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Songs for the Journey of Life

The Great Puzzle

By Lyrics by Miriam Hendeles; Music by Jana Stanfield; Vocals by Arthur Kaufman

Last night I was at an engagement party with my faithful scooter under knee (I’d say “underfoot” but foot is not working yet!), and a few people stopped me and asked, “What? You’re still with that broken ankle? So long?”

Yes, people, it’s been over 6 months. Back in February I broke my ankle and have been through a long journey to get this foot working again. The good news is that my road to recovery is almost over! In a few weeks, I hope to have the cast off and look forward to beginning physical therapy, returning to my real job and getting my life back!

As a music therapist, I use music to help others achieve therapeutic goals. The past months, I became my own music therapist. I composed songs. I wrote lyrics. That’s one way that I coped. Hey, as much as I tried to see the silver lining,  it’s not easy being cooped up in a house reading, writing, and doing hobbies.

Sometimes you just have to sing! And so that’s what I did.

We love music!


For those of you who don’t know much about the music therapy profession, there’s lots to read about music therapy and its benefits. I’ve been a music therapist for almost 20 years and I love what I do.

I’ve been inspired for many years by the singer and song-writer Jana Stanfield, who is a fabulous motivational speaker and concert artist. She’s not a music therapist, but she is a huge proponent of the profession, and even encourages music therapists to use her music in their sessions and singing engagements. She wants her music to be out there to help people.

I attended a workshop in lyric writing given by her many years ago and I have been purchasing, listening to and enjoying her various CD’s and music over the past 12 years. I believe her music helps people put common sense ideas for spiritual growth into music. And that’s a great thing for all of us, especially during these difficult and challenging times in the world and in our personal lives.

Here’s one song that she wrote which I absolutely love. As we go through life, we may feel lost at times and can’t find our way. But if we view ourselves as “exploring” rather than being “lost,” than we can see it as a positive action toward finding something special at the end of the road. Here’s the link to Jana’s clip to part of her  song: (click) – “I’m not lost; I’m exploring.”

If you want to buy any of her CD’s, pop on over here and grab some of those. They’re great.

So here I am, listening to Jana Stanfield’s  music, becoming inspired and itching to compose my own process, my own lyrics over her music. She encourages that, as I’ve said earlier. She gives permission to do that, because she wants people to learn and spread the value of her music.

Attached to this post is  the audio of the song, “The Great Puzzle.”  It’s about my journey with the broken foot and the subsequent recovery. My friend, Arthur Kaufmann of Magic Key Productions sings and records the music.

For more information about music therapy, please visit the music therapy website,

– Lyrics by Miriam Hendeles, MT-BC; Lyrics adapted for instructional and sharing (non-profit) purposes to Jana Stanfield‘s  music –    “I’m Not Lost; I am Exploring”     ( and   Jerry Kimbrough; (Used with permission for instructional purposes only).

-Vocals and Recording by Arthur Kaufmann of Magic Key Productions – Cedar City, Utah  (

“The reason my co-writers and I write these songs is so that people will hear them, use them, and enjoy them. There are very few radio stations out there that play this kind of music, so please be our DJ’s.” — Jana Stanfield (on her website, 2012).

– Photos credit: M. Hendeles




And the Winners Are…!

follow up

Thank you everyone who answered my survey questions about topics preferred for music. Thank you to:

 Chavi B, Chavi G, Faigie H, Joanie Z, Lisa W, Rebecca K, and Tovi G.

for your wonderful answers. They are most helpful to me in deciding what to compose for my upcoming songs.


The one answer that came up most frequently as people’s first choice  (in my very large umm…not so large sample) was the choice E


Stay tuned for my song which I will be hopfully posting shortly on my site – on that topic.

Have a wonderful weekend!



Musical Survey and Contest


Where words fail, music speaks. For the past few months, I’ve been composing music to reflect the emotions and experiences I have gone through with my broken leg and the accompanying challenges.

Now that I have this collection of healing music with lyrics on various topics and life themes, I would like to expand my repertoire. I turn to you, my readers for help in deciding where to focus my energies. Here are some topics that are out there. Please tell me which of the following themes appeals to you as important and interesting.

Rules: Please list from most important to least important and write your answer in the comment section below. Everyone who writes an appropriate comment according to these guidelines by August 22, 9 am PST – will receive a free Mp3 song emailed to them.

Rate the following topics in the comment section below -from most interesting to least interesting, with 1 being the most interesting and 6 being the least interesting in topics for songs

a) Empty Nest loneliness

b) Parenting adult children

c) Coping in the caregiver role

d) Sandwich generation

e) Dealing with life’s curve balls and challenges

f) Recovery and 12-step topics


Q and A about Music Therapy

I was asked to share about my profession of Music Therapydrumcircle.

And so, without further ado, here are the questions followed by my responses:

Hope you enjoy!

1. To start, could you tell us a little about yourself? What’s your backstory?
I am originally from New York, and moved to Los Angeles about 34 years ago. I always loved music, rhyming, composing lyrics, singing and playing piano. More recently, I studied harp and play that instrument as well for my current clients and patients. I hold a B.A. in music, and a M.A. in Special Education. I’ve worked as a music therapist with children who have developmental disabilities, as well as patients in hospice care.
2. In layman’s terms, what is a music therapist?
A music therapist is a trained professional who uses music for non-music purposes for clients and patients. Music is the tool that helps the therapist reach the patient. The music combined with the personality of the therapist and the therapeutic relationship are what propel the patient forward in growth. A music therapist assesses a patient, plans treatment, and documents results of goals and objectives.
3. What type of disorders do music therapists treat?
Autism, Down syndrome and various developmental disabilities. Elderly patients who have Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Stroke victims. Speech disorders. Psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder. Addiction, and personality disorders. These are just a few – there are others.
4. What led you to want to become a music therapist?
When I was in my mid-20’s, I experienced a life changing experience- the sudden death of my infant daughter–who had a congenital heart defect, and music helped me recover, heal from the pain, and gain a sense of self and structure. I recalled my first piano teacher had been a music therapist who worked with autistic and developmentally disabled children, helping them through music establish relationships.

My admiration for this teacher combined with my personal healing through music compelled me to go back to school for my second bachelor’s degree in music (my first was in Computers), and a credential in Music Therapy. At the time, I had been giving piano lessons to neighboring children, teaching music appreciation. Several years later, I earned my Master’s degree in Special Education for moderate to severe disabilities.
5. What musical instruments do you play? Which ones do you use in your therapy sessions and why?
Piano, keyboard, voice, harp.
I use all in my sessions. Depending on what instrument the patient would respond to, I use that one. My goal is to engage the patient and I choose an instrument that would facilitate that engagement and participation. Sometimes I only use voice..I also use rhythm instruments with certain clients – such as percussion instruments, maracas, cabasas, egg shakers, castanets.
6. What does a typical music therapy session look like in terms of length (time) and activities?
Music is highly structured. A session has a beginning, middle and end. For group sessions, I begin with a hello song or activity. Then I progress with a particular goal and theme for the session. I will build activities around that theme. Every session turns out differently depending upon the clients. I usually conclude with some kind of good-bye activity where we wrap up what we’ve learned. For individual sessions, it’s more client-centered. I may do an improvisational technique where the client and I will mirror each other with a xylophone or other instrument that is easily accessible to a non-musical client. That establishes the relationship with echoing and mirroring. There are so many techniques that can be used. But in a nutshell – every session has to have the structure of beginning middle and end.
7. For our readers who may be interested in music therapy services for either themselves or a loved one: How does one find/choose a music therapist? What tips can you offer to aid in the search?
One may go the website of the American Music Therapy Association, the AMTA – which is the site where one can find all accredited and board certified music therapists in the U.S. – particularly in the state and city where you may live.
The site is

Musical Memories: Finger Plays and Silly Stuff

When I think back on the fun and quality times with my children, I recall the music and singing.

At one time or another,  my sons took piano  clarinet, violin and trumpet lessons. But that process of practicing and performing is not the music I remember as fondly as I do the finger-plays.

The little ditty rhymes that I chanted with each of my sons when they were toddlers. Continue reading

On Joining a Writer Mentoring Forum

Today I opened my stats and saw the following phrase used as a search by someone who found my blog:

“Do Carol Tice’s Tips Work?” (for the short answer: YES, they do!)

Now here’s the long answer:

As a blogger, I often check inside the blog stats  to see how people get to my blog. It helps me to know who my audience is so I can target to those people.

For example, there are various phrases people will type into search engines (such as google), and search engines will produce/pop up my blog in those cases — if I have used those phrases in my previous blogs.

Now, anyone who reads my blog pretty much knows the topics: grandmothers, mothers-in-law, grandchildren, music, networking, self-improvement, and a few side topics like writing as it pertains to being a grandmother of course!

A lot. But did you know that the topic of Carol Tice has recently been on my mind – and in my blog?

Here’s a phrase that I found in my stats today:

Do Carol Tice’s tips work?  

Continue reading

SingFit – an App for the Apple!

Imagine a whole collection of music right at your fingertips.

Singing is Fun!

Singing is Fun!

No, I’m not talking about karaoke where you have to know the words; nor am I talking about sheet music where one would have to read the words along with the music.

This is about singing songs and a digital coach actually prompting you aurally – not visually –with the words!

Now, just imagine that music can be played spontaneously with and for seniors in nursing home facilities or assisted living settings. Seniors in these settings would be completely engaged and  immersed in  singing  their favorite songs from their childhood and coming-of-age years.  Research has shown that individuals and especially seniors respond most favorably to sing-alongs of music that is retrieved from the time that they were in their adolescent and young adult years.

How wonderful for that music to be available for those who want to engage seniors in worthwhile interactive activities, bringing them socialization and good cheer.

Continue reading

You Get What You Get…

Yes, you get what you get…and you don’t get upset! That’s the chant I’ve used with my music therapy groups of children when I passed out instruments. When some of the kids were a bit disgruntled with the particular maraca or bells they were handed, I used that chant as a reminder.  In fact, my own grandsons use this chant on each other.

“Hey, I got it first! You get what you get! Remember?” — he says to his cousin who has just laid claim to a truck or car that he felt was HIS.

“Everything we need to know in life has been learned in kindergarten” is a saying that keeps popping up in my mind’s eye when I realize how valuable these childlike lessons are.

It is all about my choices and perceptions of my lot in life.

I realize these days how God gives each one of us exactly what we need in life. I could pine and wish for that trip to Israel or Europe, but hey – it’s not happening yet. I could choose to be envious of those who take monthly getaways with their spouses. But I don’t. Instead I’m content with the lifestyle that I have.

I could decide to detest that person who somehow racks up all that mileage and manages to take a cruise to Alaska during the summer. But I don’t. I’m happy for them, and even happier for me for being healthy thank G-d, and able to stay comfortably in one place without traveling.

I could also be extremely jealous of said acquaintance whose husband has a job that enables them to get vacation more often than my own husband’s 3 weeks per year – which are mostly taken up by Jewish Holidays. But instead I tell myself that someday – when G-d means for this to happen – we will afford such a trip.

Similarly, I could be resentful of those who seem to have such an easy time staying slim, (okay, okay I’m a bit angry at those people). I could be mad at those who seem to be so calm, cool and collected and rarely (never?) raise their voices. I could find fault with these people because that would be an easy way for me to put them down (in order to raise myself). Instead, I choose to be happy with my lot.

You get the idea. It’s all in our perceptions. It’s all about how we see things. The cup half empty? Or the cup half full?

It is our choice to either be content with our lot, or not. We might as well appreciate our lot in life for what they are: gifts given to us by God, to be used. Not to be compared with others.

We get what we get. Great chant to sing – from kindergarten up to any age!

Splinklers and Ekscalators

When my kids were about 2 or 3 and were developing their language day by day (hour by hour!), I loved when they mispronounced words. In fact, I would refrain from correcting them, because it was music to my ears to hear the way they chose to form the words. I found it to be utterly creative. This stage of parenting was so joyous for me, that I recall many of those words and the way the kids said the words.

See if you can figure out the “real” adult word from the words or phrases below:

Splinkers, ekscalators, upslide-down, pubulups, Yes, I’m are!.
Now, that I’m a Bubby – I not only embrace the words my grandsons use (strangely – these boys are soooo articulate that there are not so many of these mispronunciations these days), but I look out for them. When someone says a funny word, I get so excited, and I practically reinforce the mispronouncing! But have no fear, the kids grow up and all learn to speak perfectly well, and are quite skilled in their diction.

Here’s a song I composed together with one of my toddler and pre-school sons to sing at bedtime — he who had a whole slew of words that he said in his own creative way:

To the tune of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

Splinklers and some ekscalators are working

Upslide down

I tried to tell my mohzer – yes I’m are all the way

down town

I asked her to seal my pubulups

Before I went to sleep

We said hello to Mrs. Habraham

And didn’t make a peep!

Shabbat Shalom!

Have a great weekend…full of speech and lovely communication.

Another Chance

Second Chances are great; we just have to know to use them.

I didn’t make that slogan up. I read it somewhere (And I don’t remember where!), and the author expounded on that topic by explaining how after awhile the excuse or plea to pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease give us one more chance (remember as kids we begged our parents — or more correctly, “I” begged “my” parents…??)  is lame and stale. Eventually, we have to pay up, suffer the consequences, so to speak.

When I played piano for my professor back in college (or at weekly piano lessons as a younger student), I had the urge to start my piece of music a few times. Usually the refrain I would say would go something like: “Wait, let me start again…that doesn’t count..” and with a wave of my hand, I would take a deep breath, and begin the song again on the piano – from the beginning.

Until one teacher said to me, “hey, Miriam, start the piece one time, and keep going….”

Wow. What a concept. He was one tough teacher, but I did learn from that person to move forward, not backward.

So sometimes, we want to go back and correct our mistakes. Other times, we just move forward, and improve the future songs of our lives. Never mind the past. That is history.

On Rosh Hashanah, our rabbi spoke about how this holiday was two days – not one day. Even in Israel, where many of the Jewish holidays are celebrated for only one day, Rosh Hashana is still celebrated for two days. And why not? We need another chance, another gift to be able to pray better, articulate to G-d our praise and feelings, and to just do a better “job” at talking to G-d.

As our rabbi said, just in case we feel we “blew it” on the first day of the New Year, and didn’t get a really good “davening” (prayer session) in to our Hashem (G-d), we get a second chance.

Second chances work for me. I need that extra gift of time to process things, and improve. Revise, edit, and fix things up before turning them in.

And knowing that we (I) did our best is  all we can really want. When we feel secure that we did our best, we know we can move forward with confidence.

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