The Weather & Whether or Not to Cancel

Living in Illinois (or anywhere in the midwest) often means coping with unpredictable weather: the kind of weather where one day it is 52 degrees and sunny and the next we have an ice or snowstorm leaving the roads basically impassible.   Over a foot of snow is usually a pretty good sign to cancel lessons/sessions, but what about those times where the weather isn’t awful, but it isn’t great?  What then?   I have a couple ways to cope with situations like these: 1. Let the Family Choose – When in doubt, you can contact them to see what they are comfortable with.  If you can make it to work but don’t know if families what to make the trek or go out in the -10 weather, simply ask them what they want to do.  I find that families sometimes appreciate a phone call or text message to check-in when these circumstances arise.  2. Listen to Your Gut – Do you feel safe on the roads?  Are you uncomfortable going to work in those weather conditions?  If you don’t feel Read More

New Series: The Traveling Music Therapist

I was so blessed when I moved to Lincoln, to find a part-time position at a hospital and another music therapist who needed a contractor.  I love the diverse range of clients I work with and all of the different settings, but I do a lot of traveling.  This week alone, traveling only three days, I will spend roughly 8-9 hours in my car. That’s a lot of driving for 3 days!  Last year I put over 13,000 miles on my car for work alone (and that’s probably an underestimate).  So, over the past 2 years of travel, I have come up with a couple strategies for coping, a few tricks to make life easier, some resources to help things along, and a list of things I cannot forget. Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to be sharing with you some of the ways handle being a Traveling Music Therapist.  Today, I have a 6 Quick Tips for Travel. 1.  Schedule enough time to be 5 minutes late (in case you have to talk to a family, make a Read More

7 Quick Tips for Successfully Working Around a Language Barrier

Working in a setting with a diverse population has it’s challenges, especially when there is a language barrier!  I work in a children’s hospital where some of my clients are non-English speakers, but that doesn’t stop me from providing services!  Often people will even recommend music therapy over other modalities because music is universal and doesn’t necessarily require a whole lot of words! Where words fail, music speaks.                                 -Hans Christian Andersen Here are some 7 quick tips for working around a language barrier! 1. Keep it simple  – Keep your intervention simple so they don’t require a lot of explanation.  Let the music do the work instead of the words. 2. Learn the basics – Working in an area where Spanish is prevalent?  Learn to say hello, how are you, music, goodbye, and some of the other basics you know you will need! (stay tuned we will cover this more in an upcoming post!) 3. Let them know – Don’t pretend to know what your client Read More

5 Quick Tips for Avoiding Burnout

After a holiday, several days away from the office, and a relaxing weekend, I am ready to get back into the swing of things! Honestly, I’ve missed my clients, writing for the blog, and making music! I was unplugged from the world for a few days, living with no internet and very little cell service so I was unable to do anything work related. I spent time with my family and friends, sharing laughs, making memories, and simply unwinding. I cannot put into words how refreshed and happy I feel. As I start to take on the new challenges of the week I wanted to share with you a few ways to avoid burnout and maintain that refreshed, ready-to-go feeling. 1. Take time for yourself! This is hard one for me because I like to do things for my business and for others but I know that in order to serve others, taking time for myself is super important. Find five minutes a day to do something nice for yourself. For me, that translates to playing my favorite song on Read More