Category Archives: Business Tools

The Open Movement and Education – Part Two (Copyright)

This is my second in a series of blog posts about the “Open” movement and education.  Here’s a link for those of you who missed reading Part One – The “Open” movement(s) and education – can they work together?.  Having discussed some of the motivations for both sides of the “Open” movement, it is time to address another important issue – copyright.

Copyright legislation and education have a long and connected history.  Authors and publishers of educational content have, very rightly, used copyright to protect their ideas and their material from theft and illegal use with and without profit.  Enter – the digital age.  Materials and new educational resources are no longer predominantly printed, now they can literally be any type of media including media such as videos, blog posts, webinars, proprietary software, etc.  In addition, these various types of media are being created and shared by individuals from around the world.  Copyright legislation could not keep up and many thought that there had to be a better way.

Indeed, a better way was found – Creative Commons (CC) licensing.  In early 2001, three individuals founded a non-profit organization called Creative Commons.  It allowed ordinary individuals and organizations to license their digital work(s) in a variety of ways, with legally binding licenses in a wide range of countries, for free.  Most revolutionary, in my opinion, was the opportunity that individuals had to license their works/intellectual property in a variety of ways.  These included:  commercial and non-commercial, as an exact duplicate or modified content/repurposed content, with attribution and without attribution, for educational use and/or public use.  Obtaining a copyright was, in contrast, time intensive, costly, and singular in scope – the various options available to the Creative Commons licensee were not available to the copyright holder.

By 2008, according to Wikipedia, there were an estimated 130 million works licensed under Creative Commons.  Since then, the number of licenses has grown tremendously with some major social platforms such as Flickr and YouTube allowing you to attribute a CC license to your picture or videos respectively.  Indeed, the addition of CC licensing on YouTube has already resulted in at least 10,000 new videos for public use and resuse!

If you are a music therapist with videos on YouTube – consider assigning your older and new videos a Creative Commons license to:          a)  better protect your video and its’ content from theft and piracy, and b) ensure that people can use it in educational and continuing         education contexts

Courses, such as those found on MoodleCommons.org, developed with Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Moodle also allow you to assign CC licenses.  Finally, you can assign a CC license to your blog postings, on platforms such as WordPress, and to Wikipedia entries.

Many people, as well as myself,  rightly feel that this is a tremendous step forward in the development of open education and open resources,  There is, however, one area where CC licensing is challenged – evaluation of the resource in question.  Just because you can post something then assign it a CC license does not mean that the content is accurate or trustworthy.  Using the previous method of protection, namely copyrighting something, meant that your content had been peer reviewed for accuracy (i.e.  in a proprietary journal or a book edited by a known authoritative figure in that particular field).  With widespread sharing of content, blogging, and CC licensing, anyone, from anywhere, can post something that may or may not be accurate.  The contentious, and very public,  debate found in this recent blog (and its’ commentary) is but one example of how issues may now by skewed in one direction or the other direction for both honest and/or negative purposes.

So should we scrap CC licensing?  Definitely not!  How then, can we ensure that content published under a CC license is accurate?  In my next posting, in this series on the “Open” movements, I am going to suggest the creation and use of official digital repositories.  In the meantime, please feel free to comment and reflect on this posting.

Related Links

Adding a Creative Commons license to a YouTube video

Adding a Creative Commons license to a WordPress blog

Using Creative Commons licensed photos on Flickr

 

John Lawrence MMT, MTA

For the record – I am a music therapist with over 15 years experience in clinical settings, predominantly involving geriatric clients.  I obtained my Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Temple University in 1995 and have subsequently served in a wide range of appointments and positions related to the field of music therapy.  For the past 8 yrs I have served as a sessional instructor in music therapy at a number of post-secondary institutions and most recently served as chairperson for the first Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT2011) held in March 2011.  You can reach me using:  E-mail:  jlmt@telus.net, Twitter@JLisaMT, FacebookJohn Lawrence and LinkedIn:  John Lawrence MMT, MTA.

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Filed under Books and Resources, Business Tools, Education, Global Education, Music Therapy, Open Platforms/Software, Organizations, Pedagogy, PR/Advertising, Web 2.0 Tools

Cultural sensitivity – good for business and good for you!

Image Source:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2011/05/16/slave-lake-fire-evacuation.html.  Retrieved on May 21, 2011.

During this past week, I wrote about undertaking an individual, or series, of music interventions involving evacuees from Slave Lake, AB.  The community has suffered greatly with all 7000 inhabitants being evacuated following a firestorm that swept through the town.  Yesterday, they released a tally of homes and businesses destroyed by the ensuing fire(s) – 485 either destroyed or heavily damaged.  That is just the physical losses – many of the emotional and psychological losses are yet to come.  In part, that is why I felt the need to volunteer my assistance.

There are a number of evacuation centers.  Part of me would like to go to the evacuation center in Athabasca where 800-1000 people are living, at least temporarily, but at this point that is not possible.  So today I am volunteering at the evacuation center located in Edmonton – the Northlands EXPO centre.  In planning and seeking permissions I ran into an unexpected barrier – cultural sensitivity.  Edmonton, and Alberta in general, has a large number of aboriginal/native communities.  The area around Slave Lake has a large number of individuals belonging predominantly to the Cree nation.  When I stated that I wanted to do a “drumming circle” the administrative committee reject the idea on grounds that it might offend some of the evacuees who might consider drumming a sacred activity or an activity associated with particular ceremonies.  I’ve been a music therapists for 15 years and drumming is part of my regular collection of interventions when I am working with clients – I have never have associated it with the potential to offend.  Perhaps it is just the name  “drumming circle” that may have cultural associations?

A factor in your music therapy business practice, cultural sensitivity is receiving increased attention in music therapy training.  Indeed, as the world seems to shrink – via increased personal mobility/job finding geographical location and “easy” access to a huge variety of cultures, your awareness of the predominant culture(s) or ethic groups within your local area.  When I lived on Vancouver Island (the Comox Valley), I found a large percentage of individuals were of German descent or ancestry.  Here in Edmonton, the native population and those of Ukranian descent are two of the most significant cultural groups.  This means that I need to learn songs, musical styles, and understand the beliefs that are a part of these cultures because I am likely to derive clients from those cultural groups.  When you do so, you will be better able to meet their needs and provide meaningful interventions.  Cultural sensitivity might also apply to occupational roles.  When I lived on Vancouver Island, predominant occupations included – logging, fishing, and mining.  Entertainment was not community based, but rather individuals “made their own entertainment”.  In Edmonton, residents are accustomed to accessing community and cultural arts-based activities – “to being entertained” rather than “providing their own entertainment”.  There is also a much wider diversity of employment histories – logging and fishing are not among them!

So what will I be doing today?  My first intervention will involve the children and musical activities, involving movement, imagination, and fun.   Next, I will ask participants directly about their beliefs surrounding drumming. (I have also sought out information sources via the Internet, social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook and personal contacts that have some experience with local/Alberta native populations).   If they are approving of the idea, I will then ask permission of the evacuation center administration to come back and do a second intervention.    I may not call it a “drum circle” and will avoid a “circular” shape – even though that provides a meaningful and psychologically comforting “holding” place for the emotions that are bound to arise.  I might call it “Catching the beat” or “Fun with drums”.  Stay-tuned for further updates!

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A private practice (in 5 easy steps)

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau

Sounds to good to be true?  Maybe but read on.  If you’re looking for a blog about why you shouldn’t start a private practice, this isn’t it!  I’ve been in private practice my entire music therapy career (15 yrs) and I am here to say that it is very rewarding, but also very frustrating and challenging at times.  So what are some of the lessons I’ve learned – now that is something I can blog about!

1.  Things they don’t teach you in school

If you are considering private practice, be prepared for a steep learning curve!  You can’t possibly imagine what it means to be a) music therapist, b) secretary, c) promotions manager, d) accountant, e) researcher, f) innovator, all at the same time.  Perhaps that’s why they don’t teach it during your training to be a music therapist.  It also means that you can become burned-out very easily. 

Lesson One:  Get a mentor who is willing to help you through the hi’s and low’s of starting and maintaining your business.

2.  Be prepared for a time lapse between starting and “succeeding”

We all go into private practice thinking – “this is going to be the greatest private practice ever!”.  Then, inevitably, things take “longer than expected” to occur costing you time, energy (both physical and mental), and especially finances.  You will try to convince yourself that, “if I just do _________” my business will take off.  That is not to say that the opposite is true either, a “If I build it they will come and I have to do nothing” type of mentality.  A book called Rework, that I’ve discussed in a previous post, suggests that you not view your business as a “start-up” but rather, you should view it as a business.  Start-ups frequently come and go, but a business continues to evolve, building on each success along the way.

Lesson Two:  Expect to spend at least 8-12 months getting growing your business, measure “success” not just in $$$ terms, but also in terms of “Was I able to give my client my 100% attention and effort?” or “What have I done well, this week, based on feedback from clients?”

3.  Educate don’t flaggelate!

We can all learn ways to improve our business skills.  Indeed, there are literally thousands of books promising us that, “Just do _______” and your business will succeed.  However, reading all of those books will not make you a better business person.  Instead, focus on what you know best and be realistic about what you don’t know.

This might mean that you save and use your limited “extra” income to attend a national or regional music therapy conference rather than a local trade show.  Why?  Attending the trade show may give you exposure however it will also mean that most of your time will be spent explaining “What is music therapy?”, obtaining very few new clients in the process.   By attending a music therapy conference you will most likely come back refreshed, because everyone there understands what is meant by the term “music therapy”, and full of new ideas that you can use to improve or expand your business.  Use information sheets and business cards in your waiting room (if you decide to have one) to attract new clients using your existing clients as witnesses to the great services you provide.

If you already know that you hate working with figures and accounting, then maybe it is worth the money for you to hire an accountant, and prevent yourself from spending countless frustrating hours working on the business records yourself.    There are a thousand little details that must be taken into account when beginning, and a thousand more needed to maintain your financial records.   Indeed, setting up your business records incorrectly or missing a step can mean many, many hours spent later at tax time and possibly lead to fines or worse!

Lesson Three:  Choose your educational opportunities carefully and selectively, focusing on what you know best – music therapy.

4.  Don’t be a lone wolf.

Improving your business can be an all consuming affair, that isolates you from friends and family and things that you love to do.  eYes, you can dedicate more time to expanding your business when you are single without family or a spouse but that doesn’t mean you should.  Plan a little “down time” into a day full of back-to-back music therapy sessions.  Spend some of your hard earned cash to attend a musical concert or go to a favorite place that allows you to nuture your soul, rather than expend it.  Believe me, the time and money spent will be well worth it!

Likewise, don’t be afraid to “reach out and touch” other music therapists!  (e.g.  Consultation and Supervision Services by Key Changes Music Therapy) Aside from aforementioned conferences, the internet and technology allow us to communicate with a huge base of support and experience.  There are many music therapists that have stood where you are now.  Connect with fellow music therapists on services such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.  Use Skype (or another similar service) to talk to a colleague rather than racking up huge phone bills.  You don’t have to spend a fortune on software either – use low or free alternatives to commercial programs such as Microsoft office (e.g.  OpenOffice or Google Docs).  Follow and comment on the postings of other music therapists’ blogs and/or begin your own blog using a tool like WordPress, a FREE and customizable way to communicate and share with colleagues and potential clients.  By doing so, you will develop your own followers who “seek you out” rather than “you seeking them out”!

Lesson FourIsolating yourself is a recipe for disaster.  You need the support of friends and colleagues to suceed.

5.  Accept that you will make mistakes and face disappointments.

Even the most seasoned, most knowledgeable, business tycoon will make a mistake sooner or later.  Just ask Microsoft!  Beginning a business, as an unseasoned veteran, will mean that mistakes will not only happen, they will happen more quickly!  You are going to make mistakes!  Likewise, you are going to face disappointments, some of which are out of your control (e.g.  Sad News for EMT) .  However, just like the stock market, where individuals know that some of the best investment opportunities come when the market is crashing, view your business as a long-term venture.  That way, a mistake made or disappointment experienced can be viewed as a “bump in the road” rather than the “only bridge over the valley collapsing”.

Lesson Five:  I repeat – You are going to be mistakes!  Face them, learn from them, and move on!

Finally, to continue the “Too good to be true” analogy, keep reading and I’ll include some FREE business advice  (from some music therapists that have been there! )

Free advice (in no particular order)

How to use your fear – Key Changes Music Therapy

Building Your Personal Brand – Listen, Learn, Music

Silencing Your Inner Critic – Mundana Music Therapy

Introduction to Conga Technique and Play – Music Therapy Drumming (To work out those frustrations after a hard day at work!)

The Therapy Business Blueprint (eBook) – Music Therapy Maven

Music Therapist for the Music Therapist – Music Therapy Musings

Music Therapy and Advocacy (Podcast) – Music Therapy Research Blog

And of course, don’t forget to follow MusicTherapy365

SPECIAL NOTE:  My apologies in advance to fellow music therapy colleagues and music therapy bloggers who weren’t mentioned in this article or “Free advice” section.

Feel free to leave your comments and business ideas.  I’d love to hear them!

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Filed under Business Tools, Conferences, Music Therapy, Organizations, PR/Advertising

Twitter and the power of social networking

I recently attended a blended conference (both onsite and online) called MoodleMoot Canada 2011.  Actually, I attended two of four days of the conference, and followed along on Twitter during the days that I was not able to attend.  It was my first opportunity to use Twitter as a source of information and be a contributor of information.  Similar efforts have taken place during recent music therapy conferences, both national and regional in the U.S. and during the Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT2011).  In fact, it seems like TweetUps (a meeting of individuals on Twitter at a conference) have become increasingly popular.

That’s great but how does it affect me?

1.  You should join Twitter and begin exploring

Twitter is a “microblogging” format.  Basically it means that you can provide small insights or announcements.  (Generally, on Twitter, you are limited to 140 characters).  I personally use Twitter to share professional developments, make professional announcements and share resources that I have found that I believe might be of interest.

2.  What should my username be?

You can make your username anything you wish but remember, you are trying to attract followers.  Some people use their name (e.g.  @RachelleNorman, @michelleerfurt or @KnightMTBC), some people use their business name (@listnlearnmusic) and some people use a pseudynym (@victimorious)

3.  Another use of Twitter – getting feedback or seeking out “experts” on a particular issue that you are facing.

As a recent blog posting highlights, you can send a “shoutout” to either your own followers or Twitter users in general to get an answer to a question, or make a business related announcement.   When you do so, expect quick feedback.

4.  Posting conference updates/presentation highlights.

Like I said, I was able to attend 2 of 4 days of MoodleMoot Canada 2011.  Still, it turns out that I was one of the most active Twitter users, resulting in a place on the top 10 individuals “tweeting” about insights that I was having.  How do I do this? – using a “hashtag”.  Whenever you see a “#” sign, it means that someone has created/is marking a way of following a particular subject or idea (e.g.  To follow tweets by music therapists you might use the hashag #musictherapy).  It is now routine for conference to post an “official” hashtag, that conference attendees can use to post updates (e.g.  #mootca11 or #ocmt2011).

5.  This sounds great, but I want to follow more than one topic/area of interest?

It’s true – the Twitter website is a poor excuse for an interface.  It is VERY “clunky” and not very user-friendly.  The good news – you can use Twitter feed aggregators (software that allows you to follow multiple Twitter feeds).  One of the best, and the one that I use is called Tweetdeck.  Actually, Tweetdeck has recently been purchased by Twitter itself, so maybe their website/interface will be improving shortly.  They are many others (e.g.  Hootsuite) – just Google “Twitter feed aggregators”

6.  What is a “retweet (RT)?

A “retweet” is the reposting, either word-for-word or edited, of a previous “tweet” (post) by someone else.  This can be a way to further your message, or have a new business development shared with a wider audience because something that someone retweets is shared with your network of followers AND the their network of followers.

7.  Can I send private messages to one or more of my followers?

Yes you can!  As long as that person is following you, you can use the format “D: _______” rather than “@_______” to send a private message to one or more individuals.  Another way of more publicly sharing with a group of individuals involves the use of a Twitter tool called “Tweetchat“.  This tool allows you to follow 1 hashtag and carry on a conversation/chat with individuals also following that hashtag.  I also recently discovered another Twitter tool called GroupTweet.  (The use of GroupTweet is well described on their website).

8.  I’m a conference organizer – is there a way to employ Twitter to engage participants?

YES, YES, and YES!  First, set up a conference #hashtag and publicize its’ existence on any literature, website, blog posts, etc. at least 2 weeks prior to the conference and encourage Twitter users to use it throughout the conference.  This allows for a consistent identity/brand and helps to prevent misdirection of tweets.  Secondly, use Tweetchat or GroupTweet to follow “What is being said/posted”.  At the MoodleMoot Canada conference, individuals tweets were highlighted during presentations on a large screen using another Twitter tool called Visible Tweets.  You can also store any tweets about the conference, for later review, using a tool called TwapperKeeper.  Finally, after the conference is over, you can present summaries of posts using tools like Twitter SteamGraphs.

Are you on Twitter right now.  Feel free to send me a message @JLisaMT.  Are you joining Twitter (after reading this article) but not sure where to start/find followers? – send a message to @JLisaMT and I will be happy to share your username/account name with people in my Twitter network.

See you on Twitter!

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What’s on your reading list?

I am a dedicated life-long learner.  There, I said it!  I can’t go a day without finding something that peaks my interest and curiosity.  Today it might be a new web page, tomorrow a new piece of software, an infographic or newly released book about an aspect of music therapy.  Sometimes I find something useful, other times I find that something doesn’t really apply.  The point is, I am always looking for ways to improve and enhance my professional practice and knowledge and – that can’t be bad!

So what are some of the tools that I use and what are some of the recent books that I have read?  For things internet, I lean heavily on a few blogs and a tool called StumbleUpon.  It depends on users to literally “stumble” across and promote websites that they like using their web browser.  I also use information gleaned from the postings on Twitter, organized and monitored by the TweetDeck application (there are also other Twitter feed aggregators such as HootSuite and Twitter for Mac).  Finally, I listen to a variety of podcasts such as the Music Therapy Roundtable and the Music Therapy Show with Janice Harris.

For new textbooks and resources about music therapy I depend on e-mail notifications from some of the major publishers such as JKP – Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Barcelona Press that was started and may still be owned by Ken Bruscia, and publication lists from major music therapy associations such as AMTA and Nordoff-Robbins.

I also seek out resources that are useful in my business.  I have been in private practice where you are chief cook, bottlewasher, promoter, accountant….  You get the picture.  A very useful book that I found helped me to focus and get organized was Scott Belsky’s, Making Ideas Happen.  It is specifically aimed at us creative types and has very practical and useful suggestions.  I’ve also been reading Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of the very successful internet company called 37signals.  This book encourages you to “keep it simple” and “underdo your competition”.  It is a radical departure from the normal “do it better, do it smarter” type of business guidebooks. 

Finally, I recently took the opportunity to read a book about, but not about, music therapy entitled, Sing Me Home by Jodi Picoult. Several other music therapists have written reviews of this book (see the links below), that may also become movie.  It features a music therapist as one of the lead characters.

I found it a compelling read, not because of its’ advocacy of gay rights but rather because of its’ depiction of the field of musictherapy and clinical practice.  The American Music Therapy Association listserv (MUSTHP-L) has recently had a very active discussion entitled, “I think that my in-laws finally know what I do” started by M. G. that discusses the fact that we [music therapists] still often find our work misunderstood and incorrectly described.  In the book Sing You Home, I think that Ms. Picoult does a decent job of describing how music therapy works, especially as it relates to her work with Lucy, another main character in the story.

Reviews of the book by music therapists

1.  Kimberly Sena Moore (The Music Maven) – http://www.musictherapymaven.com/book-review-sing-you-home/

2.  Rachel Rambach (ListenLearnMusic) – http://listenlearnmusic.com/2011/03/friday-fave-sing-you-home-by-jodi-picoult.html

3.  Life in Harmony Music Therapy – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Life-In-Harmony-Music-Therapy-LLC/150845808287240?sk=info

These are just a few of the reviews by music therapists specifically.


So what’s in your reading list?

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Filed under Books and Resources, Business Tools, Clinicial Skills, Education, Music Therapy, Open Platforms/Software, Web 2.0 Tools

Welcome to my new blogging site!

I am beginning a new journey under the banner of MusicTherapy365.  This doesn’t mean that you will get a post everyday, simply that music therapy is an aspect of my life I cannot ignore, on a daily basis.

Who Am I?

My name is John Lawrence.  I am a music therapist and educator from Canada where I have been in private practice for the past 15 years.  My professional interests include:  Music therapy (MT) with geriatric clients and persons with Alzheimer’s type dementia, Neurological Music Therapy (NMT) and the historical and developing world of MT.  As an educator, I am interested in Online learning, Web. 2.0 and 3.0, Hybrid educational environments, Open software and open platforms, and social networking communities such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

What do I expect to achieve by blogging?

I’m very glad that you asked!  As I indicated above, “I am interested in the historical and developing world of music therapy“.  I am also a lifelong learner who likes to share what I have found.  I am hoping that my blog will allow you to better connect with, and understand the world of music therapy.  I also hope that it will become a valuable resource for current and aspiring music therapists as I share technological and innovative solutions for clinical and business issues that arise from time to time.

What are my credentials?

These days, anyone can start a blog and write about anything that interests them.  That said, I do have some specific qualifications that provide justification for this new endeavour.  I have been a music therapist in private practice for the past 15 years after obtaining a Master’s of Music Therapy degree from Temple University.  I have been instructing an “Introduction to Music Therapy” course at several post-secondary institutions and have found that I relish the opportunity to share my knowledge and skills as a teacher.  I have chaired, and will be chairing, the organizing committee for the Online Conference for Music Therapy (OCMT).  If those mean nothing to you as credentials, then I will simply say – I’m a bit of a rebel from Edmonton, AB CANADA who likes to “stir things up”!

That’s it for now – stay tuned for further blog postings.  If you need to reach me in the meantime, here are some possibilities:

John Lawrence MMT, MTA
Edmonton, AB
CANADA
 
E-mail:  jlmt@telus.net
Alternative E-mail:  john.lawrence@capitalcare.net
Facebook:  John Lawrence
Twitter:  @JLisaMT
LinkedIn:  John Lawrence MMT, MTA
 
 

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Filed under Books and Resources, Business Tools, Clinicial Skills, Conferences, Introductions, Music Therapy, Organizations, Pedagogy