Tag Archives: social media

Happy Birthday, Songs for Success!

16 Sep
Aren't you blown away by my amazing graphic design abilities?

Aren’t you blown away by my amazing graphic design abilities?

One year ago today, I hit submit on my first ever blog post. I was nervous, uncertain, and quite frankly, had no clue what I was doing—but I was a woman on a mission. I wanted to be a part of the amazing community of bloggers and social media advocates whose posts were a constant source of inspiration to me. 37 posts, 4 social media pages and 1 national conference later, I think I can finally stop referring to myself as a baby blogger.

Guys…I’m a big girl blogger now!

In the last year, I’ve done a lot of growing. I learned how to write like me (and not some awkward, overly professional version of myself), how to share my interventions and posts, conquered WordPress, and best of all, quadrupled my network of fabulous music therapy friends. I’ve shared my visuals and songs with music therapists and educators around the world, said goodbye to only one laminator (RIP, you pesky paper-eater, you) and even had a few posts go viral. Seriously—google “clean dance songs” right now– Songs for Success is the first search result. SHAZAM!

I also took my first leap of faith as a new professional and curated a course on Music Therapy Ed (with the support of many)—which over 350 people have signed up for so far. Every day, I am connecting with new people through the West Music Professional Success Course, social media and my blog. My “I NEED to meet for coffee with these people because they’re amazing!!!!” list is now so long, it may take me another year to tackle it.

I want to say the world’s biggest THANK YOU to the music therapy community, who has welcomed me with open arms, advice and lots of virtual hugs. Thank you to my mentors in the field, who’ve coached, motivated and challenged me. Thank you to all you blog followers, Pinterest pinners and social media friends, who remind me that people actually DO read what I write.

But now, it’s time to turn this post over to my good friend Stevie—because really, who can say it better? It’s been a great first year, so that means I’m off to shake my groove thing…oh, and maybe start working on my next project. 😉

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#mtadvocacy Month: We Are…Student Advocates!

13 Jan

SM Advocacy Badge 2012_250x250Each January, music therapists from around the world come together to support and advocate for the field of music therapy on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, music therapy blogs and beyond. This year’s project theme is “We are…” and will center on exploring and honoring our identity as music therapists and as a distinct and stand-alone profession, unique from other professions and professionals with which we work. This music therapy intern and baby blogger could not be more honored to participate in this exciting music therapy advocacy movement this year!

This post goes out to all you music therapy students and interns…because I believe that we play a very important role in music therapy advocacy efforts! Today, I want to share with you 5+ tips (and some personal stories from my own experiences) to empower you to be an awesome student advocate for our profession.

1.     Though you may not feel like a professional yet…always act like one!

When you’re out in the community for your practicum work or internship, you are constantly representing the field of music therapy. Dress well, be respectful and leave a good impression of yourself wherever you go. You never know what future opportunities may come of it!

 For example: During one of my practicums at Shenandoah University, my practicum partner and I formed an awesome relationship with our placement site—a fantastic educational group for parents of children with autism called Essential Pieces (http://lfsva.org/essential-pieces/). While the parents meet downstairs and listen to seminars given by local professionals working in the field of ASD, their kids are provided with free services including music therapy, social groups and sensory experiences.

At the conclusion of our practicum placement, my partner and I were asked to return in the springtime as GUEST SPEAKERS to talk about music therapy for children with ASD. How cool is that?! It was such an awesome experience to teach about and advocate for music therapy with the parents of the clients we had been working with for months. If we hadn’t maintained a professional working relationship with Essential Pieces, we might not have been given that opportunity. We were even interviewed for a segment on the local news about the benefits of music therapy!

Me being interviewed by Winchester's local news channel at our presentation about music therapy in February!

Me being interviewed by Winchester’s local news team at our presentation!

2.     Don’t isolate yourself from fellow students and working music therapists.

Reach out and make some new music therapy friends! Think how awesome it might be to talk with music therapists from all over the country (and world)…and how even more awesome it would be to meet them in person at the next MT conference!

  • Be brave and expand your network beyond your circle of music therapy friends and professors. Send an e-mail to a music therapist you admire in your area and ask if you can shadow them for a day or take them out to coffee to talk about what they do.
  • Get to know other students and MTs on twitter, instagram or in music therapy facebook groups.
  • Start a pinterest music therapy board and share it with your friends. Talk about how you might adapt some of the activities that you find or have a pinterest crafting party and make some visual aids! To get started, feel free to share your pinterest page with me! I’d love to follow you and see what awesome MT ideas you’re pinning. Check mine out at: (http://www.pinterest.com/kcorne4/)
  • Go to conferences!

3.     Be aware of what’s happening in the field by reading…A LOT!

I know what a challenge it can be to find time to read for pleasure or to do self-motivated research when you’ve got a mountain of school assignments waiting for you every day.

But who you are as a music therapist is not just where you went to school or where you interned; it’s a lifelong personal philosophy that is always growing and changing.

Stay open minded to variety of approaches and I guarantee that you’ll never stop building your own unique style as a music therapist.

  • Set goals. These could be as simple as reading three articles per month or reading one book chapter per week. But the important thing here is to try to find readings outside of school assignments about different populations, techniques and issues from a range of viewpoints (I know, I know…there’s no time!!! But the extra effort will be worth it, I promise.).
  • Mix it up! Over the past few months, I’ve read books written by teachers and OTs (The Out-of-Sync Child: Kranowitz and Miller), psychologists (Engaging Autism: Greenspan), neurologists (Musicophilia: Sachs). I urge you to learn from related professions and think about how you can adapt and apply these techniques to your own MT practice!
  • Start a MT book club with your friends. Have a pizza party once a month and talk about what you’ve been reading! (Seriously though…any takers for this one? Who wants to start a book club?! :D)
My glorious pile of books to read.

My glorious pile of books to read.

4.     Get involved in advocacy efforts in a way that makes you feel comfortable.

Joining volunteer efforts (whether big or small) will introduce you to your local MTs and keep you up-to-date on what’s happening in your area. As you transition from student to professional, this is a great way to get your name out there and be an active contributor to music therapy advocacy in your state or region.

  • Join your state music therapy task force. Many state task forces have spots for student representatives, but you can also ask for any additional volunteer work they might need help with or if any committees are short on members. You’ll never know until you ask! Contact Judy Simpson at AMTA (simpson@musictherapy.org) or your region/state’s MT association to find out how you can help.
  • If your state has its own music therapy organization, get involved. Even attending just one meeting will help you get to know other local music therapists and fill you in on what’s going on in your region!
  • Start a music therapy blog. If that sounds too overwhelming, read and comment on other blogs. This is a great way to have discussions with other MTs as well as find some ways to enhance your own work as a student or intern. But know that the music therapy blogging community is extremely welcoming to new bloggers! There are so many amazing resources out there to look to for advice and support as you explore blogs for ideas or think about starting your own.
  • When you see a great blog post or newspaper article about music therapy, share it with friends or family.

 5.     Never be afraid to bring your new ideas to the table.

The great thing about MT students and interns is that we are just so darn EXCITED about what we’re doing. Offer your unique perspective and energy about music therapy by sharing some fresh ideas at your next state MT association meeting or on a blog post.

I hope that this list might inspire and challenge you to find one new way to contribute to music therapy advocacy not only this month but year round. I’d love to hear how you plan to advocate for music therapy in the comment section below!

For updates about new posts, free downloads and session plan ideas from Songs for Success, enter your e-mail in the sign-up box on the right or follow my twitter: @songsforsuccess.

#mtadvocacy Guest Post: “We are…MUSIC THERAPISTS!”

7 Jan

SM Advocacy Badge 2012_250x250Each January, music therapists from around the world come together to support and advocate for the field of music therapy on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, music therapy blogs and beyond. This year’s project theme is “We are…” and will center on exploring and honoring our identity as music therapists and as a distinct and stand-alone profession, unique from other professions and professionals with which we work. This music therapy intern and baby blogger could not be more honored to participate in this exciting music therapy advocacy movement this year!

 Stay tuned for my personal contribution to this project, which will be a post tailored to music therapy students and interns: #mtadvocacy: We are…student advocates!”

To officially kick off 2014’s Social Media Advocacy Month on Songs for Success, I want to share a special guest post written by Judy Simpson, MT-BC, who serves as the Director of Government Relations for the American Music Therapy Association (www.musictherapy.org). She can be reached at simpson@musictherapy.org

When I started my career as a music therapist in 1983, it was not uncommon for me to describe my profession by comparing it to other professions which were more well-known.  If people gave me a puzzled look after I proudly stated, “I use music to change behaviors,” I would add, “Music therapy is like physical therapy and occupational therapy, but we use music as the tool to help our patients.” Over the years as I gained more knowledge and experience, I obviously made changes and improvements to my response when asked, “What is music therapy?” My enhanced explanations took into consideration not only the audience but also growth of the profession and progress made in a variety of research and clinical practice areas.

The best revisions to my description of music therapy, however, have grown out of government relations and advocacy work.  The need to clearly define the profession for state legislators and state agency officials as part of the AMTA and CBMT State Recognition Operational Plan (http://www.musictherapy.org/policy/stateadvocacy/) has forced a serious review of the language we use to describe music therapy.  The process of seeking legislative and regulatory recognition of the profession and national credential provides an exceptional opportunity to finally be specific about who we are and what we do as music therapists.

For far too long we have tried to fit music therapy into a pre-existing description of professions that address similar treatment needs.  What we need to do is provide a clear, distinct, and very specific narrative of music therapy so that all stakeholders and decision-makers “get it.” Included below are a few initial examples that support our efforts in defining music therapy separate from our peers that work in other healthcare and education professions.

  • Music therapist’s qualifications are unique due to the requirements to be a professionally trained musician in addition to training and clinical experience in practical applications of biology, anatomy, psychology, and the social and behavioral sciences.
  • Music therapists actively create, apply, and manipulate various music elements through live, improvised, adapted, individualized, or recorded music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages.
  • Music therapists structure the use of both instrumental and vocal music strategies to facilitate change and to assist clients achieve functional outcomes related to health and education needs.
  • In contrast, when OTs, Audiologists, and SLPs report using music as a part of treatment, it involves specific, isolated techniques within a pre-determined protocol, using one pre-arranged aspect of music to address specific and limited issues. This differs from music therapists’ qualifications to provide interventions that utilize all music elements in real-time to address issues across multiple developmental domains concurrently.

As we “celebrate” 2014’s Social Media Advocacy Month (http://musictherapystaterecognition.blogspot.com), I invite you to join us in the acknowledgement of music therapy as a unique profession.  Focused on the ultimate goal of improved state recognition with increased awareness of benefits and increased access to services, we have an exciting adventure ahead of us. Please join us on this advocacy journey as we proudly declare, “We are Music Therapists!”