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Blogs by Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT

The True Meaning of Music Therapy
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
9/20/2011 2:42:00 PM  

Music therapists spend most of their time explaining, demonstrating, and defining music therapy, which I have done in community presentations twice this week.  We often fight the pre-conceived notion that we are just plastering a "therapy" label on an entertainment performance that inadvertently makes people feel "good".  On the contrary, music therapy intentionally manipulates the elements of music (tempo, dynamics, lyrics, tension/release, etc.) to evoke responses that bring about desired changes in our clients.

If the desire is to eliminate a limp after a paralyzing stroke, music therapy sets a client's preferred music to a steady beat to create new pathways in the brain that even out one's gait (there's video proof that this happens!).  If the desire is to have meaningful interactions with a loved one in the end stages of Alzheimer's, music therapy aims reduce anxiety and provide sensory stimulation by creating a supportive environment to promote loving interactions through sharing of familiar, client-preferred live singing.  These are just a few of the many benefits of music therapy, a field that makes music accessible for everyone, despite any limitations, and uses music as our vessel or "tool" to connect with others.

Feel free to contact any music therapist on staff at West Music to determine how you can experience the benefits of music therapy today!

Tags: Music Therapy, Misconceptions of Music Therapy, Music Therapy Facts
Categories: Music Therapy
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You Are My Sunshine, Who brings a little sunshine to your life?
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
9/20/2011 2:22:00 PM  

you are my sunshineThis morning, while singing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine you make me happy when skies are gray…” I began to really think about the words of the song and in turn asked my hospice patient who brings (or has brought) them a little sunshine no matter the weather. 

At the facility I was visiting there were several residents who heard my question and began to chime in. “My wife”, “my kids” and “our staff” all were listed.  My hospice patient said “you brighten up my day” and another resident said “you are doing a pretty good job of it today.”  While touched that I am able to bring some light and joy to my patients each day, I also got to thinking that this is not a one way street, those same patients and residents who listed me and those who didn’t bring me sunshine as well.  I love my job and I love the individuals I interact with throughout my day. 

While I long ago learned the words to this song when I was a child and the meaning of the lyrics are clear, I do feel that for me it really is important to recognize those who bring joy and light to my life and to thank them.  This song has been recorded and re-recorded since 1939 and has appeared in several movies and TV shows throughout the years.  It is a song that nearly all of my clients and patients know yet the exercise of identifying the individuals who bring them sunshine can be beneficial in many settings.      

I feel blessed that I have the opportunity to spend time with my friends, co-workers and patients each day.  While this song has the reputation of being the music therapy song and many feel it is used and overused, I invite you to sing it with some intent for it is those who bring us sunshine no matter the weather that deserve more thanks than we can give.

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

You make me happy when days are gray…

Tags: sunshine, music therapy, hospice
Categories: Music Therapy
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Putting a New Twist on Flag Day
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
6/20/2011 9:10:00 AM  

For Flag Day I chose to try something new with my groups involving flags from around the world.  It was a pleasant surprise to see how much each individual enjoyed this new twist on Flag Day and how eager they all were to learn something new.

Each song that we did during the session was tied into a particular country and prior to beginning each activity my clients were shown the flag of that country and were invited to take a guess as to which country it was from.  This idea originally came from one of my co-workers who used in a geriatric session, but I wanted to see what my groups would do with it. 

They loved it!  For those consumers who need more challenging cognitive tasks they were fully engaged in guessing which country each flag belonged to and learning a little more about these countries.  Several consumers who are difficult to engage enjoyed looking at each flag and many made positive comments about the colors or the design of the flag.  For those consumers who primarily participate in active music making, a combination of new and familiar interventions allowed them to participate throughout the session with their peers.  Many of the group members were amazed at how many songs they know are from other countries and they were equally impressed when we learned a new song in another language. 

Looking back on my sessions this week I feel that the thing that I was most impressed with was how eager my clients all were to learn.  Many of them reveled in learning something new about a different country or sharing what they knew with the group.  One even drew the German flag on his hand and asked that I guess what country it was from (that wasn’t even a country that we had talked about.)  In total we did music from six different countries (United Kingdom, Scotland, Nigeria, France, USA and Australia) though there were several other ideas that I had to cut out-perhaps next year we will get to Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil…

For me this session has been a great reminder that no matter what their age, my clients enjoy learning.  New knowledge is something that many of them seek out and that can be provided in each music therapy session.  Go ahead and try something new!

Tags: West Music Therapy, Music Therapy, Flag Day, Holiday, Holiday Event, Flag Day Event, Flag Day Music Therapy
Categories: Music Therapy
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Iowa Music Therapy Task Force
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
3/2/2011 2:08:00 PM  

Several music therapists who work for West Music Co. have been involved with the Iowa Music Therapy Task Force.  The members of the Iowa Task Force, currently made up of seven music therapists, have been working on finding the best way to advocate for music therapy within the state of Iowa. Task Force members have looked into the current language within the Legislative and State Departments of Iowa to assess the status of music therapy from the state’s perspective. A survey of the some 75 music therapists in the state was conducted resulting in fact sheet detailing which counties currently have at least one music therapist, which populations are being served and how many individuals are served on a weekly basis.

Currently, the task force has been involved in organizing an ongoing letter writing campaign within the state to educate local representatives within the Iowa Legislature about music therapy. Music therapists across the state are establishing these relationships and starting a dialogue about the best way to get music therapy recognized at the state level.  This recognition is being sought in order to be able to serve more individuals who could benefit from music therapy, and it is hoped that state recognition will also lead to more funding options.

On April 30, 2011 there will be a continuing education opportunity in Washington, Iowa put on by the Iowa Chapter of Music Therapy.  Part of  this event will be led by the Task Force and will focus on advocacy of the profession and promotion of the letter writing campaign.  Rik Shannon from the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council will be speaking about the advocacy process. 

Click HERE for an in-dept fact sheet detailing music therapy in Iowa, and how West Music is taking part in it.

For inquires contact the Iowa Task Force at iowataskforce@gmail.com

Tags: Iowa Music Therapy Task Force, music therapy advocacy
Categories: Music Therapy
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Music for Me and My Pal Group
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
1/25/2011 9:48:00 AM  

West Music is proud to introduce a program designed to meet the needs of children with autism and other special needs in Cedar Rapids/Marion area. This music therapy group will contain 3-4 children and meet 1 time a week to work on a variety of goal areas. Open to preelementary and elementary school-aged children. Groups will be determined based on the age and needs of each child to ensure that individual needs are met.

Based on the success of similar groups at our other locations the Marion West Music store is proud to introduce a group designed to meet the needs of children with Autism and other special needs within the Cedar Rapids/Marion area.  

To best meet each individual’s needs this group will be limited to 3-4 individuals.  Each weekly session will consist of a variety of experiences from singing and active instrument play to movement to music.  These experiences will be designed to address the following goal areas:

•         Social Skills (sharing, appropriate peer interaction, and coping mechanisms)

•         Pre-Academic Skills (letters, colors, numbers, shapes, animals)

•         Communication Skills (expressive, receptive, responding to questions)

For more information regarding this program please contact Lindsey Wilhelm, MA, MT-BC, NMT, (319) 389-4074 or lwihelm@westmusic.com

Tags: Autism, West Music Marion, Marion, Cedar Rapids, Special Needs, Music Therapy, Music Therapy and Autism, Music Therapy and Special Needs, Special Needs Development, Autism Development
Categories: West Music Cedar Rapids/Marion, Music Therapy
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Where is Your Music Therapist?
By Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT
11/15/2010 8:19:00 AM  

Music therapists, in general, have to wear many different hats throughout the week, and for those individuals who receive music therapy they generally don’t see their music therapist more than once a week or once every other week.  So where is your music therapist when they aren’t with you?  Lets find out…

When your music therapist is not in a session there are several places where they could be found.  Depending on the schedule for that day you may find your therapist in the car, in the office, or in meetings and presentations throughout the community.

Outside of conducting music therapy sessions the music therapists at West Music are always kept busy preparing for their next session whether it is later that afternoon, the following day or perhaps next week.  This preparation may include learning new songs, creating new reminiscence sessions for a geriatric group, or creating new interventions to keep clients interested and the music new and exciting.  All of this preparing may take place in a multitude of settings including the office or in the community during a lunch break between sessions.

During office time your music therapist may also be completing office tasks such as billing for sessions and completing paperwork.  Quarterly reports are a common way for progress toward goals to be reported throughout the year and often times therapists find that there is always a quarter that has been completed and a report to be written.  Or perhaps your therapist is preparing for a community presentation they will give or developing new contacts within the community to increase awareness of music therapy. 

If your music therapist is also a SoundReach Choir director then throughout the year you will find them setting up for rehearsals, making arrangements for the next concert as well as learning and arranging music for the coming semester.  Bell choir directors fill their time with creating new bell charts as well. 

Throughout the week your music therapist may spend several hours in the car driving between facilities.  Some music therapists use this time to listen to the radio and catch-up on all of the latest hits.  Other therapists listen to radio news programs to stay abreast with the latest news.  For some therapists driving without the radio on can help them become centered and prepare for the session then are driving to.  The therapist’s car when in a facility parking lot may become a practice room to practice the latest songs that were requested, a sanitization station for instruments between groups or even a rather cramped reading room to catch-up on the latest music therapy research.

At the end of the day, where can you find your music therapist?  Hopefully, your music therapist is taking time for himself or herself so that they are rejuvenated and rested for the next day. 

Learn more about West Music Music Therapy Services.

Tags: Music Therapy, Music Therapy Day to Day, Day to Day, Music Therapy Responsibilities, Therapy
Categories: Music Therapy
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