Transitions are something we address often. In our Listen & Learn classes and music therapy sessions, we often start with a hello song and end with goodbye to help with these transitions. We also make spaces in between songs short and sweet as we quickly move on to the next thing. But what about the time spent getting to and from the session/class room?(more…)
If you are like me, learning new repertoire can sometimes be difficult. Whether you have a lack of energy or you’re not in the right mindset, sitting down to learn new music can seem like a big task. I’ve found that my number one reason for procrastinating is by telling myself that I don’t have the time because I have other “more important” things that also need to get done.
There are times that I need to learn 20+ songs in a week due to Listen & Learn classes starting back up, coupled with requests made by students and clients. I used to struggle with this greatly. There are so many songs to learn in what feels like such a short period of time. To try and combat this “lack of time”, I have figured out a routine that works well for me to learn new music quickly and efficiently.(more…)
Enthusiasm and Energy During Music Time: Tips On How to Have an Orderly Session Without Diminishing Their Excitement
Some kiddos arrive to their session full of pep and raring to go! I often think to myself, “Wow, I wish I had half the energy of this child.” Here at Music Therapy Connections, I work with a lot of students and clients between the ages of 3-7 years old in individual and group settings. This age seems to bring a lot of energy, as well as joy and excitement for music!
Along with this enthusiasm often comes difficulty listening and following directions. This can lead to some not ideal, and even dangerous, situations. Thus, I have come to discover some effective ways to channel this energy into listening, respecting other participants, and following directions.(more…)
Hello again everyone! Did you think you saw the last of me? Well, surprise! I’m back! As my internship has come to a close, I’m adjusting to my new professional life and preparing to take the Board Certification Exam for Music Therapists.
As I gather materials and refresh on all I have learned throughout my music therapy education, I am realizing that I learned A LOT in four and a half short years. It has honestly been pretty daunting thinking about everything I need to study or refresh on (I’m looking at you music theory).
Yes, there is a lot of material to cover, but it’s important to remember that you learned all of it at one point. Plus, much of it has been applied in numerous real-life situations throughout college practicums and internship. Now it’s just a matter of getting it back fresh in your head. Here is how I’ve been preparing for the exam:
The New Music Therapist’s Handbook by Suzanne B. Hanser
I remember reading this book my freshman year of college. It is full of so much information, and breaks it down into chapters that are similar to the CBMT Domains. I re-read the whole book, but if there is a certain section you are specifically concerned about, I would recommend reading its corresponding chapter in the book. This book is a great refresher on the individual components of music therapy fieldwork.
I have made lots of flashcards for this exam. Most of them include definitions that may appear in the questions on the exam. As I create and study these flashcards, I need to keep reminding myself to set aside what I already know well, and focus on the ones that need a little more work. It will make the process of studying seem a lot easier.
While studying the flashcards, I also think about how the information may be asked on the exam. I ask myself questions like: What aspects of the term on each flashcard set it apart from others? What makes this specifically unique? How should I respond if this happened during a session?
Take Advantage of the Practice Exams
CBMT offers two practice exams to help you prepare. I took one after reading the Hanser book but before making flashcards and studying further. I did this to see where I was and how I was doing so far. This helped me pinpoint what I really needed to study and focus on. I plan to take the second practice exam closer to my actual test date.
This is what I am currently doing to prepare myself for the Board Certification Exam for Music Therapists. Everyone will have different study techniques, but this is what is working for me right now. If you would like to read some more tips, check out Molly Robitaille’s blog post about her strategies for conquering the exam!
As I continue to prepare, I would love to hear what has worked for you while studying for this exam. Please let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
Hello! I hope everyone had a spooky Halloween! It was lots of fun at MTC!
Halloween was definitely interesting this year because it snowed here in Springfield! I had some sessions at a daycare center that morning, and the kiddos were saying “It’s almost Christmas!” as they were so excited to see the snow. It brightened my morning to see their joy, as I myself was not too thrilled about the weather.
The children’s joy for Christmas made me realize that the big holiday season is right around the corner! I wanted to share some of my favorite songs to use during this wonderful time of the year!
Halloween (Maybe you can use these ideas next year!)
- “Lollipop, Lollipop“: Rachel Rambach created this adaptation of the well known song. We play the lollipop drums and work on following directions and motor skills. This is a great intervention for both kids and adults.
- “Halloween Stew” by Rachel Rambach: This song is a great way to work on the alphabet! We create a stew together, but all of our ingredients have to start with the same letter.
- “Thriller” by Michael Jackson: This is a fun one to get up and dance to, let some energy out, and work on motor skills!
- “The Colors of Thanksgiving” by Rachel Rambach: This song talks about all the delicious food we get to eat at Thanksgiving while also identifying colors.
- “Humble and Kind” by Tim McGraw: The main theme of this song is to take time out of your day to be humble and kind. Be thankful for all that is around you and don’t take anything for granted.
- “Thankful” by Josh Groban: I hear this song a lot around Christmas time, but you can simply tell by the name that it’s also appropriate for Thanksgiving.
- “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music: This song is not specifically a Christmas song, but it tends to be lumped in with other Christmas music. This is a great way to discuss coping skills. Rewrite the song with your client’s favorite things!
- “Jingle Bells“: This is always a favorite! Hand out those jingle bells and create group cohesion! You could also work on motor skills, following directions, and social skills.
- “The 12 Days of Christmas”: A fun song to work on sequencing and counting skills!
I am so ready to jam out to Christmas music, but I’m making myself wait until after Thanksgiving. Planning for sessions doesn’t count though, right? :)
I hope some of these song ideas are helpful! Thanks for reading and have a great week!
Hi again! I want to share something I’m very proud of: this summer, I successfully passed the CBMT exam and officially became a board-certified music therapist!
For those of you who are not familiar with the exam, it’s a three-hour test consisting of 150 multiple choice questions. 130 of those are scored, and you must get 95 or more correct to pass. Upon passing, you are able to use the MT-BC title, standing for Music Therapist Board-Certified. It can be very stressful!
For this blog post, I’m sharing some of the unique study tips that really helped me conquer this exam.
Confession: I’ve always had bad test anxiety. Tests have always scared me and this test was absolutely no exception. Since so much was depending on me passing this, I knew I needed to conquer this test anxiety and develop some unique study habits.
- The first and most impactful thing I did was see a counselor in my area who specializes in test anxiety. She really changed my mindset going into the exam and even though I only had two visits, I really owe so much of my success to her!
- Next, I broke down all the info I wanted to brush up on down into flash cards. I meticulously color coded these, using colored flash cards and coordinating colored pens. I gathered the information from the New Music Therapist’s Handbook by Susan Hanser as well as several websites and journal articles, depending on what I needed to study. This all seems like pretty common study stuff, but wait…
- I recorded myself repeating the flash cards and ‘teaching’ myself this information. I did about one recording a day, and listened to them whenever I could- on my commute, when out for a walk, while cooking dinner, anytime I had some free time.
- Then, I transcribed these recordings into a notebook. Hearing myself and writing it down incorporated different learning styles and helped me to solidify this information.
- Almost every night, I called my mom and ‘taught’ her what I had reviewed that day. Since she isn’t a music therapist this was all new information for her, and she asked questions that helped me solidify the information even better.
- I made sure that I stopped making new flash cards about a week and a half before the exam. For the rest of the time I focused on listening to recordings, transcribing, and really getting that information down in my brain.
If you are taking the CBMT exam soon, I hope some of these study tips can help you. If you aren’t taking it soon, I hope these tips can at least help you for other exams in your life, no matter how big because these strategies can be applied to so many other subjects and situations.
To all MT students and interns: I wish you nothing but the best of luck! This exam is absolutely passable, so please don’t get discouraged. You know this information- it’s just a matter of refreshing it.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any comments, concerns, or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!
Molly Robitaille, MT-BC