Earth Day 2016: Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

“The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena… It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

P.S. – Congratulations to James and Addison Kwasneski!

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Spring Equinox

Center. Equal. Spring. Equinox.

Trane your primary or secondary instrumental/vocal improv with this gorgeous C#m blues. “Equinox” was originally released in June of 1964 on Coltrane’s Sound. If you’d like to play along in the key of C minor, below is a lead sheet (a page sample courtesy of Northwest Musical Services) and a backing track with chords and suggested scales available here. Enjoy!

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Saint Patrick’s Day in Music Therapy

Margie La Bella is well known for her blog and collections of songs. She published this list of of her top 10 activities for the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday. This is must read (listen, and learn) resource to jump start your session planning! Find more holiday ideas and easy-to-learn piggybacked songs through Jessica Groom’s music therapy moments and SongsForTeaching.com.

Andrew Littlefield published this St. Patrick’s post for the George Center in 2013. He includes videos to complement his MT activities, such as bodhrán drumming with high school students and Irish step dancing or singing Irish folk songs with older adults. Kat Fulton brought in the bodhrán drum, but also some more accessible instruments such as green shakers and penny whistles (She also reminds us that we can just turn on some beloved music and make up a jig)! In the same year, Margie published her own video for group dance movements to Irish music, check it out below:

Pinterest is chock-full of ideas. To start your search, start with this “St. Patricks Days Fun” board from Ryan Judd.

Finally, a very exciting resource is the Music Therapy Activities Wikia. This website has activities, clinical information, repertoire, iPad apps, and so much more. Check out their free St. Patrick’s songs and activities… then PLEASE add you own! This website depends on the contributions of our MT community in order to best serve our MT community, and the site is just beginning! Contributing is easy, but if you have any questions, e-mail RileyMTBC@gmail.com.

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March 2016

March is the month to honor Women’s History, National Nutrition, Music In Our Schools, and the American Red Cross. During this month we will celebrate the following events:

03/01/16 Peanut Butter Lover’s Day! and Share a Smile Day

03/03/16 National Anthem Day

03/08/16 International Women’s Day

03/10/16 WRAMTA Regional Conference begins, ends 03/12

03/13/16 Daylight Savings Time Begins

03/16/16 MAR-AMTA Regional Conference begins, ends 03/19

03/17/16 Saint Patrick’s Day

03/20/16 Spring Begins

03/20/16 Children’s Poetry Day (April will be National Poetry Month)

03/26/16 “Make Up Your Own Holiday” Day

03/27/16 Easter Sunday (03/20 Palm Sunday, 03/24 Holy Thursday, 03/25 Good Friday)

03/31/16 SER-AMTA & SWAMTA Regional Conferences both begin, end on 04/02

There are so many opportunities to use these events to inspire our clinical practice! We can sing festive songs, discuss important topics, write poems, imagine our own holidays, practice good nutritional and physical health, and more. Have anything you’d like to add to this or any future months? Comment below, write to RileyMTBC@gmail.com, or tweet @rhythmNreason!

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King’s Love

Martin Luther King, Jr. advanced racial equality, elimination of poverty, and reversal of a militaristic state through nonviolent civil disobedience. This moral means towards moral ends requires us to realize our intimate interrelatedness, and to love each human being regardless of our physical appearance, the institutions of which we are a part, what someone believes, how we behave, or any other attribute which propagates an “us” versus “them.” How can you love the person when you hate the deed? In honor of this persistent and urgent philosophy, here are King’s own words on the issue from a 1963 speech at the Western Michigan University. Consider the political and sociological intentions, as well as the possible personal and clinical applications, of this call to action.
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Winter Traditions and New Resolutions

Winter Traditions and New Resolutions

The winter season is filled with beloved traditions. Nostalgic memories of people, places, emotions, music, and more. Who am I? I am years of making family recipe cookies, of helping Dad put up the lights, the jingle and the jangle of sleigh bells and loose change, holiday walks along the gulf, piano in a loosely packed sanctuary. I am my parents’ son, my sisters’ brother, my girlfriend’s partner. Even if not returning home or continuing with cherished traditions this year, it is hard not to reflect on those people dear to us, what we hold most important in our lives, and what we have experienced throughout the concluding year.

But we cannot stay on vacation or eat peppermint ice cream all day. There is such a fresh, thrilling feeling when we begin something new, perhaps memorialized with the celebration of each new year. There is a romance to diving into new projects, new self-improvement routines, new outlooks, new everything. Who am I? I am also an aspiring professional, a budding writer, a curious musician, an optimistic athlete. There are new people to meet, new depths for relationships to reach. Our new intentions have little value if they do not produce real changes. The challenge is when the romantic period plateaus. Losing resolve for our New Year’s resolutions could be considered a failure of will, but it would be more productive to consider it a failure of design. How else could you have structured your resolutions, how could overcoming personal resistance have been better incentivized, how could people have been incorporated or your environment adapted in order to improve your chances of success? One great aspect of humanity is not our individual intelligence, but that we live in networks and cultural institutions, that we can change our surroundings. We make a smart world so that we can be dumb.
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