Magical Moments, Making Music, Music Therapy

Studio Virtual Recital

At long last – our virtual concert!  Not unlike a concert hall where you might go to hear your loved one play, I’ve put together a program of a few students and clients interested in sharing their developing talents. I am so proud of each of them for a variety of things.  I’m proud also of the parents and dedicated grandparents for keeping their kiddos moving forward by bringing them for lessons/sessions.

In addition to the children you see “performing” today, we also engage in music making with clients and students in early childhood education settings, hospitals, schools, and in community settings.  Those programs are not featured here, just a few of our one to one studio students/clients.


Victoria Storm, MM, MT-BC


Making Music, Media Reviews

NAMI Nation

NAMIMy colleagues at the National Alliance on Mental Illness here in Oak Park contacted me a few months ago to assist in a project they are affectionately calling NAMI Nation.  It’s an arts based approach to support and advocacy where the NAMI members have a chance to work together in performance situations to share their love of music, and use the arts for sustained wellness.  Charles Torpe and his colleagues offer open mics, a songwriting group, karaoke, free-style, and poetry slams, and art studio events.  Take a look at this video and you will learn a lot more.  I enter around 4:35 minutes so enjoy the full presentation and offer your support to this super cool program.

In the continuum of care, you can consider this program not a music therapy program, but a wellness program, or therapeutic arts program.  The goals are to embrace the performance opportunities offered to their members as a way to maintain mental health and help members create/express in a supportive environment.  As a music therapist working in community mental health, I am grateful to be able to point to this program as an example of how music is used in a wellness model serving our community members and neighbors.

Go NAMInation!

Magical Moments, Making Music

Summer, Sing Coo Coo

Whenever I think about summer and get excited about the change of pace, the opportunity for added fun and flexibility, an ancient song that I learned of in my Music History 101 class in college always pops in my mind.  Something like, “soomer is incoomin in, sing coo coo” (spelled somewhat phonetically here), has a lilting and playful quality. It dances and bounces in my mind’s ear, reminding me that something wonderful is just around the corner.  20121117-152112.jpg

In getting the summer classes and individual sessions solidly on the calendar, it is a time for me to reflect with intention for how to spend the precious summer moments.  It is once again my intention to spend my days immersed in music making and sharing as much as possible, whether that is with clients, students, their families, in my own community circles, with band mates, and my own family.  What a joy it is to live a musical life.

How can you make yours a musical life and embrace the passions that live within you??

Making Music, Music Therapy

Inspiration Everywhere

A few years ago I made an intention to serve my community in a way that was unique to my talents. I was stressed by the many requests for volunteerism, for obligations to serve, for ways to be involved and engaged in relationship with friends and community.  I had to set a healthy limit that felt authentic to me, and allowed me to deepen these connections with others.  It was to honor and live a life within music.  That may seem obvious to those who know me personally, but that is only through the conscious effort to make that commitment a reality.  For example, someone asked me to lead the Brownie Troup for my daughter.  I turned down this request but committed to helping fulfill their music badge.  A leader in my religious organization asked me to lead an ensemble of singers for presentation at services – it was quite an artistic leap for this usual soloist but became a wonderful challenge I’ve embraced now for several seasons.  Living a life in the music is what I have come to understand is a formula for happiness for me.

It is from this place of balance and art making that I live my life.  Whether at the recent GLR Conference learning about other MT-BC’s research projects and clinical approaches, to visiting my relative at the piano in her healthcare facility, to sitting in a spring meadow with the awakened critters and insects, to riding my bike with my family, I hear and feel the music and its application in therapy.  Quantifying and qualifying the work as a professional behavioral health practitioner in music (formally call a board certified music therapist), to being a loving presence helping to stimulate brain functioning and enhance social connections through musical play and sharing, to listening to the rhythms of the natural world, I live IN the music.  As I write this, I’m even listening to recordings for rehearsal in my rock band, looking forward to the next time we get to play together.  Play together – now there’s a thought.  Living IN the music is my preferrend way to play with my friends.  Making life beautiful, playful, living in flow and in rhythm with others.  That’s my musical life.

Where is your passion?  What are you on this planet for that brings you joy? How are you making life meaningful?

Keep singing.img_0775

Making Music

Happy Hearts for February

Although Feb 14 is the whopper of days for hugs and open hearts, it’s a tough one for many. In honor of February love feasts, I thought I’d share a little something that I find inspirational in the spirit of love and kindness that goes beyond romance and lands in the lap of supportive love. It’s recorded at a house concert last summer. It’s definitely on my top 10 of favs. Hope you like it.

Cyndy Lauper’s “True Colors” cover

Making Music

Enjoying the gifts

As I’ve mentioned before, it has been a summer filled with making music.  As a music therapist, I talk about the need for self care with my clients all the time.  Well, I have been practicing what I preach by making time for my musician-self.

This past weekend was a great example of that. Saturday afternoon was summer music made outdoors while neighbors and friends gathered, Saturday night was a gig sharing the stage with some Chicago greats, and Sunday morning was sharing music in the spirit of quiet meditation.  Sunday afternoon I celebrated this by taking a nap and a long walk.  It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.  Thanks to those friends, family and colleagues who shared it with me.


Making Music

A Running List of Modern Pop/Rock Songs for Piano

Wowie Zowie – What a great list of songs to inspire some fire for lessons! For those of you who are struggling through music lessons, take a look at this great resource list. Thanks to author Amaryah for the great video links! Keep playing!

As promised in my last post “So your child wants to quit music lessons?“, here is a list of modern pop/rock songs for piano that you can introduce to your child or student (in no particular order).  I plan on adding songs to the list as they are released or discovered.  *Disclaimer: some are not appropriate for kids but would still be good matches for young adult/adult students.

  1. “Say Something” by A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera
  2. “Atlas” by Coldplay 
  3. “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars
  4. “Jar of Hearts” by Cristina Perri

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