I was glad to be a guest on the Hospice Chaplaincy Show. If you’d like to take some time (it’s 49 minutes long) and hear about my journey leading up to and including my work in hospice, take a listen. I included a lot of personal information – talking about music therapy really opens me up. Thanks to Dr. Saul Edema and Dr. Joe Newton for inviting me to share some insights from the field, and from my heart.
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
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?
There’s a little game I play with patients who are too ill or are too uncomfortable to interact fully to play or sing with me.
I call it “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down”. I’ve refined this over the last few years, choosing songs that are within the genre of their choice. Today I helped a young teen get through some post surgery pain. For her I played:
- – Yellow – Cold Play
- – Firework – Katy Perry
- – Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
- – Let it Be – The Beatles
- – Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
Interesting combination – we chatted a little between songs when she wanted to share about the song. This lead me to my next selections. I’m glad to report I got 5 thumbs up, which really meant to me that what I offered her gave her some relief.
In other sessions I have been lucky enough to sing someone to sleep who was previously in distress. That is a great feeling to be able to bring some comfort to a person’s bedside.
Enjoy the music!
From time to time I get to share my patient’s work. I do this with express permission from the patient/client and/or their parent. This is the case with “Madeline” – a teen hospitalized with a halo contraption to stretch her spine in preparation for spinal surgery in two or three week. Later, she would experience two weeks of healing and therapy.
After our first meeting, we decided a good way to get to know each other was by singing through some familiar tunes. She sang Katy Perry’s Firework. It’s a great inspirational song about keeping going when you feel less than your best self. This young teen, removed from her regular social and academic environment, was missing her regular life.
After we went through a few options, Madeline chose to re-write the lyrics and create a version that reflects her advice on how to get through tough times. These are the re-written lyrics she wrote with my assistance. I share this as an example of the power of music to inspire and facilitate health. Hum the tune to yourself as you read her words.
"When you are alone, and have no where to go, A friend can help you through, You don't have to be alone. There's always someone who's there to comfort you, To hold your hand through the rough time. When I'm feeling weak, and losing control I'm not sure how I can make it through But then I turn to friends, and they boost me up Make me feel I'm strong, so I can carry on. Baby I'm a firework..."
Remembering home, remembering friends, remembering what is important can make all the difference to help someone cope with hospitalization or a series of medical procedures. Madeline is now equipped with a catchy song she can sing to herself in moments of struggle to remind her of the important things — her friends.
I came across this delightful and insightful post from a blogger who is enthusiastic about living a healthy life. This is the story of how this person used music to tolerate some dental discomfort, and was inspired to do a little research on music therapy since using music worked so well for them. Kudos for doing what feels right and for being curious enough to learn more. As a board certified music therapist, I am excited to share this well written and cheerful post with my readers. Thank you for sharing this Yeloros! Enjoy the singing and dancing!
If you have a family member or friend in special education with Oak Park School District 97, my music therapy presentation this Tuesday night is a must- attend. Not only will I share with parents how music therapy can target educational goals, I will offer parents a much deserved moment of respite and relaxation through music. Here is how you sign up to attend. Come, listen, and enjoy.
Missed the live show Friday? Click here to take a listen to my discussion with host Janice Lindstrom and learn a little more about why I love being a music therapist.
Thanks for listening — I’d love to hear any comments you might offer!