Saturday, May 16, 2009

Guest Post - Rhythm in Art

"Cattle Cadence" pastel by Robin Maria Pedrero
John, thank you for inviting me as a guest to post on your Music blog. I am always intrigued at how all of the arts inspire and influence one another. Masterpieces encompass multiple art forms; performance, film, fine art, music, dances, etc. Interestingly rhythms in one art form like music can inspire rhythms or creativity in another form like fine art or dance. Rhythm usually brings music or dance to mind, yet it plays more than one part in the life of visual artists. Often I will listen to the same music or series of songs while working on a piece of art. Music sets a mood. We rely on all of our senses to create and music can be stimulating even intoxicating as we inhabit our own world of creation. I play particular music to accommodate looseness in my motions to carry through to the work or another style of music for more detailed concentration. The movements I make in creating can carry the rhythm of what I hear. Many titles to my works of art reference music.
"Ripples in the Pond" pastel by Robin Maria Pedrero

Rhythm is also a visual tempo or beat within the artwork itself. Rhythm is an art principle. Artists create visual rhythm by repeating art elements and patterns. The repetition of elements adds balance and harmony to artwork. Alternating lights and darks gives a sense of rhythm. The shapes, colors, lights and darks are the instruments an artist uses to give rhythm to their creations. Rhythm is a principle of design with regular repetition of elements that produce the look and feel of movement. It can be achieved through the careful placement of repeated components which invite the viewer's eye to jump rapidly or glide smoothly from one to the next. Rhythm is important to composition and harmony in a work of art. Elements can carry their own separate rhythms; color rhythms, line rhythms, and form rhythms.

"Deja Vous" pastel by Robin Maria Pedrero

Let’s look at some possible rhythms; the most common type, visually could be dark light - dark light - dark light or insert another element like a shape, line or color. There are alternating rhythms. Progressive rhythms occur when there is a gradual increase or decrease in the size, number, color, or some other quality of the elements repeated. Rhythms can flow and also be random. "Rhythm is as necessary in a picture as pigment; it is as much a part of painting as of music." (Walter J. Phillips) My motto as I mentor is "Pay Attention" by that I call you to do what we as artists do, in our job we take time to look, really experience the moment in the present with all of your senses. Can you feel the rhythm?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Guest Post - Person-First Terminology

Person-first terminology, also commonly referred to as person-first language, is currently utilized across many professional fields, from special education to health care to therapeutic settings to public school systems. But why is it important? What’s the big deal?

Person-first terminology is not quite how one of my college professors explained it to our Special Education 101 course. Her explanation? Instead of saying, “That Autistic girl’s name is Sally,” her explanation was to say “Sally is Autistic.” Close – oh so close! But still not quite the concept! Person-first terminology does not mean that you call a person by their name.

Thankfully, my music therapy professor explained it with much more accuracy.

Person-first terminology suggests we state phrases stressing the person (name or pronoun) first, followed by their disability or diagnosis.
  • “Matthew is a Downs kid” becomes “Matthew has Down Syndrome.”
  • “ He is ADHD” becomes “He has ADHD.”
By a simple grammatical change, the focus is shifted from the disability to the person, hence person-first. By utilizing person-first terminology, dehumanization is avoided. The person is not the disability that they might have.

Similarly, this can be compared to the movement to remove outdated words from our vocabulary that have since developed new and often offensive connotations. For example, the words idiot, retarded, imbecile, handicapped, and mongoloid were once more widely accepted. In modern times, these terms are usually considered derogatory. The Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act of 1975 has even been revised and given the name IDEA, or Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

While this movement in semantics means well, many differing points of view exist on the matter. Some prefer person-first terminology and find it politically correct and a little more dignifying, but some think that this effort takes away from their identity. For example, those involved in Deaf culture (with a capital D) sometimes feel that their deafness is not a disability at all but a mere trait. Many people with blindness and Autism feel the same way and do not mind being called “blind” or “Autistic.”

All in all, it comes down to what your patients / clients and their families prefer. This can become troublesome when switching terminology back and forth so as to earnestly avoid offending someone, but the effort is usually appreciated. Find out what your clients and employers prefer.

Hopefully this short introduction to person-first terminology will not only give the reader insight into a relevant concept, but perhaps it will leave the slightest thought in the back of your mind. As a therapist, educator, health care provider, or paraprofessional, how do you refer to your patients in your daily progress notes? What is your perception of your clients? How do you see them – as people with disabilities, or as disabilities who happen to be people?

Please post your thoughts and discussion questions in the comments section of this blog.

Helpful Links:

Nikki Belshe, MT-BC, NMT
Music Therapist – Board Certified
Neurologic Music Therapist
Longmont, CO

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Guest Post - Self-Care

Anyone who has ever flown on an airplane has heard the pre-flight safety schpeel: this is where the emergency exits are, in case of turbulence return to seats and put on your seat belts, no personal electronic devices until the plane reaches the cruising altitude. We're also told, in the case that the cabin pressure drops, oxygen masks will fall down from the panels above us. The flight staff reminds us that if/when this happens, to place this mask over our own faces before assisting those next to us.

During my final music therapy practicum experience as a student, my supervisor used this example to illustrate the importance of music therapists (as well as others in helping professions) taking care of ourselves in order to provide the best quality services to our clients. We spent some time during each of our supervision sessions discussing self-care and steps we were taking to build healthy mental, physical, and spiritual habits to effectively deal with stress and burnout. Up until this point, none of my supervisors had spent much time emphasizing self-care. Today, I find myself using the same metaphor of the oxygen mask with the students and interns with whom I work as a way to illustrate the importance of self-care in our profession.

When I think about my experiences with stress as a music therapist, I can generally categorize my stress into 2 distinct areas: external and internal. External stressors are those that one has little or no control over (for example: lack of funding/resources at your facility, layoffs/hours being cut, or unrealistic expectations from your supervisor), while internal stressors are generated inside of ourselves (for example: low self-esteem, taking on too much work, or vocal health problems due to lack of proper technique). While some of these stressors are unavoidable, burnout or extreme stress reactions which take a major toll on our health are preventable. The following are some basic wellness tips that I have found to be helpful in my clinical work at as a music therapist no matter which population I am working with:

1. Use common sense: We all know that there are certain habits that are just plain good for everybody, like eating well, exercising, drinking water, and getting adequate sleep. Along with these, there are a number of other "basic" habits that music therapists should strive to develop (many of which I am guilty of neglecting!) -- things like warming up our voices prior to sessions, or taking some sort of break each day eat/recharge our batteries, for example. Even something as simple as deep breathing for a few minutes can dramatically improve acute stress reactions when we are on the job. Sometimes it may seem difficult to make these seemingly little things a part of our daily routines when we're strapped for time between sessions and meetings, but they truly make all the difference when it comes to our wellness as practitioners.

2. Ask for help: Over time, I've learned that a lot of the major stress related to my job could have been prevented if I had asked someone for help. Several years ago, a co-worker accepted a position at another unit at our facility, and I was left to cover both of our caseloads while also supervising 2 interns and preparing for special holiday events. It was important to me that all the clients participating in music therapy prior to my co-workers move continued to receive services, my interns were getting the support that they needed, and that the upcoming events were planned...but I couldn't do it all alone. Luckily, my supervisor sensed that I needed her help to stay afloat until we could hire a new music therapist, and I finally realized that I couldn't do it all by myself.

Whether it is your family, friends, co-workers, supervisor, mentor, personal therapist, or other people in your PLN (see John's posts below for more info), find someone (or several someones) who you can ask for help when you feel the stress creeping on, and call on them when you need them.

3. Get back to your roots: I have a friend who worked for several years as a hospice music therapist and absolutely loved her job. She is an incredibly talented musician, proficient on voice, piano, guitar, and violin, and often performed with different groups or got together to jam with other musicians. After awhile, however, she found that she was no longer making music for herself as a recreational activity or hobby, simply because she was so mentally and physically exhausted from the demands of her job.

Before we were music therapists, we were musicians, and we mustn't lose sight of our deep-seeded passion for our craft. Making music for yourself - whether you're involved with performing ensembles, take lessons, or simply play around for fun at home - is one of the most nuturing and loving things you can do for yourself as a music therapist.

Ultimately, music therapists have the tools to take care of ourselves, but sometimes we can all use a reminder that taking care of ourselves should be a priority -- doing so assists us in continuing to provide excellent services to our clients and ensures a happy, healthy, and long career.

Please, do post your tips and suggestions for wellness and stress management in the comments section!

-- Carolyn Dachinger, MT-BC
Boca Raton, FL

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 10-2 Using your PLN

Having just read my last two postings, you are probably busy figuring out who to include on your PLN (or not). Maybe you're busy signing up for new services like Twits Like Me (I love that name!). In any case, I always like to see at least one practical and useful example(s) before I jump into anything new - so here it is!

John's PLN

I will be leaving for 2 weeks vacation this evening, during which I will often be without internet. As a result, my postings to the Musictherapy365 blog over the next two weeks will be minimal. However, in order to ensure that you will have new content to view I've utilized two (and possibly three) individuals from my own personal learning network. I've left the content of the postings by these guest authors up to their own discretion. Please take the time to view their postings and comment on anything that you see or read.

Who are they?

Carolyn Dana Dachinger
MT-BC is a music therapist from Florida, whom I met through using Twitter. On Twitter she goes by @bachinaminuet. She describes herself as "...a free spirit who loves music and people. music therapist, multi-instrumentalist, soon-to-be grad student @ Uni of Miami and lover of all things 80s.".

Robin D. Pedrero is a very successful visual artist. On the Twitter network she goes by @robinpedrero. She is a great inspiration to me as a small business owner and has some great artwork for sale that you can see at: Gallery523. She also has a regular blog called Pocketful of Colors.

As you can see, not everyone in my PLN is a music therapist. I think that is a good thing - diversity and imagination are wonderful things!

Have you started setting up a formal PLN? What were the upsides, and the downsides?

I look forward to reading your comments and ideas when I am able to get online during my vacation. Since I'm taking the train (first time, 3 days each way!) I'll also be posting some photos on Flickr when I get back (Flickr username: JL Outdoor Photography).

Cheers everyone

Day 10 - Personal Learning Networks (con't)

In the last post, I ended with the logos of several popular social networking sites that might be useful in developing a Personal Learning Network or PLN. Today, I wanted to share some more details.

Arguably, one of the most popular social networking sites on the Internet. You can use Facebook in a number of ways. First, you can locate "Friends" or contacts from your address book and/or a search of an individual's name. (i.e. You might find a friend from your college or university days). Secondly, you can find individuals who might have similar interests by searching "interests" (i.e. Music therapist). Finally, you can search for groups/associations that have a Facebook page in your area of interest. While I have good experience with Facebook, I would tend to use this site for personal updates, rather than professional exchanges. I would also use Facebook to stay up-to-date with the happenings in various organizations and groups such as AMTA or World Federation of Music Therapy, in addition to visiting their websites.

Linkedin is one of the newer "networking" sites. In contrast to Facebook, this site is significantly more professional in content and culture. By fully setting up a "Linkedin profile", you are disclosing a great deal of information about yourself. Consequently, you need to be think carefully about your public profile before joining. (I discussed the benefits/dangers of your "public profile" in an earlier posting entitled, Day 3 - The "When" of Music Therapy). I don't yet have a lot of experience with Linkedin so I post a bit more about it later. I will say, that if you want to link in some pretty cool Web 2.0 software tools such as SlideShare, WordPress, Huddle Workspaces, and, the integration of these applications is very easy and simple. You can also post links to your website, blog, wiki, etc.

Twitter is one of the newest and most popular social networking sites. You can both "follow" friends (get their updates) and have people follow you (followers). People provide instanteous, real-time "tweets" about things that they are doing and thinking. This can range from the "I'm waking up now" to "Here's a great new link to an article". The catch in all of this is that your "tweet" can be no longer than 140 characters. This may seem like a lot of characters but it goes quickly. This leads to all kinds of short forms like "4U (for you)" and "IMHO (In my humble opinion). As mentionned, you can also include URLs or website addresses. We all know that these can be VERY long. Twitter helps with this by allowing you shorten the URL using a free service called The only role of this service is to provide a shortcut or shortform of longer URLs.

Opinions about Twitter tend to be polarized - you either like it and you stick with it, use it regularly, and find it useful, or you HATE it, use it briefly and then move on. My own personal experience has been the former - I like it. As one of the "new" kids on the block, it still has some growing pains. A search for "music therapy" will lead to a "No results" message. You have to either discover or know the name of the individual that you are trying to find. However, there are people writing secondary applications that can help you use Twitter more effectively. Some of these include: Twits Like Me (used to find Twitter followers that might share you interests), Tweetdeck (an application that lets you see your friends "tweets", direct messages, etc.) and Twackit (generates all kinds of statistics about your account and lets you follow trends on Twitter globally). For a complete list of applications that interact with Twitter, visit Twitdom.

Another way to track terms that are of interest to you is through the use of a "hashtag". Quite simply, you add a "#" sign in front of the term you want to monitor or follow (i.e. #music therapy). This sets up a custom search that finds all instances of "music therapy" in people's tweets.

I've got to go now - my son just woke up and is "dying" to use the computer :-)

Do you use any of these social networking sites? What has your experience been?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 9 - Personal Learning Networks (PLN's)

At a recent conference I attended, there was a discussion lead by one of the keynote speakers regarding the creation and development of a "Personal Learning Network" or "PLN". PLN's have been described in the following manner -
The members of your network should be people, both inside and outside of your work group and your company, who have the knowledge that you are trying to master and who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with you (Tobin, 1998)
There are a number of ways that you can go about developing a PLN. As a music therapy student, the most obvious method is to develop friendships and relationships amongst your fellow students whom share you interest. However, as we are often all too aware, those friendships and acquaintances can fracture easily upon graduation.

In some cases, music therapy associations provide opportunities for sharing and networking. An example of this is the Early Childhood Network, within the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). Similarly, many organizations that represent "specialties" within the field of music therapy (e.g. Nordoff-Robbins music therapy, NICU music therapy, Neurological music therapy, etc.) maintain a list of professionals who have trained in that particular technique.

Finally, the advent of social networking tools, such as those shown below, enable the individual music therapist to seek out, find, and interact with a variety of individuals, unrestricted by geography, who share a common interest/philosophy.


I'll be writing more about PLN's tommorrow. Do you have any ideas for creating a PLN? How have you created a PLN?


Tobin, D. R. (1998). Building your personal learning network. Retrieved on May 8, 2009 from,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 8 - Pondering the future

Lately, the new Star Trek movie has been all over the news. I'm a passive participant in the "Star Trek Fan Club" but all the media hype does have me thinking about a question I ponder from time to time - What is music therapy going to look like in the future?

Music therapy has certainly undergone a revolution conceptually. Initially, it was a restorative medium used to treat the "mental and physical health" of injured soldiers (Davis, Gfeller, & Thaut, 2008, p. 32). Today, it is being used to treat mental and physical health as well as it is being used for social skills training, emotional well-being, hospice and palliative care, neonatal care, spiritual health, and community based/integrated settings.

Another more recent trend has been "increasing awareness of the importance of sensitivity to cultural differences by the helping professions (Davis, Gfeller, & Thaut, 2008, p. 447)." There are a number of reasons why this change is taking place. First, music therapists, who have been trained using traditional "western music (tonally)" are taking their expertise back to their home countries and applying regional and culturally specific variations and/or modifications (Gao, 2009). Judging from the number of news reports/news articles, another hotspot for the development of music therapy appears to be taking place in India (Google search engine, daily, term "music therapy"). Secondly, individuals are much more mobile, physically, than ever before. Consequently, an increasing number of different cultures can be found in particular countries or geographic area. A perfect example can be found in the most recent edition of the Voices e-journal on music therapy that recently featured an article entitled, "Musical Preferences of Argentines Living in Australia: Implications for Music Therapy Clinical Practice". Finally, groups such as Music Therapists for Peace (Edith Boxill) and PlayingforChange have highlighted a social justice/activism role for music therapists and musicians. At the University of Windsor, the university and music therapy program are described as having a international focus and a focus on "social justice".

So how does this impact music therapy? First and foremost, the musical repetoire that music therapy students are exposed to must, by necessity, include culturally specific musical examples. It is no longer sufficient to go with the standard "North American", "Western tonality" based songs such as, "You are my sunshine" and "Home on the Range". In my area of practice (working with geriatric clients) I often see that persons with Alzheimer's will often revert to their "mother tongue" as their dementia progresses, rather than retain English as their primary mode of verbal communication. I also recently completed some training entitled, "Supportive Pathways" where the need to understand culturally specific socialization patterns may impact how you deal with a particular individual. For example, in some cultures, direct eye contact with "an elder" is discouraged and frowned upon. Here in North America, we expect to see a person "look at me[us] when I am talking to you!" This might also be important to consider as part of the training of music therapy students and music therapists.

Speaking strictly as a music therapist working and practiscing in North America, I have also begun to see a generational change in the music. By this I mean that music of the 1920's and 1930's, preferred by many of my clients today, is giving way to music of the 1940's and 1950's. I am personally looking forward to working with the generation that grew up on the music of the 1960's!.

Finally, a lesser obvious impact upon music therapy practice is the proliferation of music, in terms of availability. The early 20th century, at least in North America, saw home based music making, and small publication runs of popular music. Presently, the availability of music from every conceivable genre and/or source is a given and music is becoming increasingly personalized (think iPod versus group singing). This was brought home by an assignment that I had students in my Introduction to Music Therapy course complete recently. Specifically, I had them complete a 20-minute audiobiography of their life. Unlike the previous class of students that had completed the same assignment two years ago, this class presented a more diverse pool of musical examples, including many that could be categorized as "world music" (BTW: The audiobiography assignment is a great assignment that students tend to really enjoy and take pride in, once it is complete). As music sourcing becomes increasingly diverse, and individuals seek out a wider range of music, I believe that improvisation will become an increasingly important part of training. We [music therapists] will no longer be able to learn a narrowly defined set of songs and reproduce them for group or individual consumption. Elements of music such as rhythm and harmony are common to music of a wide variety of cultural groups.

Have I reflected your thoughts about the future of the profession of music therapy or do you have some additional ideas related to "Where are we going as music therapists"?


Davis, W. B., Gfeller, K. E., & Thaut, M. H. (2008). An introduction to music therapy: Theory and practice. Silver Spring, MD: American Music Therapy Association.

Gao, T. (2009, April 30). Music therapy in China. World Federation of Music Therapy/Regional Liasons Blog. Retrieved on May 7, 2009, from,

Moore, C. C., & Baker, F. A. (2009, March 1). Musical preferences of Argentines living in Australia. Voices, 9(1). Retrieved on May 7, 2009, from,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 7 - The Nature of Music

I admit that there are times when I don't want to listen to music after a day of work (is that heretical?). It is not that I don't enjoy music, but sometimes I just need precious SILENCE! Apparently I am not alone - Bill Drummond has created "No Music Day", an event held annually on November 21st in Great Britain. And yet, just a few hours in the woods can reinvigorate my brain and make me seek out music with enthusiasm. So what is it, exactly, that is different? And as a music therapist, how exactly do I define music?

Music has been defined as "organized sound" (Edgard Varesé).

"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
(Aldous Huxley)

And my favorite quote of all -
"Without music, life would be a mistake."
(Friedreich Nietzsche).

(You can find some other quotes about music via Wikiquote, an offshoot of Wikipedia.)

In answer to the question of "What is different about being in nature?" I can respond that perhaps it is the "disorganized" nature of the sounds that appeal to my "primitive" brain? You can't, after all, plan or conduct a chorus of birds! Perhaps it is the fact that I simply cannot, by any means, replicate some of the sounds that I hear? Any sound that is produced by a musical instrument, a machine, or by human effort, CAN be reproduced, whether by the same individual or someone else in an almost identical form. But can any instrument or individual truly replicate the sound of a waterfall?, or the rustle of wind through the leaves?

And why does this even matter? Because - I am a music therapist!. I accept what the client brings forward, through the therapeutic process. I want, and hope, that they will use "music" to communicate their thoughts and feelings, conscious and unconscious, good and bad. Moreover, I want, and hope, that I will be able to use "music" to reflect those thoughts and feelings back to them in an appropriate way that honors what they have chosen to share with me. One the greatest gifts that I was ever given by a client involved just such an interaction.

I had been working with a young lady with Cerebral Palsy for about a year and a half. While she had made some progress towards the goals and objectives that were established, progress was beginning to slow down. As a new "tween", she liked to listen to music and one of the activities she had chosen to do in each session was to "listen to a few favorite songs". On this occassion, she chose a song that she had not suggested before entitled, The Rodeo's Over by Corb Lund. The lyrics are as follows (courtesy of
the rodeo's over, the folks have gone home
and the cowboys are all down the road
well boys, she was a good un, we kicked a hole in the sky
and even the rank ones got rode
it was as wild as they come and it was almighty western
and none of us thought it would end
but finish it did, with a bang and a whisper
and now i must leave you my friend

we may do it again in some future season
but somehow it won't be the same
cuz our draws will be different and our injuries healed
and it's likely the weather will change
so take from the lessons and be glad for the memories
of the days that we rode in the sun
for after today, there’ll be no man can claim
that we didn't have us a good run

so burn all the blankets and dry all the tears
we can always go further out west
and i'll meet you out there in the vastness somewhere
i swear it but first i must rest

To me, this epitomized her desire to terminate the therapy sessions, although she was unable to verbalize her feelings. The music, verbalized these thoughts for her. Indeed, the entire mood and tonality of the song reinforced the feelings told through the lyrics.

So what do you consider to be the nature of music? Do you ever have days where you can't stand to listen to a single piece of music? And what is it that brings you back?

I look forward to reading your responses and comments!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Where in the world?

By now you may have the idea that music therapy is an extremely diverse and complex concept, and profession, to understand. You may be thinking - "it sounds interesting but I don't know if there are any music therapists in my geographic area?" Rest assured, music therapy is a worldwide phenomena and there are many different areas of the world where music therapy is practiced. The philosophies of practice and actual working out of the music therapy may be slightly different however behind every international group of music therapists, there is the overriding belief that, "music is a powerful medium with a tremendous capacity to introduce positive change in an individual or group of individuals!"

So where can I find out more information? I'm glad you asked! The most important source of reasonably current information about music therapy in different countries, particularly those outside North America, is found in the Voices online music therapy journal. Click on the "Country of the month" link on the title bar. This site also takes you to the content in the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy published three times a year, as well as various columns and discussions. Another site that features information about various music therapy programs and associations in various countries is the website of the World Federation of Music Therapy and the European Music Therapy Confederation. Sadly, the Music Therapy Today e-journal is no longer, although back issues are archived on the MusicTherapyWorld site. In North America, you can find music therapists in your area by visiting either the American Music Therapy Association or the Canadian Association for Music Therapy website.

In addition to websites, there are a number of other resources that you can use to find and contact various associations (professional and student) throughout the world. There are a number of associations and individuals that maintain a presence on Facebook. Rather than searching through all 500 facebook groups that come up in a search of the term "music therapy", here are a few to get you started.
  1. American Music Therapy Association
  2. World Federation of Music Therapy
  3. I Support Music Therapy
  4. Top 10 Things Music Therapists Love to Hear
  5. Evidence-Based Music Therapy
Facebook is also being utilized to help assist in protesting the proposed closure of music therapy training programs and engage members in the appointment of a president-elect of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). (My apologies to those other music therapy programs facing closure that are not hyper-linked here).

In addition to "music therapy" proper, there are a number of other noteworthy websites/groups that may be of interest. These are generally "specialty" forms of music therapy practice, in the same way that medicine/healthcare has a number of "specialty" areas such as pediatrics, obstetrics, etc.
  1. The Association for Imagery and Music (Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music)
  2. The Center for Biomedical Research in Music (Colorado State University)
  3. Medical Music Therapy (Florida State University)
  4. Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy - this is just one of many links to the Nordoff-Robbins approach to music therapy and centres located throughout the world in countries such as the United Kingdom(Britain), Ireland, and Australia.
These are but a very few of the possible websites that you can visit.

Do you have a link or an internet-based resource that I can feature in future blog postings?

Please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail: me through Twitter (Username: JLisaMT). I look forward to your comments and questions!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 5 - Change is key!

Change is inevitable - that is a unchanging fact of life. How you choose to view it, positive or negative, is your decision. I would have to say that I sit on the "positive" side of the fence. One of the things I like best about my chosen career is that no two days are ever the same. Not only do I not see the same clients every day, I don't necessarily see the same client hour to hour. When working with clients with Alzheimer's type dementia, there is a period of time know as the "sundowning period". Not everyone believes that this effect occurs however I would have to say that, at the very least, it occurs quite frequently. Essentially, the agitation and restlessness of persons with Alzheimer's increases whenever "dusk" occurs. This can change throughout the year as during the winter months, the days are shorter - during the summer months, the days are longer. Music can be very beneficial in helping to increase relaxation and bring some measure of quietness on the unit. However, what worked one day may not work the next. I love the challenge of finding that "right mix of the familiar and unfamiliar" to create a positive effect in my work and clients.

This blog is another journey in change. I've never blogged before so I am not as familiar with the software as I should be. It has been a steep, but rewarding learning curve since I began this blog. Initially, I started with the simple textual based entry. I've since added a "comment" function, and you will note some major additions today. This includes a "upcoming conference and presentations" widget (or section) and a "free daily download" widget. One of my favorite musical genres is jazz. I find that, by visiting the AllAboutJazz website, I can introduce myself to artists and music that I would not ordinary find or become aware of! (And that is likely the purpose behind that widget).

Finishing up for today, I wanted to let you know that there will also be a change coming up in my postings. Between May 9th and May 25th I will be visiting my family in Ontario. As I will not always have internet access, postings may be more sporadic. I'll be taking the opportunity to work on another project - The Music Therapy Educational Collaboration Project that I will discuss further when I return home to Alberta.