Saturday, June 5, 2010

Benefits of student AMTA membership

I am excited today because I got in the mail my first personal copy of the Journal of Music Therapy. And so I wanted to take a few seconds to rave about the benefits of joining AMTA as a student. The biggest benefit is the low costs of joining as a student as compared with joining as a professional. As college students, I'm sure we can all appreciate this. I need a break every place I can get it, thank you.

And the discounts aren't only in the membership fee. Students are eligible for discounts on music therapy textbooks, national/regional conferences. There are more opportunities for discounts on AMTA products (such as a flash-drive filled with research publications), and first year of professional membership.

There are also a large number of scholarships available to AMTA students and interns. In fact, AMTA has recently posted new deadline dates that can be applied for now.

As you search for internships, AMTA offers a list of AMTA-affiliated internship sites. As you begin your career, AMTA offers information for building connections with other professionals, and up-to-date information to help you set fees for your own music therapy services.

As I mentioned, I received my first research publication. Members will receive 4 Journal of Music Therapy publications, 4+ Music Therapy Matters, 2 Music Therapy Perspectives, and 1 AMTA sourcebook. As I understand it, if you join now, your membership will need to be renewed again at the start of 2011. However, you will receive all of the publications available to members from January to December 2010.

A student membership is $80. (A professional membership is $220!) Join now, these are my words of wisdom.

Friday, June 4, 2010

An activity that will be a lifesaver

Today at the BHC, I had a plan prepared for one of the units. I spent the morning putting it together, copying songs to a playlist on the computer. With 15 minutes to go-time, I plugged in the iPod only to find that the computer would not recognize the stupid machine. Not only that, but the iPod screen completely froze! And yes, we have another iPod but no, for complicated reasons we cannot play video from it.

What is one to do with an iPod full of music and no time to plan?

Music trivia! Music trivia for mental alertness, cognitive stimulation, and mood elevation.

iPod and speakers
White board
Dry/erase markers

Task Analysis:
1) Split your group into two teams. Have them come up with a team name.
2) Decide who goes first (the team who has a person with the closest birthday goes first, for example).
3) Play a song for that team. Teams get one point for artist, one point for song title. You can throw in fun points here and there, like a point for dancing the Cupid Shuffle or a point for naming the movie that Eye Of the Tiger is famous for.
4) Repeat step 3, alternating between teams. If a team is at a loss for artist or title, you can allow the other team to "steal" their point.
5) Towards the end of the session, make it a "free for all." Anyone can guess at any time. Warning: you have to pay close attention to who guesses correctly first. It is hard when a few people shout it out at once.

I do not blindly choose songs either. There are two reasons that I can think of to rig the game this way. (A) I want to set the patient up for success. If they are slow to answer and points are popping up from everyone but that patient, play something you think they will know right off the bat. (B) I want to shape a person's mood. Today a patient came into session late. She planted herself right in front of me with arms crossed and started yelling at the staff. Well, my next song was Michael Jackson, something I really thought she'd enjoy. By the end of the hour she was dancing like crazy, smiling and laughing! It is awesome to see changes like that happen in front of you.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New article posts music ideas for children with Down's

I discovered an awesome article! The title says it all: Activities Using Music With Down's Syndrome Children.

It gives ideas that would be very useful in therapy. It includes:

Mirror songs
Sing songs in front of a mirror so the child can see how he/she looks when the tongue or mouth is moved. You might also sing songs about the parts of the face, emotions, and facial affects.
Use a song to teach sequencing. Teach a child to count, learn their address name, learn their phone number, etc.
Music Movement
Dance activities are always awesome. Catch a ball in rhythm to music. To work on cognitive skills, ask the child a question every time they catch the ball (e.g. name a word that rhymes with "cat").

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crafty sessions

At the BHC, I have had the opportunity to work on an interdisciplinary team with art therapists. Some people might disagree, but I think music and art therapy can go beautifully together. We must accept that not all of our clients will respond to music therapy. There are some people that just don't like music (I think I read that it was less than 1% of the population?). Where you can't connect with someone through music, you may be able to build that relationship through art.

I must be respectful however in insisting that we do not claim that we are practicing art therapy. After all, I would not want someone who did not have the training and credentials I have to call themselves a music therapist. Similarly, unless you are working side by side with an art therapist, do not tell anyone that you are implementing art therapy.

So, a simple, fun, and music-related craft project: a rainstick! Great for children and adolescents, these rainsticks can be decorated with construction paper and require little more than (safety) scissors, paper, and tape. this entire project comes from Enchanted Learning.

Paper towel tube
Aluminum foil
Small dried beans (like lentils), unpopped popcorn, dry rice, or tiny pasta
Construction paper
Crayons or markers

Task Analysis:
1) Place one end of the paper towel tube on a piece of construction paper. Trace around the end of the tube to create a small circle.

2) Lift the tube from the piece of paper and set aside. Around the circle drawn on paper, draw a bigger circle that surrounds it.

3) Complete the circles by drawing "spokes" between the two circles. Cut out the circle, then cut along the spokes.

4) Use tape or glue to secure the construction paper to one end of the tube.
5) Cut a piece of aluminum foil 1.5 times the length of the tube.
6) Shape aluminum foil into two "long, thin, snake-like shapes.

7) Coil the snake-like strips into springs. Put the foil springs into the tube.
9) Fill the tube 1/10th full with the dry beans.
10) Repeat steps 1-3 on the other end of the tube.

11) Decorate as much as you want.