NMT Techniques: MUSTIM!

Hello everyone, welcome to another blog post!

Today, I will be writing about a recent symposium topic: speech & language NMT techniques! For those who may not be familiar with NMT, here is a quick rundown. NMT stands for “Neurologic Music Therapy”, and consists of 20 clinical techniques for sensorimotor, speech, language, and cognitive training. The treatment techniques used in NMT are based on the scientific knowledge in music perception and production, and the effects on nonmusical brain and behavior functions. Some common populations where NMT can be implemented include stroke and TBI patients, older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, and people with Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy and Huntington’s disease. For more information on NMT, click this link!

There are 7 NMT techniques that directly target speech and language. For today, I will be focusing on MUSTIM, but this blog post contains information on the other 6 techniques. 

For the sake of the length of this blog post, I will be focusing on MUSTIM (musical speech stimulation), which is the speech and language technique that I am most familiar with. We frequently implement MUSTIM in our older adult sessions. MUSTIM directly correlates with music that is extremely familiar for the clients, which gives them a burning desire to fill in the blanks! This is can be an important skill for older adults to stimulate speech and long term memory. 

For example, if I just sang “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you …..”, and then I just stopped singing, your brain’s natural response is to immediately respond with “Are”. This is a great technique to use with older adults to stimulate long-term memory and speech!

One song that I have been using this week is “Don’t Fence Me In” by Bing Crosby. I usually introduce the song by saying, “For this next song, we have a very special part for you all to sing. I will start singing the song and see if you can catch on. “Oh give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above …..” This is usually when the clients automatically fill in “Don’t Fence Me In”. After the clients fill it in on their own, you can provide positive praise, and reinforce the instructions again by saying something like, “Every time we get to the part ‘don’t fence me in’, I want you to sing out nice and loud!”. After the clients fill in just that phrase, usually their long term memory kicks in and assists them in remembering the other lyrics. 

Some other songs that I have used in the past that works great for MUSTIM include “Home on the Range”, “You Are My Sunshine”, and “God Bless America”. Usually traditional and folk songs work great as a  MUSTIM intervention because the lyrics are over learned. 

I want to hear from you! What are some songs that you frequently use when implementing MUSTIM? 

Happy session planning and see you in the next post!

– Juliana 

 

Camp Jam!

Greetings everyone! 

Last week we had one of the most fun and busiest weeks- Camp Jam!! (Inserted this blog post are interactive links, where you can find out some more information about Camp Jam and our team if you’re interested!) 

Camp Jam is a music therapy camp run by The Music Therapy Center of California, and is designed to provide group music therapy experiences for children with special needs. We had children of all different ages, ranging from 3-14 years old. This camp was especially unique because all of our campers were paired with a camp counselor, so that everyone had 1:1 attention. All of our counselors were passionate about music and working with children, and were able to get to know their campers really well by the end of the week. Seeing friendships blossom and the bright smiles on all the kids’ faces by the end of the day made all of the hard work well worth it! 

Each morning started with an opening “welcome” circle, where the campers participated in songs to learn about camp rules, self control, body check, and how to be a good friend. It was always a wonderful way to pump everyone up in the morning! Afterwards, we divided the kids up into an older and younger aged music therapy group. I had the opportunity to work with both groups, which were a lot of fun! Below, I have included some photos of one of our music therapists, Ms. Angie, working with the younger group of children. Some different domains addressed in her music therapy interventions were body awareness, taking turns and sharing, and following one-step directions. 

After the different music therapy groups in the morning, we had craft and snack time, followed by a movement activity. A lot of great impromptu experiences happened during craft and snack time, which was a time allowed for the campers to express their creative freedom and have a bit of down time. One of the most memorable moments was when one of our counselors sang “5 Green & Speckled Frogs” in Spanish, and a lot of our campers were fully engaged and awe-stricken by this experience! Below is a photo of one of our craft time experiences, where our campers created photo frames for our group Camp Jam picture. 

The last day of camp, we provided different water activities for the campers, instead of our usual playground experience. This is where we saw a lot of our shy campers really shine! It was incredible to see them react positively to playing with water balloons with their peers, and the smiles on their faces. It was a great way to provide a different sensory experience for the campers who have a variety of sensory needs.

I would recommend Camp Jam to any parent who is considering this as an option for their child, as it is a wonderful time for your child to have unique social experiences through music. A variety of different domains are targeted during Camp Jam, including social, motor and attention skills. I loved being a part of this experience and getting to know all of the kids, and I know all of our staff members and camp counselors did as well! 

-Juliana Hsu

 

Full-time Student to Full-time Intern: Transitioning Lifestyles!

Hello everyone!

It has already been almost 4 whole weeks since I started life as a music therapy intern! I thought I would write my first blog post about my still fresh experiences of what it is like to transition from being a full-time student to a full-time intern, and give some helpful tips of how to prepare for your brand new life and schedule!

First thing’s first- giving yourself enough time to move! If your internship is in a different location than where you currently are, especially if it is in an unfamiliar place, give yourself enough time to secure a place to live and to physically move your stuff and get settled. I was living in Lawrence, KS, so I had quite a long journey to go to get to San Diego. I flew out to California about a month before my internship started, and gave myself a week to find somewhere to live. Before I left, I compiled information with different apartment options, and a plan for visiting each one. Even if there seems like there aren’t many options online, once you are driving around the area, you will notice that there are complexes around every corner! It is especially helpful going at night to see if it is a place that you feel safe in.

I moved in about a week before my internship started, which I felt for me personally, was an ideal amount of time to get settled. Power through and try to get everything unpacked in the first few days- it’ll really help your new home actually feel like home! Take the rest of the time to really relax and explore the city before you are in full-blown internship mode! 

(^ Don’t let this be you)

Some important things to consider before your internship starts includes practicing driving to the office during the typical time you would have to get there, especially if that time is during rush hour. Do you usually have to go into work at 8 am and it takes you about 20 minutes to get there? Practice getting up early one day and head out around 7:30 and see if that gives you enough time! Remember, being early is on time, and being on time is late. I have found that the app “Waze” is really helpful. There is an option in the app where you can put what time you have to be at a certain destination, and it will tell you exactly what time you should leave based off of typical traffic patterns. 

Scope out the area around your office too- look for restaurants, grocery stores, walking trails- anything you think will be beneficial for you during your time during internship. I have an hour every day for lunch, and one thing I have been doing is going on at least a 30 minute walk every day during my break at a nearby park. It really helps me recharge, get some fresh air, and energize myself for the rest of the day! 

As for internship starting- what everyone says is definitely true. I thought after four years of going to school for 12 hours every day, I would be prepared for anything that was coming my way…

The kind of energy you need for music therapy sessions all day every day is very different. This is where self care is key (I know, I’m sure you’ve heard that millions of times, but it’s true!) Make sure you take the time to schedule in things you need to relax and unwind. Also, meal prep!!! It will save you lots of time and money. Not having to worry about what I am going to eat throughout the week is a huge time and headache saver. Also, always carry lots and lots of water on you, and keep snacks in your car if you are commuting to different facilities! 

Lastly… sleep! When you’re in school, you may only have to worry about facilitating sessions once or twice a week, but soon, you’ll have many back to back sessions every day! A healthy and working voice is very important, and sleep is the key to this. (And water… hydrate or diedrate!) 

I am really excited and looking forward to this new adventure for the next 6 months- happy reading and see you in the next post! And if you are also an intern or about to start your internship soon- congratulations! You can do it!!

-Juliana Hsu 

Top “Learnings” During Internship

These past 6 months have been a blur of learning experiences! It is so hard to narrow down what my top “learnings” have been because I have learned so incredibly much. I am not remotely close to the therapist I was 6 months ago, and thank goodness for that! I’ll try to synthesize the top 2 areas in which I have noticed the most growth in myself.

  1. Confidence! If you had told me 6 months ago that I would reach the point where I would feel confident in my ability to facilitate therapeutic change for a client within a session, I would have laughed in your face. Now, confidence does not mean I have the impression that I’m done learning and improving. I still have so much to learn! But this confidence means that I am no longer feeling floods of self-doubt when I enter my sessions. I no longer feel like I need to script and plan out every second of my sessions. Confidence means I’m finally to the point where I can trust my instincts. When I’m trusting my instincts, I can be myself. And when I’m myself, the client benefits from a more authentic therapeutic relationship, which leads to faster learning and goal achievement!
  1. As it turns out, I can teach! I had never thought of myself as a very good teacher. These past 6 months, I have been put in many many MANY teaching situations, from adapted piano and guitar lessons with children and teens to teaching the Clavinova (read: electric piano) to older adults. Initially, I was TERRIFIED by the idea of having to teach. And many times I felt I was just stumbling through each lesson. So, of course, I was amazed when my older adult students told me that I explained things very well and that they were able to easily understand my instructions. Now, I am no longer terrified of teaching. What’s more, I may even ENJOY it sometimes! I think this speaks volumes to the amount of practice I’ve had over the last 6 months, trying to relate to each one of my students in their unique learning styles, and breaking information down into small pieces. I’m grateful that I can walk away from this internship knowing that I developed a skill a never thought I had or would have

It’s been a wild learning ride, and the above to learning areas are just the tip of the iceberg. I am SO grateful for this experience and for the tools it has given me to become a more successful therapist.

  • Chiara

Meet the Intern Behind the Posts: Craig

CraigCraig Ruggels is currently a music therapy intern for The Music Therapy Center of California. He is pursuing his Maters degree in music therapy from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, after receiving his Bachelor’s degree in music from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Washington.

Craig’s primary instrument is anything percussion. Craig as a music therapy student has become proficient in guitar and piano, as well. He has worked with individual who have mental, physical and psychological disabilities and/or impairments.

Craig’s story

“Music has always had a special place in my life; it has been there in times of celebration and not so happy times. Being able to play music gives me great joy. When returning to college to pursue my degree in music at a later stage in life I found the life of a college student to be incredibly stressful. I found music therapy as a way to relieve my stress and to give me a new direction to follow as a career. I have never regretted that choice, working as a music therapy give me a sense of fulfillment knowing that I am helping to improve the lives of others.”