May 2016

May is the third and final month of spring. This month we celebrate two of the populations music therapists serve; May is Older Americans and National Mental Health Awareness Month. May also seems to be a month of good health: Physical Fitness and Sports, Better Hearing and Speech, Better Sleep, Correct Posture, and Healthy Vision. Days and months are dedicated to so many causes, sometimes bizarre and humorous, but one more that I’d like to share is that May is Personal History Awareness Month. The first week of May is National Small Business Week and Public Service Recognition Week. Among our themed holidays that can inspire original songs and creative session plans, May offers us the opportunity to value our teachers, nurses, mothers, brothers, and armed forces. For a much longer list of observations, click here. We are familiar with Cinco de Mayo and Memorial Day, but here are a few other holidays and events to get excited about:

05/01/16 “May Day” is also Mother Goose Day

05/03/16 National Teacher Day (And Teacher Appreciation Week)

05/05/16 Cinco de Mayo

05/06/16 National Nurses Day; Space Day

05/07/16 Kentucky Derby

05/08/16 Mother’s Day

05/11/16 National School Nurse Day

05/12/16 International Nurses Day

05/18/16 International Museum Day; Visit Your Relatives Day

05/19/16 Circus Day

05/21/16 Armed Forces Day; American Red Cross was founded this day in 1881

05/22/16 Buy A Musical Instrument Day

05/22/16 National Brother Day

05/30/16 Memorial Day

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Ben Folds

Ben_Folds_iserve_musictherapy

Tonight I am going to see Ben Folds perform! Beyond his great music, many music therapists love his understanding of and advocacy for music therapy. Back in January of 2013, Ben said, “I’m not a Music Therapist but I believe in it strongly enough to bring attention to it… It’s safe, cost-effective, and in some cases even insured. It incorporates some heavy science and research, and, most importantly, it gets results.” You can click here to read the rest of his 653-word Facebook post. Later that month, Ben chose Music Therapy as the community service he wanted to represent when performing in Washington, D.C. for the National Day of Service; the American Music Therapy Association recognized this contribution with a write-up. He has advocated for our profession, visited a Music Therapy Conference, and recently, he has even collaborated with prominent neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Levitin to write an open letter to the President of the University of North Dakota. UND currently intends to close their music therapy program, but Ben has joined the national response protesting to keep the program open; If UND saves the program, he will self-fund a “benefit performance/lecture with the intent of helping raise money to support its budget.” Final note for all music therapist Sinfonians – Ben’s an honorary!

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April 2016

April is National Guitar Month! It is also National Poetry Month, Stress Awareness, as well as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and National Humor Month. Apparently we even have weekly celebrations: The first week of April is Library Week, and also Read a Road Map Week, the second is Garden Week, the third is Organize Your Files and Medical Labs Week, and the final is Administrative Assistants and National Karaoke Week. There’s already a lot for music therapists and private practitioners to celebrate or use as inspiration for our clinical work!

04/01/16 April Fool’s Day

04/02/16 Children’s Book Day

04/02/16 Reconciliation Day

04/08/16 MWR Regional Conference begins, ends 04/10

04/09/16 Name Yourself Day

04/14/16 GLR Regional Conference begins, ends 04/17

04/16/16 National Stress Awareness Day

04/17/16 Blah, Blah, Blah Day

04/18/16 All proposal submissions for the 2016 AMTA Conference in Sandusky, OH are DUE.

04/18/16 Your 2015 taxes are due! (Hopefully you’ve filed earlier than today!) Plus, if your 2016 income tax isn’t being withheld (e.g. self-employed, independent contractor, sole-proprietor, etc.), you should also pay the first installment (for the first quarter) of your estimated 2016 tax.

04/27/16 Tell A Story Day

04/28/16 Great Poetry Reading Day

04/28/16 NER Regional Conference begins, ends 04/30

04/30/16 National Honesty Day

Let’s practice guitar – pick it up every day this month! Practice those barre chords, your repertoire, improvisation, and having fun! Let’s help clients write poems and put them to music! Let’s discuss self-awareness, emotional expression, stress management, and relaxation techniques. Let’s consider the need ways music therapy can support those who have been abused.  Let’s read books! Let’s sing our way through the country through various themed activities. If you attended my recent Private Practice session, you may remember to “water the garden” every day, perhaps documenting in a timely manner, cleaning the dishes, or whatever routine tasks you must do regularly but don’t need to be concerned about! These holidays and the rest mentioned above are great reminders to be the best we can be. They offer inspiration for conversation topics and session plans. Enjoy!

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Time Change Time Log

What are your highest priorities? What do you need to accomplish, and how long should it take? How well do your intended goals match your real behaviors?

With every time change, let’s reflect on how we expend our most valuable resource. Here is a Time Log to record every half hour for one week. With intentionally little space provided, jot down a brief summary of your activities. Keep the paper with you – don’t wait to fill it out after several hours have passed!

You may also download an eight day, two-page version to be printed front and back, which will offer a little more space within each half hour cell.

These documents are available for free download. Donations make this blog possible. Thank you!

What have you learned from your completed Time Log? How did you transfer the Log into your clinical work? How can the exercise be improved? Can music be incorporated? Share your comments below, by e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter!

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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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Leap Day 2016

February 29th, 2016 – Happy Leap Day! Leap Days come around every four years. Neil deGrasse Tyson explained to columnist James Barron that the earth actually takes just a little less than 365 1/4 days to orbit the sun, so we add a day in February every four years, but “one day is also dropped at the turn of every century, except when that year is divisible by 400.” Because time is a construct, time is measured imperfectly. It is difficult to move from abstract to concrete classifications. How can we measure quality of life? Pain? Executive functioning? Social skills? Music therapists must assess each client’s unique situation, skills, needs, preferences, and goals in concrete terms. We must develop smart objectives and produce real results. What an incredible thing this is. So may we remember the beauty of therapeutic relationships. The Truth in music. The power of therapy. Let this Leap Day celebrate how miraculous it is that we can scientifically study, predict, and implement the full efficacy of music therapy.

Time may be our most valuable resource. How do you fill your hours? How do your hours fulfill you? How can we better measure our experience and improve our human condition? (And you know what, sometimes we have to “add an extra day” in our work, few things are perfect, but we can accept that!) Happy TRUE birthday, anniversary etc. to some, and happy Leap Day to all!

Wolfe, J. (2016, February 29). New York Today: Leap-Day Lore. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/29/nyregion/new-york-today-leap-day-lore-neil-degrasse-tyson.html?_r=0

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