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This Test is Too Hard!… Or is it?

Life is a Test

By Miriam Hendeles (lyrcis); Jana Stanfield (music); Vocals and recording Arthur Kaufman

Remember when we were in school as kids and a teacher gave a really challenging test? I’m thinking about a particular math teacher in high school who always created questions with a little bit of trickiness in them. You may have another teacher in mind.

But we all have memories of tough teachers, don’t we? How did we handle it?

Careful studying. Practicing. Understanding.


Singing is Fun!

Singing is Fun!

Singing? Yup. I sang a lot of my material while studying. I created mnemonics to tricky problems and formulas and I would recite them in my mind and make up lyrics to familiar songs.


I believe other people do the same thing. I’m not unique in that way. Studies have shown how music can enhance memory.

Life is a lot like that. Sometimes things are easy and we coast along, figuring stuff out with our lovely children and spouses.


Also  financial situations, relationships and so forth. Other times things get a  little bit tricky and we just want to scream out how unfair it all is.


Singing is one way I have coped through the ups and downs of life.

I’ve been around the block a few times in my life, with stuff that I’ve gone through. Most of that I don’t write about in my blog, because I try to keep this blog upbeat and fun. Hey, it’s about the joys (and oys) of being a grandmother, and how challenging can that be?


Climbing mountains! That’s fun for us!

But, there have been tests over the years. Way before I became a mother-in-law, grandmother. I’m a middle aged person (sounds really old, but I don’t feel that way!), and  my husband and I have gone through raising a family of sons, marrying off three of them, thank G-d, and the various ups and downs of life.

Last year, our second son came down with a new (to us) virus, which affected his spinal chord and he was diagnosed with an illness called transverse myelitis. Needless to say, he, his lovely wife,  my husband and I and the rest of our family, went through a lot to be there for him. Thank G-d, 9 months later, he’s much better. But he’s not out of the woods yet. He still needs prayers, (Avraham ben Miriam is his Hebrew name for praying).

I broke my ankle almost 7 months ago, and I’m much better, thank G-d, but not out of the woods yet. Soon I will be.

Through all this, and other stuff, we thank G-d for our blessings, we enjoy our lives, and we continue to sing.

Sometimes the words and the structure of the song combined with the melody inspires us to focus on important concepts inherent in the lyrics. If the same words were spoken or heard, we may not get them. But by singing and playing them, we get the message stronger. The music accesses our heart as well as our mind.

Recently, I composed a song called “Life’s a Test” (play above in post) – (lyrics by yours truly) to address this theme of doing our best in life, studying as hard as we can, and trusting that G-d will do the rest.

So the next time, you have a difficult exam, whether it is a school – or life — challenge, try singing! It may be just what you need!

Check out the song above, “Life’s a Test” and let me know how it helps you!

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 –

“How Beautiful”  by Jana Stanfield and Jerry Krimbrough; (used with permission for instructional purposes only).


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

Non-photo images above: Credit

“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).


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

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