No Gimmicks

It seems certain that 2020 and 2021 will go down in history as years of challenge on many levels. How has it been for you? And more importantly – how can we help? While the difficulties loom large, Meredith and I have been so moved by the resilience and flexibility of music therapists and of you as part of the Raising Harmony community. We are determined to work harder than ever to provide support, resources, and maybe motivation for you. That is what community is all about.
Our most recent Sprouting Melodies Training really highlighted the hope that music therapists bring to their work. When we met through Zoom last week, the mood was one of excitement for the possibilities of the future. Can you use that kind of atmosphere right now? Below is a list of opportunities we have scheduled for this fall and into next year, and we would love to have you join us.
On a personal note, I am THRILLED to share that the year of COVID motivated me to finally finish my second book of songs. ‘Together with the Beat: Songs for Me, and You, and Us’ will be available in a few weeks! We are hoping to have a celebratory launch, so look for more information coming soon. If you have used ‘You and Me Makes…We: A Growing Together Songbook’ you are going to love this new book.
Whether its new music, coaching, fresh ideas, support or motivation – how can we help you?

Beth


Additional Fall Opportunities

Fall Sprouting Melodies Training
We’ve all seen it. Images of an expecting mother with headphones over her belly, playing classical music through the speakers to soothe and calm her baby. Now more than ever, parents are looking for ways to support their children through their developmental journey. Join us for the fall session of the Sprouting Melodies Training while we explore songs, developmental stages and music interventions for early childhood. This training will begin on September 8th and end on November 17th. The registration link can be found here. We hope to see you!

Music Therapy Job Opportunities
Many of you are familiar with Sprouting Melodies & Raising Harmony, but you may not be familiar with Raising Harmony’s sister company, Roman Music Therapy Services. Raising Harmony’s Co-Founder and Roman Music Therapy Services Executive Director, Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC invites you to explore the potential for your next career opportunity with Roman Music Therapy Services. We are hiring qualified, people-driven professionals to join a small, dynamic team that provides music therapy to communities across eastern Massachusetts. Open positions include Board Certified Music Therapists as well as a Customer Service Coordinator. Click here for the job postings, or reach out to jobs@romanmusictherapy.com with any questions.


Graduate Education Opportunity

Are you looking for an opportunity to expand your knowledge and learn from an experienced Music Therapy Business Owner? Meredith Pizzi, Raising Harmony’s Co-Founder, will be teaching Music Therapy Business Development at Alverno College this fall. Enrollment is open until the end of August. Classes begin this week, so reach out today! See the flyer for more information or click here to register now.

It’s Not a Secret

Have you ever wondered how music begins? How does a tiny infant learn music that helps them grow into a Grammy Award winner, or a basement band fan, or a music therapist? It’s not a secret. We know how music develops and how it becomes woven into a person’s identity. But we also know that many college programs don’t spend much time on music development. It’s only when you get out in the field that you realize that it would be something good to know.

In our Sprouting Melodies Training course, we lay it all out for you in a clear and practical framework. Each small music detail leads into the music making and then leads into a persuasive understanding of music in overall development. Right from the very start. In every session we give you new songs, music, and strategies that can be used in your work the very next day.

It’s not a secret. We’ve had well over 200 music therapists take the training, and we hear all the time how helpful the information is, no matter where you work.

Our Spring 2021 course begins on March 31. Visit our web page at https://raisingharmony.com/training/sprouting-melodies-training-info/.

It’s not a secret that this is really great training. Come and join us.

Beth and Meredith

Feeling Lost?

Dear Raising Harmony Friends,

Let’s be honest. This is a really challenging time on so many levels. And it is also a really challenging time to be a music therapist. I’ve seen so many music therapists who are feeling confused, overwhelmed, and lost.

When I’m feeling this way, I know I need to get back to the basics – to the things that really matter. I think this is one reason I love early childhood music so much. Young children bring me back to what’s real and honest. I’d like to share that feeling with you, especially if you are finding that you’ve lost your way in music therapy.

So today, I invite you to join me for the next Sprouting Melodies Training course to help you get back to the basics of music and renew your sense of why you went into music therapy – for the music, the relationships, and the sense of purpose and meaning.

Because money is tight right now for so many, I’m going to urge you to sign up for our Early Bird Discount from now until August 12. You can read all about the course and register here.

For those of you who have taken the Sprouting Melodies course over the last seven years, thank you for your support and suggestions. Earlier this year, we refreshed and revamped the training and we’ve had wonderful comments for the recent group of participants. The one thing we haven’t changed though is our basic commitment to provide quality content and a vibrant community of support for music therapists.

Hope you’ll consider joining us.

Beth

Elizabeth K. Schwartz, MA, LCAT, MT-BC
Co-Founder; Education and Training Director
Raising Harmony: Music Therapy for Young Children
www.RaisingHarmony.com  www.SproutingMelodies.com

We Need You

I rarely cry. But just the other week I found myself tearing up at the most unusual time – during a Zoom call. I was the faculty supervisor observing a music therapy student. She was part of a program for adults with developmental disabilities, and when the Covid-19 shutdown happened the music therapists quickly moved to on-line services. Watching her make musical connections with the people in these little screens was so inspirational. But it was a staff member’s impassioned comment that brought on the tears – ‘We need you.’

The challenges of the past months have uncovered depths of unmet needs in our country. I need you. You need me. We need each other.

At Raising Harmony, Meredith and I have poured our hearts into creating a community for you and for us, so that we can be there for others. We sincerely hope that our trainings give music therapists new ideas and skills so that we can be the place for all people to join together and be there for each other in community.

Will you join us? Our next Sprouting Melodies Course is a good place to start. The summer session begins June 17. The course is ten weeks and totally on-line. (We’ve been doing virtual for a long time 😉 www.RaisingHarmony.com/training

Sprouting Melodies Training – June 2020

And if you need me, just email! Elizabeth@RaisingHarmony.com. I’ll be there for you.

Elizabeth

Thoughts and Tips on Teletherapy for Music Therapists

Connect. Collaborate. Stay Current.

Now more than ever, we need meaningful opportunities to be connected to others.

We search for ways to collaborate in creating innovative, creative programs.

And we seek flexible solutions to the challenges of staying current in a fast changing health-care environment.

Meredith, Erica, and I would like to welcome you to just such an environment through the Sprouting Melodies Training. Our newly updated and refreshed course begins Wednesday, April 1, 2020. The course provides you with:

 

  • Completely on-line training – done in your own space, in your own time
  • 23 continuing education credits
  • A vibrant interactive community of music therapists who gather and share in the course on-line forum
  • New ways of thinking about music therapy and about using your skills as a music therapist
  • Tons of new songs and intervention ideas
  • A comprehensive guide to musical development and early childhood development
  • Realistic and useful strategies for planning and practice

Register here

https://raisingharmony.com/training/sprouting-melodies-training-info/

Come join us! Beth

What’s the Deal with Dorian?

Well, I’ve done it again! There is something about the Dorian mode during the winter season that really draws me in. And what I’ve noticed again and again is that it also draws young children into the music in a way that is unique.

I think that it is the ambiguity which the Dorian mode creates that fits so well with my style of music therapy. I want children to explore and express and examine. I don’t always want to box children in to a certain harmonic structure that will lead them to a foregone conclusion. The Dorian starts out with the flatted third that tricks the ear into thinking it has a specific path. But then, along comes the raised sixth. It surprises me every time. It no longer feels minor, but it doesn’t feel major either. That is another reason that Dorian is perfect for young children as they explore all types of pitched and melodic sounds. Anything they contribute musically seems to have a place in Dorian.

I also like to add the Dorian mix into the pot during the holidays. By the time December is nearing its end, many of us are ready for a break. We sometimes get stuck in the stress of season and keep our jingle bells on constant loop. Dorian digs me out.

Maybe this song in Dorian will help you find a little bit of novelty and newness in these last few days before the New Year. Give it a try this week. “Look and See” invites you and your children to take a break from the normal and find some creative play time. Let me know if you, like me, find a big deal in Dorian.

Enjoy the Music!
Beth

Look and See!
E. K. Schwartz 2017

1, 2, 3. Look and see!
1, 2, 3. Look at me.
1, 2, 3. Look and see!
We can play together. We can play together.

Come and play with me.
Come and play with me.
Come with me and you’ll see, we can play together.

AMTA 2017 – What a Year!

Meredith and I not only love our careers. We love our profession! Both of us are committed to giving back to the American Music Therapy through service and sharing our expertise.  But AMTA 2017 might be our busiest year yet!

Here is the line up. If you are traveling to the AMTA conference in St. Louis, please stop us for a chat. If you would like to know more about any of the presentations, send us an email next week. We would love to know all about how YOU support the profession.

AMTA Leadership Academy*

Nov 15, 2017 12:30 pm – 05:30 pm

Presenter(s): Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC; Alicia Ann Clair, PhD, MT-BC, Anthony Meadows, PhD, LPC, MT-BC, Deanna Bush, MM, MT-BC; Kamica King, MT-BC

CMTE F. Developing and Expanding Supervision Skills*

November 16, 2017

Presenter(s): Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC; Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BC; Katie Bagley, MT-BC; Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC

A Preventive Model of Music Therapy for Children in Limited Resource Communities

November 17, 2017 8:00 am-9:15 am

Presenter(s): Varvara Pasiali, PhD, MT-BC; Elizabeth K. Schwartz, MA, LCAT, MT-BC

The Music Therapy Pyramid Model: From Theory to Practice

November 17, 2017 2:15 pm-3:30 pm

Presenter(s): Meredith R. Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC; Ronna Kaplan, MA, MT-BC

Community Engagement in Music Therapy Practice

November 18, 2017 3:15 pm-4:30 pm

Presenter(s): Helen Dolas, MS, MT-BC; Ellary Draper, PhD, MT-BC; Grant Hales, MT-BC; Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC; Tom Sweitzer, MA, MT-BC

The Music is Enough – Stepping Up Your Interventions and Repertoire for Children

November 19, 2017 9:30 am-10:45 am

Presenter(s): Meredith R. Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC; Elizabeth K. Schwartz, MA, LCAT, MT-BC

To Maria, Irma and Harvey….From Sandy

It was five years ago today that Hurricane Sandy upended the lives of so many people in my community. October 29, 2012. Looking back, the way we helped young children through those early days stills rings true today. To all the children and families affected by Maria, Irma and Harvey – our hearts are with you.

Go Away, Hurricane Sandy!

Routine, Reassurance, Recognition and Resilience

Dark. Noisy. Confusing. Mom and Dad upset. No TV.  Cold. The hurricane that roared through our area was really scary for so many little children.  And scary for grownups, many of whom felt powerless both literally and figuratively.  My friend Christine, shared these thoughts in an e-mail after returning to work at her pre-school – “So many staff members and family have lost everything at my site! People were crying in the halls in each other’s arms. A 4 year old girl told me there were fish and crabs swimming though her house.” 

How can we help our children feel safe in a situation like this? How can we help our children feel safe if we don’t feel safe ourselves?  This is a question for all grownups, including music therapists, who care for the young.  I have been thinking about how music could be one answer in this situation and in other crises that children face.  My music therapy colleague continued in the e-mail – “I spent a few hours considering how to structure my sessions. I decided not to start things I had planned on starting and focused on providing a sense of the familiar by doing the same gathering songs and music from two weeks ago. In some sessions we talked about the lights being out and being in a different house and how I’m still me. “Routine, reassurance and resilience.

Here at Raising Harmony we believe that making music is a natural part of development and that making music can help children develop. This includes a trait as important but as elusive as resilience.  Resilience means that we support the little child in feeling, expressing, understanding, coping and creating solutions.  In early childhood music therapy practice around the world, clinicians speak about the importance of prevention and early intervening in helping the child gain strength and health.  We can give the child and family the opportunity to prevent long term difficulties from the emotional upheaval of a crisis through music and music making.

What does developing resilience sound like in music? Christine gave us some good ideas. Here are a few more thoughts.

Repetition, Routine and Rhythm

Rhythm unifies and brings people together. The day I returned to work after the storm, I invited all the children and staff into one room.  Sitting on the floor, I began to pat knees in a very matter-of –fact way. The children joined in first, followed by the staff.  Slowly we began to sing a very familiar gathering song. The tempo was just as matter of fact, neither slow nor fast, but just right. The melody was fairly narrow in range.  We kept the structure very predictable, just like we had always done. You could feel the children begin to relax and give into the compelling patterns.  The message sent through the music was of trust and confidence. For just that musical moment, everything was going to be okay.

Recognition and Respect

One little guy I work with struggles with any change in routine and reacts to any loud or sudden sounds with terror. Can you imagine what this storm meant to him? His family shared with me that it had been a terrible week after the storm.  How could this child begin to express and begin to understand when I knew he couldn’t find the words to talk about fear? Well, we began at the piano with a favorite song- consonant harmony and triadic melody.  Since we know each other well musically, I then took the musical risk of introducing a flatted sixth chord into the harmonic progression.  We both jumped back from the piano and I sang “Scary”.  The flatted six chord resolved to the flatted third, and finally the V7 and back to the tonic chord.  The stage was set musically to feel the panic, then give a word and sound to describe the feeling, and then a resolution back to an area of comfort.  He and I played this game again and again and again until he showed he was anticipating the unusual chord. This musical experience recognized and respected that something really traumatic had happened.  But the pattern also allowed for the ‘scary’ to be resolved into something that this child could control.

Response and Resolution

To develop resilience for both this young boy and the group the music had one more job- to give voice to how to cope with problems and create solutions.  That’s where songs came into play. Songs can be created that are specific to the child’s needs. Songs can be remembered and re-created by the child at times of stress.  For this terrible storm, we adapted an old folk song:

“Shoo fly, don’t bother me. Shoo fly, don’t bother me. Shoo fly, don’t bother me. I want you to go away.”  “Go away, cold, dark house. Go away, trees falling down. Go away noisy wind. Go away Hurricane  Sandy.”

The melody is strong and the rhythm is crisp. The structure is clear and decisive.  And like the music after the storm, so are the kids.

Have you worked through crisis with young children? Share some of your ideas and thoughts, because we all need to be ready for what life brings. Thanks, Christine for getting the conversation started!

I look forward to hearing from you.

Beth

Need a Summer Boost? Try Mixing Meters!

I always looked forward to the change of seasons.  Fall to winter. Winter to spring.  Especially spring to summer when school let out and everything seemed more relaxed and care-free. But as a music therapist, I have learned that the children and families that I work with do not get a break from the challenges that they face. The preschool program in which I work runs year round so that the children will have the consistent support that they require.

Even though I know that this is often best for the children, I get sad when the children or families tell me that they don’t have the time or energy for normal fun. Fun, like going to the beach to swim.  So if the children can’t get to the beach, how about bringing the beach to them? We don’t need actual sand and water, we just need music that gives the feeling of the waves and surf.

Here is a new song you can use this summer. It relies on mixing the meters of 2 and 3 to give the sense of momentum and flow that we feel in the cool water. Give it a try with instruments or lovely flowing scarves. I use one that I picked up on a vacation a long time ago.

 

Come With Me and Swim…E.K. Schwartz 2017

Come with me and swim. Come hold hands and jump right in.

Come with me and swim. Come hold hands and jump right in.

The water is cool, the weather is fine. So take a deep breath, it’s almost time.

Bend your knees. Curl your toes. Take a breath. Hold your nose.

Ready. Set. Go! OH!!

Enjoy!

Beth

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