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Just Keep Rollin’ – Just Keep Rollin’

Just Keep Rollin’ – Just Keep Rollin’

I am rollin’ right along here in the #MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge hosted by Julie Palmieri at Serenade Designs. For Week #2, I chose to share my rolling bag that I use everyday.

Just keep rollin’ – Just keep rollin’!

In my work as a Music Therapist, I travel from house to house and facility to facility. This roller bag is such an awesome helper. It’s a recent upgrade from the smaller roller bag that I used for years. This new one is GREAT! It holds big instruments and all kinds of other smaller instruments and supplies in the pockets. I just love it and it’s cuteMy bag is actually a bag created for crafters. I found it at Hobby Lobby. I had been drooling over it for some time. Then, FINALLY, it was 50% OFF! Jackpot! You can find it here.

One thing that I just love about this bag is the big top flap that I was able to convert to a visual schedule for my young clients. It helps them stay on track with the session. I had a visual schedule for my last bag, but it was a separate piece of fabric that I attached to the top handle with velcro. It only allowed for five activity pieces and I needed more. This new schedule allows me to put a lot more items on it.

To make the visual schedule, I just attached a long strip of the soft side of the sticky-back velcro to the inside of the bag flap. Then, I stuck little pieces of the rough velcro side to each laminated activity piece. If you want to do the same, I have saved some of the words/pics that I used to make mine. You can download my FREE Visual Schedule Words Sheet for yourself. The pages can be laminated and cut into rectangles.

Side Pocket 1The big pockets on both sides and the front allow for a gamut of needed music therapy equipment. In one side pocket, I keep scarves, shakers and bells. In the other side pocket, I keep marketing brochures, stickers, small adaptive equipment, sanitizer, my phone, and keys.  Then, in the front pocket, I store rhythm sticks and mallets as well as a grip tool to attach to a drum or tambourine to the telescopic handle.





Side Pocket 2

On the inside of the bag, it measures 12″ deep and 16″ wide. I can store big items that I could not store in my previous bag. In the photo above, I have a 16″ ocean drum on one side. I can also fit a stand mounted chime set (which is a cumbersome instrument to haul around). In this photo, you can see there is a movable divider in the middle that holds many small items. It’s very handy!




Inside Side 2

The inside divider is removeable. On this side, I store pens, pencils, markers, wipe-able markers, beads and pipe cleaners.  (Beads and pipe cleaners are used for a specific stress-reduction/fine motor skill activity I do with the kiddos). Stay tuned for the blog on that one.





The divider is held in the bag with velcro at the sides, so it can be moved around depending on how much space I need on each side. On this side I store business cards, dot stickers, visual schedule pieces, small instruments like kazoos, harmonicas, large pics, coins, and I still have space left!







Inside View


So, there it is! The item in my traveling toolbox is my traveling toolbox.

Just keep rollin’ – Just keep rollin’!

Do you have a traveling toolbox? What does it look like? SHARE it below.

AMTA Conference 2014 Review

AMTA Conference 2014 Review

Guittens Booth at AMTA ConferenceGuitten Conference booth at AMTA 2014, Louisville, KY

Me-Roberta copyIn review of the AMTA Annual Music Therapy Conference in Louisville, KY in November, 2014, I thought it was an amazing conference! This was the first time the Guittens (patent pending) came out to play in the real world. They had a great time, and people loved them. Pretty much sold them all! West Music quickly became a fan, so you just might find them online, at conferences, and conventions in the future with West Music.



Here I am with Roberta Kagin, Professor and Director of the Music Therapy Program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, MN. I received my Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy from Augsburg in 2004. She purchased Guittens for the music therapy students at Augsburg!

Joe-GuittenMy lovely husband (as they say on Wheel of Fortune) assisted me in promoting, sharing my story, and selling the Guittens. He even performed a few songs as people walked by:) He’s such a trooper!






While Joe was holding down the fort, I was free to attend concurrent sessions. It was really good to be at a conference after such a long break from attending them. I think it had been 3 years since I attended a national conference. Conferences are great for connecting with colleagues and friends that I have not seen in awhile. For me, it’s like getting a boost of energy to keep on going. It stirs up ideas that have laid dormant for too long. It’s motivating! It helps me relate to others who are going through similar clinical, business, or life situations. I highly recommend YOU attend the next music therapy conference within reach! My FAVORITE part of the conference was the Opening Session on Thursday with the bluegrass band, “Down on Fifth,” and when people went up to the front to dance! It was sweet!
View More: More:


MichelleErfurt Interview
Lastly, it was an honor to be interviewed by Podcaster of On the Mic and Music Therapist, Michelle Erfurt. She asked me about music therapy experiences and the Guittens.
Overall, it was an awesome conference. It was actually the best one I’ve ever been to. I can’t wait to do it again!

Photo by Rachel Rambach of Listen & Learn


Spring Into Your Music Playlist

Spring Into Your Music Playlist

Put a spring in your music playlist today. Do you have a sweat worthy songlist for working out this summer? My husband and I are “kinda” training for a half marathon. We are totally behind on our training, but we’re going to run it whether we’re ready or not. So, to motivate me on my runs, I use my iPod to get me going. Sometimes I listen to music, and sometimes I listen to podcasts. When it comes to music, my song mix is very important. There are a few elements that I focus on when choosing songs. The genre, the lyrics, the beats per minute (bpm), and if it just feels good.

Jody’s Workout Music Playlist

Playlist your Half Marathon
1. All Summer Long (103 BPM)
2. Bad Case of Loving You (148 BPM)
3. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (105 BPM)
4. Brave (93 BPM)
5. Count on Me (90 BPM)
6. Demons (95 BPM)
7. Diamonds (94 BPM)
8. Drive By (130 BPM)
9. Dynamite (120 BPM)
10. Edge of Glory (128 BPM)
11. Electric Avenue (122 BPM)
12. I Gotta Feeling (125 BPM)
13. It’s A Beautiful Day (135 BPM)
14. Jump Right In (105 BPM)
15. Little Talks (108 BPM)
16. Payphone (107 BPM)
17. Rumor Has It (122 BPM)
18. Stronger (117 BPM)
19. Sweet Home Alabama (100 BPM)
20. We Owned the Night (100 BPM)

You can design your music playlist to support the level of energy you need. Do this by organizing your songs by the beats per minute (BPM). To find the rhythm of a song or BPMs, use a stopwatch, and count the beats for 15 seconds. Then, multiply that number by 4. For example, if you counted 24 beats in 15 seconds, multiply 24 by 4 = 96. The song’s tempo is 96 BPM. You multiplied it by four because 60 seconds divided by 15 seconds = 4.

Or you could use this handy dandy app. BPM by Cheebow. Just tap the screen to the rhythm of the music, and it will give you the BPM.

Another great website is Run Hundred. Anyone can go to the site and submit their favorite workout music, and on a monthly basis, Run Hundred posts a Top 10 List. You can subscribe at the link to get the lists.

Now, get out there and get your workout on! Share with us your favorite playlist in the comments below.

New Product Launch! The GUITTENS are Here!

New Product Launch! The GUITTENS are Here!

The Guittens are here! I have been bustin’ at the seams to share them with all of YOU! They are available for purchase at: They are hand crafted by yours truly.

The Guitten’s purpose is to:

1. Protect the head of the guitar. Why? Because while working with children and elderly over the past 10 years, I have had moments when I needed to use my hands to assist clients/patients. I’ve almost lost control of the head of the guitar. The ends of the strings are very sharp, and can actually draw blood if poked. guitar tuning peg The Guitten solves that problem by covering the sharp ends.




2. The Guitten hides the tuning pegs. This way, cute little kiddo fingers cannot attempt to re-tune your guitar.

3. If left on while putting your guitar in your gig bag, the Guitten will protect the inside of your bag from ruin. See this photo. This was my gig bag before I started using the Guitten.

So, with all of that, I created the Guitten (patent pending) to protect the head of the guitar. They fit any standard acoustic guitar head. At this point, I have four collections. They can be purchased at

The collections include: Flower Garden, Backyard Buddies, Farm Friends, and the Easter Guitten Collection. Each Guitten has it’s very own name.

Flower Garden Guitten Collection

Top row from the left: Partita Petals, Green Gatsby, Patchen Polka, Banjo Blue. Bottom row from left: Seresa Sunflower, Pinky Petals, Eartha Blossom.

Adaptive Bells

Adaptive Bells

I’m using adaptive bells today. My goal is to share successful examples of how musical instruments can be changed to fit everyone’s personal style and physical special needs. Some clients I work with have special needs. They are in wheelchairs, have limited range of motion, and some have vision problems. I really want them to be able to play music the way they have requested to perform, which is usually independently. So, I do my darndest to create adaptive supports for young people to make music, and transform them into music performers rather than music listeners alone. Playing with a group gives a young person with disabilities all the benefits that performing music offers. Adaptive equipment levels the “playing field.” They gain confidence, camaraderie with the group, independence, and hands-on musical experiences that are fun for everyone involved.

These hand bells are put through drilled holes in the back of the “Guitar Box” that I made for holding a guitar horizontally (see previous post). Then, they use a weighted mallet to hit the bells.

Below are some song charts used with the bells. Clients use the charts or they follow my verbal cues.

My Girl
Love Somebody
Jingle Bells

If you have any questions, please leave your comments or questions below.
Jody Tucker

Adaptive Equipment

Adaptive Equipment

I am inspired by my clients to create adaptive equipment. I create things that I think will help them to be more independent in their music making. Yes, I can use POWER TOOLS! 🙂

Client meets the “Guitar Box.”

The “Guitar Box” was designed for clients who have limited ability to play the guitar in the traditional manner, but have a huge desire to play it.

For my clients with limited grip strength to hold a typical-sized guitar pick, I made this adaptation.

Adaptive Guitar Pick

I cut this pick from an oversized guitar pick, then used adhesive velcro to connect it to the client’s hand.

I put these two adaptations together along with a Chord Buddy. I assist with pressing the chord buttons. This whole package creates a terrific opportunity for the client to feel in control of his/her guitar playing.

Chord Buddy from Amazon
Check out the smiles for yourself! Smiles with Guitar Box

Stay tuned to see how I make the back of the “guitar box” useful as well for other instruments.

Jody Tucker


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