Monday, August 6, 2012

I have moved

I have moved!!!

Check out my site:

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Blogging Tool Kit

Hey all! This is a special post about making over a blog. I definitely am not an expert and still have soooo much more to learn! But for those of you who are struggling to get started blogging and new to everything blog, I'm here to help! It took me a long time to get to the point I am at which still isn't very far. It was a frustrating and confusing journey to learn all of the new computer tasks required to make a great blog. I definitely have to give thanks to several music therapists with blogs of their own. I asked several about what programs and websites they used to create different graphics, fonts, and templates. Special thanks to Rachel See Smith over at Music Therapy Services of Austin, Amy Kalas at Wholesome Harmonies Music Therapy, Rachel Rambach at Listen and Learn Music, and Mundana Music Therapy for answering personal questions, providing me with awesome resources, and/or helpful blog posts!!!

Here is a list of websites for different blogging needs!

Mail Chimp - This is a free way to send out personalized newsletters to subscribers of your blog.
PicMonkey - A very easy way to personalize and add fun creations to a photo.
Microsoft Office Images - You can always find free images and clip art here.
Kevin & Amanda - This is a really great place to find fun and quirky handwriting fonts.
Da Font - Another great place to find fun fonts.
Scribd - This is a place to upload and share digital documents.
UploadNSell - This is the easy and perfect place to upload documents or e-books to sell on your blog.
Band Camp - Here you can upload your own personal recordings and share or sell them.
Web Treats - A place to find textures and graphics for free.
Digital Design Essentials - This site is similar to web treats but sells cheap design kits.
Gimp - This is an intense photo editing software that is a lot like Photo Shop but it's FREE!  I have found it to be complicating at first since I have never learned a program like this.  But I am watching YouTube video tutorials and online resources for learning.  So far I like what I see!  I created my blog header and this post's image from Gimp and was very proud of myself. :)

If you know of any other great resources, please share below in the comments section!

Friday, August 3, 2012

There's an app for that....AutoRap!!

I discovered this new app from Smule the other day and I love it!  I have a client that loves it!  It is a great app for kids or teens who like to rap or listen to Rap music.  It is extremely easy.  All you do is say a few sentences into the microphone and it creates a beat and auto-tunes your voice to fit the time.  Anyone can sound like a pro!  Plus it's FREE!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Finding Strength

This past week has been a very hard one for my husband's family.  They lost a very dear aunt today who was more like a grandmother to my husband than anything.  I have seen such strength in this family that is unbelievable.  Everyone came together to say their last goodbyes and it was very meaningful to all of them.  I found myself challenged.  I definitely have become close with her over the years through my husband and his extended family.  She was one of the kindest and most caring women I have ever met.  So naturally it was extremely easy to favor her.  I was asked to lead "Amazing Grace" as the family stood in a circle in the ICU around her bed.  It was extremely tough to get through the whole song without weeping.  As I sang, people joined in and stopped singing as they cried.  I had to hold it together as I sang through the first and last verse.  I could tell that with everyone singing this classic song, it meant more than words.  They felt the bond of everyone present intertwined with her spirit.  I felt that with my training as a music therapist, this helped me to keep focused on serving others that day.  It reminded me more than ever that my job is not about me.  It is all about who can be touched and what benefits can be received from music's healing properties.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Serenade 3: Four Seasons

 This is the third addition to my series Sunday Serenade.  The last couple weeks I have not been able to post due to being extremely busy!  I will try to post more regularly as much as I can.  This week, I would like to share a song with you that I wrote called, "Four Seasons."  I have been working with several of my clients on answering wh questions.  I found that a few of them have trouble answer when questions involving the seasons.  An example can include:  "When do you usually make a snowman?"  Another question I could ask is "When is it really hot outside?"  These are questions that definitely require previous knowledge of the four seasons.  So that is why I created this song describing characteristics of all the seasons.  I have been using this for over a month and I have definitely seen some improvement.  One of my clients is able to tell me all four of the seasons before we even start singing this song.  Before he could only tell me one.  Repetition with this song has been a huge factor in improvement.

 Take a listen below and you can purchase the mp3 by hitting buy underneath.  Also, if you would like to purchase the chord sheet music, hit the BUY NOW button.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There's an app for that....Falling Stars!

Even though I posted a whole month worth of iPad apps, being the enthusiast I am, I cannot resist to continue posting my favorite new apps for music therapy.  Today's post is centered around the app, "Falling Stars."  It is similar to "Soundrop" but in my opinion way more awesome!  With this app, you get to drop the stars on different lines that you drew.  The fun thing about the lines you draw is that they can be leaves, squiggles, etc.  Each type of line makes a different sound such as percussion, marimba, etc.  I love this app.  I showed a few of my clients today and they were having a lot of fun.  I actually found myself drawn in listening to the sounds and went over my session time because I was so immersed.  Let me know in the comment section if you love this FREE app too!!

This app is great for:

Fine Motor Skills
Sound Discrimination

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Serenade 2: Wide Awake

For today's Sunday Serenade, I thought I would post one of my recent favorites.  The song is "Wide Awake" by Katy Perry.  The reason I like this song so much is because it can be interpreted many different ways which is perfect for songwriting or lyric analysis.  It is great for the junior high teenage population because it is current and popular and still gives a good message.  I use this with my clients by having them explain what each line means to them and how they relate to it.  I, also, can create blanks in place of words and have them fill in their own.  So here it is:

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Serenade 1: I Know A Chicken

Hey hey!  I'm back!  Yes I know it has been a month since I have written.  I had to recuperate after blogging every day for a month.  That was my first try at daily posts and boy was it hard!  Don't get me wrong, I had a blast!  But I just needed a little break before jumping in again.  So today I am introducing a new series I have started called Sunday Serenade.  Every Sunday, I will serenade you with a new video post of my favorite songs used for music therapy interventions or my favorite songs in general.  One of my hobbies is posting the latest and greatest music in cover form.  So enjoy my new series with this first video post:  I Know a Chicken by Laurie Berkner Band!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

1 month of apps!

 Well folks, I had a great time putting together this list of apps.  I hope you found at least a few on this list that will serve you well with clients, students, work, or just for fun.  Now if you don't mind, go to the bottom of this post and press one of the buttons to share this blog with other iPad enthusiasts.  Here are all of the apps listed by day.  Click to view each post:

1.  OnSong
2.  Magnetic Alphabet
3.  Dr. Seuss Band
4.  Bottle Xylophone
5.  Super Duper Data Tracker
6, 7, & 8.  Pinterest, Box, and Blogsy
9.  DocScan
10.  VidRhythm
11.  Go Rewards
12.  Pandora
13.  Thumbafon
14.  Sign Now
15.  Percussions+
16.  Virtuoso Piano
17.  D-Volution Percussions
18.  Square
19.  Choice Board Creator
20.  Sound Brush
21.  Magic Piano
22 & 23.  Glee and Ukelele
24.  Simon Says-Musical Instruments
25 & 26.  iMovie and Autism Xpress
27, 28, & 29.  Piano Dust Buster, Space Houst, and Pitch Pipe
30.  Aeolian Harp

Monday, April 30, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 30

Day 30: Aeolian Harp


Aeolian Harp is a relaxing app showcasing different sounds and colors.  Within this app there are 4 different sections of sounds.  You can choose what instrument you would like for each section.  Some instruments include marimba, xyllophone, etc.  As you play, notes and colors follow your finger and stay behind.

MT Applications:

1.  Relaxation
2.  Fine Motor Skills
3.  Choice Making
4.  Reward

Well that's all folks!!!  Stay tuned for more great posts to come!  I hope you enjoyed my 30 day iPad series!  Please share with other iPad enthusiasts!  Tomorrow I will make a post including links to every post created this month so it can be accessed all in one place.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 27, 28, and 29

So sorry for the delay in apps!  I was a bridesmaid this weekend and was very busy!  Hopefully I can make it up to you by posting 3 apps today.  And tomorrow is my last day!  Don't worry I won't stop posting after that.  I have another series in mind but it probably won't be a daily series.  I need to rest before I try that again!  Here goes:

Day 27:  Dust Buster


Dust Buster is a piano lesson app designed for kids and adults alike.  You can either practice the touch piano on the iPad or practice with a real piano using the app.  It shows a grandma dusting the germs off keys every time you play.  It is similar to my app Dr. Seuss Band  but uses the piano.

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Sequencing
3.  Impulse Control
4.  Attention


 Day 28:  Space House


This is a wacky app that has three spheres with different sounds attached.  You can press one sphere to play melody, one to play voice, and one to play the beat.  If you play all three together you get music in all corners of the screen.  Move the spheres around to change it up.

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Reward
3.  Sound Discrimination


 Day 29:  Pitch Pipe


Pitch pipe is just what it sounds like.  It is a pitch pipe.  If you need to hear a pitch to sing or play on an instrument, this is the right app for you.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 25 & 26

Day 25:  iMovie


iMovie is a really neat app that allows you to edit video and slideshows.  You can incorporate pictures, video, sounds, etc.  It allows you to choose from different styles of video whether it be neon, modern, or travel.  You can also create trailers for movies, life, or for fun.

MT Applications:

1.  Self Expression
2.  Emotional Expression
3.  Life Review
4.  Social Interaction
5.  Choice Making

Here is a video preview of iMovie:


 Day 26:  Autism Xpress


Autsim Xpress is an app that allows people to choose a face that represents their emotions.  There are many options including: happy, sad, nervous, hungry, angry, etc.  Once you press a face, the screen changes to that face's reaction.  If you press happy, the face starts to laugh.  This is a great way for nonverbal clients to express how they are feeling.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 24

Day 24:  Abby-Simon Says-Musical Instruments


This version of simon says is free and uses musical instruments.  Basically "Abby" talks you through the game.  She tells when to "listen" and when to play.  It is great for clients needing extra instruction.  The premise of the game is to press the same buttons as the game.  When you miss, you get a score at the end.

MT Applications:

1.  Sustained Attention
2.  Impulse Control
3.  Sequencing
4.  Fine Motor Skills

Monday, April 23, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 22 &23

Day 22:  Glee


Glee is an app that allows you to sing familiar songs from a list.  With this app, auto-tune can be turned on or off allowing anybody to sing on pitch.  Each song cost a certain amount to purchase.  You can also compete with others around the world gaining points.

MT Applications:

1.  Self Expression
2.  Choice Making
3.  Speech Articulation/ Fluency


Day 23:  Ukelele


Ukelele sounds very similar to the real instrument and allows you to pick songs to play.  It positions the chords in order and you play them while singing the song.  You have to be familiar with the song already if you want to accompany yourself with Ukelele.

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Improvisation
3.  Choice Making
4.  Sequencing

Saturday, April 21, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 21

Day 21:  Magic Piano


Magic is a fun and interactive piano app that allows you to play songs from a large list, play with other people around the world, and play 3 different whimsical pianos just for fun.  This is one of the apps that I use all the time and my clients love it!

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Attention (they follow the lights to play correct notes)
3.  Sequencing
4.  Improvisation
5.  Reward
6.  Impulse Control

Friday, April 20, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 20

Day 20:  Sound Brush


Sound Brush is a unique app in which you can paint a picture and music will sound.  The music is very soothing and relaxing when you paint.  This app is 1.99.

MT Applications:

1.  Relaxation
2.  Fine Motor Skills
3.  Color Identification
4.  Emotional Expression

Here is a video explaining more about its capabilities:


Thursday, April 19, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 19

Day 19:  Choice Board Creator


Choice Board Creator is an app where you can attach pictures, text, and/or sound to a number of boxes.  You choose how many boxes you would like on screen up to 6 I believe.  You can incorporate anything you want to.  In the picture above, I used this board for the song "Old McDonald" having clients point to animals being sung about.

MT Applications:

1.  Client Preferences
2.  Visual Aids
3.  Communication (in particular for nonverbal clients)
4.  Sequencing


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 18

Day 18:  Square


If you run a music therapy private practice, this is a great thing to have!  Download the app on your iPhone, iPad, or Android and go to  You can receive a free Square card reader!  All you do is put in your bank account information where you will be receiving funds from others and for every swipe, square receives 2.75%.  Not bad considering this little item is free and easy to handle.  I think it's much easier than bulky credit card machines that still take out a percentage.  With square, you can receive funds anywhere from your phone or iPad.  Tired of cashing all those checks, get Square and you don't have to.  Funds go directly to your bank account every night after you have swiped.

Check out the website here and receive your free Square today.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 17

Day 17:  D-Volution Percussions


This app isn't a whole lot different from Percussions+ which I discussed a couple of days ago.  The difference is that this one is FREE.  I would have posted this one first but I just found it.  It does not have the option to play your own music but you can create loops that can be positioned within the app.  You can play multiple percussion instruments and record your performance.

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Emotional Expression
3.  Impulse Control
4.  Reward
5.  Sound Identification
6.  Improvisation
7.  Attention

Here is a video demonstrating how to use this app:

Monday, April 16, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 16

Day 16:  Virtuoso Piano


I have found this to be the most realistic iPad piano app.  The keys can be magnified to the size of real piano keys.  You can start on any keys you want.  For example, you could show C-C, D-B, etc.  You choose what is on the screen.  You also have the option to make two keyboards with different octaves or two keyboards facing opposite directions.  Virtuoso Piano is free too!

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Social interaction (due to showing opposite keyboards allowing more than one player) 
3.  Reward 
4.  Letter identification


Sunday, April 15, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 15

Day 15:  Percussions +


Percussions + is a great app that provides percussion instruments of all types.  These instruments include bongos, congas, tambourine, egg shaker, DJ scratcher, claves, cowbell, and so much more.  You can change the size of these instruments allowing for many per screen.  Play instruments loops in the background changing volume, speed, and reverb.  You can also turn on background music found on your iPad that will play during instrument manipulations.

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Movements
2.  Sound identification/ discrimination
3.  Reward
4.  Attention
5.  Improvisation
6.  Impulse Control

Here is a video of some of the great features:

Saturday, April 14, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 14

Day 14:  Sign Now


Sign Now is a free app that allows you to import pdf's or documents and lets you sign your paperwork.  You can import from many places such as dropbox, e-mail, a photo, etc.  You can then save and send your work where it needs to go.

MT applications:

1.  Have clients sign paperwork on iPad, iPhone, or Android
2.  Save paper and ink!


Friday, April 13, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 13

Day 13:  Thumbafon


Thumbafon is a type of xylophone instrument that provides 8 colored squares with different tones.  You can change the scale to 6 different modes including Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, and Aeolian.  You can also change the sounds with 5 different sound options.

MT Applications:

1.  Improvisation (you can accompany mode on piano while client improvises)
2.  Self Expression/ Emotional Expression
3.  Color Identification
4.  As a reward
5.  Attention (play an instrument at the same time stopping, speeding up, louder, etc.)


Thursday, April 12, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 12

 Day 12:  Pandora


Pandora is an internet radio that has been made into an easy access app for your iPhone, iPad, or Android.  I love Pandora because you can type any artist, song title, or album, and that station will play music related.  You can save your own stations for later and add as many as you like.

MT Applications:

1.  If your device has 3G, then you can access Pandora anywhere
2.  Great for client preferred background music during instrument play
3.  Free!  No need to purchase a ton of music
4.  Categorize stations for each client


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 11

 Day 11:  Go Rewards


Go Rewards is a rewards system where you can create your list of activities, behaviors, etc.  For each list you have up to 10 stars that you can reward.  You can also separate each reward chart by name if you have multiple clients.  Each time they receive a star, a sign pops up with a positive remark.

MT Applications:

1.  Build up stars for a musical reward
2.  Reward stars per session and once they get so many, give a big reward
3.  Increase Participation
4.  Appropriate responses receive a star

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 10

Day 10:  Vid Rhythm


Vid Rhythm is a fun and entertaining app that calls for no music experience.  You make up your own sounds and fill them into the video.  You can choose the song and the style.  It is pretty entertaining because it is fast and unpredictable.  Check out my video below to see my demonstration.  

MT Applications:

1.  Self Expression
2.  As a reward for participation
3.  Speech/ Vocalizations
4.  Just for fun!

Monday, April 9, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 9

Day 9:  DocScan HD


DocScan is an app that takes the place of your printer scanner.  Since an iPad cannot actually scan documents, DocScan takes a picture of your document and then gives you options to make it brighter, darker, etc.  The full version can hold many documents at one time and allows you to send and backup the documents through e-mail,, dropbox, evernote, google docs, or other apps.  

MT Applications:

1.  Scan Paperwork
2.  Send progress notes to guardians
3.  Less paper and ink!
4.  Scan any document to save for later

Sunday, April 8, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 6, 7, and 8

Well I feel terrible for not keeping up this past weekend with my daily posts!  I had a very crazy and busy weekend in several different cities running around!  I will hopefully make it up to you guys by posting three apps in one post!  Here goes....

Day 6:  Pinterest


The pinterest app is very handy on the iPad.  You can download a bookmark that allows you to easily pin any information from any website onto your virtual pinboards.  Pinterest has become the new hottest trend in the Music Therapy World!  You can pin anything from recipes, fashion, decorations, crafts, MT interventions, and music!  You can keep all of your ideas in one place for other followers to see and repost.  They still haven't created an official iPad app so I just use the iPhone version and magnify it.

MT Applications:

1.  Networking with other therapists of all kinds
2.  MT Intervention ideas
3.  Intervention ideas from SLP's, OT's, and PT's (can be incorporated in music therapy sessions)
4.  Unlimited resources for any population
5.  Ideas for creating your own visual aids

 Day 7:  Box for iPhone and IPad


One day I realized that my dropbox was pretty much almost full and I did not really want to pay a monthly price to upgrade to more gigs.  So I looked around and found this wonderful app.  Box awarded me 50 free gb just for creating an account and downloading the app.  This app is becoming more and more compatible with other apps in backing up your documents.  I can save them directly to my box app on my iPad and it shows up in my account on any computer I log into.  With dropbox, I only received 5 free gb.  If you want more storage, this is the app to download!

MT Applications:

1.  Storage for anything and everything
2.  A way to save downloads from your iPad
3.  Passcode to keep out curious clients! ;)
4.  Sheet music ready when you need it


Day 8:  Blogsy


I don't know a lot about this app but I know that it could definitely be a great edition for me.  If you are an avid blogger, this is very helpful when you don't have access to a computer.  On my iPad I cannot usually post blogs because I am not allowed to insert images or media within the new post.  With blogsy, you can drag and drop photo and video from sites like Flickr or Picasa into your post.  Basically this is the go to app for anything blog related.

 MT Applications:

1.  MT blog editing
2.  Compatibility with blog sites: Wordpress, Blogger, etc.
3.  Create rich text emails with photo, video, etc.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 5

Day 5:  Super Duper Data Tracker


The Super Duper Data Tracker is a really great app to track progress made within short and long term goals.  This app can sort clients by name, day, or group.  I have created a group of clients I see each day.  This app allows you to write your own goals and set you own data gathering choices.  You could track by tally, approximations, or cueing.  This app makes it easy to quickly gather data within a session without creating a distraction.

MT Applications:

1.  Data gathering
2.  Calculates percentages based on data
3.  Organize Clients by day
4.  More accurate data due to in session gathering
5.  Track progress over time

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 4

Day 4:  Bottle Xylophone


Bottle xylophone is a simple app that shows you a row of bottles with different amounts of liquid.  Each bottle has a different tone and color.  My clients really like this one because it is such a different sound.  This one of those apps you get just for fun!

MT Applications:

1.  Fine Motor Skills
2.  Color Identification
3.  Can be used as a reward (1 of my clients always looked forward to this)
4.  Impulse Control

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 3

Day 3:  Dr. Seuss Band


This is the cutest little app I found the other day which is totally free!  Dr. Seuss Band comes with a couple of preloaded songs within the app.  One of the songs is "Dr. Seuss's ABC".  The more you play and succeed, the more songs that are unlocked.  I have already unlocked 4 songs.  Each song has three levels: easy, medium, and hard.  As you succeed with playing, the harder levels open up.  This app is basically Guitar Hero geared towards kids.  It shows colors that match the scale and you must play the correct color.

MT Applications:

1.  Color identification
2.  Learning the beginning of the alphabet
3.  Sequencing
4.  Attention, Attention, Attention
5.  Fine Motor Skills
6.  Impulse Control

Need I say more?  What are you waiting for, download it now!  Here is a video demonstration:


Monday, April 2, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 2

Day 2: ABC - Magnetic Alphabet


Magnetic alphabet is definitely one of my regular go-to apps within almost every session.  This app has alphabet letters upper-case and lower-case, various picture magnets, theme packs as an in app purchase, and many different backgrounds included.  There is a free version and a 1.99 version.  I decided to upgrade to the paid version because I received more options with pictures and themes.  There are other magnet boards out there but I believe this is the best one because of the various packs included and the backgrounds that most other apps don't have.

MT Applications:

1.  Identifying the alphabet
2.  Spelling words
3.  Math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, etc.)
4.  Picture identification
5.  Visual aids to supplement songs
6.  Funner than pen and paper!

Here is another picture of what is available.  The have a special Easter theme right now.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

30 days of apps: Day 1

I am excited to announce that I will be doing a 30 day iPad/iPhone app series for the month of April.  APRIL FOOLS!  No just kidding, I really am. :)  Everyday, I will post a new app and review the content and music therapy applications.  So let's get started with DAY 1!

Day 1:  OnSong


OnSong is definitely my favorite and most frequently used app on my iPad.  I am almost positive it is an iPhone app as well.  OnSong is the perfect app for a music therapist.  If you need a handy way to keep all of your music organized, this is perfect.  Stop carrying around that heavy notebook and switch to OnSong carrying hundreds of songs with you everywhere.

MT Applications:

1.  Easy access to chord sheets
2.  Zoom in feature to see easier or lyric explanation
3.  Be able to look up client preferences within the session rather than having to wait and print it out
4.  Access songs by book so as to find client preferences easily and quickly

Here is my video reviewing OnSong:


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The CBMT Test

Yes if you are like me, when you hear those three words, you cringe a little inside.  I will admit here and now that I had a very hard time with this test!  For some people, it was probably totally fine and they were on the right track.  But for those of you like me that struggle with test taking, this blog is to help you if you haven't taken it yet!  Yes, I had major test anxiety.  I did the completely wrong thing and imagined it as the most important test I would ever take.  Of course in this time of my life, it was.  But unfortunately, I put way too much pressure on myself.  I seriously had anxiety for the entire test.  You know how you get really nervous for something and when you start it, it goes down or away?  That didn't happen to me.  I frankly felt sick for the whole three hours.  But in the end, everything was worth it because I finally received those coveted credentials, MT-BC!  I have to admit that I am extremely proud of myself for getting through it!  Below, I have gathered some advice and information that I think can help you with test anxiety and what to expect on the test.

Test Anxiety:

1.  Do not put too much pressure on yourself.  Just tell yourself, it's not the end of the world if I don't pass because I can just take it again.  Really, I needed to think this way to calm myself down.  Of course, you still want to try to pass the first time to spare some anxiety!

2.  Sleep, sleep, sleep!  I cannot tell you how much this helped me the night before!  I really thought that I wouldn't be able to do it but I slept beautifully for 7 hours.  I cleared my mind before bed and tried not to think about the next day.  Somehow it worked!

3.  Take deep breaths.  While I was taking the test, I kept feeling those butterflies slide back into my stomach.  I took several deep breaths to calm myself. (If you are a spiritual person, take a verse that helps you during tough times and repeat it to yourself in your mind when you start getting anxious.  Isaiah 41:10 is a really great one.)

4.  Eat a healthy breakfast!  Even if it is small, make sure you eat breakfast, especially if your test is in the morning.  This helped my stomach not to bother and distract me during those three hours.  I, also, brought a little granola bar with me and set outside on a table.  I didn't end up eating it but it was a good option for a snack in case I got hungry.  Breakfast also helps to recharge your mind!

Exam Tips:

1.  Read very carefully.  On the practice exam and the real test, questions have a way of tricking you.  They sometimes might bring in extra details that aren't significant and sway you the wrong direction.  Make sure you pinpoint exactly what the question is asking.  Here is a sample question:

A 52-year old woman hospitalized for ovarian cancer requests music therapy to help her relax and sleep.  During the initial session conducted at bedtime, the patient shares her fears and life story before the use of any music intervention.  After validating the patient's feelings, the BEST direction for the music therapist to take is to:

A. discuss favorite songs important to the patient's life
B. improvise soft guitar music to help the patient go to sleep
C. compose a song together reflecting the patient's dosclosure
D. close the session and bring the patient's favorite music to follow-up visits

Within this question, I made the mistake of focusing on the patient story and validation of feelings.  But like the question said, she validated her feelings.  There is nothing else to go into.  The client requested music therapy to help her sleep so that is what the music therapist needs to do, help her sleep.  If you got B, you are on the right track!

2.  Always put the client first.  Don't just answer the question that shows how the therapist looks the best, answer with the client's well-being in mind.

3.  Read the Scope of Practice, Code of Ethics, and Code of Professional Practice.  I noticed on the real test, there were a couple questions that matched answers exactly to a list that I had studied in the Scope of Practice and Code of Ethics.  The Scope of Practice goes through each topic found on the test and lists current information about each category.

4.  Brush up on your music theory.  There were a few questions regarding theory on the exam that required some extra thought.  You will be provided with scratch paper so make sure you use it for these questions!  Some questions hit on the modes (Aeolian, Ionian, etc.), secondary dominants, and transposing instruments.

5.  If you are still looking for extra help on the exam, purchase music therapy flashcards.  You can find these flashcards at  These flashcards separate the categories on the test and have stacks that you can study.  The answers on the back are in paragraph form rather than single sentence answers.  I would have liked to have shorter explanations but I do think they helped in the long run.

I really hope that this helped!  Good luck!  Please leave comments in the comment section if you have any other advice you would like to share!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Music Therapy in the Media

Recently, music therapy has been getting much attention in the media through Gabrielle Gifford's recovery at TIRR in Houston.  She showed a courageous effort as she allowed America to see her improvements and recovery.  Gabby showed a determination that we all should have.  I am so thankful that she showed music therapy in such a positive light.  On February 27, 2012, there was another showcase of music therapy on PBS Newshour.  This story highlighted how music therapy is used in the medical setting.  Take a look at this incredible story which goes into detail about what a music therapist does in this setting.

Friday, February 24, 2012

There's an app for that.....ABA Flashcards - Alphabet

This app is one of the staple apps that I use almost everyday during sessions. has made some incredible flashcards.  This is one of my favorites because it has a specific picture for every letter of the alphabet.  For example, the first flashcard is A for Apple.  It has audible voices that say the letter, the picture, and cute little animations for reinforcement.  You have the option to turn off the voices to allow your clients to identify the letters.  One of my favorite parts about the latest update is that it has a check mark and an X to keep a tally of what your client has answered correctly and incorrectly.  At the end of the alphabet, you can hit the info button at the top to email the results to yourself showing the percentage your client achieved.  I sing a little tune for each flashcard as we go through the alphabet.

My lyrics are as simple as can be with an easy melody attached:

A is for Apple, Apple, Apple
A is for Apple: A, A, A.

I continue this repetition for each letter and picture until we get to the end.  When they need help identifying the name of a letter, I sing the alphabet song with them and stop on the letter just before the correct answer, allowing them to fill it in.  This usually works really well to help refresh their memory about what letter comes next.

Check out this app for a great addition to your app collection!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

There's an app for that...Garageband

Garageband for iPad is an amazing app that every music therapist should have.  It is great for creating your own songs, songs with clients, or playing some awesome virtual instruments.  Above I have taken a picture of a song that I covered.  I layered several recordings of my voice a capella to create "May It Be" from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack.  There are so many options.  I could have created background music by playing guitar, drums, or piano.  There are also different loops to choose from.  For this recording I decided to just use my voice.  I created the melody line at the top, the high background underneath, and the lower background at the bottom.  The two small recording were just some additions I made to make the voices last longer at the end.  It was a lot of fun creating this!  Below I have a video montage that I created for my husband for Valentine's Day.  He kept asking me to sing this song because he liked the way my voice fit.  So I gave it to him as a gift!  Click play below to here what Garageband helped me create.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taking Turns with a Client

      So sorry for the long wait for my next blog post!  I have been transitioning into working and haven't found much time to blog.  Now that I have established more of routine, I am able to fit some time in the mornings to devote my time to blogging.  As I have started working with my new private clients, I have learned so much.  Every client is different and there is no universal instrument or song that they will all take to.  I have learned to throw my plan out the window sometimes and find what they need within that moment.  The funny thing is that the same client might need to work on something every week but then show another need that is of greater importance at the time.  So I am learning to become versatile and flexible.  It will definitely take some time to get there, but I feel more experienced already after just one month of work.  I can't wait to see where I am 6 months from now!
     So today I would like to share a video with you.  My client, Gaby, is so much fun to work with.  She surprises me everyday with her talents.  One of her goals is to work on taking turns, especially when she wants to do something and I am trying to work on something else.  She absolutely LOVES the iPad.  I throw it into our sessions every week as a reward for her hard work.  The video below is of us working on taking turns and working together.  She really surprised me with her responses and has a great rhythm that I didn't realize she had until now!  This makes me look forward to trying more advanced drum and rhythm activities with her!  And yes I received permission to post this video...just FYI. :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Music Therapy Advocacy Month!

I am so proud to be a part of the music therapy family!  I feel a part of something great and wonderful that is changing people's lives.  Throughout my experience in school and clinically, I have been touched multiple times by the reactions of others to my field.  We don't just sing to people to make them feel better.  We work hard to benefit every aspect of a person in need's life.  Music Therapy happens to be a relatively new field officially created in the 1950's.  Though we have seen our profession in the spotlight much more lately through the news, movies, and online publications, music therapy is greatly in need of many more advocates.  Almost every week, I meet somebody or talk to somebody I have known for a long time that has no idea what music therapy is.  That is why it is so important to have people promote advocacy to further the field.  Below is all of the information you need to become a music therapy advocate.  Go on and jump on in to promote a life-changing profession!

Introduction: Advocacy --> Recognition --> Access

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this Plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, and an estimated 10 bills being filed in 2012 that seek to create either a music therapy registry or license for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is for anyone. Advocacy happens everywhere, any day of the week, any time you are engaging in a professional capacity. You can advocate at every level, from grassroots in your community to state agencies and governors to national legislators. In fact, any opportunity and conversation is a way to advocate for the profession.

Advocacy also happens within our profession--as when you talk to a person trained in music therapy about board certification. Plus, the skills needed to be an advocate are skills you already have, since you already advocate for your clients, your employment, and your pay.

Advocacy is a language. You need to know your audience and tailor your advocacy skills for that audience. It's just like tailoring your clinical skills for different clinical populations. Don’t forget that experience is the best teacher--having your audience experience music therapy firsthand is very powerful.

What is the State Recognition Operational Plan and why is it important to music therapy?

The State Recognition Operational Plan is a national initiative being implemented jointly by CBMT and AMTA to obtain state recognition of music therapy and the MT-BC credential. This collaborative effort between AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provides guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as groups of music therapists work toward recognition as defined by their particular state.

The Plan involves increasing awareness of the music therapy profession and of what it means to be board-certified. The ultimate goal is that, in all situations, the MT-BC be a minimum requirement as a service provision in every work setting.

What kind of advocate are you? (Intro to the Advocacy quiz – also included in the Advocacy Quiz document)
There are many ways to be an advocate. You can be the one to talk face-to-face with a legislator or agency official, or the one who helps behind-the-scenes in organizing grassroots efforts. You can serve on a state task force or help out with periodic letter writing efforts and Hill Day events. What kind of advocate are you, a super-star or a behind-the-scene sleuth? Take this little quiz to find out! Be sure to let us know in the comments section what type of advocate you are.


Superstar or Behind-the-Scenes Sleuth: What's Your Advocacy Style?

There are many ways to be an advocate. You can be the one who talks face-to-face with a legislator or agency official, or the one who helps behind-the-scenes in organizing grassroots efforts. You can serve on a state task force or help out with periodic letter writing efforts and Hill Day events. What kind of advocate are you: a superstar or a behind-the-scenes sleuth? Take this little quiz to find out!

Be sure to let us know in the comments section what type of advocate you are!

Take the Quiz

1. When asked by your state recognition task force if you know whom your current State Senator and/or Representative are, your reply is:
  1. “Good question.”
  2. “I think I know, but let me double-check.”
  3. “Yes, I know the names but not much about them.”
  4. “Yes, they’ve already heard from me about an issue.”

2. Which best describes the written correspondence (e.g. email, letter, etc.) you have had with your Senator and/or Representative:
  1. I’m on a first-name basis with at least one of their staff members.
  2. You’re kidding, right?
  3. I’ve considered writing, but don’t really know how the process works.
  4. I’ve made contact on at least one occasion about an issue.

3. You have been approached by your state recognition task force to participate in a “Hill Day” to make visits to legislators regarding state recognition of music therapy. Your first thought is:
  1. “That sounds scary, but if you give me some guidance I’ll give it a shot.”
  2. “Do you need me to help train others? I’ve done this before.”
  3. “Isn’t there another committee or task I can help with?”
  4. “I’m happy to go as long as I don’t have to do the talking.”

4. You are just settling in to your seat for a 2-hour flight when the person next to you asks, “What do you do?” After you respond, the questions begin. You think:
  1. “I don’t mind sharing, but I want to listen to the CD I downloaded before this flight. Let’s wrap it up.”
  2. “So far, so good. I hope I can answer all their questions.”
  3. “Bring on the questions. I love these opportunities to educate!”
  4. “I wish I’d said I was a dental hygienist.”

5. An agency that you work for has asked you to give a presentation about music therapy to their Foundation Board. You see this as:
  1. A little bit of a daunting task but do-able, as long as you can confer with colleagues for help and practice.
  2. An ulcer in the making. Is there someone else that can cover this one?
  3. No sweat. I love doing this sort of thing and could do it in my sleep.
  4. This could be fun. I have a little practice with this and welcome the chance to be in front of a new group.

6. You get a call from a colleague in the state association to talk about the “State Recognition Operational Plan” and what your thoughts are on pursuing licensure. You:
  1. Recall hearing something about this and are glad for the chance to ask questions and talk about what is happening in the state.
  2. Want to know about being more involved with the task force or how you can help.
  3. Aren’t sure they have the right number.
  4. Are part of the team making these calls.

7. As you sit down with the morning newspaper you notice that the opening of the current legislative session is front page news. The article outlines what the major issues are for this session. You:
  1. Skip past that to find the weather for this week.
  2. Skim through to get a sense of what issues are going to be “hot topics.”
  3. Make a note to see what committees your Senator and Representative are on in case they might be able to help.
  4. Wonder why the writer of this article didn’t cover the healthcare issues with the same depth as the online coverage that you’ve been following.

8. You receive an e-mail from your state task force asking you to complete a survey about your work as a music therapist. You:
  1. Helped create the survey and look forward to compiling the results so you can figure out the music therapy profile in your state. What a great advocacy tool!
  2. Hope to get around to it in the next week or so but think, “Haven’t I already answered these questions?”
  3. Complete it right then and sign up to be contacted in the event that they need help with state recognition tasks.
  4. Delete. No time for another survey.

9. At the urging of a friend you agreed to join your state task force. On the most recent call, the group is deciding who will take on particular tasks. You are most likely to:
  1. Take the lead on writing correspondence to your colleagues as long as you can get some feedback and support from the other task force members.
  2. Volunteer to be the chair of the task force. You are ready to lead!
  3. Take on a task that can be done by searching the internet and providing information to help the group’s effort.
  4. Participate in calls and weigh in with an occasional opinion about what the group should do next.

10. The efforts of your task force have paid off and there is a bill proposed to license music therapists going before the Health and Human Services Committee on the Senate side. Your sponsoring Senator has indicated that a few of you should speak at the hearing. You:
  1. Look forward to hearing how that works out.
  2. Are willing to contact a client’s family that might be willing to share their story.
  3. Are happy to help organize materials as long as you don’t have to speak in front of anyone.
  4. Have had your presentation and remarks ready for weeks. Bring on the committee.

Tally Your Score

Question 1: a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4

Question 2: a=4, b=1, c=2, d=3

Question 3: a=3, b=4, c=1, d=2

Question 4: a=2, b=3, c=4, d=1

Question 5: a=2, b=1, c=4, d=3

Question 6: a=2, b=3, c=1, d=4

Question 7: a=1, b=2, c=3, d=4

Question 8: a=4, b=2, c=3, d=1

Question 9: a=3, b=4, c=2, d=1

Question 10: a=1, b=3, c=2, d=4

What's Your Advocacy Personality?

Don't forget! Be sure to let us know in the comments section what type of advocate you are and who directed you to this quiz. :)

34-40 points: Loud and Proud
Maybe YOU should run for office?! Your advocacy style is a front-and-center, informed, direct approach. You aren’t afraid to take any and all opportunities presented to you to promote your cause. Whether it is making sure you are up-to-date with the latest “intel,” staying connected to your colleagues and professional happenings, writing e-mails or taking meetings, you make sure that you are well informed and that your voice is heard.

26-33 points: Not Afraid to Take the Lead
You are excited about the possibility of working for change and you aren’t afraid to talk to others or take on a leadership role as long as you have some support and guidance from others. You enjoy sharing ideas with about the profession and how to achieve change.

18-25 points: Behind-the-Scenes Sleuth
You are committed to helping out the group in a role that does not require you to be front and center. You work to stay informed and are happy to search the internet, write a letter or e-mail, or deal with tasks that allow you time to process and respond.

10-17 points: Supporting Role
While you feel invested, you aren’t necessarily comfortable being front-and-center to answer questions or lead the charge. You prefer a supportive role that helps further the cause. Rest assured that there are lots of advocacy tasks that would not get done without the support of those who are more comfortable doing the detail or research work that supports the more vocal members of the group. Maintaining membership and board-certification, responding to surveys and requests from your task force, and reading organizational news are ways to be involved without committing a huge amount of time.