Just like every family has their own holiday traditions… so do our work environments. Here are a few holiday traditions in which music therapists participate.
Music Therapy Department Video
Michelle Kennemer, music therapist in Texas at a school district explains…
This was the first time we made a video, but we had a blast and we hope to do another video before the break. It all started when a friend of mine sent me a link to a video of some people doing a Christmas song on classroom instruments (in the fashion of Jimmy Fallon). I told my colleagues that we needed to do this and they thought that it sounded like a fun idea. Things really picked up when Mary got a new set of desk bells over the Thanksgiving break. I went out to see a group one day and when I came back to the office Mary, Heather, and the interns (Jenna and Haide) were putting together the arrangement of Jolly Old St Nick. The rest is history! We sent it to our supervisors and special ed director here at work and shared it on social media. The response has been great! We were a little sad that it was over because we had fun practicing together.
Here they are in action:
Rachel Nowels, music therapist at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, Oklahoma explains…
Every year our hospital celebrates Employee Appreciation Week in December. There are several activities for employees including the annual door decorating contest. My MT team and I always try to participate in all of the activities with music related choices. It’s a great opportunity to promote music therapy and remind staff of our services. This year we decorated our door with a choir of singing puppets. Staff can walk by and press a voice output switch to hear a different Christmas tune each day.
We also had a day where staff could dress up as a duo or group, and we dressed up as a mariachi band. We went around the hospital and performed for staff and patients. (I learned that it was very distracting to play and sing with a big paper mustache taped to your lip.). 😄. But it did open up some conversations with staff as well as visitors commenting, “So you’re with music therapy…”.
Having worked at the hospital for 13 years, I love the workplace traditions we have. I grab any opportunity I can to promote MT and the services we can offer. It’s a great way to get to know and educate new staff as well as people from the community who happen to be visiting. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s just part of being an MT.
Stephanie Epstein, music therapist at the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, explains…
For the second year in a row, the Jackson Mistletones have been popping up to spread holiday cheer around the main medical campus of Jackson Health System in Miami, FL. The Jackson Mistletones is a holiday caroling group comprised of medical staff from across the campus, including personnel from Human Resources, procurement, real estate, nursing, physicians, recruitment, security, compliance, and music therapists from behavioral health and the Miami VA across the street, just to name a few. We have also been joined by the medical student a cappella group on a few occasions.
When I started the music therapy program at Holtz Children’s Hospital in 2014, I immediately started getting requests to organize a holiday caroling group from staff members. I recruited carolers through campus-wide emails, signs, posts in the daily e-newsletter distributed to the entire health system, as well as a scrolling banner on the system-wide Net Portal.
Prior to our first rehearsal, I send out lyric sheets to everyone once I get a list of names and emails going. We then we hold a couple of rehearsals, just to go over songs and get everyone comfortable singing together. Finally, it’s time to sing! We carol around the medical campus (typically in blocks of about 45 minutes to an hour) in inpatient units (clearing it with the nurse manager first, of course), common lobby areas, and at special hospital events, such as the annual employee holiday party and annual NICU reunion party.
We get more singers every time we carol and continue to receive extremely positive feedback, not only from the people we sing to but from the carolers themselves. Here are some quotes from members:
“Being part of the Jackson Mistletones is about giving those who will hear us a chance to disconnect from all the noise and sadness that can come from the holiday season and our daily routines through the sound of music.”
“I immensely enjoy singing. This is an opportunity to share my gift of singing with someone who may be going through challenging times. I do it with the hope that it will bring joy to the listener.”
“I joined the Mistletones to help bring a little holiday cheer to others. We get to see the smiles and enjoyment from those that we encounter. It’s heartwarming to see the happy responses from guests, patients and staff that hear us. We get to spread a little JOY!”
“It is beyond challenging when a hospital becomes your temporary home during the holiday season. The Mistletones spread joy and holiday cheer to all those in need through the magic of music!”
What holiday traditions happen at your workplace?