, but the to-do list gets longer and longer and everything has an air of immediacy about it. I have to spend more time and effort on my time management skills and use my lists more diligently.

The problem with weeks like this is that everything has a specific time frame for completion and nothing can really get going until that time frame. This is the type of week where I can't really get things done ahead of time, I can just wait until it is time to release information and finish tasks.

Anyway, I am an okay time manager. I am also a procrastinator/perfectionist who always feels that there is plenty of time to get things done until deadlines come up and then I wish I had started things earlier... I am trying to evolve into someone who has less deadline stress and more space to get tasks finished.

I have already finished and scheduled one of the tasks due to be released this we…

Synthesis Sunday: Finally Getting Back Into the Swing of Reading for Knowledge

Okay, okay. I know that I haven't really been as dedicated to this type of blogging situation as I would have liked recently, but there have been lots of things going on. No more excuses. The only thing that will interfere with all of my blogging will be the continued snow days (that was Friday's excuse) and my dependence on medication (Saturday's excuse!).

My article for this time around is entitled, Music Therapy in the Special Education Setting written by John Pelliteri in 2000 and published in the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, edition 11(3&4), pages 379-391. There you go. I found it on Google Scholar in pdf format.

This is less of a research paper as it is a persuasive piece written for a group of people who are not music therapists but who may act as referral points. I like the opportunity to read pieces that demonstrate music therapy to those who have limited information about our profession. It is always interesting to see how folks outsid…

Thoughtful Thursday: Keep It Together...Even When Things Are Falling Apart Around You

One of my favorite movies in the world is called Bowfinger. It is a silly movie, but it is something that I absolutely adore. It stars Steve Martin (who also wrote it) and Eddie Murphy (in a dual role) along with Christine Baranski, Heather Graham, and Terence Stamp. It's a funny movie about the movie industry, and I have most of it memorized.

One of Eddie Murphy's characters is a famous movie actor who gets involved with everyone else in a con situation, and his character is on the edge to begin with. As part of the story, he is involved in a form of counseling and has a mantra - Keep it Together. During the movie, he repeats this mantra when things get a bit too much for him to handle. You can tell how much he is upset by the pitch and the tempo of his repetitive chant - keep it together, keep it together, KIT, keep it together.

Last week's sessions were a time when I used this mantra. Things were spiraling, and I was coming down with my Jan/Feb ick, and it was all I could…

Stuck in "Poor Me" Mode

I admit it. I am wallowing in a well of self-pity and self-doubt right now. I'm in my annual allergy sick time building up to the Online Conference for Music Therapy, and I am also not able to take all my allergy medications because I cannot afford to take a day off to get accustomed to the medication (it gets me every time!). There are stress-causing things happening at work with co-workers who are upset with me about choices that I make to support therapy and all that. There is a small percentage of students who are actively working at disrupting my sessions - and they are spread out over a bunch of different sessions so things are pretty disruptive at the moment, and I feel that things aren't going the way they need to be going. I'm not hearing any sort of encouragement from anyone right now, and it is hard to keep giving when there is no time for taking.

I get stuck in these modes every so often, so it is not something that surprises me any more, but I am always having …

Tuesday at Teachers Pay Teachers: Adapting for Autism

Today's featured Teachers Pay Teachers store is Adapting for Autism. Run by a "specials" teacher who appears to cover all sorts of "specials," this store features 13 free resources for download and over 200 files for purchase. I have only accessed the Music Visual Supports and Schedules for Special Education and Autism resource - it cost me $4.50 - and that's what I am basing my review on today.

I REALLY like the instrument pictures and movement pictures that are part of this particular file, and I mounted them on cardstock and laminated them for use in my clinic. I use them every week for some of my students and often for the rest. There are music room rules and social stories to use as part of the packet. 

The rest of the files offered in this store are things put together for specific purposes but could be easily adapted to accommodate music therapy goals. There are seasonal file folder files to work on number recognition, communication building, and lots …

A Long, Blog-less Weekend

I'm not exactly sure what happened to blogging these past three days, but I didn't do it, so that's the situation. If you have become accustomed to a daily blog post from me, I guess I have disappointed you, but I'm okay with that. I think my blogging practice this year may be less consistent than in the more recent past. Who knows??

Oh! I remember why I didn't blog on Friday - it was an inclement weather day so I left my home really early so I could arrive at work at a decent hour. I did - VERY early - and then spent the day doing music therapy type stuff (not what I usually do - we watched Pixar shorts) and then went home carefully. I don't really know what happened on Saturday and Sunday - I just had things to do so I didn't get going on the blog. Sorry about that.

My current article is still not synthesized into my thoughts, so this will NOT be a Synthesis Sunday post. I am a bit behind. I have been keeping up with reading most days - so I have lots of th…

Thoughtful Thursday: Being Prepared

It is Thursday, and we are getting ready for another wave of wintry weather to blow through our area. We will be under a winter weather advisory all day tomorrow. I wonder if my superintendent will cancel school on Friday. If so, I need an administrative decision about whether I will offer shopping in the store or my inclement weather schedule tomorrow. I think I'll ask my assistant principal for a decision today, just in case...

When days like this happen, days when I am waiting for something to happen but am not quite sure what nature will bring to us all, I try to go with the Girl Scout (and Boy Scout also) motto of "Be Prepared." This idea has been drummed into my head since (almost) birth, and it is part of my world view and outlook. I know that some people will not like what I write about here, but this is my blog, my place to share my thoughts and feelings and opinions, and this is one of my core foundational beliefs.

I believe in thinking through as many possibilit…