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.