Music Therapy Activities Wikia

When Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC’s founder, James E. Riley, was conducting his master’s degree and working with a large interdisciplinary team at a regional psychiatric hospital, he led a dedicated team to build a community resource for all board-certified music therapists (MT-BCs) and anyone else interested in music therapy. The website Music Therapy Activities Wikia (MTAW) is a free, online resource designed to be community driven and open-sourced; MTAW encourages everyone to contribute what they can offer (editorial administration ensures the accuracy of content) so as to bring together multiple perspectives, original ideas, experienced tips, and excellent resources. It is an “encyclopedic collection of therapeutic music activities, indexed by Goal/ObjectivePopulation, and Use of Music.” was featured in a post on Psychology Today, written by Cathy Malchiodi PhD, LPCC, LPAT, ATR-BC, REAT. MTAW has been featured in regional and national presentations. It has been on social media and music therapy blogs. It’s definitely been on my Bookmarks bar and frequently referenced for new session ideas, holidays songs, iPad apps, songs for lyric analysis, and sooooo much more. Follow-up posts will further discuss everything the site offers.

So for everything this site can offer, what does it need?! Well, it needs YOU. This site is just beginning. It’s very young. The structure has been provided, but the content will continue to grow. People are searching through its pages, but we need you to take just a few moments to learn how easy it is to edit – or contribute new – material! It feels good. You’re already planning your own sessions, so share the love! Do your good deed for the day! Website managers can even collaborate with internship directors or university faculty to provide reports, allowing MTAW editing a class grade or intern project!

For any questions, ideas, or concerns becoming an active part of our music therapy activity/information sharing community, please reach out to THANK YOU!


Guest Post: “Workaholics: Staying Healthy on a Schedule”

Julie Morris is a life and career coach. She enjoys writing and is currently working on her first book. She also loves spending time outdoors and getting lost in a good book. Julie’s article “Workaholics: Staying Healthy on a Schedule” is featured below, and will help the busy professional – as well as the stressed caregiver or family member – to lead a healthy lifestyle.


More and more people are describing themselves as workaholics as companies demand harder working employees. The modern entrepreneur is also experiencing a decrease in personal time as they work tirelessly to turn a profit. As admirable as hard workers are, overworking is a major cause of diminished mental and physical health.

Time for relaxation and fun is just as important as work but goes unrecognized for its importance. If you’re on a busy schedule and don’t feel like you have time for a personal life, here are a few things you can be doing to better your health.

Find a Day to Meal Plan

Eating a well-rounded diet without nutritional gaps is key in maintaining mental health as well as physical health. Of course, preparing fresh, healthy food each day is not usually feasible for someone on a hectic schedule.

Instead of trying to make time for meal prep each day, take one of your freer days to plan and shop for freezer meals. A freezer meal requires that you simply toss all the ingredients into a container and freeze it. Before work each day, take a few seconds to empty the contents into a slow cooker. When you get home, a healthy, fresh meal will be waiting.

Fit Exercise in Where You Can

Getting exercise is another very difficult task when your work life overtakes your personal life. However, exercise is critical for feeling mentally and physically well when working a high-stress schedule.

Though you may not be able to work a gym visit into your week, you can do smaller exercises such as yoga or desk exercises. Yoga can be done for just a few minutes a day after work using an instructional video. Desk exercises can be performed in your chair at work if you’re really in a crunch.

Make Time for Fun

Many people who work too much feel that fun and relaxation is a waste of time. Even when they do make time for fun, they may feel guilty for not being productive. However, fun and relaxation are critical for a well-rounded and mentally healthy person.

Human beings are not meant to work to the extent we do. We need time for reinforcing social bonds and unwinding. So when you have free time, make plans with friends. Even if it’s only a few times a month, you will be amazed by how refreshed you feel.

Learn to Meditate

Studies on meditation show just how powerful the mind can be. Monks have been studied meditating atop a freezing mountain, maintaining stable body temperatures. For someone who hasn’t spent their entire life learning the practice, it may not have quite as strong and effect but it will make your stress vanish.

Meditation is essentially learning to control your mind and silence it, erasing stress, worry, and negative thought. This skill is a huge advantage over your hectic schedule and can benefit you in ways you may not realize. Try meditating a few times a day. Practice makes perfect after all.

Learning to balance your work and personal lives is not an easy skill, particularly for executives higher on organizational charts who have myriad responsibilities. Instead, take baby steps toward a healthier lifestyle by exercising, eating better, having fun, and even learning meditation. There are many small ways you can improve your life. See what fits into your current schedule and go from there.

Image via Pixabay by Keifit


Shout-Out! “All Children Love Music!” MT w/SLP

“’Hello, hello! I see you there in the green shirt, the green shirt, won’t you please tell us your name?’ A child looks down to check before opening her eyes wide and pointing to her own shirt. The Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) responds, ‘That’s you! Welcome! Everyone say hi to Sarah!’ Several shy children whisper their greetings and make brief eye contact. A father helps his toddler wave. An older child turns to shake Sarah’s hand and pronounces, ‘Hello!!! I’m Gaawry!!!’ The MT-BC smiles, then challenges everyone to repeat the shirt’s color “green” before giving each child their own turn.

“Next, the group sings, ‘Music sweet music, all children love music! We work real hard and have great fun, we know it’s therapeutic!’ Every Tuesday morning and afternoon on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s outpatient Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) floor, children with speech and communication delays achieve non-musical benefits through music therapy groups. These fun and innovative clinical services are funded by donations to Music Sweet Music, Inc. ‘Great singing! Let’s practice that big word, ‘therapeutic.’ Stick your tongue out a little and try it again. Yes! Timmy, that was great a ‘th’ sound when you sang the word ‘therapeutic’!’

“Before singing our ABCs or drumming today’s activities, before sharing instruments or labeling our emotions, we’ve already shown off our social skills, articulated several target sounds, demonstrated new confidence, and engaged successfully in a clinical environment. We have connected on an individual basis through music; the children are motivated to engage in SLP interventions without realizing how hard they’re working.

“Whereas the children love the music, their families value the therapy. Music therapy is the clinical application of music, evidence-based interventions, and a unique therapeutic relationship in order to accomplish non-musical objectives.”

James E. Riley, MM, MT-BC provides Music Therapy across Pinellas country through Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC (MTSP) and Music Sweet Music, Inc. (MSM). MSM provides MT to families of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital out-patient pediatric Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program, and featured this blog post illustrating what a “normal” session might look like; continue reading here!


Shout-Out! Book Review in Psychology of Music

Book review: International Perspectives in Music Therapy and Training: Adapting to a Changing World. By Karen D. Goodman

Book Review by James E. Riley

International Perspectives in Music Therapy and Training: Adapting to a Changing World, a new collection of essays edited by Professor Karen D. Goodman, provides an illuminating exploration into many great programs, experiences, and concepts from beyond the Western world, traveling to where music therapy is lighting up on the map.

“Goodman’s 264-page tome marries her own insights with those of her contemporaries from around the world.  The book’s title aptly summarizes Goodman’s thesis: Music therapists from around the world articulate several perspectives on either the changing field of music therapy or the preparation of music therapy students.” Continue reading online at


Shout-Out! Webinar with Music & Memory’s Dan Cohen

Kat Fulton and Rachelle Norman are hosting a webinar featuring Dan Cohen, founder of Music & Memory℠. The FREE webinar is TONIGHT at 6PM Eastern, 3PM Pacific time (Register here!). Tonight they will help you stay up-to-date as Music & Memory℠ moves into your state, talk about collaboration, guide you towards resources to be an effective consultant, and provide opportunities for you to grow your practice. Registering for the event only requires your first name and an e-mail address. After signing up, you will receive bonus e-mail updates as the partnership between Music Therapy and Music & Memory℠ develops. If you cannot make the live meeting, there will be a recording available.


Shout-Out! Envisioning the Future of Music Therapy

Temple University hosted an international music therapy symposium to stimulate vision and action towards the future of our profession in the United States and across the world. Cheyrl Dileo edited a book titled Envisioning the Future of Music Therapy to preserve and promote the stimulating information presented at the conference. This book is a great read, and it’s available for FREE DOWNLOAD! Thank you! Yes!

The book provides an overview, vision, recommendations, and research references based on what fourteen members of the Consortium of Music Therapy Research Universities presented on. These leaders were asked to, “talk regarding how he or she envisioned the future of music therapy theory, practice, and research in his or her particular area of expertise. These areas included specific clinical populations, music therapy methods, theory, and technology. The clinical areas represented included mental health, criminal justice, medicine, dementia, neuroscience, and autism. Specific music therapy methods included songwriting, clinical improvisation and the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music.” Book chapters also include the future of music therapy theory, research, neuroscience, technology, and Dr. Dileo’s concluding summaries/reflections.


Profile: Kat Fulton! Part 1

Kat, what do you wish you knew when you were first starting your clinical business Sound Health? What are some of the best resources? What advice would you give?


“To give you a bit of a candid answer, I’m a bit of a person who tends to have anxiety. So when I was starting my private practice, I was so overwhelmed trying to figure out what to record and how to do it, what I “should” do to be a business, and everything. Months and months later someone told me something I wish I learned earlier: The single most important thing to focus on is getting your first paying client, and then to multiply it from there. All of the details about bookkeeping, filing your taxes, setting up systems, developing a website… those can come later! It’s okay that they’re not in place before you begin. If you don’t have revenue coming in, then it’s just a hobby, not a business. You have your revenue goals, such as how much you need to live off of, but only your real work will bring any financial results. As you continue, or especially before filing taxes, you’ll want an accountant who can help you set up bookkeeping software, and I highly recommend you find a good accountant, it is so worth it to avoid the extra work, uncertainty, and headaches. Ask your accountant to help you figure out your system so that you can work smarter instead of spinning around in circles – just go the experts. You’re going to get so many other opinions and resources while saving yourself so much valuable time by just reaching out to the experts. You need to be very resourceful. Being resourceful and reaching out for available resources is part of what makes someone successful. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help! If there’s someone you look up to and admire, ask them for help! The worst that can happen is that they’re too busy and may have to say no, but who cares? Big deal! A lot of people will be there to help.

“There are so many good resources, and which resources you need depends on what kind of business you want to build! Our values in our company have to do with self-care and leadership, so that’s what I build everything around. That’s what I make every decision for the business based upon. So if you can find a mentor who shares similar values, then ask if they help you along. is a program that I run on an annual basis; it’s called the 90-day activator and it’s really to help you get jumpstarted. It includes templates for contracts, checklists, and sorts of different things to help you with your private practice. I love the work of Rachel Rambach, just Google her because she has a couple of amazing websites, but is a good start. Jamie George might offer mentorship; I really admire her work, she’s just on fire. If you want billing to be part of your map for what you’re creating, then go to her and ask her for help. I would get to know different practices and find out what their values are, and find a mentor for supervision – which could count for CMTE credit hours, called “unapproved” CMTE hours, but you figure out how to make those supervision hours count. A final resource I want to bring up is the Therapy Business Blueprint by Kimberly Sena-Moore; It’s a nuts and bolts checklist and outline that is really helpful. It’s really well structured with all of this information about starting and growing your business. But… don’t forget to get those paying clients first!”

What are some of the most important to spend your money on when you’re first starting out?


“Most music therapy and other healthcare practices bootstrap; they’re not seeking outside investors, but investing their own capitol into the business. When I started out I had to sub-contract for other agencies on the side of building my own business for the first 2 or 3 years. I think by the end of year 3 I only worked 2 hours a month and the rest was directly through my own business by then. So if I had to do it all over again, I would probably do it the same way: Buy the minimum level of equipment that you’ll need. I focused my purchases on what I need for Alzheimer’s groups. I knew that I needed some sort of rattles for each individual in the group to hold on to. I wanted to work up my drum equipment, but I never got there until just a couple of years ago. I would drive up to REMO every other weekend where they have a warehouse full of used drums. I would scope out as many deals as I possibly could. There are people who buy things and then realize they don’t want them, which you can find on a closed Facebook group called Music Therapy – Buy, Sell, Trade. You can also keep your eye on Craig’s List and different places. Spend your money on an accountant and on equipment. Otherwise, you gotta spend money on gas and basic requirements. And there are marketing aspects you can spend money on, such as brochures, business cards, and and the list goes on, but you can get a lot of that very inexpensively by going to the internet! But remember that all of this is directed towards generating real clients. The direct way to generate revenue is actually connecting with people, giving presentations, offering your services, and literally saying, ‘I am looking to build my practice right now,’ and telling everybody you know that you are in this space of growth, and that they can help. ‘Oh you love my services over at this place? Great! So tell me, are you a member of a group where I can give a presentation for people who are like you?’ That’s gotta be your focus!”

How do you market yourself and your business?


“So I like the direction of this, because first you asked about resources, and now you’re asking about time. Time is your most valuable resource. Time might even be more valuable than money at the point of starting your business. The way you spend your time is important and valuable. What I have found to be the most successful way to market myself is by word-of-mouth. When I hear someone say, ‘Kat! Your session, it’s not even close to entertainers! There’s an obvious difference.’ And they’re regurgitating all of the education I’ve provided them. If I notice that they’re regurgitating the education I’ve given them, then I tell them how I appreciate that they’ve noticed and say, ‘I’m curious, since you’re in this position, maybe you have a family member or know any other families who may benefit form a service like this, or are you a member of any support group outside the setting I normally see you in?’ Offer yourself. Do presentations. Get in front of a group of decision makers, and make sure they make some decision before the end of your presentation. There’s gotta be a flow to your presentation. Be strategic and be smart. By the end of your presentation, you want to make sure everyone knows, ‘I’m building my private practice now!’ Maybe you give a little marketing freebie out or something, but also pass around your calendar and have them sign up for free 30-minute consultation within the next two weeks. There’s only so much you can cover in a group, so make sure they know that you want to meet again to dig in and get to know them and their situation on an individual basis, you want to help meet their individual needs. Whenever you have the opportunity to get in front of a group, you want to wow them, provide them with the neuroscience and research behind music therapy, engage them in something experiential and share real experiences, and get them excited – you have to have contagious excitement coming with you wherever you go, and it’s easy for us to do that because music therapy is our passion, our life calling. Word-of-mouth is an active process of selling music therapy. When you start out, you want to do events whenever you can, but over time you might eventual start weeding out which to do as you start learning which opportunities will turn into the most real clients. Collect data! How many people or what percentage from which presentations actually led to consultations? And then how many turned into paying clients?”

How has ethics played a role your work?


Ethics pertains to the relationships within your work. So, ethics pertains to the relationships you have with your clients, your relationships with colleagues, and the relationship you have with the general public. When you’re considering ethical decision making, I highly recommend Cheryl Dileo’s book, which goes through this ten-step process of ethical decision making. Of course, we have a couple courses on too, which are really helpful: cultural ethics, and then a course on web ethics. Ethics plays a part in every aspect of your business. Don’t discriminate if a client can’t pay; If you cannot financially take them, you can make the ethical decision to refer that client to a different agency or organization. Instead of shutting them out, of course you always want to refer them to services that they do have access to! Depending on your state, there’s probably some health and human services available to help that sort of individual. Give them additional resources and point them in the right direction. It’s very important to maintain healthy relationships with your colleagues. Sometimes a colleague turns into a direct competitor, and maybe they’re in the same area, and maybe even serving the same population! There are a lot of examples of how music therapists in this situation maintain very healthy relationships. You don’t want to solicit places who already have music therapy services, so if you can build relationships with other music therapists and learn where they’re already working, you can cross those places off of your list and then discover everywhere else where you can reach out to!”

Continue reading our interview here!


Shout-Out! The Music Therapy Round Table


Shout-Out! to the Music Therapy Round Table. Thank you Michelle Erfurt, Matt Logan, Kimberly Sena Moore, and Rachel Rambach for your great insights and delightful discussions. With over 75 podcasts on a great variety of important and interesting topics, your passion and dedication continues to produce some awesome listening material. Check out these easy-to-listen podcast episodes covering music therapy advocacy, grant writing, private practice, clinical work, internships, musicianship, interviews, and so much more.


Shout-Out! Music Therapy and Premature Infants

Melissa Sorensen of the George Center, Inc. explains how music therapy helps premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) meet their medical goals: to gain weight, learn feeding behaviors, and adapt to the environment out of the womb without being overstimulated. Read more about multimodal neurological enhancement (MNE) and the Pacifier-Activated Lullaby (PAL) by checking out her blog post here: