Intersections of Yoga and Music Therapy

We’re excited to have Molly Hicks, MMT, MT-BC write this guest post about her experiences as a music therapist, and practitioner and teacher of yoga. For her bio, please refer to the Contributors tab at the top of the page. Please feel free to leave comments here to continue this discussion. It is our intent that this will initiate a new series of posts exploring the integration of music therapy with other healthcare practices and disciplines at the end-of-life. If you feel this speaks to your current practice, please feel free to reach out to us about contributing.
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Finding meaning in the journey, not the destination

One of the unintended benefits of having a child has been learning to cook and, for the first time, finding meaning in it. Cooking for my daughter has helped me come to respect its art and craft. Whereas I once valued the tasks of cooking only by the isolated products those tasks produced (e.g. a chopped carrot, simmering sauce, etc.), I came to understand these purposeful actions as choreographed movements in a much larger dance that function as an act of service representing love and nurturance.

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This year’s Social Media Advocacy month is focused on VISION: We Value this endeavor, we Imagine Success in our advocacy efforts, we Invest in advocacy Opportunities Now and whenever possible. For participation in this effort, we decided to engage with each other in a discussion about our vision for music therapy and end-of-life care. Please share with us any responses you might have, and what your vision for the field may be. As always, thank you for being a part of this community

Continue reading “re: VISION”


A Reflection on Robin

The role of music

It’s taken me some time to process Robin Williams’ death and its impact on me. Whether he was an alien or genie, professor or therapist, grieving husband or cross-dressing father, Williams provided opportunities to share in communal laughter and absorb moments of authentic human experiences that resonated with me as a child and have, in many ways, continued to resonate into adulthood. Reflecting on this I have found is that, in contrast to other celebrity losses (e.g., Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman) wherein I had immediate and relatively brief emotional responses ranging from shock to sadness, I’ve actually been grieving.

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To musick or not to musick

I used to be a music snob. Hell, I’m still a music snob – I’m just in recovery. I’m not sure when I started praying at that altar of self-righteousness, but when I did it became an unhealthy preoccupation. I burdened myself with the hypercritical snootiness of an artistic crusader blessed and cursed with the holy call to cleanse the masses of narrow, commercial tastes so that they may embrace artistic music that did not have to sound good in order to be great…and so on and so forth. I’m only being moderately hyperbolic. Continue reading “To musick or not to musick”


Grief and Loss Outside of End-of-Life Care

Note: This is a guest post by Gabby Ritter-Cantesanu. For more information about Gabby, please refer to the “Contributors” tab at the top. Please feel free to leave a comment here, but if you wish to contact Gabby privately, she can be reached at Thank you!

“Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question, when you are the answer.” –Joseph Campbell

This quote comes from the memory cards given out at Hannah’s memorial service. Hannah was a special kind of child, the kind that brought fullness and light to any room. Her smile was contagious and when she laughed, she filled your soul. When she sang, she sang with a full spirit and heart. And when she danced, her clumsy steps showed everyone around what pure joy looked like. Hannah most certainly brought meaning to life. Continue reading “Grief and Loss Outside of End-of-Life Care”


Man, what are you doing here?

Note: This is the first post in an ongoing series about how music therapists began work in end-of-life and palliative care settings. It is our hope that the telling of these stories will promote new perspectives from the storyteller, new introspection for the listeners, and a shared understanding of the privilege that it is to be working in EOL and palliative care.  I’ve spent a good deal of time thinking about what to say in this post, and, subsequently, have  delayed getting the words down. I suppose I wasn’t sure where to start, maybe because my pull towards hospice was so natural and emergent I never really got a sense of the soil those roots grew from. An easy starting point would be my undergraduate practicum experiences in hospice as an undergraduate, or perhaps my experiences in grief following both personal and professional losses. Continue reading “Man, what are you doing here?”


What’s a “music preference” without relationship?

“Music preference” is a big buzz word in EOL and palliative care, dominating many recent discussions about assessment and treatment planning. There seems to be, in fact,  an overall push in the larger music therapy narrative for an increased focus on emphasizing preference in most areas of clinical work. The spirit behind this push makes a lot of sense: we want to engender in our clients feelings of empowerment and self-determination that can first manifest in the clinical setting and then in real-life scenarios. Increasingly, however, I’m questioning whether preference is the right approach. Continue reading “What’s a “music preference” without relationship?”


We are…not on the same page…

In honor of Social Media Advocacy Month (I never even knew that was a “thing” until now!), there’s a guest post from Judy Simpson, AMTA’s Director of Public Relations, circling the various music therapy interwebs. It is a well-written and thoroughly welcomed message. One part in particular stood out to me:

“For far too long we have tried to fit music therapy into a pre-existing description of professions that address similar treatment needs.  What we need to do is provide a clear, distinct, and very specific narrative of music therapy so that all stakeholders and decision-makers ‘get it.'”
Continue reading “We are…not on the same page…”


Blank page

One of my favorite books as a kid, The Man in the Ceiling, told the story about Jimmy, a child with ambitions of being a comic book artist working hard to develop niches in his family, in his art, and in himself. Of the many scenes I still vividly remember, there is one I frequently return to: Jimmy staring at a blank page of white paper, ruminating on what could be/should be drawn, and feeling overwhelmed with the vast potential of the paper’s blankness. It could become his greatest work or his most embarrassing; a moment of inspiration or an artistic bloc; a message to be shared with others or one to be kept private and hidden. Its potential to become anything evokes both interest and fear.

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