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Showing posts from January, 2020

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

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,

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

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

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 rel

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 fol

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

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 hav

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,

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

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 p

Wednesday Woes

I'm thinking that today is going to be a bit more difficult than the last couple of days. I wasn't able to do my new reading routine last night because I was out later than usual getting my new car and abandoning my old car. I feel so much guilt about leaving my machines. It is really silly to feel guilty about leaving a machine that I've had for 7 years as I drive off in a new machine. Isn't it? I blame Pixar for reinforcing the feelings I've had for years - cars have feelings!! (Tongue kind of in cheek here - I'm not totally convinced that they don't!) I'm hoping the next owner of my Pixie-car Two will be gentle with her. She's been through lots of miles with me and deserves a makeover and some rest. TANGENT! Now to return you to the original topic of this blog post... I ended up waking up really early this morning with a headache. I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked, but that's my reality these days. I will go back to

Tuesday at Teachers Pay Teachers: Music A La Abbott

It is Tuesday, and I am heading to Teachers Pay Teachers to highlight another creator! Today I am featuring Amy Abbott at Music A La Abbott . I usually find these creators when I am uploading my own products - I upload a little and then browse a little and then spend a little bit of money... I digress. I originally downloaded the Music Game Bundle - Ultimate Set of Card and Board Games bundle , but I know that I did not pay $40.00 for this file. I waited until there was a sale and then I spent my budget on the things I really wanted. This file was one of those things. There are card games and board games - all music related. Some of these games are a bit cutesy for my older students, but some of them are very age-appropriate. Her instrument cards use very good illustrations of many common music therapy instruments as well as the orchestral instruments. She even has a card for agogo bells and another for frog guiros! I admire a creator who considers all the instruments - even the

Changing My Evening Routine

One of my goals this year is to get more sleep at regular adult-type sleeping hours. I tend to go to sleep really early and then wake up after 6-7 hours - also very early. I then try to go back to sleep (which I cannot do), and I get stressed out about not being able to sleep the way I want to sleep. It's a never-ending cycle, and I want to shift it a bit. As a result, I am going to try to establish a new evening routine. I spent the icy afternoon yesterday going through my Kindle and writing down all the business books, self-improvement books, and literary classics that I have downloaded. I don't use this device as much as I could for my reading, so I am going to place Kindle use into my evening routine. I am going to turn off the television and pick up the Kindle. Thirty minutes of business book reading, then 30 minutes of self-improvement/classics reading, then 30 minutes of real book reading. My first goal is to decrease the number of nights that I go to sleep with the te

Synthesis Sunday - Postponed Due to Weather

I didn't read my article this week. (Imagine my head hung down in momentary shame as I think about the commitment that I have made to myself and how I've let myself down...and then I'm over it...) I am sitting here, hoping against hope that my work will be cancelled this morning, but not really believing that it will happen. I should write out my sermon so I am completely prepared, and then it won't happen because I am completely prepared. I will read my article and be ready next week. This week has been a long one but the weather has messed some things up, so my attention is not fully on my goal of reading research.  So, instead of writing about what I was reading, let me just say that things are starting to come together over here. I hope that is what is happening for you as well!


My word for 2020 is "evolve." I spent a long time thinking and brainstorming and dreaming and thinking some more about what word I wanted to use to guide me into the new year, decade, and personal age decade. After many different thoughts, I finally decided that this word encompassed everything that I wanted from myself. So, I selected the word "evolve" as my guiding word for the year. I also decided that the word "evolve" was a purple type of word. I'm not sure why, but it felt right. This interests me because I have never had a word/color association happen so strongly, but this is a purple word. Everything that has to do with my word of the year will be in purple. Purple is my sister's favorite color and the color of my alma mater's biggest local rival so using this color is a bit of a difficult thing for me, but "evolve" is purple. End of story. I am currently sitting in my home, watching the snow fall, and thinking abou

Thoughtful Thursday: A Burst of Energy

There are some days where I want to stay in bed all day and others, like today, where I get up right when I'm supposed to and get lots of things done. I'm never sure what the reasoning is behind all this, but I try to take advantage of these bursts of energy when they happen. This morning, in the past hour, I've finished a load of laundry, answered lots of emails, finished my service (all but sermon) for church on Sunday, started arranging a training session for a music therapist across the globe, and covered all of my social media accounts to catch up on all emails. I feel very accomplished...and at 5:12 am! This is a good feeling. Yesterday was a totally different story here at home. I did NOT want to get up and I ended up starting my day an hour later than usual because of that feeling. There wasn't anything at work that was making me anxious or nervous or anything that I could identify, but I just enjoyed the warmth of my covers and did not want to move. I wan

It's Hard to Get Motivated Today

I woke up earlier than my alarm light this morning, but not 1:30 am early - more like 3 am early. This, believe it or not, is improvement. I just read an article that states that Gen X women tend to get less sleep than those in other generational labels. I found that a bit difficult to accept and also reassuring at the same time. While I was in my "I'm not really awake" denial period this week, I luxuriated in the way my afghan felt and the weight of the kitty sleeping on my legs and the way my body felt as I was able to stretch without having to contend with gravity pulling my spine down towards my feet. So, I remained in bed until about 5 am and then I took my shower where I remained a bit longer than I should have because now I am a bit late and need to get going so I can beat my interns to my office because I HAVE to have some quiet time before they arrive and I have to start my day as supervisor.0 uiiiiiiiiiiii - the cat decided to add her take on the morning befo

Tuesday at Teachers Pay Teachers: Featuring Tracy King, The Bulletin Board Lady

It is Tuesday, and that means it is time for me to make my way over to Teachers Pay Teachers and feature a particular person. Today, I will be looking at the many contributions of Tracy King, The Bulletin Board Lady ! Tracy King is a blogger, creator, and music educator. She offers lots of files on her page and many of those files can be adapted for use in music therapy sessions. A casual perusal of the home page reveals that she has scarf movement pictures, body percussion cards, and a series of growth mindset cards (originally for a bulletin board, but they can be made into file folder sized materials and thoughts. I get so many ideas for things when I browse her shop that it is overwhelming. She offers 35 - let me say that again - THIRTY-FIVE free files out of the nearly 800 files that she has available. Now, much of the stuff that she has is designed for school-aged humans, but I think that some adult music therapy clients would enjoy some of the ideas and files as well. With

1:30 am Wake-Ups Lead Me Into Stress Spirals

I woke up very early this morning, and I've had lots of time to start to stress over lots of things that are happening today.  This is not good. I'm a bit stressed to begin with that I woke up so early. That leads me into thinking about the new practicum student who is commuting from another state (and not the closest one) to work with me, the new intern who started on Friday, and the intern who's been here for lots of time now. There will be FOUR music therapists in the music therapy room on Monday afternoons. This is freaking me out! I am thinking about the cat who seems to be bored with me. I'm stressing about the webinar that I am running tonight - mainly because I ended up in the hospital after the last webinar. I know (rationally) that I won't end up in the hospital again, but those ideas are circling around and around in my brain. I'm wondering how I can get some more sleep. I'm trying to figure out more evening activities for myself that don

Research Synthesis Sunday - Starting Over Again

Here I sit...again...staring at the cursor waiting for some inspiration for what I want to learn about on this day. I have made my list of keywords - music therapy, special education, dual diagnoses, adolescents, early education, upper elementary, etc. The words just go on and on. I can also use the names of diagnoses, but I'm not quite at that point yet. Eventually I will be investigating more around specific diagnoses, but I am not as interested in that aspect of thought at the moment. For now, I am sticking with generalities. So, I head over to Google Scholar to find an article to think about. My rules are that I need to be able to access the entire article without having to pay for things and that the articles have to be something related to my keyword list. That's it. It also has to catch my interest. So, I've decided to read through an article by John Pelliteri written in 2000. It's a "Consultant's Corner" article for the Journal of Educational

I Did It!

My to-do list is getting smaller. I like to cross things off my list of things that I need to, have to, should finish up, and this morning, I can cross off the biggest task that I had in front of me. That makes me feel so wonderful! This is one of the reasons that I use a planner to organize my things to do and things done. I can see when I've made progress on a project or task, and I can also see what I need to do next. This visual representation is the way I can organize my self and my progress best. For some reason, electronic tracking systems are not good for me. I need paper and pens to keep track of what I am doing. It is time for a goal check. This is something that I do every so often to keep myself on track for things that I want to do and for things that I have done. My most immediate goal for today - that of finishing a project for my business - is finished for this month, but it is not over. This is an on-going type of project. Now that this month's contribu

Getting Back Into the Routine

This is one of those days where the to-do list easily overcomes the amount of time that I have to accomplish things. Add in some missing work keys, and everything that I have to do is made just a bit more complicated. Ugh. It has been a long week, and I've only been at work ONE DAY!! I was on my way out of town yesterday morning when I realized that I did not know where my work keys and badge were. Cue me to do a legal u-turn and frantic searching through things that I brought in with me on December 20th when I traded in the rental car and went to get my car from the shop! I did not find the badge and keys at home, so I went to work hoping to find them there. I did not. I came back home and searched some more - not to be found anywhere! I don't remember having my keys with me when I left work on Friday, the 20th, but I cannot imagine that I didn't have them. I usually attach them to my belt with my carabiner when I do not have pockets - but I think I had pockets in my

Thoughtful Thursday: Day 2 of 366 - Here We Go

Welcome to day two of this new year. I am preparing myself for a day of training and being trained as my faculty friends and I return to our school year today. I wonder what will happen next year when January 1 is on a Friday. Will we have one or two of these ridiculous inservice days next year, or will we just dive back into teaching?? I wonder. ANYWAY. I am trying really hard to get excited about the second half of this school year, but I am finding it difficult at the moment. I arrived home from a visit home yesterday - is that sentence confusing?? I arrived at about 3pm my time, which is significantly earlier than I usually arrive home from this type of trip, and I was greeted by the cat. I then went through a bit of a routine and then fell asleep around 7:30pm. The cat woke me up very early and did not allow me to get back to sleep, so I've been up for a long time now. It is currently 5:17am, and I have unpacked the materials that I want to take to work with me today, am