Monday, March 12, 2012


Hello. It's March 12th already. Which means that I'm WAY behind on Irish music collecting. Actually, I always forget about incorporating Irish music into my sessions and today I think I know why. 
Dont' get upset if you're of Irish heritage. In fact, my dear sweet husband is part Irish BUT.......It's not my favorite music. There. It's out there. I've not only thought it, but written it. Don't really love it. 
But as most MTs know, that doesn't matter. You have to play music you don't personally prefer ALL THE TIME.  
So I've been researching songs and albums and youtube videos and playlists on the web and this is what i've come up with. Some of these might not be perfectly appropriate but eh....and actually, this will definitely give away how easily i'm swayed, by the time I finished compiling these songs, I sort of got into them....and felt like having a beer. cheers.

TOP FIVE (5) Irish Songs that I can handle

1. Sam Cooke- Danny Boy. 

2. The Pogues- "Streams of Whiskey"

3. Clancy Brothers "Beer Beer Beer"
4. U2- "Sunday Bloody Sunday"

5. Gaelic Storm "Nancy Whiskey"

Friday, March 9, 2012


Hi! Ok. So what's up with the Title of this post? Well, when I was in college a friend of mine used to sing this Epic Whitney Houston song when we'd have (what today we would call) "EPIC FAILS".  
Click to listen to the track while you read, if you choose. 

So what kind of fail am i blabbing about? WELL...sometimes my music therapy ideas aren't always a success. Who likes to admit that? Not me. I'm never the first person in line to shout out ma failures. But you know something? Live and Learn. Mistakes and the UN-SMOOTH are opportunities sometimes.
Take for instance this week.  I wrote the outline of a song aimed at stating goals, naming steps towards the goals and pairing emotions with the possible achievement of said goals.

SO. yeah. that's a lot. And just as a disclaimer, I was using this on my highest functioning clients. Executive functioning skills in the house. I was expecting some real goal planning here. I was expecting the clients to spontaneously call out some prolific, un-thought-of goal....AND although this is not unheard of, it was sort of unrealistic, and it took me by surprise. I kind of overestimated. And in general, I make it a point to NEVER underestimate, because you never know what your clients might be able to do.  They pleasantly surprise me often. But this was not one of those times.  My clients started naming goals alright, but sort of insane goals. Like for example, become the next AMERICAN IDOL. Another one was be as skinny as a super model. Hey, we can all dream right?
So I was caught in this difficult position of feeling like I had to tell the client hey, maybe those goals aren't realistic (as they hopefully looked at me with excited expressions).  I couldn't just say, um, no, that goal sucks.  or cry out, "Darn, this isn't what I wanted it to be!" So what did I do?
 Well, I let them write the song with me TWO times. Once with a "wish or dream" in mind. Then again with a more practical, problem-resolution based set up.  Secondly, I modified. And by that I mean, I didn't just jump into the song and have them spontaneously choose goals, emotions and steps on the spur of the moment. That was poor planning on my end. This idea needs a conversation proceeding it....and following it for that matter.  Tinkering and recipe adjusting my sessions + didn't we almost have it all?
that's what. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Last Night's Session

Last night I saw ONE of my favorite clients. yeah, they're all my favorites...BUT...
 He is an older gentleman who is blind but fully ambulatory and definitely more mentally engaged.  He is also a music hound. He listens to records everyday, perhaps all day.  He also happens to play the harmonica which I think is top drawer.  
Last night his staff member popped into the session room and delivered his harmonica.  Usually he keeps it in a drawer and prefers to keep it there, despite my nudges.  Last night however, he gladly reached for it and started playing his own improvised song.  Together we played a duet and ended up laughing together by the end.  The feeling I get from that sort of spontaneous music making and musical communicating is totally priceless. It's the gem in the haystack. the spice of music therapy life. Improvisation in music therapy sessions is SO IMPORTANT. I want to make sure that I do more of it. Not only is it a good practice, but it's a musical challenge to myself and when it works, it really gives something wonderful to the client. And that's what it's all about, sharing an experience and hopefully growing from it.