How to facilitate a 125-kids Jewish drum circle for Shabbat!

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be writing more on business topics, because I LOVE running a heart-based company. It is an incredibly rich, fulfilling, liberating journey in personal development. And, I get so many business questions, that I feel it’s part of my life purpose to answer them!

As a fellow creative visionary, I feel as though I can help YOU make your creative vision for the world happen IRL (in real life), because I’ve done it for myself. So, tune in for more soon. Meanwhile…

Speaking opportunities, conference keynotes, presentations, and GROUP DRUMMING are rewarding AND effective. These are a couple of the smartest ways to leverage your time and reach more people as a creative business owner.

There are the day-to-day sessions that we provide as a private practice, and then there are those less-often higher paying opportunities that not only feed the soul, but also pay well. It fits well into our business model.

One of the best opportunities for facilitating drum circles is within Jewish communities…. especially for kids! Did you know that just about every Hebrew prayer has a MELODY? And, although melodies may change from congregation to congregation, at least you’ve got a rhythmic start.

Because of all the singing these kids do regularly, it was no wonder that they could keep a beat at the first go-around.

Here are my tips for doing it right:

1. Stay in close contact with the event coordinator and service leader.
I was assigned a service leader, a high schooler. He led the kids in chanting while queuing the drums to support the service. From our conversations, I learned a bit about Jewish mysticism… For this service we welcomed in the bride of Shabbat and the union between people and God.

2. Ask tons of questions, such as:
— What do you hope the group walks away with?
— How do you see the drum circle supporting our goals?
— Why did you choose a drum circle?
— What songs or melodies would you like for us to incorporate?
— What is the meaning for this religious service?
— Is this part of a weekend event?
— Will other congregants be present?
— How long is the service?
— Can the prayers be interrupted with drum calls?

From the answers to these questions, I was able to work with the service leaders in creating a plan. The plan included some powerful information that was important to the overarching flow, such as: Call & response was a symbol of our communication and connection with God. The theme of this service was Survivor, so bringing drums into the mix allowed for a tribal feel. They also gave me recordings of 9 of the chants that they used, so I could get a feel for the rhythm and learn the beginnings.

3. Take a stand for the way that the drum circle will support the goals.

For instance: In the beginning I told the organizers that I would not bring 125 drums. We would use tons of small percussions to fill in the rhythm and make the music more interesting. The way I described it was “We don’t want a WALL of sound, instead we want an ebb and flow of music.” And it totally made sense, especially after I explained that everyone would get a chance to play. WIN!

Another for instance: The organizers wanted all the kids on ONE side of the temple, all facing the same direction. I suggested that we take up half the temple with half the kids facing north and half the kids facing south so that they could see each other. WIN!

Another for instance: We devised a solid plan for passing out and packing up utilizing 20 volunteers. We also had these guys serve as monitors through the service to model the rhythms and chants. WIN!

4. Study Dave Holland’s work and DVDs like crazy. Arthur Hull is great for foundational drum circle work, then get into Dave’s world for all things KIDS!

5. Follow up, stay afterwards, and make friends. Just because I stayed afterwards, I will be drumming with a sister congregation in the future =)

Shabbat Shalom! What are YOUR tips for drumming with kids?

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Was blind, but now I see – A True Miracle!

If you’re a music therapist, the you know the song TOO WELL!!! Amazing Grace. It’s only the most popular, most requested, most touching song for many of our clients. In this case, it actually came true for my Aunt Fran – “…was blind, but now I see!”

5 people in my family have a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. You learn about your diagnosis between ages 18 and 22 because you can no longer see stars. You become “night-blind.” Then peripheral vision starts closing in, and you get blind spots.

So, if you have a little kid running around the house, it’s easy to step on him! Or … going to late-night bars, concerts, and dinners turns into more of an auditory, bumper-car experience. You have to hang on to people’s elbows to know when you’re coming close to stairs.

It certainly has an effect on activities of daily living.

Here’s the great news:

My Aunt Fran has been visually impaired for 40 years, completely blind for the past 10… She recently went through a new experimental procedure, and now she can see. Check the video – It’s INCREDIBLE!

We’d love to get the word out, so please share this with your friends. Also, please donate to the Foundation Fighting Blindness to support research efforts like the one for Aunt Fran!

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Do I need a website to build a business?

A lot of my coaching clients get stuck on the tech-aspect of creating a business.

After all, this is the day of DIGITAL. Chances are, the first place people go to find you is Google. Smart phones have changed the world – Apps, social, techie, searchable, review-based…. The list goes on for digital!

But let’s say that tech is not your strength. AND let’s say you’re a one-woman (or man) show, starting from ground up. How do you set your priorities? Here are my two cents for Kate in Texas:

Tweet this: For #MusicTherapy business owners: Don’t get stuck with tech! Have faith in PEOPLE, not technology.

What’s YOUR advice or experience to share with Kate?

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Creating Rhythm in the Smart Age

goodman01Guest Post by Jordan Goodman, MS

There’s an early scene in the movie “Her,” depicting a probable reality of the not-so-distant future. Theodore (played by Joaquin Phoenix) is riding the subway, communicating only with his empathic “smart” device. And so is everyone else. We have never had the ability to be so connected. We have never been so isolated.

This profound irony will continue to crystallize as new generations are born into an increasingly advanced Smart Age. With this, a growing hunger for more authentic connections will continue to manifest. Something deeper and more meaningful. We experience this in two distinct ways—and drumming can offer a solution!

1. Connection with yourself
Like many of you, I would constantly hear about the benefits of mindfulness meditation. This practice has endured in some form throughout every major religion. Modern science was beginning to catch up too.

Regrettably, it just felt so intangible and foreign to me. But when I was 20, I read something similar to “Mindfulness for Dummies” in my college library. As I sat there, focusing on the breath entering and exiting my nostrils, the intrusive thoughts immediately appeared. “What the hell am I doing?” “This is stupid.” “When will it start working?”

I kept at it though, practicing 2 minutes here and 5 minutes there—for years. And like the muscle memory you develop with an instrument, mindfulness mediation became more natural. It was no longer something I only “practiced,” but an entirely new way of experiencing myself and my world. Then it hit me — I had actually been practicing mindfulness for 2 hours everyday after high school when I rushed home to play my drum set. Continue Reading →

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3 Fear-Confronting Truths I’ve Learned

Dr. Wendy MageeTo the left is Dr. Wendy Magee sharing her expertise on technology and clinical practice in music therapy! Check out her new book at Amazon here.

Today I was honored to speak at the Online Conference for Music Therapy. It was a ton of fun – I love presenting, and I love allowing the audience’s energy to rejuvenate my own. The participants were AMAZING, so insightful and full of wisdom.

Here are 3 things I’ve learned from my own exponential, crazy growth in the past year – personally and professionally:

  1. You gotta PISS OFF the 80% of people who do not subscribe to your WACKY, SCARY vision and mission. That way, the 20% minority of people who “get it” will LOVE you and your contributions all the more.
  2. People will drop out of your life, and let you know that you’re a freak. With every new evolution of yourself, you will hear new opinions and perspectives from others that you’ve never heard before, and never imagined would be coming your way! And that’s a good thing, because then and only then do you know that you are honing in on that 20% of brilliant people.
  3. I will continue to have emotional reactions to others, even when my own evolution is absolutely, no doubt, the best move for my career. And my emotional reactions are such valuable insights into my own fears. And then the information I gather from experiencing my FEARS becomes an opportunity to learn about myself on a deeper level: how I handle, work through, harness the power of, and overcome these fears in life and business. It’s a beautiful cycle.

Here’s my commitment: I will to tune in, listen closely, and study the 20% who share my idea here :: Therapists who step INTO the executive position of CEO are able to serve more people, provide more jobs, and make the impact they’ve always dreamed of.

And hey! If you happen to be in the 20% of awesomeness in the world, then join me and Tim in this virtual conference….
You will TOTALLY dig it: http://empower-u-academy.com/live (There’s a deadline, so jump on it fast.)

Continue Reading →

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