Monday matters: My word

I’ve liked to use these “Monday matters” posts as a theme for my week, or as a result of what I’d thought of in my week before. In this case, I am going to think of my theme for this upcoming calendar year. I’ve posted in the past about a theme word. I’m deciding between three words right now: “Hone,” “clarify,” and “lessen.” In our peer group meeting, we talked about how hard it is to say No sometimes. I like the word “lessen” for that reason– I can use the word to help me identify where I can reign in some places in my work. I like the words “hone” and “clarify” for similar uses, too.

Given that the last two weeks of December are bound to be busy and not work-heavy, I’m probably going to be done posting for this calendar year on Thursday. Please contact me with any writing you want to publish on your professional theme action word for this next year.

Meditate on it

Yesterday I wrote about some struggles I’m having coordinating a demanding home and work life. I got some really useful feedback from a fellow music therapist* here in the Minneapolis area. She suggested pre-session meditation, which immediately got me thinking about this fantastic app I have been using over the past several months. The app is buddhify and is coined as the “mobile mindfulness app for modern life.” What I love about it is that the guided meditations are only ten minutes long. I did try to meditate shortly before my last client this evening, and as hard as it was to do, I think I benefitted from the attempt.

Do you meditate? Are there other meditation apps that you like? What other feedback do you have to help dig out? Please leave a comment below.

*Oh, and that fellow music therapist can be heard on her podcast, Urban Therapists.

More peer supervision to come

We had an excellent peer supervision group meeting this evening in which I met yet another music therapist here in the Twin Cities area and most of us got to know one another a little more. I love having this opportunity to be face to face with other music therapists, as I don’t have such a chance in my regular work week.

Our next meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 26.

Please feel free to contact me directly or find me on Twitter (@soundmattersmt) or Facebook if you’re a board-certified music therapist in the Twin Cities who would like to attend.

Upcoming peer supervision group meeting

The next peer supervision group meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22, at 7:00 PM.

We meet to support each other anywhere we’re stuck clinically; we meet to share songs we’re using with our clients; we meet to make music together; and we meet to share ideas, resources, and thoughts on technology that we’re using.

Please feel free to contact me directly or find me on Twitter (@soundmattersmt) or Facebook if you’re a board-certified music therapist in the Twin Cities who would like to attend.


Monday matters: Consistency

As much as I enjoy and appreciate themes, I’ve never been one to work inside them. This being said, the “Monday matters” posts are an attempt to focus myself on a topic throughout my working week.

Finding consistency clinically

I’ve been working with two different populations over the past year or more. I work with groups of young children, ages infant to five, and I work with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Providing consistency plays a role in my work with both of these populations. With the children, my hope is to instill a structure that begins with an opening song, then moves into vocalizing and/or singing, then movement, instrument play, and closes with a similar closing song from week to week. In working with my other clients, my idea of consistency is personalized per the needs of each client. Some clients need a more rigid routine than others, and providing them some flexibility and autonomy inside that routine is sometimes a challenge I have. Other clients always request a certain song that I consistently provide. However I think the most important way in which I am consistent with these clients is that I try my hardest to be present, be open, and be aware each time I see them. These are important factors in my practice of consistency.

Finding consistency professionally

I could be doing more here. But, I’m trying to be consistent about organizing the peer supervision group here in Minneapolis. We’ve been meeting regularly since I was in my internship. I could definitely be working more toward CEUs and trainings, but at this point, I’m not.

I wonder about the ways you find consistency in your work week, either with clients or in business.

Monday matters: Finding connection

Finding connection clinically

I had one client today with whom I had a lot of trouble connecting. I brought her favorite instruments. Though she is non-verbal, she is often quite vocal, and she seemed to be engaged vocally at the beginning of the session. Then, she turned away. She didn’t take any instrument to play, nor did she use a certain iPad app that she’s historically seemed to love. I asked her to sign “all done,” or to tell me she was through with certain experiences in another specific way. She did neither. Most of the session, she kept her body turned away from me.

Writing about it and reviewing it now, I think I would’ve best served her by listening to her more actively. Like I said, she was vocalizing at the opening of the session. Not until we had only 15 or so minutes in our session did I truly engage with her vocally. Then, she turned back toward me. Then, she made some eye contact. Only then did I feel we had connected. I believe she felt more heard at that point.

Those first minutes were difficult. I attempted to be silent in order to see if she would choose an instrument without any kind of perceived pressure from me. I attempted asking her questions and giving her two ways to answer. But, in the end, our connection was fused when we sang together.

Finding connection professionally

I have hopes for the peer supervision group we have here in the Twin Cities. Those hopes include having a stable space where we can come together as professionals and ask our questions and receive honest advice or validation. I also hope that we use music to improvise together, to share songs, and also to address specific needs that are happening in our clinical lives. Perhaps at some point we can host speakers. Finding this type of professional connection would be so very beneficial, at least for me, being in private practice. 

I wonder if anyone out there has anything to say about finding connection.

I’m writing in terms of clinical and professional connection, but I’d love to hear input on other kinds of music therapy-related connection.

Coming together for peer supervision

We had a great group for our somewhat-monthly peer supervision meeting last night. I was fortunate to meet for the first time three new music therapists who are practicing in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area, and together all seven of us improvised and shared some songs we’d been using in our clinical work. Coming up on Saturday is the Music Therapy Association of Minnesota conference, entitled “Brain Tuning: Teaching Others to Improve Attention, Memory, and Problem Solving Skills.”

Thanks to those music therapists who came out last night. I will be posting about the next peer supervision group meeting once it’s decided.