Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jingle Bells

Adelyn is very proud of these jingle bells that she brought home from MDO and her favorite thing to do of course is to take them off of the handle and shake them while singing her favorite tunes. These bells are hanging on our pantry door (nice benefit of hearing when the pantry is opened haha...like if you know your husband is sneaking the best goodies).  

These are made with yarn, white glitter/sprinkles, egg crates, and 3 jingle bells (hidden under the egg crates).

  • Poke a hole in the bottom of the 3 egg crates and turn upside down.
  • Tie one jingle bell to one end of the yarn.
  • String the yarn through 1 egg crate
  • Pick a spot further down the yarn for the second bell and egg crate.
  • Tie yarn to jingle bell and then put egg crate on top.
  • Pick your last spot for the last jingle bell and tie to yarn.
  • Put last egg crate on top.  
  • Pick a spot in the yarn to make a knot for the loop.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brushing Little Teeth

This is a video of Adelyn singing "aaahs" to the tune of the ABC's while I brushed her teeth.  This great idea comes from one of a kind, Tricia Eilers, MT-BC.  She showed me the wonderful trick of  singing "ahh" sounds to get a toddler to keep his or her mouth open while brushing teeth. I had been singing to her myself which worked sometimes but she still closed her mouth at times while listening.

In this video Adelyn is singing an "ah" sound to the tune of the ABCs and also singing an "ee" sound while putting her teeth together while she imitates me singing the solfege Do Mi Sol Mi Do and another vocal exercise (just for fun!)  Be ware, I wobbled on the pitch a couple of times.  

Worked really well for us.  Just pick their favorite song and sing a few ahhs and ees.  Thanks Tricia!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Minds Affecting Outcome

Happy New Year 2013!  

Every January that tradition of "new years resolutions" comes to mind and sometimes conversation and every year I have plenty of things come to mind that I would like to do better. In the midst of all of the election business, devastating news, my death row pen pal's execution and my own thoughts about how minds and habits work, I recalled the other day an event from my sophomore year at Sam Houston.  It reminded me of how our minds play an important role on the outcome of our success. 

My sophomore year was coming to an end. I had just finished my first two music therapy classes, Intro to Music Therapy and Psychology of Music.  I had also finished another year of piano lessons, performance classes, and also a concert and piano finals (juries). 

 Along with me in the piano studio, was a graduating senior by the name of Emily.  I knew her as an excellent piano performance major who's fingers could fly across the piano a hundred times faster and accurately than my own. I am not entirely sure how she saw herself but I did know that before any type of performance or audition she was absolutely sick to her stomach.  I myself was no expert at calming nerves before any type of performance.  I knew how it was to go out there and mess up on notes that I had down in the practice room or just plain forget stuff that I had thought I had well memorized, not to mention sweating hands on the keys. 

The time had come for us at the end of that year, to have our very last piano performance class, a class where we played our pieces for each other.  During this last class we were just discussing the year and Emily announced to us that she had figured out how to not be sick before a performance.  Excited and eager to hear her response we sat on the edge of our chairs in anticipation for the advice she was about to give.  "I figured out how to not be sick by telling myself that I don't have to be sick". We stared at her. What? Really? That's the best advice you have for us? I thought to myself.  By the looks of a couple of others in the room I could tell they were thinking similar thoughts. She went on to tell us about how she realized that she did so much better when she told herself that before performances and focused on that thought. 

I didn't get it.  I knew that when I was little, say maybe 9 or 10, I learned that if I was grumpy or in a bad mood when trying to study or accomplish a skill in sports, I did not do well. I learned then that attitude did have an affect on success. But at the time of Emily giving us her grand advice I did not understand how just telling herself that simple line could make such a big difference. 

Over the next two years though, her grand advice turned out to be extremely grand and helpful.  Not at first though. I went through another piano jury where I butchered something that had sounded really good before all because of nerves. I didn't practice enough, I thought to myself.  I should have done this this and this instead. And maybe I should have but I learned later that those things were not my biggest problem.  I thought about Emily's words more and more over each semester after that whether it was for piano, conducting, test taking, facilitating sessions and behavior modification, and presentations.  Through each of these events it made more and more sense.  In piano specifically, I told myself almost arrogantly (because I really had to in order to do the best I could), "I don't have to be nervous.  This is going to be fun. I'm going to do great. So what if there's a lot of people, that's the fun part. This does not have to be nerve racking. I'm a great piano player. Even if I'm not the best, I'm still good. I have great musicality. I have evidence of these things because I heard myself succeed in the practice rooms and my professor told me these things". These words over and over accompanied with simple deep breaths, 4 seconds in and 4 out, I succeeded far better than I had in the past. 

I realized though that this can apply to any area of our lives just as it applied to so many of my subjects.  We can do anything we want to in life.  If you have a great interest in something what is stopping you from it? There are even great runners in the Olympics run with two prosthetic legs. So is it our thoughts that stop us? There are sometimes real physical and mental limitations, but we just have to verify, "Is there REALLY something valid stopping me from doing this or succeeding?  Or is it just my own thoughts?" 

I need to find Emily and thank her. I hope her own advice has helped her as much as it helped me.