Thursday, June 30, 2011

May Headlines From the Daily Muse

     Just in case you missed them, here are the stories from May in the Daily Muse.  If you want to be on the cutting edge of music news for the therapist, parent and teacher, then you can follow the daily entries by subscribing to Music Makes Sense on Twitter or by "Liking" the Facebook page for Music Makes Sense.  Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

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(5-31-11) Another example of music empowering someone's life:

Born at 24 weeks, blind and then later diagnosed with Autism, Tony Drake wasn't expected to live through the night. Now, 23 years later, Tony has overcome many obstacles to become an outstanding blues guitarist and singer. Here he performs "Sometimes You Love Me" with the Roy Roberts Band, May 21, 2011.

(5-30-11) Like the show or not, Glee is rapidly re-shaping what is considered popular and preferred music. Even some Broadway tunes can now be used for music therapy in high school settings!

funny graphs - Back in my day, music came out of synthesizers, and we liked it!
see more Funny Graphs

"Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." ~ Plato

(5-28-11) Internal Medicine News has a nice article about music therapy with dementia patients. The author has an accurate description of music therapy and makes some references to new research. I really like the fact that the article includes links to the original research material! You can find the story here.

(5-27-11) If a ball bounces down a huge xylophone in the middle of a deserted forest, does it make any sound?? Susan Seale at Make Me Musical shared this amazing video on her blog. She has several great blogs and a knack for finding superb videos! This video is apparently a commercial for a cell phone encased in wood! You can find it here.

(5-26-11) I know you've been there...a music therapy session with a client but you have forgotten to bring that special cord that connects your MP3 player or iPod to the stereo! Now you have to rely on the little speaker in your phone since you also didn't bring in your laptop for the session. Or you remember that the one song you need isn't in your iTunes library, but is an MP3 file on your computer instead. But, don't panic, maybe you are one of the trendy people who have moved to the "cloud!" The cloud is that ethereal space located in some 4th dimension (or somebody's basement in Taiwan!) where you can store gobs of information for little or no cost. You may even already have a cloud storage from Amazon, Apple, Microsoft or Google! Therein lies part of the problem. Too many different cloud banks! (no pun intended!) Wouldn't it be nice to have all your music, no matter what the file format, saved in one place? They you could access it from anywhere at anytime and play it through a computer or connection that belongs to somebody else when you forget your own equipment!

Audiogalaxy presents itself as just the answer! Save all the music on your computer, no matter what file format, to one cloud-based storage site that you can access from anywhere! I think something like this would make things a lot easier for everyone, but especially music therapists. Has anyone tried this already? Let us know how you like it!

(5-25-11) The Utah Symphony is performing a series of concerts this month to benefit the Alzheimer's Association. It is part of a larger effort called, "Making Sense of Alzheimer's Month."  The symphony recognizes the important part that music can play in helping people with Alzheimer's disease improve their quality of life. The full story is here.

(5-24-11) Young Jackie Evancho is being highlighted today on Amazon. You can download her newest song, Ombra Mai Fu, for free today!

This is an amazing TED talk given by Evelyn Glennie.  She is a phenomenal percussionist who also happens to be deaf since the age of 12.  Although this was a lecture from 2003, it is worth revisiting.  Evelyn provides such ideas about how she "hears" rhythm and music and encourages all of us without hearing loss to expand our conceptual view about sound.  This is a must see for every music therapist! 

"The preacher said, you know you always have the Lord by your side. And I was so pleased to be informed of this that I ran twenty red-lights in his name."
~from, Far Away Eyes, the Rolling Stones

(5-21-11) Here is the headline: Autistic Children Use iPad at Toronto School to Reach Out and Communicate. This story caught my attention because I had recently heard about a little "dust-up" in Texas regarding a school district fighting the use and purchase of iPads to use with some of their students in special education. This district was worried that if they purchased iPads for students with special needs, then they would have to buy them for every student. Instead of buying something for a few hundred dollars that is proving to be a revolutionary aid to communication, they wanted to spend thousands of dollars on more traditional augmentative communication devices that didn't "look" as trendy, but cost many times more than an iPad! But the stories and research about the incredible success children are having using new mainstream, touchscreen devices continue to proliferate.  Hopefully, school administrators will step up to the plate and act like the leaders they are paid to be!

(5-20-11) Music therapists are often asked to adapt instruments or compositions to fit the type of instruments available or the abilities of a client. This performance is nice because it gives our imagination a chance to consider possibilities. These are obviously very fine and talented traditional musicians (in other words, don't try this at home!...or at least have adult supervision!), but I love the non-traditional ways they use the instruments in order to get the desired sounds. This is like a STOMP performance, but with melody added!

(5-19-11) I found this site called, "The Top Acoustic Songs." This website not only lists what they believe to be the top 100 acoustic songs, but allows you to listen to all of them right on site. This is useful for those songs you can't quite bring the melody to mind right away! I am interested to know what you think about their ranking? Are there songs missing from the list? They seem to have a nice mix of new and old, but Matchbox 20 takes the top slot.

(5-18-11) I didn't know that there was still a possibility to save the music therapy program at Michigan State, but it looks like we can still help out the effort!  Here is the latest news:

The Advocates for Music Therapy Education (AMTE) continues to work to save the Music Therapy Degree Program at Michigan State University. Students, alumni, and community members are working from multiple vantage points on behalf music therapy at MSU. Financial support is needed for some of these initiatives, such as collaborative efforts with other professionals, expert support, and legal council, to name a few. Visit AMTE?s website at and the Advocates for Music Therapy Education Facebook page.

AMTE kicked off a fundraiser Saturday, May 14, 2011 through Barnes & Noble and it CONTINUES THROUGH THIS THURSDAY, MAY 19 !! Barnes & Noble will contribute up to 12% of ALL SALES FROM CUSTOMERS WHO USE THE BOOKFAIR ID# 10487650 to AMTE .

The great thing about this fundraiser is that it applies to ALL Barnes & Noble stores THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY AND ONLINE SHOPPING. Barnes & Noble offers books, music, DVDs, educational toys and games, gift product and so much more. More details are included on the website.

Please consider visiting the Barnes & Noble website and making a purchase on behalf of AMTE. Click on the link below to start shopping, and please ensure you enter AMTE?s organization bookfair ID listed below on the payment page to ensure credit is received.

Advocates for Music Therapy Education

Bookfair ID: 10487650

(5-17-11) Science Nation, on PBS, recently broadcast this little gem of a report about how music learning and training may increase creative thinking across settings. The story is relatively short, but is a nice plug for the power of music. I especially like the app for the iPhone called La Di Da! I don't have an iPhone to try this out, but let me know if you have it and how well it really works! I would also like to know if anyone has been able to use this app in a clinical setting?

(5-16-11) Kat Fulton was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal regarding music therapy with Dementia patients. This is a really great article and wonderful exposure for the benefits of music therapy! You can find the full article here.

"One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."
~Bob Marley

(5-14-11) Music therapists often talk about the idea of "entrainment," especially when using drumming with certain population groups. Entrainment is the phenomenon that occurs when things with motion tend towards moving together in synchrony (Here is the Wikipedia definition for entrainment). A very steady audible pulse, for example, will often create a very uniform drum beat among groups of people who might otherwise find it difficult to play a steady beat on a drum as a result of cognitive or physical impairments. Michael Marcionetti, one of the music therapists representing Music Therapy Drumming out of Texas shared this video about metronomes. I am not sure if this is really an example of "entrainment" since they use the cans and the board underneath the metronomes to help them synchronize? I took physics in high school, but that was a long time ago! What do you think? Does this video support or diminish the idea of entrainment?

(5-13-11) Music therapists around the world often are some of the first people to respond after natural disasters. There are many examples of music therapists helping after 9/11, the Oklahoma City bombing and after the tsunamis. The news out of Alabama after the tornadoes has a similar story. I love how drumming is being used as one of the mediums for music therapy! Foxnews has the story here.

(5-12-11) The Naked Scientist is a show out of the U. K. on BBC. They recently did a show that covered many different aspects about the influences of music on people. The show has many great and interesting examples. I also just love a show where all of the hosts and guests talk with cool accents! The podcast is here and the transcript can be viewed here. Enjoy! It is worth a listen!

(5-11-11) An alarming new study out of Korea is indicating that the prevalence of Autism may be much higher than previously thought. The study which was done in conjunction with researchers at Yale and George Washington Universities found that the Autism rate is really 1 in every 38 children! Current research in the U. S. has shown a rate closer to 1 in 110.  How are we missing the other children?  I am sure this will cause a stir in the autism advocacy circles and we will need to investigate the methodology of the research. The news story can be found here and the abstract to the research is here.

(5-10-11) Here is your chance to own a new collection of real Gregorian chants for free! Everyone needs a little of this in their collection. Classic and beautiful!

(5-9-11) Matthew Morrison, of Glee fame, has also signed up to help raise money for music therapy! Foxnews has the story here.

"If you believe in forever, then life is just a one-night stand. If there's a rock and roll heaven, well, you know they got a hell of a band!"
~from, Rock and Roll Heaven, the Righteous Brothers

(5-7-11) "Wretches and Jabberers" is a movie with a funny name, but a serious subject. This documentary movie chronicles an international trip by two older men who have autism. After struggling through life with the symptoms of autism, they both later discovered that they could communicate through typing! This opened up a world of opportunities! The movie is being released in a limited national event on May 12th. Unfortunately, I am not near a city where it is showing, but I hope that it continues to enjoy some popularity and spreads to more cities! You can find out where it is showing here. I have also embedded the movie trailer for you below. If you are able to go and see it, please come back and let us know what you thought!

(5-6-11) The Orange Grove Center Chorus in Tennessee is highly sought after for local music performances. Kathleen Coleman brought this group to my attention and I wanted to pass it along. The following video shows them performing a beautiful song describing some of the thoughts and feelings one might have when they are dealing with some kind of disability. This is a nice performance and a great way to spread the message!

(5-5-11) Many of us have been following Representative Gabrielle Gifford's recovery at the TIRR rehab hospital in Texas. CNN's Dr. Gupta recently spent a day at the rehab center going through simulations of some of the therapy typical to patients in rehab. The news article has a nice segment on some of the ways music is used in therapy. CNN will broadcast Dr. Gupta's program on May 8th. The story on CNN is here.


As a drum circle facilitator, I often encourage drum circle participants to get in touch with their own natural rhythms. Some good examples of this concept are the heartbeat, breathing and walking rhythms. Sxip Shirey has taken rhythmic breathing to a whole new level!  His presentation is a bit odd at times, but TED felt it worthy to include in their prestigious TED talks series.  What do you think?  

(5-3-11) The University of Kentucky in Lexington has a new music therapy program slated to start in Fall 2011. Dr. Lori Gooding is currently developing the exciting new program while providing music therapy services at the Children's Hospital. The following news story describes the program and Dr. Gooding's current activities. This new program is a great step for music therapy! Thank you Dr. Gooding!

(5-2-11) Amazon has a sale on albums through the end of May! Over 1,000 albums are $5! You can see them here.

(5-1-11) This video shows how magnets apparently affect the ability of the brain to process language. The researcher seems to believe that there will be some applications for this phenomenon in therapy or medical treatment. I think the research is still in its beginning stages, but it is intriguing how a person can sing through the magnetic interference but can't talk! (Go here to see the video at the original site.)

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