Category Archives: Musical Resources

What’s Next? To Infinity and BEYOND!

So I’m done with my internship,  had a wonderful time at AMTA11, but what’s next? That’s a question I think all new professionals ask themselves. The first thing that crosses my mind- “I’m free!” And it’s true, for the first time in my life I can do whatever I want, choose my path, and plan my future.

“The Eclectic Guitar”  has been in action since April, 2010.  Since then, I’ve connected with various students, interns and professionals and offered insight into the student, then intern world.  Even though now i’m neither, I still have some tricks up my sleeves.

“The Eclectic Guitar” is being completely re-vamped!  I have some really exciting things planned (courtesy of my flight from Atlanta to San Diego), and I can’t wait to get them launched.  Stay tuned- in mid-december i’ll be releasing an exciting announcement across all my social media platforms that explains what i’m up to.

Something is ‘a brewing!’


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Six-Month Chrysalis

For the last 5 months, as part of my internship, I have been diligently working away at my newest project.  It’s entitled: “Six-Month Chrysalis” and its a 12-chapter book which features over 100 stories, insights and confessions from over 15 years of music therapy interns.

Not only is it a great coffee table book for the music therapist, it will be a excellent learning tool for professors at universities, and a resource for students and new interns.  Topics such as “death and dying, “personal and professional growth” and “dealing with declines,” are split into chapters as a means for reflection.  The book provides great insight into the life of an intern, soon to be professional, and the types of scenarios and situations one may encounter.  The book will feature a series of questions for study purposes or reflection, as well as an index split by population for easy reference.

I’m VERY excited for the launching of this book.  It’s going to be a beautiful contribution to music therapy literature, as it houses the most intimate moments and learning curves from current interns, and now successful professionals during their internship experience.

The book will be introduced at the 2011 AMTA Conference in Atlanta, GA. Check out some selections of the book during regular exhibit hall hours at the MusicWorx Inc. booth(#404) from Thursday, November 11th through Saturday, November 19th! Put your name in for a drawing and have a chance to win one of three raffled copies! The “butterfly” is set to launch in early Spring 2012!

**All names and likenesses in the book have been removed for the confidentiality of our clients and interns.


Filed under Music Therapy, Musical Resources

I Wanna Be a Billionaire…

I realize i’m totally late on this, however, I’m starting to come around to this song. I think it can be a really great song tool for therapy.  Tons of possibilites here:

  1. Rewrite the lyrics
  2. Write verses about what a client would do if they were a billionaire
  3. Great song for adolescents… hospitals, eating disorder, sibling bonding
  4. Could be interesting if done with a group (eachperson contributes a thought)
The chords are really simple… after some diggin…and it can be played on guitar or uke!
I wanna be a billionaire so friggen bad
Buy all of the things I never had
Wanna be on the cover of Forbes Magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen
Oh everytime I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
A different city everynight Oh My I swear
The world better prepare, for when I’m a billionaire

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Music Therapy 2.0 Presentation: Prezi, Reflection and Notes

This past Sunday at the AMTAS-Naz Chapter mini-conference I was able to have my very first experience with giving a professional presentation.  I joined forces with my fiance, Jim Ernst who is a PR professional and a blogger who specializes in social media and branding.  We related it all back to music therapy; forming your own unique brand, one for your business as well as utilizing new technologies in your sessions.  These are my thoughts and tips for presentation and how to make the time worth while for both you and your attendee’s.

Tips for presenting:

1. Be concise and prepared: It’s very obvious when a presenter did not rehearse and is flying by the seat of their pants. Don’t let this be you.

2. Time Yourself!: You many think that you have enough information, but you might not.  You might think that you won’t go over your time, but you will.  An hour or however long you have is a lot easier to fill than you think. Practice!

3. Take a breath before you begin: Set yourself up on a calm note. Taking a second to breath will balance you for the whole presentation.

4. Try to avoid to many long videos: Videos can really enhance a presentation if they are timely.  However, be careful to not play video after video that are irrelevant.  They came to hear YOU speak.

5. Don’t read from your slides ( is great for avoiding this!): There’s nothing worse than someone reading their slides word for word.  Put up some talking points and YOU fill them in.  This definitely takes practice.

For more information about social media, branding and more visit my co-presenter’s blog here.

Check out our presentation from Prezi on this link.

If you would like a copy of our hand out you can find it here –> What is a Brand ?

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Guest Post: Sharing Your Story, Making a Change (Part 1) by. Dena Register Ph.D., MT-BC

Part of being a music therapist is sharing your stories—incredible stories—of the triumphs, both great and small, that you encounter every day.


We often have the opportunity to witness the absolute best in the human condition, from the new parents who are learning to adapt and support their pre-mature infant to the family who is grappling with a hospice diagnosis of a loved one. It is not unusual to hear (or say) the phrase “power of music” in our work with patients or clients of any age or ability-level.


I’m not sure that we teach storytelling, per se, as part of the music therapy curriculum, but perhaps we should. It is often the masterful account of how we choose, use and manipulate musical elements to get these “amazing” results that catches the eye of a potential funding source, employer or legislator. We are constant advocates for our clients or patients and our profession with every story that we share.


To that end, I’d like to share a story with you about the power of telling the “right” story, to the “right” group of individuals in just the “right” manner.


The Phone Call From Oklahoma

In late September 2008, I received a phone call from a member of the Oklahoma State Task Force. It was a Wednesday afternoon of a very busy week that seemed as though it ought to be Friday. There was mild panic intermingled with genuine excitement on the other end of the line.


But first, a little background:


Through several interesting twists, one of the task force members was introduced to and befriended a former State Senator who was a huge advocate for children’s services in the state, particularly for young children with special needs. He happened to be visiting the new RISE school in Stillwater, Oklahoma on a day that Robbin Buford, a board-certified music therapist, was providing services to one of the groups there.


Over the course of their new friendship, the former Senator asked a number of questions about music therapy, what kinds of services were available to constituents in the state, what kind of training music therapists received and if there were schools and internships in Oklahoma. Former Senator Long was impressed by what he saw at the RISE school that he began coaching the Oklahoma State Task Force in what steps to take to

  1. ensure that music therapy was recognized by the state and
  2. that state job descriptions were updated to require the MT-BC credential and provide quality services to patients and clients in the state.


Now back to that phone call:


Ed Long had arranged for several lawmakers who were currently in office, as well as some agency directors, to come to the RISE school the following Monday morning. He wanted the guests to have the opportunity to see Robbin in action and to have some time to discuss music therapy and the implications for the state over lunch following her session.


Robbin was calling me to see if there was any way to have regional and/or national representatives from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) present at the meeting to help field questions and talk about other clinical areas where music therapists provide services. Needless to say, this was an opportunity that we just couldn’t miss! With the help of the other members of the task force and Judy Simpson, AMTA’s Director of Government Relations, we were able to pull together packets of materials and a brief presentation following Robbin’s session.


I left Lawrence, Kansas on Sunday evening to drive most of the way to Stillwater for the Monday morning meeting. We all arrived an hour before the session to set up materials and prepare ourselves to meet and greet as people arrived to observe the group of eight children in the early intervention classroom. There were four children in the group with various special needs, including Down syndrome and autism.


As our guests arrived most were congenial and found a place in the observation booth or at the classroom entrance to watch the session. One gentleman in particular came in, introduced himself, shook hands and maintained a closed body posture with his arms folded across his chest. He went to the observation point that was the farthest away from the group and stood in the background.


A Change in the Room


As the session began, you could see the increased interest in what was occurring during the music therapy session. Body tensions subsided, people moved to a closer location to get a better view of what was happening and they began to ask questions about what was going on in the session.


The children, as always, did a fantastic job attending and engaging in a variety of musical processes that worked on skills across all developmental domains. This was true throughout the session, all the way to the post-session clean up where several children sang while marching the materials down the hall to be put away. Our observers were all smiles and full of questions as we moved from the classroom space to the conference room.


Next week: Stay tuned to learn what happened after the music therapy session, as well as tips for how YOU can be—and already are—an advocate.


Dr. Dena Register is the Regulatory Affairs Advisor for the Certification Board for Music Therapists and an Associate Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Kansas She can be reached at



Filed under Music Therapy, Musical Resources, Student Life

Skoog: Instrument Focusing on Accessibility

is a Skoog?
accessible musical instrument - new musical instrument 

The Skoog is an exciting new musical instrument with accessibility at its heart.  An instrument designed explicitly for special education to empower those unable to play traditional instruments.  The Skoog is a soft, squeezable object that simply plugs straight into your computer or laptop’s USB port.  Simply touching, pressing, squashing, twisting or tapping the Skoog allows you to play a wide range of instruments, intuitively.


Skoog - angle view Real expression, Real music 

Start making your own music.  For anyone unable to play orchestral instruments, the Skoog offers the opportunity to experience and play realistic musical sounds for yourself.    The Skoog gives you access to the full dynamic characteristics of a real flute or xylophone,  without asking you to master the real thing.  For example, you can use any part of your body, just squeeze the Skoog to blow a flute, or just tap it to strike a xylophone.

Full sensory feedback

The Skoog gives you unparallelled potential for personal musical expression.  It responds directly to your movement – and because the Skoog uses physical modelling synthesis, and not just sampling, midi or wavetable synthesis – variations in your touch directly affect the sound you produce.  Every subtle gesture held within your movement is converted into beautifully nuanced musical sound.

Watch demo

watch demo at


Pupil using the Skoog Versatile teaching resource 

The Skoog is extremely versatile as a teaching tool. The software offers a range of instruments including Brass, Woodwind, Percussion and Strings.  You can change the sensitivity with a click of the mouse, and save individual user settings. Skoogmusic’s software allows you customise the Skoog to suit the needs of a wide range of potential musicians and adjustable skill settings offer the opportunity to learn and grow.

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Good Family Bonding Songs? =Great for ALL Settings!

PDF of lyrics and chords found @
Feel free to leave a video response or a comment!

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