Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year everyone!
I haven't posted in such a long time and it's a lovely excuse, this time of year, to look back at the year gone past. I've had many such conversations over the past week with colleagues and clients, where we'd expected it to be a strange sort of year following the previous two years we'd had, yet somehow still it feels strange just how strange it was.
I've also had a very strange end to my year, having been back at work just this week after my first experience of having covid-19. I'm feeling thankful and relieved to be quad-vaxed, that everyone's efforts over the past almost three years has meant that it's taken until now for my family and I to catch it, and that it's now a relatively mild variant. We are all well now and enjoying being out and about again - just in time for summer's festivities! My thanks to everyone in the team of five million, to those making the hard decisions putting in place measures to try to keep us all well and safe from this pandemic, and to all of my clients and workplaces who were all so very understanding and patient - particularly over the past year while I provided music therapy via telehealth. It has been an absolute pleasure being back in person with you all since August, and with some beginnings in new spaces as well. Certainly strange to have not had the usual lead up to xmas with carols and such, but wonderful to have some this week!
This week I've said a very fond farewell to some dear colleagues who I've worked with for ten and seven years. You know who you are, it has been an absolute privilege and pleasure, and I wish you all the very best in your next adventures. These farewells, all of the extremely warm welcomes back in August and in new spaces, and all of the kai, treats and kindness shared this week remind me how important it is to be in spaces and around people who value and support what you do, what you bring and contribute in your work. But also, how a little kindness can go such a very long way. Thank you to you all.
I'm looking forward to next year, more music and more sparks of progress.
Take care over the summer, noho ora mai,
In celebration of Music Therapy Week this year, 27 Registered Music Therapists, myself included, united!
This waiata was gifted to Music Therapy New Zealand by Te Manaaroha Rollo in 2013, a time when my own well-being shifted, which in turn shifted and continues to shift much in my life. For me, this waiata embodies and nurtures well-being, whatever that is for you.
You might spot me, stripey top, singing in front of my piano, which represents 3 essentials to my well-being: loved ones, music and crafting (I had so much fun painting it forest green!)
Aretha Franklin's 1967 anthem for all women everywhere has been a constant. I've sung it with young ladies seeking control and themselves, played 'cups' to it with a group of teens (before Pitch Perfect took over), helped someone learn guitar with it so that they have a skill and something positive to focus on when they return home, used lyric substitution and fill-in-the-gap with a group of adults who love it just as much as I do, and... I've done a fair amount of singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs to it myself ;P
Thanks Aretha, you're one of those Evergreen legends :)
Cruise down the river this Sunday afternoon with this little tune! A wee bit belated song of last week, and may not be your sort of jam - if not, put on your favourite tune that makes even your insides smile, unwind and enjoy this beautiful sunny summers day we're having!
Some days the need for Rage's metal track "Wake Up" is strong. Daily battles may not be as far-reaching as racism, but the reminder, "What you reap is what you sow" referencing a Martin Luther King speech often spurs me into action. If you're old school, like many I work with, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma is a delightful way to lift your head, capture your waltzing fancy and start the day. Or you might like to take a leaf from the days of war and "Kiss me goodnight Serjeant Major" and make yourself a nice hot cut of tea :)
Most days for me though, it's legend David Bowie's "Let's Dance" that really gets me moving. Put it on, and the next 4 minutes and 8 seconds (or more if I put it on repeat) are guaranteed to cure your Wednesday-itis! (Musical taste and preferences notwithstanding... I hope).
Happy Wednesday Aotearoa!
Thought I might start sharing a song of the week to help with Wednesday-itis! Or at least, it might be a song client(s) have wanted to sing a lot lately, or a piece of music that's created some meaningful moments with client(s), or it might be a playlist I've been finding helpful.
A couple of weeks ago I shared "Now is the Hour", thinking of clients and farewells. Today I'm sharing a playlist of "classical" treasures that's been reminding me to smell the roses (not literally, coz my hayfever's been going haywire lately!). Those with Spotify, search for "Antonin Dvorak" Radio and settle in. Those who prefer an easy click here's a few favourites:
For most if not all of us it’s hard heading back to work after a holiday break. For me, I returned this year knowing that one of my clients may have passed away. I knew that after 3 weeks the condition of a likely few may have not improved or deteriorated further. What I hadn’t anticipated was just how many, and just how much, and the unexpected. And how it would affect me, first week back. And so, I’ve come away knowing that I need to do something more than speaking with colleagues and with families. I also returned to work knowing that I would soon be finishing with many of my clients and colleagues due to a piece of work ending, and so I face these next few months not yet with the prospect of a fresh new year, but first with many farewells, and many endings.
Within many places I work when we sing the classic “Now is the Hour” I often make the comment, “It holds different things for different people, doesn’t it”? It’s my way of acknowledging the loss the song might hold, the memories of difficult times during war and long after, the people, the experiences, the emotions – both negative and positive. Almost every time this comment is responded to with a murmur, a few nodding heads, a look of significance that seems to say, thank you for acknowledging where I’m at.
Today I share with you this recording of “Now is the Hour” as my way of saying goodbye to those I wasn’t able to in person. I see it as a song of farewell, of acceptance, and of the idea and hope that we’ll be remembered and held in the minds of those we leave behind, whether it’s through a change of circumstances or end of life, whatever your beliefs.
What's the biggest challenge facing you as a professional?
It’s an opinion piece, so be opinionated.
Set us to rights. Tell us how things should be, instead.
Push for change to make things better.
The Big Idea Soapbox gave me the chance to share about one of Music Therapists' greatest challenges in NZ Aotearoa. Here's what I had to say (click through to the article).
A musician does not equal a music therapist. Do you know why?
NZ Registered Music Therapist, Clinical Supervisor, co-creator, songbird, collaborator, advocate, lover-of-music.