Time For a Second Center Introduction

Today is the day that I introduce a second center type into my music therapy environment. Today we will embark on the adventure known as "Listen." 

When I started brainstorming for this experiment in how to handle large groups of clients that are not conveniently arranged based on therapeutic goals, I had a view that included three different, distinct centers. I think this will still be the best way to do things in my space, but I am still trying to get things completely arranged in my space and in my head.

Last week was the debut of "Explore." It went pretty well, but I did not end up with any materials afterwards - the last group cleaned me out and took their instruments (not what I intended when I planned the center, but I went with it anyway). They took every last piece of pasta and all of the pom-poms. I've decided that we will no longer take things away from the music therapy room unless they are paper. It's just too expensive otherwise.

I went to the Dollar Tree yesterday and spent $78 on stuff for the music therapy room. Some of it (well, most of it) will be used for the "Explore" center. I bought more pom-poms, a bunch of colored Popsicle sticks, and lots of other things for me to work on. I'm going to spend some of my time this week putting together some more things for both "Explore" and "Learn" centers. (That reminds me, I need to take some purple folders to work for file folder activities...Okay, those are now in the box of stuff to take to work today. That significantly increases the likelihood that they will actually arrive at work!) I have another week before I put all centers into play (I scheduled it that way on purpose), so I have a bit of time before I have to put everything together.

I already have lots of resources for the "Learn" center - I've been making music therapy-themed file folder activities for many years now, so I have lots of things to use in that center. That center will be the one that I use more than any other, so I have to keep making new resources. Fortunately, I love making file folder activities - it's more fun for me than work - so that shouldn't be too much of a chore.

Today will be the day that we start the "Listen" center. I have a couple of Martin Luther King Jr songs and stories on video fro my group to watch over the next couple of "Listen" center times. I have a computer that can be cut off from the internet, so I can hope that students will not be able to access the internet when they aren't supposed to (LOTS of monitoring is the key, I've found). I also have a jumpdrive that will help me keep my resources under control. I have four pairs of headphones and several headphone splitters (those will work until I get another tool that I want for kids to use to hear what's happening).

Trying out the first center last week gave me some interesting insights into how I need to write things and how I need to structure things during my sessions. I have been so interested in how centers are working, that I really didn't put much effort into session planning for the times that clients will be with me. That has to stop! I have to remember that centers will be only a small part of what I do during music therapy. There has to be music therapy in there as well.

The plan for today is to introduce the newly laminated data sheets to paras while offering some listening experiences based on MLK Day. Ooh - brainstorm - lyric substitution to All I Have to Do is Dream by the Everly Brothers. Quick - write that down!!

I know that there will be good days and not so good days with this system. I had a not so good day last Thursday - bad group selection. That will change. The point of all of this is to keep going until it becomes the way we do things. Try things out - refine - try again. That's my motto these days.

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