A Musical Reflection on Mother’s Day…

Did you ever pick up the phone and call Delilah or another radio host/station to dedicate a song to a special individual?  Did you ever go searching for a song that matched a celebration or heartache?  Have you ever thought about what song you would dedicate to your mother or another important female figure in your life?  What songs remind you of this special person?  What music memories come alive when thinking of this person?  Did she sing to you when you were young?  What songs do you remember?  What song captures the emotions that you’d like to share with her today?

In music therapy, we use music to help a client connect with his/her emotions to learn ways to identify emotions, triggers, and coping strategies.  This often involves discussing lyrics and the instrumentation used in order to identify what emotions or message is heard in the music.  Sessions may also involve the use of familiar music to access positive moods/feelings associated with the memories sparked by a particular song/memory.  Research shows us that music can bring us back to a specific place, person, or moment in time.  Thus, we all have at least one personal story of how music has sparked a memory or a feeling, immediately after hearing a song.  For the most part, these feelings are welcomed, but other times a song can leave you feeling exposed and may evoking feelings of extreme sadness and heartache.

Just like music, holidays may also bring upon a variety of emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant.  As you reflect on Mother’s Day, we hope you can identify at least one song that reminds you of your mom or a motherly figure in your life.  What song comes to mind?  What emotions do you experience when listening to this song?  We also challenge the mothers/moms-to-be to think of a song that you would dedicate to your child/children.  If you have multiple children, is there a different song that comes to mind for each child?  For the individuals experiencing grief and sadness due to the loss of a mother, a grandmother, a foster mother, a child, or for those who struggle to conceive, what song can inspire positive memories and/or hopeful thinking?

We wanted to share our song dedications with you.  Please comment below or Tweet at @LIHmusictx with your song tribute or dedication, a “song to remember by”, or a song that inspires you through a negative feeling associated with “Mother’s Day”.  We can’t wait to hear from you!  #songtobeheard

“My song for my mom, Linda, is called “Music in My Mother’s House” by Stuart Stotts. My mom is the most hard-working and dedicated woman I know. She is dedicated to her faith, her family, and her friends. Ever since I can remember, my mom has been “a busy bee”: always taking care of our family of farmers, working in the garden, taking care of the church family, and making extra time to tutor and work with my younger sister who has special needs. But amid all of her busy-ness, Mom has always had time to share music with me. My love of music stems from music in my home, specifically watching and listening to Mom play the piano (she studied it for 14 years). As a child, I was always amazed at her ability, and through all my years of music training, Mom was always there to encourage me, especially when I didn’t want to practice! Even though I have moved away from home, memories of music made there still resound in my mind. There has always been “Music in My Mother’s House”, and I love that I know there always will be!” – Sarah Kolander, MT-BC


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“I would dedicate the song “You Are My Sunshine” to my mom. I remember she used to sing this song to me when I was a little girl. When I sing this song with my clients, it reminds me of my mom!”                     – Andrea Halvorson, MA, MT-BC


“My mom has always been there to teach me, cheer me up, and support my ambition. She always tells me to chase my dreams and be the person I wanted to be.  I dedicate the song “More Heart, Less Attack” by NEEDTOBREATHE to my mom for all the times that she showed me a new path to take. I can never thank her enough for always being there for me–to encourage me when it seems impossible. She is the one that taught me how to give my all and, most importantly, my heart to what matters.”                            – Katherine Sherrill, MT-BC

“Part of learning how to be a great mom is balancing the desire to hold onto your children as tight as possible while still finding the courage and strength to let go in order to allow them to explore the world. I do not know how my mom learned to do this so well and I am just realizing how hard it must have been for her to do this. The song “When You Come Back Down” by Nickel Creek reminds me of my mom’s never ending presence in my life.  I cannot imagine life without my mom’s support, guidance, friendship, and love. I am so thankful to have been given an opportunity to learn from the best!”                                     – Amy Schaack, MT-BC

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“Sing” – 2015 Recital Slideshow

Thank you to all of the performers who participated in the 3rd Annual Recital!  Our theme this year was “Every Bird Has A Song To Be Heard”.  We had two shows, each two hours long!  What an amazing way to showcase music therapy!  Thank you to our very respectful and patient audience as well!  Every performer had an opportunity to shine, to sing out, and to be proud!  We had some amazing volunteers and two proud parents volunteered to emcee the event!  An extra special thank you goes out to Bradley Schaack for running the sound and setting up the stage for the show and also to Julie Wallace who volunteered her time and talents to take photos of our event.  You can learn more about Julie at her website!

If you would like to order a photo you see in the slide show we will have order forms available at LIH.  Please ask a LIH staff member during your next appointment to see the photo album and order form!

Our team voted on the song “Sing” to use for the background of the video because we feel all of the performers had an opportunity to “Sing/play it for the word” to see and hear.

We cannot wait to see everyone on stage again next year!  Date is TBD.

Advocate. Appreciate. America!

IMG_3196As a music therapist, I feel we have a responsibility to help advocate for those we serve, especially for individuals whose voices may not be heard often.  We have a duty to empower our clients to share their story. There is nothing that brings us more pride than hearing a family share a success story about how music therapy has made an impact on their life.  It is even more powerful when the person they have an opportunity to share their story with is able to retell their story in Madison to other decision makers. Helping our clients find opportunities to share their stories is pivotal in our efforts of expanding awareness of music therapy and its vital role in recovery, treatment, and maintenance of functional skills.

Angela working with music therapist, Andrea, to increase eye contact and social skills in the music therapy setting.

Angela working with music therapist, Andrea, to increase eye contact and social skills in the music therapy setting.

We wanted share how much we appreciate that two local political figures asked to join us in the field to learn more about how music therapy is impacting the lives of individuals with disabilities.  Senator Jennifer Shilling and Representative Steve Doyle went above and beyond to learn more about Life In Harmony Music Therapy, LLC and what LIH provides to individuals receiving services through Family Care and the IRIS program.  It was such a great opportunity to show what services would be significantly impacted and likely eliminated if Governor Scott Walker’s proposed budget remains intact.  We are so thankful for the time we had to share our passion for our profession and clients we serve.  We were also very impressed by the willingness of both Senator Shilling, her staff member, and Representative Doyle for getting involved!  This video highlights the use of the tone chimes to promote eye contact, awareness of others, and receptive skills of listening for one’s turn to play.  
Many of our clients love to sing, hear, or play patriotic songs and there was no better song for Erik to perform for Representative Steve Doyle.  While Erik played “America”, he had to work very hard at keeping his upper body relaxed to allow his arms to be accessible to reach the piano keys.  When Erik hears patriotic songs he immediately becomes very excited, making self-relaxation even more challenging!  With the support of Erik’s music therapist, Sarah Kolander, MT-BC, he did a fabulous job demonstrating what interventions are helpful for cognitive development, communication, and motor skills for an individual diagnosed with cerebral palsy.     

Having an opportunity to help others advocate for themselves makes me strongly appreciate we live in America where we have the freedom to have our voices heard!

If you are a current client at LIH and you would like to have your story and voice heard, contact us today and we will help capture your story and share this with the decision makers in Madison.  If you are a music therapist, please reach out to a local elected official to share the successes happening in your area!

~Amy Schaack, MT-BC

Angela was so proud to have Senator Shilling spend time out of her day to see what she does in music therapy!

Angela was so proud to have Senator Shilling join her for her session!

Erik and his advocacy team!

Erik and his advocacy team! Thank you for all you do!

We love that Erik wore his shirt from his performance in the 2014 LIH Recital! Thank you, Representative Steve Doyle for coming to see Erik shine! Thank you to Sarah, MT-BC for providing Erik with appropriate music interventions to foster success!

We love that Erik wore his shirt from his performance in the 2014 LIH Recital! Thank you, Representative Steve Doyle for coming to see Erik shine! Thank you to Sarah, MT-BC for providing Erik with appropriate music interventions to foster success!

Adrianna and her family shared their story at a Budget Hearing Session in West Salem.

Adrianna and her family shared their story at a Budget Hearing Session in West Salem.