July marks the half way point in the year. A few of my friends have ben asking about progress towards goals. And, the #Kinderblog2012 question 1 challenge to share “what did I learn this past school year that I couldn’t have learned any other year, from any other students or colleagues or administrators or parents? What lessons did this particular year, this particular setting, these particular children bring into my life?” seemed to fit.


In Looking Ahead to 2012 I followed Chris Brogan’s recommendation of using three words to guide my year: strengthen, stretch, and sustain. These words are my guides to the year, setting the tone of my goals.


Strengthen –  As announced in December 2011, two new newsletters filled with resources were offered. After four issues of each, I realized I was sharing a lot of goods which is what I like to do, but it wasn’t meeting my long term goals for strengthening Music Sparks.  These newsletters were ended while the amount of ideas to the existing newsletter were increased.

Currently, Bright Ideas comes out twice a month. Readers will be polled in August to see if whether they prefer the twice a month or would like a more frequent newsletter. The newsletter is now in a mobile friendly format and slowly increasing in readership.

Stepping into writing has been part of strengthening my offerings. A book on parenting and technology is being written by a group of six therapists from a variety of backgrounds of which I am honored to be a part.  We are aiming for a fall release.(If you want to track what we are doing, come join our open Facebook Group.) In addition, I am creating a resource book on intergenerational programming. It is such a big passion of mine, I want to make it easier for others to offer similar programs.

The goal of being one of the top ten sites in a Google search for intergenerational programming has been reached! HURRAY!  Music Sparks is #10! And, it is #3 in music therapy blogs.

Stretch – The new logo is out and in use. It is a lot of fun to have a visual that captures Music Sparks!

The addition of monthly programs at the Hays Public Library has been a big hit with the children, parents, staff and me.

Professionally, stretching into presenting at a regional music therapy conference was a joy. Rachelle Norman (Soundscape Music Therapy) was a gem and we are working on modifying our presentation for MusicTherapyEd. In addition, an intergenerational programming presentation is in the works.

Stretching the practice into more of this rural area will likely require the use of technology. This is largely due to the cost factor of getting to other communities. I explored this concept in An On-line Community?  If you are employed in a senior living community in western Kansas, I would LOVE to explore the greatest needs of your residents and how we could work together to make life even better for them. (You may use the contact button on the left.)

Sustain: In addition to my program offerings at area assisted living facilities and through the Hays recreation commission, I remain committed to sharing resources and thoughts here on the web with my promise of posts every three days. According to Google Analytics, readership is almost up 200% from a year ago. So out of sustaining comes growth.

Now to the question…

#Kinderblog2012 Question 1

The children have demonstrated an openness to share themselves in my groups that is a true joy to witness and to share. Providing my first 8 month to age 2 groups in many years showed an interest in small groups providing more individualized attention – something that will be more evident with my fall 2012 Hays Recreation offerings. The children and the older adults I serve all tend to be open and receptive to the process. I couldn’t ask for more from them.

Photos used with permission.

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