Sunday, September 4, 2011

July Headlines from The Daily Muse

(7-31-11) "When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
~ Jimmy Hendrix

(7-30-11) This is lengthy, but this lecture contains many great examples of music therapy and emphasizes the importance of music therapists in the medical setting. Great job by Christine Neugebauer in Texas at the "Exploring the Mind Through Music" Conference held at Rice University!  So, sit down and relax for a bit, grab some munchies, and enjoy:

(7-28-11) All Things Healing is an online community for healing mind, body, spirit and planet. The first article to be chosen from MMS is not live on their website yet, but I will let you know when you can find it. I appreciate their interest in music and music therapy! Thank you ATH!

Many of us are moving to digital files, but there are still times when you need to burn a CD and can't find a case!  The main problem is that the CDs come in the giant bundle pack and the jewel cases are sold separately!  Here is a nifty solution that uses the actual CD.  No ruler needed!

(7-26-11) Children with William's Syndrome often have a very strong interest in music. The may also have strong musical skills in relation to their other ability levels. There is a special camp that goes on every summer in Nashville for some of these kids and teens that brings them together with songwriters and famous musicians. This year they got to sing with Carrie Underwood, Darius Rucker and Wynonna!

(7-26-11) A music therapist's dream! Parts of 32 songs in a medley using only 4 chords!

(7-25-11) There is a website called, "The Full Wiki," that purports to calculate the latest trending topics on Wikipedia. One of the pages is a list of the most viewed articles in the subject category of music therapy. "Music therapy" was the obvious leader, but I found it odd that the next highest subject was "singing bowls"? Music therapist Beatrice Sparks rounded out third place! I was happy that "drum circle" was next, but not sure how singing bowls was ahead of it. I guess raw numbers don't lie, but I bet the singing bowls are getting a lot of traffic from people not interested in music therapy specifically. Take a look at the list and see what you think! At the very least it is interesting to see what people are reading about.

(7-24-11) "I would say that music is the easiest means in which to express, but since words are my talent, I must try to express clumsily in words what the pure music would have done better." 
~ William Faulkner

(7-23-11) Here is a great story out of the U.K.: "Runcorn Man Gains Back Use of Fingers Through Music Therapy." I like this story because it lists so many of the great benefits of using music therapy to speed up recovery time in rehabilitation. It also looks like music therapy is making some inroads into medical treatment in England!

(7-22-11) Have you ever wondered what a strange line from a song means? Many classic songs from the 1960's had double meanings or at least many people think some lyrics have alternate interpretations. Just in case you are wondering about an older song or something more contemporary, the website Songmeanings has you covered! This site is dedicated to discussing song lyrics and what songs mean. Some songs on the site have hundreds of comments! I think it is very interesting to read what people think about certain songs and we might all find their comments helpful in choosing songs for clients.

(7-21-11) If you haven't visited the new website yet for the American Music Therapy Association, you should check it out! It really is a huge improvement in look and functionality. I am sure many music therapists have already seen the new site, but if you are not a music therapist it is worth the time to see some of the resources that are available for parents, teachers, and others interested in how music therapy works. The new website is here.


(click title for news story)

This is really becoming a hot topic in the world of music therapy. If you have been reading my blog for the last few months, then you may have guessed that I am not a huge fan of the idea of making music therapists get licensed in every state. Unfortunately, it looks like the train may have left the station on this development. The news article says that fifteen more states are pursuing a license for music therapy!  My wish in a perfect world would be that we could get the MT-BC (national board certification) recognized for purposes of reimbursement and professional identity.  I am afraid that once we open the door to government sanction it may become a Pandora's box of unwanted influence in the future.  But don't let my opinions be yours!  What do you think about this issue?  


Here is another sign that music education and the idea of using music to aid in development and therapy are making inroads in society.  I have met Casey Thomas at Creative Soul and love the way he approaches music learning.  The Creative Soul school is also very open to combining things like Kindermusik and music therapy into the music school environment.  I love it!

(7-18-11) The Journal of Pediatrics will be publishing a meta-analysis of studies related to the causes of autism as evidenced by perinatal and neonatal factors. The article will be published in the August issue, but is out now on-line for those lucky enough to have a subscription access. The news story is here and the abstract for the research can be found here. This meta-analysis does not discuss the effects of vaccines since most of those are not given during neonatal care. My eye did, however, catch the finding that children born in the summer months may have an increased risk for autism. The authors hypothesize that this may be due to factors during pregnancy such as the greater prevalence of viruses during the winter months, nutrition or vitamin deficiencies. Overall, I think it is very helpful research, although it will probably create more questions than it answers!


"Music is the shorthand of emotion." 
~ Leo Tolstoy

(7-16-11) I have no idea why Noah picked the Ellen show for his goal, but this kid is great! I think if it makes him happy and motivates him to keep on beating the cancer, then we should help him out! Apparently he became interested in dancing through his work with a music therapist and loves watching Ellen do her funny dancing on her show! He has gained some momentum in his quest since the news story you can find here, but it looks like he still needs our help to get him noticed by the Ellen show. We can help his video go viral by passing it along:

(7-15-11) La, la, la, la, la, la...(I can't believe I am singing the smurf song!) In news from New York, the Scottish actor Alan Cumming, who will voice a smurf in a new motion picture, was recently asked to help out with some music therapy at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. I think it is great when celebrities are able to raise the profile of music therapy. Kudos to Mr. Cumming for participating! And thank you to the Gabrielle's Angels Foundation that made this possible! The full story is here at WebMD.

(7-14-11) Did anyone see Lady Gaga's wheelchair act she did in Australia?? I realize that Lady Gaga is an entertainer and depends on shock value to propel her career, but there are many people who think that she has finally stepped over the line. Does she deserve any criticism or can we ignore her antics because she is just an entertainer? Personally, I think her performance was in very bad taste, but I don't think she was specifically mocking people with disabilities. You can read the full story here, and then let me know what you think!

(7-13-11) In case you missed seeing this, here is a nice write-up about music therapy in the LA Times: The Hope of Music's Healing Powers.

(7-12-11) Here is a nice choral piece that took place at St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow:

And here is a video tour of the inside:    

(7-11-11) There has been much hype about the possible links between music and learning (can we say the "Mozart Effect"!), but there is evidence in the research literature about some kind of a connection. I think that most of the research so far just has not been able to satisfy us about how much effect and exactly what kind of benefit can be gained. An organization called Music and the Brain in New York has been operating for over a decade on the assumption that music can benefit children's learning. They seem to have some high profile backers and donors and an extensive curriculum in place. I was especially impressed with their links to related websites. I admire their success in getting funding for the arts. The kids in their programs will benefit from the music instruction in more than just academic learning!


"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body." 
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

(7-9-11) Daniel B. Tague, MME, MT-BC, NICU-MT

Although this is one way I can write my name, in January 2012, the American Music Therapy Association will officially sanction only the MT-BC (Music Therapist - Board Certified) acronym as well as your college degree and any kind of state license that applies. Acronyms like NICU-MT (Neonatal Intensive Care Music Therapist) or NMT (Neurologic Music Therapist) will have to be written out after the approved acronyms. For example, my signature will become: Daniel B. Tague, MME, MT-BC, Neonatal Intensive Care Music Therapist. I think that this will be helpful to our profession since we are trying to utilize the MT-BC credential as the recognized certification for music therapy. Without these new guidelines, music therapists would all start experiencing a bad case of alphabet soup after their names!

(7-8-11) In April, Brian MacDonald's music video and original song won the contest for best inspirational song. You really should go and watch the video here! Brian was able to write a catchy tune and spotlight his sister who has autism in the video. He really was able to capture some great moments on film and it is terrific that his video won 1st prize! Congratulations Brian, and I hope that you and your sister continue to have great days!

(7-7-11) Anderson Cancer Institute in Savannah, GA is taking patient care to a new level by offering spa-like services for patients. This is really a great idea since research is showing that stress has such a negative impact on recovery. I know that music therapy is much more than a spa service, but music therapy is a viable treatment option for spas to offer. It seems like the patients at Anderson very much appreciate the new services! You can read the the full story here.

(7-6-11) I realize that Kindles, Nooks and iPads are quickly making paper books extinct, but I still love the feel of a real book!  I especially love the Big Books for children.  Many of these books already exist for popular children's songs.  There are also other stories that naturally have rhyme and rhythm and can be adapted to song.  The Big Books are so nice for working with kids.  They really grab their attention and the pictures and words are easier to see.  When I bring in big hand drums, for example, the biggest tubano or gathering drum is always the most popular. 

Amazon has many of these Big Books or what they call "Books with Holes" which are die cut books, usually for reinforcing counting skills. You can find a link to all the Amazon Big Books here. Have fun browsing and let me know which ones are your favorite!

(7-5-11) Amazon usually has a free MP3 song of the day under the "Today's Deals" tab.  You can download the featured song(s) into your Amazon cloud player and then download the song from there onto your computer. I have been able to gather quite a few great songs from this free promotion!  Today's deal is a tribute to Billie Holiday.  You can check it out by clicking on the link below and get started on your own free collection of MP3s:

(7-4-11) Music Makes Sense is now optimized for mobile devices! It is now incredibly easy to access Music Makes Sense from phones and the ipad! The mobile look streamlines the site to show the main posts, although it does have a link to view the full page in case you want to visit one of my affiliate sponsors or need to do a key word search on the site. Enjoy reading on the go and thanks again for exploring with me how music makes sense! 

(You can preview the look here, although it will obviously look better on the screen size of a phone.)

(7-3-11) "Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music." 
~ Marcel Marceau

(7-2-11) I was definitely hot under the collar after reading this article! It is amazing that in this day and age music therapy is still such a novel concept for some people. The author of this opinion piece, John Hood, is obviously ignorant about the evidence-based practice of music therapy. His article title alone drips with disdain about our profession as do many of his remarks throughout the article. In fact, his report about the effort to obtain a state licensing law for music therapy in North Carolina is written with such sarcasm, that the merits of the case are completely glossed over.  Personally I am not convinced that we should be seeking state by state licensing, but there may be no other way to proceed. 

It is too bad that there are still people out there who feel like music therapy is not worth the time to consider. I point out this article not to unwittingly promote this pundit, but to bring him to our awareness. He should be vigorously refuted and educated about our profession and the benefits of music therapy. Perhaps he was just trying to be too clever and funny, but it was in poor taste to do that at the expense of an entire group of people that belong to a helping profession. Shame on Mr. Hood and too bad he does not have a link for comments on his page!

(7-1-11) Here is my short list of considerations for using music listening as a reward. I have recently been working with a client who loves music listening, but the facility staff have had a difficult time using music as a reward for appropriate behavior. My advice to them in a nutshell included the 3 C's:

1. Contingent: Make sure that there are specific behaviors or tasks that must be accomplished in order to earn music listening.

2. Consistent: All staff members involved with a specific client should be versed in the contingencies and willing to follow through. The staff members must carry through with the established contingencies at all times. It only takes one person being soft on the contingencies to decrease the value of the music as a reward.

3. "Concrete": Use all means at your disposal to make the contingencies clear to the client. Visual charts, verbal reminders and frequent opportunities to earn the reward are the keys to this idea. The client should also be the one to choose the music for the reward.


  1. Hi Daniel,

    Thank you for the video of Christine presenting! Defiantly inspiring for me right now!


  2. Wasn't that great!? I am glad that you liked it. Thanks for letting me know! Take care,



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