Showing posts from April, 2020

Chapter Three: A Continuum of Music and Humanity

While I enjoy writing a bit of fiction now and then, I find myself getting caught up in details that are not necessarily part of the big picture but will inform my ideas about what should happen in my story. It's called character and plot development, right??

I'm at that place right now.  I am thinking about the first course that I named in this thought experience - "A Continuum of Music and Humanity." In my post on Tuesday, my hero, Persephone, was sitting in her assigned seat in the auditorium, one of four thousand music therapy students (could you imagine a gathering of music therapy hopefuls THAT big??), getting ready to hear from the person in charge of it all, Dr. Licar. What would this course cover, do you think? I am fleshing it out in my head - writing a syllabus and doing some light internet research to find references and resources for a course titled something like this. One of my favorite courses from my undergraduate days was "Sociocultural Influences…

My Persephone Story - Thoughts About What May Come

I am having a bit of fun thinking through a futuristic story about a music therapy student in the year 2047. This series is background and character development for another story that I am working on - for some reason, stories are piling into my head during this time, and I have a bit of time to work on them, I guess. Persephone, my hero, is going to be the foundation of my bigger story...and, it's just kinda fun to think about what generations of music therapists will do after all this.

I hope I see the world of 2047. It's not unlikely that I'll make it that long, but I will be elderly at that time and possibly in an assisted living facility, so I hope that my music therapists will be proficient in playing my music - alternative 80's rock and Broadway musicals, and songs from my therapy career - I should probably write an advanced directive about musical preferences and my background so I don't have to hear "You are My Sunshine" during sessions.

I have fel…

Thinking More About the Future of Music Therapy

At some point, I am sure that this will become an occasional series, but it is keeping my brain occupied with something other than COVID-19, so this may be a theme for a bit. Please note that this is a work of fiction, something that I think may happen in our small world of music therapy at some point, but not rooted in the current reality. 

I just like exploring "what-ifs."

 "Number 2427," Persephone whispered to herself as she walked through the masses of people and the hallways towards her designated entrance.
It was orientation week, and she was trying to find her seat in the auditorium. To do that, she had to find the hall that linked to her section and row - she was number 2427, and that meant heading up about halfway up and a bit over halfway across the great building.
There were so many people. Persephone had never been in a class with more than her siblings before. This felt like a small city full of people. Some were playing instruments. Others were singing i…

Envisioning the Future of Music Therapy

I am currently engaged in some thoughts about the future of music therapy - as a profession, as a topic of study, and as a way to engage to reach goals. It is an interesting time to be living in, and I am enjoying the thought process of thinking about the "what ifs."

Did you know that there is an entire field of study called "future studies" or "futurology?" Combining ideas from Thomas More, Samuel Madden, and H.G. Wells, folks who study the future often work within complex analysis structures to try to make predictions of what will happen and when. I am just now starting to examine this type of thinking, but I am finding it absolutely fascinating.

I have always enjoyed glimpses into possible futures. I enjoy reading science fiction/fantasy books, and the recent popularity of dystopian story lines shows that I am not alone. It seems that authors that write these stories are often informed by the work of "futurists." 

I think it is time for some thi…

No More Hobby Play - Time to Clean

Short post today because I need to be doing home stuff. There are tons of dishes in the sink, a broken garbage disposal that needs to be attended to, a messy closet. lots of clean clothing sitting around, and some messy hallways. I need to devote myself to things that I find less fun than making books and designing CMTEs and writing presentation proposals.

To get some things finished up, I am going to use my preferred timing trick - 30/30. Thirty minutes to work on something that I don't prefer and then 30 minutes on something else. This pattern works for me from about 7am until about 11am when I hit the end of my attention. If I allow myself to take a rest, then I stay in rest mode for the rest of the day. If I power through, then I can keep going, but at a significantly slower pace.

Today, though, things need to get done!

Here's the list (so far) - clean the cat litter, take out the trash, do the dishes, check the disposal for details for replacement, do laundry, clean out clos…

The Sweetwater Challenge

Am I part of a reality show that tests morals and ethical behaviors?? If so, am I winning??

For the last three days, there have been two packages outside my door that are not for me. They are from Sweetwater which is a music equipment company that I have never been able to order from - they tend to be a bit more expensive than I can usually afford. When I walked into my hallway on Wednesday to see these boxes sitting outside my door, I was thrilled! Someone decided I needed a new guitar!!! Joy! Rapture!! What??

My rational mind knew that these were not for me. My family knows not to buy me a guitar - guitar selection tends to be a pretty personal process - I'm not usually too picky, but my Dad (who is the only one who would even think about doing this) knows that I would rather choose my own instrument than just to find one on my doorstep.

My emotional mind, on the other hand, was jumping up and down! A new guitar!! What was in the other box?? Maybe an amplifier?? I could use one of …

The Power of Napping

I returned home from my job yesterday and crawled into bed. I didn't use the bathroom, I didn't get a snack, and I didn't get onto social media. I crawled into bed. I slept for four hours and woke up still tired.

This concerns me based on the things happening around here, but not seriously. I'm asymptomatic, so I am feeling that this is just the mental health effects of the past six weeks coming down on my at this moment...but...I'll be checking my temperature to make sure.

My nap did not refresh me like I had hoped it would, and now I'm sitting here at almost 5am on Friday, with heavy eyes and difficulty focusing on anything. I did find that my yesterday nap helped me out with my attitude. After I woke up, I fed the cat, talked to my family, and then finished up some of the work that I needed to do for my church job. The nap seemed to be a good reset of my mood so I could get something done.

I know I am not alone in this. I know that my much more extroverted temp…

Giving Myself the Grace I Can Easily Find For Others

One of the things that I've noticed, about myself and about many of the music therapists that I know, is that we tend to be our own worst critics. I see this every time I give an evaluation to one of my interns. They rank and rate themselves much harsher than I do on a regular basis...I do the exact same thing when it is my turn to evaluate my own skills - my "ideal therapist" expectations come out and shame me...every...single...time.

When my interns or other therapists start to demonstrate this type of response to evaluation, I am easily able to identify it and put them at ease. When it is me, though, I slip into feelings of inadequacy and, again, that shame. Why is it so difficult to give myself the grace to be imperfect and learning when I can support others in their journeys?

This is possibly coming up because of my attendance at the Midwestern Region conference this past weekend. It is also coming up (and I know this for a fact) because I had a very emotional day on …

More of What You Love...Less of What You Don't Love

I took a business-focused CMTE this past Sunday. During that check-in about my business and where I want it to go, I was encouraged to focus on only one thing. The presenter knows me pretty well and knows that one of my failings is that I want to do it ALL! So, I am challenged to focus on only one thing to develop and promote and work on.

It is nice when what you want to do and what you enjoy doing merge into something interesting. This is the concept that I am pondering this morning - what do I love?

It is all too easy these days to identify the things that I don't particularly enjoy. I've written several drafts of posts that I haven't published because they were full of ranting and emotion and negative thoughts that just seem more and more prevalent for me these days. I am struggling to keep a positive attitude these days as this change in my way of being drags on and on. I, though, am trying to find the things that I love in all of this.

My challenge for this afternoon is …

Post-Conference Thoughts

After attending any sort of conference, it always takes me a couple of days to assimilate the information that I've learned into a semblance of order. I tend to try to soak in as much knowledge as possible, so I am constantly taking notes and scribbling in my notebooks, but I don't often take many mindful moments during the conference itself to reflect and think about what I am hearing. I have a fear of missing out on some tidbit of life-changing information so I go into sponge mode - you know, soaking in everything I can until I cannot soak in any more? Anyone else??

This is one of the reasons that you rarely see me at the more social gatherings of conference. I need time away from the need to soak up stuff to wring myself out and start the process of synthesizing information. I am also an introvert who gets completely and totally exhausted by the need to interact with people all day, every day. I tend to get more hugs during conferences than the rest of my year, and the physi…

Sunday Morning Synthesis Avec Chat

It is Sunday morning, the day after the concurrent sessions of the online version of the Midwestern Region conference, and I am sitting here (sometimes accompanied by my cat - hence the lapse into French in the title above) thinking about the things that I experienced yesterday.

I acted as a moderator for two presenters - I'm not going to put their names here because I didn't ask permission - and was thankful for the opportunity to learn about things that I've forgotten about instruments, about attitudes, and about thinking way outside the box. All four of the presentations that I moderated were things that interested me (which is why I selected them to moderate to begin with), and I feel inspired to try some new old things. I am remembering things that I've put aside thanks to the two presenters.

For me, remembering things long forgotten or finding one new idea is what makes going to conferences so valuable. I've started feeling like there really isn't anything …

Return to Daily Blogging - 5/6 days - Not Too Bad, If I Say So Myself

This week has been an experiment for me - getting myself back into a routine of blogging (almost) daily. I haven't been blogging much lately. I'm not sure why, but I find that I can start my day in a bit of a better mood when I write than when I don't write. So, writing is something that I need to be doing. I think I've found myself in a bit of a rut. I don't like writing about feelings over and over, but those are the things that are most prevalent in my thoughts these days. My feelings are all over the place - some not good, others not too bad - but all over the place. Lately, things have been coming out very much focused on me rather than on the other two parts of this blog - the music and the therapy part of the title.

To be honest, I've been feeling pretty helpless and insignificant during this entire time. I'm watching my fellow music therapists going through constant challenges and immense stress, and I'm feeling pretty guilty about having a job t…

A Professional Day - Time to Get Ready for Conference

Today will be a day of conference preparation and continuing education thoughts and work. I had originally arranged for this day off significantly before all this happened, and I decided to continue to take this day as a preparation day yesterday when I realized that I had lots to do to get myself ready for conference. Most of what I will be doing on this day involves continuing education in one form or another, so I think it definitely falls under the category of professional development.

If you haven't heard yet, the AMTA national conference is going to be online this year. I am actually pretty excited about this. Nothing will change the excitement of being completely surrounded by living, breathing music therapists, but AMTA is FINALLY joining The Online Conference for Music Therapy, inc. in the 21st century! Welcome!!

I am going to spend some time sending in presentation proposals to AMTA today. I have a couple of ideas (finally) rattling around my brain that I can easily adapt …

Staying Up Late...and Paying the Price

Last night, I had a chance to do something that I absolutely to interns about music therapy and my way of writing therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) for use with clients. During the webinar, we developed a new TME that uses random things that I had on my desk - a set of Avengers playing cards. Using these cards as the starting point, we brainstormed ideas on how to use the cards to engage client interest and support two very different client goals - color recognition and upper extremity gross motor range of motion. I need to write the ideas down into my TME format today so I will remember the TME concept.

We talked for longer than my usual 60 minutes - there is just so much to cover when talking about this concept that I can't stop in the middle of it all. I went back to my bedroom a bit later than usual, had to scootch the cat over from the middle of the bed, and then my brain started working...and working...and working. I scrolled through options for watching things…

Blogging After Documentation - The New Routine

It is 6:31 am and I have been working on my clinical documentation since 5:15-ish. I had to get two sets of sessions finished because I forgot my cheat sheet at work last weekend, so it took a bit more time than it should (usually) this morning. I'm sitting here with another hour left before I need to go to work, but I am feeling pretty good about what I have accomplished so far.

I had a (duh) realization that by putting in hours before work for documentation, I don't have nearly as many hours that I have to do after my time at work to make up for lost time for my employers. Rather than having to do 4 hours after my time at work in more work from home, I am down to only needing to find about 2 more hours of work. This is much more manageable to my brain and my schedule. I was trying to figure out four more hours of work after an early morning session and four hours at work doing sessions, and another 2 hours of commuting. That's a bit more than I could actually fit into my …

Back to Blogging

I haven't been as dedicated to blogging as I like lately, mainly because, know...but even before all this stuff happened, I wasn't doing too well with my previous routine. For some reason, blogging just wasn't as natural for me as it had been before this year. I was spending WAY too much time staring at the computer screen rather than actually writing anything. Blogging wasn't doing what I needed it to do for me. It was more of a chore than a pleasure.

So, I gave myself some grace and decided that I would only blog when I felt an urge to do so. That worked pretty well with some guilt, but not as many twinges as I thought I would have. I think that season, though, is over for me. I'm starting to feel the need to blog again, so here it goes...

Week of Blogging - Day One
It is Monday. Easter is over, and there are five and a half weeks left of this very strange school year. I am still not able to figure out my schedule between working part-time at school and p…

The First Time I've...

Today is Easter Sunday. and it is the first time in a very long time that I have not been in church on this Sunday. In fact, it may be the first time I have not been in church on this Sunday. I can't remember an Easter when I haven't been part of an Easter celebration.

This is strange for me. My spirituality is a part of my being in this world, and it is strange not to be getting up early to go to a sunrise service or to sing traditional music with others on this day. Of all the traditions of my particular brand of spiritual belief, the Good Friday service is my favorite. I've come to understand that Easter cannot happen unless Good Friday happens. I love the ceremony of Holy Week, and I've missed that remembrance of the ritual this week.

On the other hand, this is the first Holy Week in a couple of decades where I have not been absolutely exhausted by Easter!!

There are good and bad things about all of this.

So, this may be the first time that I've ever missed an East…

New Routine Review: Day 3

Happy Friday! I am trying my best to get myself into a firm routine, but it is not happening yet. This is the fourth day after our "do less while you are here and do more when you are at home" talk at work, and it is Friday, so I am working entirely from home today rather than going into work. This week has also brought us a mandatory mask order (mine is rubbing a blister on the tip of my nose) and 24 hours where we went from 87 degrees to 29 degrees 24 hours!

Over the past three days, I have tried to figure out an afternoon routine. I now have more afternoon hours to fill because I have to leave as soon as my essential work duties are finished. I am getting home in the early afternoon now, but I have done almost as many groups in the morning as I used to do all day, so my therapy fatigue level is the same as if I spent the entire 11 hours a day I used to do - 9 hours at work and 2 commuting. I am now only doing 6 of those hours at work, but I am struggling wi…

Talking with Interns - One of My Favorite Things Ever

On Tuesday evenings right now, I am hosting a series of intern webinars. We meet in a non-recorded, totally confidential setting that allows us to discuss all sorts of things. (Oooh, that reminds me, I need to send my powerpoint to right back...) Okay, I'm now a bit off my morning timeline, but that's okay, I can get things finished. I have LOTS of time in the mornings now - I have cut my hours back even more because of the Department of Health's requirements for folks coming in and out of our building...ANYHOO...

Back to talking about talking with interns.

Last evening, we talked about time management and organization - two of my personally most challenging tasks, especially right now when everything changes on a moment to moment basis. I am currently trying to navigate working from home, and it is not easy for me, especially since I am also working at work. My concentration at home is horrible, and I haven't figured out what to do so I can get more efficient.…

All Other Ground is Sinking Sand

Well, yesterday we had a "this is the way it is" talk at work. We have these about every 5-10 years and have ranged from "Hey, welcome to the last day before Winter Break - by the way, we might not be open on New Years. Merry Christmas!" to yesterday's greatest hit, "We may not be able to sustain our numbers with the level of funding that we have now, so some of you may not be working here in July."


I am currently experiencing an anxiety attack about all the things that are in my head right now - hence, the last afternoon blog post - an attempt to get this out of my head and into the ether of the internet in a way that is archived for all eternity but that allows me to purge my thoughts and try to settle.

I got sick again on Sunday - not anything COVID-ish, but lots of my typical gastrointestinal stuff. I wasn't able to sleep very well in between issues and attacks, but things started earlier on Sunday than it did last Sunday. I was able to go …

Thinking of the Future Through a Different Lens

Over these past two weeks (the amount of time that I've been doing a different type of work schedule), I've been thinking about what I'm going to be doing in the future. I am an internship director, and I am contemplating what sorts of things I need to prepare future interns to do in a post-coronavirus world.

Before all this started, I didn't focus on the thought of telehealth therapy at all. It wasn't a consideration in my particular job, and I don't like spending tons of time editing and recording videos, so I really just ignored the need for these types of thoughts in my training program.

No more.

It has become evident that we need to be thinking about this since it has happened and many of us have been scrambling to figure out what this entire type of therapy is and what we can and should be doing.

Now, my thoughts are still jumbled together and not really clear yet, but this blog is a place where I work through my thoughts, so here I go.

It is evident that we m…