While like many of the posts found on this blog site, you’ll find a few songs. Unlike many of the posts, this is more a challenge for you to reflect on the heart of your work.
We as music therapist, performers and music specialists have at the heart of our work music. It is our personal journey with this art that led us along with other influences to working with older adults through and with music.
The heart is also the music we select for our clients experience. (I LOVE this concept of experience vs. intervention or activity. Rachelle Norman of Soundscaping Source has a post coming out on this. When she releases it, I’ll place the link here and shout it out on Twitter.) The how, why, and what we do and the feel we are after requires a pause to focus and reflect.
Questions to guide you to the heart of your work
While this is far from a comprehensive list, it is a starter. Use these questions as guides to reflect. (Thank you MJ Landaker for your posts like this one which have informed the questions that follow.)
- What is the greatest need of this person/group?
- What is the feel that will best meet this need?
- What experience am I trying to provide? Why?
- What happened when they experienced ________?
- Is there an adaptation I can make to deepen this experience?
- What songs match this need? This feel? The experience?
- What instruments match this need? This feel? The experience?
- What manipulatives match this need? This feel? The experience?
- What style of music matches this need? This feel? The experience?
- Are there in the moment changes I could/should consider?
- Why did I use that song/style/instrument/etc.?
- Did I respond to a client request or need for an experience outside the one for which I had planned?
- Did I take time to truly listen and see the person(s)?
Like much in life, there is no one size fits all or one size fits every situation answer. Time to reflect can happen in both planned and unplanned ways. Here are just a few ways to create opportunities for getting to the heart of your work.
Morning pages/Journaling: Having a set time of day to reflect can be a space this reflection. Increase the time you allot for this so you can address one or more of the questions.
Session “postmortem”: In addition to charting, take a few minutes to reflect on the session. For music therapists, this may take you back to your internship and practicum days.
Assessing a plan: Take time to question your plan to be sure it provides the experience your client needs.
Mental processing while in the flow of another task: While you walk, drive, wash dishes, fold clothes, color, noodle on an instrument, or mediate (just to name a few) allow you to focus on one of these questions.
Music to bless the heart of your work
There are so many beautiful heart songs. Chances are you have a personal favorite as do those whom you serve. These are a little less on mentioning heart and more addressing the heart of your work.
#1. “Lift Your Spirit” – Aloe Blacc
Let it be a reminder to “lift your spirit and toast a cheer” to all good you bring. And, remember “whose got your back”. Spend time with them and refill your cup.
#2. With a Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
Remember you have friends/peers/colleagues to help you reflect on your work and on your life.
#3. Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
In many ways your work starts as “a blank page before you”. Maybe in some way this reflective process will illuminate the heart of your work, the heart of what is needed.
#4. Heal the World – Michael Jackson
Remember while the experiences you provide people may not heal the world, you may “make it a better place” for those you serve.
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