Harmonious Beginnings MTS

Reasons to Make a Playlist

Posted on June 11th, 2014 in Uncategorized by |

Today, as I was driving, I was listening to WUWM, Lake Effect and I heard an interview with a gerontologist (someone who studies aging) who worked with dementia patients. She had been researching the effects of music on her nursing home residents and found many benefits to listening to favorite songs – or preferred music as we MTs call it.

None of the research was surprising or new to me, but I was glad to hear that research was being done on the effects of music by another profession besides Music Therapists. It kind of sent me down another track of a more personal application. She talked about how she was in the process of creating her own playlist to be used by friends and family when and if she ever was elderly, ill or incapacitated in a way that made it difficult to communicate her wished to her care takers. Eureka! Of course! Why haven’t I thought of that? I have often thought about the music that calms me…motivates me…brings back memories…but I have never made a list of those songs! What a great tool to have. Only you truly know what goes through your mind when you hear certain songs and making a list of those songs and what they do for you, is almost like creating a treatment plan for  future care givers like Music Therapists to use.

I’m going to start my list and encourage family members to do the same. Mom and Dad, I don’t know what’s in store for us as the next stage of our lives unfold, but this tool would be invaluable to me! I’m sure I could make some pretty good guesses as to what my family likes to listen to, but it’s the specific songs that are tied to memories and emotions that are key. Putting this list together now, means that you can consider all the options while your mind is healthy and functioning. Some of the songs I played in the UW-Eau Claire Symphony Orchestra would never occur to my brother to put on my favorite song list, but the Shostakovitch Symphonies or the Barber Adagio for Strings that we played as I cried tears on stage is a memory that my family might not consider. And I think those are precious….so I’m writing them down and starting today. You should too.



Posted on December 12th, 2013 in Uncategorized by |

I have found myself talking about patterns so often lately, that I think it’s becoming a pattern! Honestly, as I stop to consider how I teach young children- my own, the children in my music classes, or the clients at the clinic- the perceptions of patterns becomes the key point on which my teaching philosophy pivots.

Head start classes talk about rhythm: Patterns of steady beats, patterns of ‘the rhythm of the words,’ patterns of Ta’s and Ti-ti’s… helping the kids find the rhythm in many different ways is the focus this month. At 4 or 5 years old, A-B-A-B patters are easy, but A-B-B-A-B-B is not as easy. The amazing thing is, kids this age learn so fast, it kind of blows my mind to watch some of the children grasp the new pattern in a period of 5 minutes and just light up as they recognize that they are accomplishing something new!

Doing math homework with my own kids: Patterns in the numbers, looking for patterns of 5’s and 10’s as my kids work on adding, and multiplying to help them beat the ‘Time Test Tuesday’ Challenge, so they don’t have to count on their fingers anymore. I wish I had paid more attention to patterns in numbers as I was working through school- seeing the patterns helps to define the big picture and understand the relevance of why you need to know what you need to know.

Doing preschool academics: Patterns start at 2 and 3 years old- recognizing simple patterns on preschool homework pages.

Studying harmonies/ music theory: Patterns in intervals- half steps and whole steps make sense in the most simplistic harmonies of open 5th and the most complicated harmonies of the dissonant jazz chord progressions.

Art lessons: Patterns in shapes and colors.

Patterns that surround us- auditory, visual, sensory etc.

Our brains seek out patterns to make sense of our environment. Humans have been learning from patterns since the beginning. Cycles of the sun, moon, planets, astrology, days, weeks, months, seasons, our biological rhythms are our biological patterns….it’s how we learn and how we can continue to grow. IF we are able to find the healthy patterns and continue with them as we distinguish between our bad habits that need changing, we should be able to focus effort to change for the better. The difficulty lies in the conflict between the need for change and our quest for patterns. I think I am better at it that the generation before me, but I hope that my children are better at it than I am….and so continues another pattern.

Back to School Stressors

Posted on September 4th, 2013 in personal observations by |

We are getting ready to go back to school at myIMAG1682 house this week. Kids are getting up earlier and going to bed earlier- and we have gotten back into the habit of reading and doing math facts. The routine of school is always more demanding than summer routines. I do cherish the summer…riding bikes and baseball games. My kids play around the house, pretending with their littlest pet shop collections, building with legos and experimenting with the art supplies that are forever cluttering up the kitchen table, but I love that they can get engrossed in something that lets them explore creatively without the interruption of me having to yell, “It’s time to go! Hurry up and get ready so we are not late!!”

Then again, it will be good to get back into the routine. I can already tell my son’s additions facts are not as keen now, as they were at the end of the school year. Little ones that thrive on routine, like my daughter, are getting board and cranky. The biggest problem with the impending loom of the first day back to school, is the stress that come with it all. I am trying to be proactive this time and do a better job planning ahead so that we transition smoothly without all the stress, but I feel it creeping into my neck muscles no matter what I do.

Then I remember to stretch and breathe and I am reminded of how lucky I am to do music with little IMAG1725kids everyday. I get down on the floor with all the little ones with my guitar, and for the time that I am there, I forget about my daily stresses. I breathe deeply, I sing with my soul, I dance until I’m breathless and drum away all the worries in the room.

Back to school routines will be good. Goodbye Summer! It was a good one.




Welcome to the Harmonious Beginnings Blog

Posted on March 6th, 2013 in general infomration by |

Welcome to Harmonious Beginnings Blog! This is my second attempt at blogging and I am making a concerted effort to keep this one more current. Things for my small business are in a state of transition this year. Although it can be a bit unsettling when things are in a constant flux of change, it can also be exciting. I am looking forward to what this new year will bring. I love working with my individual clients and seeing them grow. I am meeting new families all the time and watching some great little musicians blossom before my eyes. I am getting ready to expand my Music Together® early childhood groups- which I love to teach- to include Music Together Within Therapy- therapy focused groups.

On a personal note, I’ve got 3 kids who will all be at Fine Arts elementary next year. My husband and I are amazed every day at how quickly they are growing up. As I watch my oldest daughter taking Suzuki violin lessons, just like I did at her age, I remember the struggle. As a kid, I hated to practice. As a Mom, I want her to form good habits. In the long run, I am ever grateful to my mom for pushing me when I wanted to quit. I hear from parents all the time that played an instrument for a short time during their childhood. I wonder, how many people regret quitting, or are glad that the dropped their instrument? One thing I can say for sure, when I look around at the people I know, whether a friend has played for 3 years or 30, there is a kindred spirit I find in another musician. It changes us for the good.