Rhythm & Song

Earthtones NW has the honor of serving clients in the greater Portland area, Wilsonville, Salem and Eugene.  And now, we are reaching out to serve Central Oregon. On July 17th 200 community members of Sisters Oregon came together to drum, sing, eat and play! Earthtones NW’s CEO and owner, Jodi Winnwalker, coordinated the second annual Sisters Rhythm & Song in the Park event, bringing together local musicians and community members to celebrate the summer season and to connect through shared musical experiences. The event was free to the community and included a dinner of hot dogs, potato salad, chips and cookies.

Blurring the lines between performer and audience

One unique element of the evening was the approach to blurring the lines between  “performer” and “audience”. This event was designed to engage the “musician” in everyone. Local musicians were invited to share music of various styles in the center of the circle. The community gathered around the featured musicians and were invited to sing, dance and play along. Earthtones interns brought an impressive collection of musical instruments that were made available and placed throughout the a circle for all to play. The instruments included drums, shakers and other small instruments, tone chimes and a gong. The interns also wrote and led a chant about peace and unity. Even the surrounding Ponderosa Pines and other park trees seemed to sway to the music. Earthtones intern Darcy Wallace

“I loved seeing multiple generations gathering in one place, both musicians and those new to music. It felt like people had freedom to express themselves and listen and engage with others” – Earthtones intern Darcy Wallace

Jodi Winnwalker and Earthtones NW interns Matthew, Darcey, Adam, Kat and Stephanie

Joy and connection

Many of the folks that attended the event remembered the joy and connection they experienced last year and wanted to participate again. “I think it’s great for the community to get together and celebrate”, Dottie Kemble said, who came with her two granddaughters. 

Sponsors

Rhythm & Song was made possible by Citizens 4 Community, and the many sponsors of the event including Earthtones NW, the Ford Family Foundation, St. Charles Health System, Coldwell Banker Reed Bros. Realty, and the Lodge in Sisters. Paulina Springs Books donated the chairs and the PA system was managed by Rich Hummel. Rhythm and Song is an event for the community and by the community, and what a wonderful event it is!

To learn more about the Rhythm & Song event in Sisters OR email info@earthtonesnw.com. Or go directly to the article written by the local Sisters newspaper, the Nugget. https://nuggetnews.com/Content/Arts-Entertainment/Arts-Entertainment/Article/Sisters-dances-and-drums-in-community/65/105/28450

Shake It Up! 3 Things We Love About the Tambourine

Not All Tambourines Are The Same! (1)

  1. They’re adaptable. When you put a tambourine in your hand, the jingles or “zils” practically play themselves. Most tambourines are responsive enough that they require very little movement to play and their bright sound rings through when you shake them in the music circle.
  2. They add sparkle to any song. So many great songs feature the tambourine. Check out our playlist on Spotify for some of our favorite examples. Or, we bet if you give a listen to genres such as rock or classical in your own music library, you’ll be sure to hear it!
  3. They’re easy to sanitize. Music therapists sanitize their instruments after every session.

Meet Susie Sample, Intern Horticultural Therapist

 

 

Meet Susie Sampe

 

What drew you to Horticultural Therapy?

I was drawn to the field of gerontology from helping my mom who was living with lewy body dementia. During my coursework at Portland Community College I discovered Horticultural Therapy (HT). Being a lifelong lover of plants and nature I was excited to combine these two passions. I witnessed the value of HT firsthand during an internship at an adult day center when I saw a horticultural therapy session in action. The benefits of HT were apparent and I felt like it was fulfilling a real need.

What populations do you work with?

I work with primarily older adults, many of whom have dementia. All of the adults that I work with have some form of physical or cognitive disability.

What is your favorite part about your work as a HT intern at Earthtones?

My favorite part is sharing nature and plants with people who often do not get other opportunities to engage with the outside world. Sharing these special experiences with people is so wonderful. The spark that people get in their eyes when they are directly engaging with plant material fills me with joy. Being a witness to that moment is truly an honor and I love that I get to increase this type of opportunity for them and can help to fill their basic human need of meaningful activity.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Daffodils

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Spring has sprung! With their sunny color and cheery disposition, March is the month of the daffodil. In Portland, it’s not uncommon to see daffodils everywhere from front yard gardens to highway intersections. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate these flowers into your daily activities, why not share some trivia? Here are 5 things you may not have known about daffodils!

  1. Daffodils are called Lent lilies in England
  2. Giving a gift of daffodils is said to ensure happiness to the recipient
  3. There are over 25 different daffodil species and over 13,000 different hybrids.
  4. Daffodils have toxic sap. Place the daffodils in a separate vase for a few hours (change the water at least once) before adding them to a bouquet.
  5. Every year the Daffodil festival takes place in Pierce County, Washington including a grand floral parade.

Plant-astic! Q&A with Genevieve Layman, HTR: Earthtones Horticultural Therapy Program Director

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What is horticultural therapy?

Horticultural therapy is an effective evidence-based therapeutic modality that uses plants, gardens and nature-based activities to promote well-being for the participants. Registered Horticultural therapists (HTR) assess emotional well-being, social functioning, communication abilities, cognitive and physical abilities and horticultural interest. Horticultural therapists work in collaboration with other care providers and professionals to develop individual and/or group goals and objectives. There are many psychological, social, cognitive and physical benefits to engaging with plants and nature! Some of these benefits might include an improved sense of well being, a reduction in stress and anxiety, improved concentration and an increase in self esteem.

Who can benefit from horticultural therapy?

Anyone can benefit from therapeutic horticulture and nature experiences! When you walk outside on a beautiful sunny day and you can hear the birds singing or smell the Daphne blooming how does your body react? There is more and more research that shows nature engagement has lasting restorative benefits. HTRs are trained to work with people of all ages and abilities to reach person-centered goals. Here at Earthtones we serve older adults and adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia Parkinson’s disease, Stroke, developmental disabilities and other multiple disabilities.

What kind of goals do you work on?

Horticultural therapists actively engage and involve clients with plants and nature with the intent of improving cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being. Techniques are employed that can help participants learn new skills, maintain skills, or regain those that are lost. Engaging with nature is a deeply meaningful experience for many and offers opportunities for self expression, positive social interaction, and sensory stimulation.

Can you share one of your favorite moments from a session?

I am continually in awe of the people-plant interactions I get to witness each session. One stand-out moment I get to see regularly is watching my clients who might be in a state of high anxiety move to relaxing their body and their mind as they arrange flowers or propagate plants. They become calm and comfortable and experience a state of flow in working with the plant material. Seeing that is deeply inspiring. Last week a client told me, “This is the best I have felt all day. I always look forward to this group.”

Song List Series – Songs with a Catchy Chorus

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We LOVE a good chorus. It can serve many different purposes, from being a musical container while passing out/collecting instruments, to a springboard for improvisation, or even a base for songwriting! Sometimes though, you remember the chorus but not the title of the song. Well, look no further! Here is a list of 10 songs with a catchy chorus.

  1. “Kids” by MGMT
  2. “The Walker” by Fitz and the Tantrums
  3. “Hey Ya” by Outkast
  4. “Low Rider” by WAR
  5. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin
  6. “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift
  7. “Stayin’ Alive” by the BeeGees
  8. “Land of 1000 Dances” by Wilson Pickett
  9. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”by Marvin Gaye
  10. “We Will Rock You” by Queen

Click here for this playlist on Spotify!

Earthtones Spotlight – Tonya Fisher

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Tonya Fisher, MT-BC is many things. She is a genealogy enthusiast, a rock fan (both the musical and geological variety), and a karaoke champion. And if that wasn’t enough, she is a wonderful music therapist! She loaned her powerful voice and presence to Earthtones after completing her internship with us last year, and we couldn’t be happier to have her on board.

What drew you to music therapy?

I wanted to find a career that would be rewarding for me, that helped other people, and yet allowed me to make music every day. For a long time I worked in the restaurant industry and was really dissatisfied with that. It was taking a toll on my mental health AND my physical health!

How did you become a music therapist?

I was actually complaining to my therapist in a session one day about how dissatisfied I was. We were listing the qualities that other people had remarked on in regards to me, things that I had noticed, what I love to do… and she’s the one who said, “Have you ever heard of music therapy? I think you would be perfect at it!”

So then I went and did an online search for music therapy to find out what it would take to be a music therapist. I saw that, in my own backyard, there was a program at Marylhurst. I applied, and I got in!

What population do you work with?

Mostly adults with developmental disabilities and memory care.

Do you have one population in particular that resonates with you?

I love them all but I think I love memory care the most. I’m also very interest in working in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), although I’ve only completed the first tier in certification*.

*In order to work with this very fragile population, music therapists must undergo a 3-tier certification training.

Tell us about a typical day for you.

A typical day will have probably 3-4 sessions, and I will be in my car a lot. Depending on my day, I’m probably in the car from noon to 6:30 PM driving to and from clients! I try to plan for a week in advance, then review my plan in the morning to make sure it’s fresh. I usually do something in the evening for self-care, either writing, singing a song, doing research…

Me: Research  for self care?

Well in the evening sometimes I’ll look up something about a population I’m interested in. Like I said I want to keep it fresh, and not do the same things over and over.

After every session I jot down notes in the notebook I carry with me so I can remember the significant highlights and whether goals were met. Which makes it easier when you’re writing 15 quarterly reports!

What has surprised you the most about your work?

Just about every session I have I get to witness little minor miracles…some of them not so minor! I get to see clients with dementia who haven’t spoken in a length of time, suddenly open up and start singling. Or talking to me and having a conversation! Or persons with developmental disabilities who are nonverbal who suddenly starting singing the horn part to “I Feel Good!” [by James Brown] *She sings it and shimmies, before bursting out laughing*

Just, the happiness I have now. I can’t describe it. It’s not work, it’s magic!

Who has influenced you?

There is a myriad of female music therapists in the Portland that have influenced me. Jodi Winnwalker, Laura Beer, Chris Korb, Liska McNally, Emily Ross, Beth Rousseau, Jessica Western…
Another mentor of mine is [Earthtones music therapist] Ted Owen!  He’s so laid back and had such good advice for me. He takes a “Let’s just see what’s gonna happen” approach.
There are a whole bunch of people that influenced me in the field. Then other times my own family experiences will come back, like the song that I sang with grandmother or my mom. I can use my familial knowledge of their generation to connect with my clients. They influenced me too!

Favorite genre of music?

I would say probably rhythm and blues.

What about your favorite song?

Right now it’s Build Me up Buttercup!

Any advice for someone who wants to become a music therapist?

A great way to see if this might be for you is to try a job shadow. I think if I would have had a chance to do that you’ll have a good idea of what you’re getting into. Get to know your music therapy community and learn what it is that we do. Read the AMTA scope of practice. Just do your research!

Make a list of your strengths, and build on them. Know yourself: your interaction style, how you deal with stress, etc! If music is a joyful experience for you then this will probably be a joyful job for you.

If you’re someone who has had life experience and considering going back to school, it’s doable. Don’t be afraid to go back and do this if the calling is there. Don’t let age hold you back! It’s never too late to bring the joy that you deserve into your life and help others.

A Golden Moment

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Not long ago I had a gentleman join one of my memory care groups. We can call him “John.” For the first few weeks that I saw him, John sat on the periphery of the group and declined invitations to join in. One day he was wearing an Oregon Bach Festival t-shirt, so I naturally struck up a conversation with him. John was soft spoken and kind, and from that point on we bonded easily over our mutual love for baroque music. When I brought my flute to a session and played a sonata by Handel, he lit up. After that it took very little prompting for John to make himself comfortable in the group. He played maracas and sang along to Sinatra. One afternoon John’s wife came to visit and sat in on a music therapy session. She pulled me aside afterwards and said, “I haven’t seen him like that in a very long time. You’re the only one who can reach the real John.”

 

Working as music therapists gives us a special and unique perspective. We get the gift of seeing our clients in a light that is only possible through music. If you believe in magic, this is where it happens. I feel honored to be a part of it!

Song List Series – Classic Rock Songs with Vowels in the Chorus

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This may seem like an oddly specific sub-genre, but music therapists often work with clients that have speech goals. Songs that have sustained or repeated vowels in the chorus can address breath control, word “shaping,” and even self-expression! Plus, in this day and age classic rock is an increasingly popular genre that reaches across generations.

“Who Are You” by The Who

“Jersey Girl” by Bruce Springsteen

“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison

“Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi

“D’yer Mak’er” by Led Zeppelin

“Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns n Roses

“Take on Me” by a-ha

“Crocodile Rock” by Elton John

“Don’t Worry Be Happy” by  Bobby McFerrin

“Immigrant Song” by Led Zeppelin

“Obla Di Obla Da” by The Beatles

“Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood

“Listen to the Music” by Doobie Brothers

“Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin

“Judy Blue Eyes” by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Tune in next week for songs with great hooks!

Song List Series – Songs About Grief and Loss

Every so often a repertoire-related question pops up in a music therapy forum online. What follows is usually a flood of fantastic song suggestions. We thought, why not compile them? This week our theme is “Songs About Grief and Loss.”

  1. “Work Song” by Hozier
  2. “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” by Flogging Molly
  3. “St. Jude” by Florence + the Machine
  4. “Wanting Memories” by Sweet Honey in the Rock
  5. “Beam Me Up” by Pink
  6.  “Mark’s Song” by EastMountainSouth
  7. “When I See You Again” by Charlie Puth
  8. “Parting Glass” by Wailing Jennys
  9. “To Where You Are” by Josh Groban
  10. “Temporary” by John Bucchino
  11. “Brief Eternity” by Bobby McFerrin
  12. “Hey Kind Friend” by Indigo Girls
  13. “Through My Prayers” by Avett Brothers
  14. “In My Life” by The Beatles
  15. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Harold Arlen (Or Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)

We also highly recommend “Heart Strings Vol. 1”, which is an album written and performed by  Willamette Valley Hospice music therapists Jillian Hicks MA MT-BC, Jessica Western MT-BC & Ivan Caluya (Music Therapy intern). It features original music by the music therapists AND songs that were written and co-written by hospice patients. You can find more info –> HERE<–

Check back next week for another list! The theme is “Classic Rock.”