This work I get to do

I love this work I get to do.

I love that one of my clients came up and hugged me today, when he’s never done that before.

I love that I always feel full of life when I go to a particular day center.

I love that sometimes my face hurts at the end of the day from smiling so much, sometimes out of joy or happiness, but mostly out of fulfillment.

I love this work I get to do.

What about you?

Back to coursework: Go to the book

I’ve been looking at Kenneth Bruscia’s Defining Music Therapy (second edition) over the past few days in order to research a little for a project a colleague of mine and I are doing. I am, again, struck by how lovely vision (and clarity of said vision) can be. For more than a year, I’ve been transitioning into and therefore learning about another way of practicing music therapy. Should you happen to own this particular Bruscia book, I’m specifically interested in pages 116 and 117. Page 116 lists some of the clinical goals of improvisation:

  • Establish a nonverbal channel of communication, and a bridge to verbal communication
  • Provide a fulfilling means of self-expression and identity formation
  • Explore various aspects of self in relation to others
  • Develop the capacity for interpersonal intimacy
  • Develop group skills
  • Develop creativity, expressive freedom, spontaneity, and playfulness with various degrees of structure
  • Stimulate and develop the senses
  • Develop perceptual and cognitive skills

I am especially drawn to his first, second, third, and sixth bullet points. Nearly all of my clients do not use speech, and, in music, I am hoping to facilitate a “channel of communication” (page 116).

To you readers who are not music therapists: Do any of these goals surprise you? How so? 

To you readers who are music therapists: How do you remember this text? I’m back in love with it.

Monday matters: Podcast list

I haven’t gotten to any of my podcasts this week, as I’ve been absorbing audiobooks (I really can’t call it “reading”). However, there are quite a few podcasts that I take in regularly, both directly having to do with music therapy, and indirectly, too. Here are some of the non-membership podcasts that are in my rotation.


Music Therapy Round Table

The Music Therapy Show

On-the-Go Studio

Urban Therapists


Arts and Healing Podcast


Wall Street Journal on Small Business

Internet Business Mastery


Voices in the Family (thank you to Roia for mentioning this podcast one day)

What am I missing?

Song, “Idiot Wind”

I’ve been a-reading (that is, “audio reading,” as in audiobooks; not a-reading like “I’m a-fixin’ to read me some books”) Bob Dylan in America written and read by Sean Wilentz. I haven’t a-read too many books, but I usually like when the author reads. This book is no exception. Wilentz is a fantastic writer, and his passion for his subject is clear in this reading.

One of the songs Wilentz discusses at length is Dylan’s “Idiot Wind.” I’d never heard the song, and admittedly I wasn’t paying too much attention to the book when Wilentz talked about it (which I now regret). I need to know more about Dylan; just look at these lyrics:

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads headin’ south
Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot, babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

Read more:

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad, what’s bad is good, you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom

Read more:

Idiot wind, blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind, blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots, babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves

Read more:

Find the lyrics to the whole song here.

Man oh man.

Though this song is from 1974, the best recording of it I could find is from a performance in 1992. Here it is.

Songwriting is such a talent. I might play around with the question-and-answer form of folk. Perhaps one day I might finish a song I start.

How do you approach songwriting? What is your experience with this Dylan song?

Writing prompt: Define vision

I venture to guess that almost everyone in any profession or occupation has some semblance of a vision for himself. Over these past few days, when it’s still well below freezing and even degrees below zero here in Minneapolis, I’ve had some trouble getting ahead of my day. One vague goal I have (I call it “vague” because I don’t really know how to measure it) is to design my day and not let it and all its circumstances drag me unwillingly all the way to bedtime. Sometimes this happens. I suppose having a young baby has something to do with this, but nonetheless, I want to be the designer.

What is my vision? I’d been out of the habit of writing down my schedule and my goals and my lists and my innumerable want-t0/need-to-dos. I’d been typing them into my phone or my Google calendar. While this is functional, I don’t experience the act of planning and seeing as I do when I write it down. This week, I’m trying to get back into the habit of writing. Journaling is still a far-off activity at this point, but even writing out what I want to do with my day is serving me well. I haven’t clarified my vision for my business yet, even though Empower U Academy has challenged its members to do so. I have vision for my clients, but for my career as a whole? I have not written it out.

This being said, my writing prompt for March is to define your vision. I invite you to write one sentence, one paragraph, one page, or more, if you’d like. This doesn’t have to be pertaining specifically to your professional life. This can be even a very short-term vision. There is so much writing out there about finding your vision, so let this be some practice for that act. Contact me with your submission. Have it in to me by March 15.

Find January’s guest submission here.

Monday matters: A pairing

I’ve written about the role of patience in music therapy sessions before, and I’ve come up against it again. I find it exceedingly difficult to manage the juxtaposition of task management and creation of therapeutic space. Therapeutic space is vast and filled by the client and all of the people, things, and ideas he needs to bring with him; task management is all of the noise and pieces that clamor around outside, hopefully serving to keep out extraneous bits from getting where they shouldn’t go. The session inside the space needs to be as quiet as it can be before the client enters.

How in the world does one keep these two parts of the self-employed therapist life living harmoniously?

Meditate, if you can.

Dump the thoughts onto paper before going into a session.


Talk to other therapists.

Accept imperfection, but expect improvement.

What is your definition of therapeutic space?

*In last week’s post, I mentioned my three priorities for the week. Gladly, I accomplished them all.

Monday matters: Anticipation

We had our monthly peer group meeting tonight, and the intention we assigned our improv was “anticipation.” The feelings I have surrounding anticipation are positive (challenge, achievement) and negative (anxiety, possible disappointment, stress). I’m anticipating fluctuation in my practice. I’m anticipating growth in my clinical knowledge. I’m anticipating a lot of transition and movement, which is exciting and distressing.

I’ve been feeling shaken a lot lately. I’ve felt shaken loose, ungrounded, and definitely unstable. I’ve been lonely out here in private practice. I’m anticipating the need to further connect with therapists, and though I’ve secured at least one accountability partner, I might benefit from clearly stating my goals for the week here.

My Monday Map for this week:

  1. Register for the GLR Conference
  2. Catch up on my billing
  3. Learn one new piece of repertoire/write one song

Where does your map go this week?

I anticipate success…

Monday matters: Stepping back

My consideration for February is what to do and what not to do to establish good self-care. I think the most important piece for me to remember is what I shouldn’t do. I tend to want to take on as much as I possibly can. I love the idea of being busy. Being too busy, though, makes me really unhappy. I think I’m just so accustomed to being busy that having free time is too foreign. This all being said, I’m going to relieve some of the pressure and post to this blog only once a week.

What don’t you do?