Saturday, May 22, 2010

Music videos elevate mood

I have officially finished my first week of internship!

I saw a lot of activities this week that I will be sharing throughout this blog's life. Let me share some information about the BHC first. The BHC has four units, one of which is a unit for geriatric and psychiatric patients. People that get put in this unit may require a little bit more attention from the doctors and nurses than the rest. However, the music therapists meet with all four units almost every weekday.

In the unit I described above, there is very often a very diverse group that comes in. Patients may have very different levels of functioning or interests. So, transfer this outside of the BHC. You may find yourself with a group (small or large) that is difficult to meet all the needs of its participants. In this case, consider music videos.

Music videos are a great way to address mood elevation when you have some patients with low or unclear cognitive capabilities. It does not require a great deal of discussion (though you do have this option if you think it is appropriate to your group). Create a playlist on your iPod that is specific to that group and full of music videos (you will need to watch them all the way through to ensure that they are clean). I will soon post a couple videos to add to your collection that are an absolute hit at the BHC.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A clean-up song that Barney never sang

One of the children I work with regularly has some difficulty cleaning up. In fact, many children will start wailing in protest if you tell them to pick up after themselves. I wanted to figure out a way to integrate a clean-up activity into my music therapy sessions. That is where this song comes in.

Song lyrics and chords.


Task Analysis:
1) Scatter scarves around the room, and place basket in front of you as you sit with children.
2) Instruct one child to start picking up scarves and putting them in the basket when the music begins. They must sit down when the music ends.
3) Play song that is given above. Offer reinforcement throughout the activity.
4) When song ends and child is seated, count with the group how many scarves were picked up. You can also choose to review colors at this time.
5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 for each child.
6) End the activity by discussing other things you might pick up (toys, clothes, books, Easter eggs). Talk about how important it is to clean up when your parents tell you to. Tell them to challenge themselves next time by seeing how fast they can pick up their things.

1) Other objects that can work in this activity include shaker eggs and streamers.
2) If you feel this is appropriate for your group, more than one child can collect things at one time.
3) Be careful doing this activity if your client has any physical limitations.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Around the world in 60 minutes

Today at the BHC I observed a great activity to increase cognitive stimulation and socialization. Read on for a little lesson in geography:

iPod and speakers
Music from different countries
Maps of continents (optional)
Some knowledge of the region you are covering

Task Analysis:
1) Choose a continent to focus on and hand out maps if they are a available. When I did this, the activity used maps in a coloring book. Patients colored each country in a different color as they listened to music.
2) Begin at the northeastern-most country on the map. In the case of North America, it was Canada. Talk about some of that country's history and culture. Ask the clients what they know about that region.
3) Play popular music from artists that were born in that country. Alanis Morissette, Celine Dion, and Nickelback are all singers/groups from Canada.
4) Repeat steps 2 and 3 by continuing through the map.
5) Give your clients a brief verbal quiz to gain an idea of whether they improved in session.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Intern Strategy

Yesterday was my first day at internship! I observed two sessions, filled out paperwork, learned how to enter assessments into the computer, and most important: met a lot of people.

I consider this to be the most important thing I did all day because the relationships I build will determine my success as an intern. It is definitely important to build rapport with patients, but I would venture to say that it is more important to build a stronger rapport with your colleagues. We'll call this part one of your "Intern Strategy."

What is the Intern Strategy? Well, the title is something I just pulled off the top of my head now, but the concept has been floating around in my mind for quite some time. Its purpose is to be the best-loved intern you could be.

In part one, I am stressing the importance of learning as many names as possible throughout your building and the places you frequent. Go around within the first two days and introduce yourself to every new face you pass. Try to remember as many names as possible (repeating them as you shake hands helps), but if you you can't remember everyone, don't stress! There will be plenty of opportunities to catch them later down the road. The best thing you could do is to ask them within that first week: "I'm sorry, I've learned so many new names this week. Would you remind me of yours?" People will really appreciate a confident hand shake, smile, and hearing their name repeated aloud with "It's so nice to meet you."

That is step one of part one. Step two of part one is to continue building those relationships. You have learned their names, but you need to spend some time getting to know that person. When it does not interfere with your work (that would be bad, Intern), approach a colleague and ask them how their day is going. Hopefully that will start a conversation. Questions to get the ball rolling might include, "How long have you worked here," "What do you like most about your job," and "What is your role here?" I advise you: don't just do the minimum to get by.

These relationships will help you down the road because people will be really warm towards you and your work. They can help you find more jobs, assist clients, and make sessions run more smoothly. Plus, it feels good to have that comfortable connection with your coworkers. I do this partially because I hate walking into a building and feeling like I have to look down at my shoes awkwardly.

All in all, I am so excited about my internship. I will continue to share all my insight with you as the weeks and months progress. Happy internship!