Tomorrow officially starts my second year as a full time music therapist in a public school setting.
My caseload will be pretty much the same, and a majority of the classrooms will be in the same places, same teachers, etc..
For any of you who are new to reading my blog, I am a board certified music therapist who serves approximately 34 classrooms throughout the school year.
I travel to about 18 classrooms each week to do 30 minute music therapy sessions, and each classroom sees me every other week. I serve students(in our county they are labeled Low Incidence), from preK all the way up to high school (this includes a wide variety of developmental disabilities, Autism, etc.).
It's quite a schedule to juggle, but overall it has a lot of great moments.
At the end of this past school year, I made a list of things that helped me and things that I need to remember. So, I'm sharing my list today in hopes that it helps someone else out there in the wide world of the internet. :)
Ten things you need to remember:
1. Be yourself (You are the only person who can be you. The more you are you-the more you will learn about yourself and changes you may want to make.)
2. Check any baggage at the door. (The students deserve it.)
3. Make a point of asking how the teacher is doing. (Sometimes you will be the only one who cares to ask on a given day)
4. Count students in the classroom (this will mentally help you plan activities on the spot, divide instruments, and help you know if someone leaves the session unexpectedly)
5. Have some sort of structure to your sessions that the students can follow. (You don't have to do the same songs all the time, but be predictable on a few).
6. Compliment hard work when you see it. (This goes for the students, teachers, staff, etc. Everyone needs to know that you can tell they are making a difference.)
7. Find quiet time to think and reflect. (This is really important. Think and plan your next session. Reflect on what worked, why it worked, how interventions can work better, who you can ask for input, who else knows the student and can provide insight, what can you do different,etc. )
8. Think of at least 2-3 interventions to use with your favorite songs to use in sessions. (You can't always predict what's going to happen on any given day and this will help you be flexible.)
9. Give yourself time. (To reflect, to read, to grow, to improve, to observe, to vent, to practice, to listen, to laugh, to appreciate, to evaluate, etc.)
10. Always remember that you can never predict how your music will reach a person on any given day. Music is the universal language, and we all need it in our lives.