Remembering What is Important

I had a chance to see some of the basics of music therapy at work yesterday - music to motivate, music to energize, and music to shift amount of energy.

It was a snow day yesterday, and that means that I get to go to work and run ten back-to-back sessions for the residents of the facility. It is a complete change of our schedules, and we all struggle with it, but we spent time yesterday just doing something simple.

We threw balls at drums while listening to preferred music.

Simple, right? You bet! This is not a complex therapeutic music experience at all. I pick up a ball, I throw it at a drum. Repeat as necessary.

As I was the facilitator of the session, I spent time wandering around the room, engaged in throwing balls at drums as well. While I was doing that, I was working on my fine motor grasp and release patterns, I was working on my hand-eye coordination. I was engaged in social interaction with staff members and students. I was entraining to the musical stimulation. I was aware of my surroundings (can't hit anyone with a drum, after all. A ball, now? That's a different story completely!). I used a set playlist to see if clients responded pretty predictably to the music each time. Almost all of my groups did so. Only one group was an outlier.

I find that it is important for me to go back to the very simplest of therapeutic music experiences every so often. 

I spend lots of time trying to make things in music therapy fresh and new, and most of that effort is for me and for my own creative refreshment. I can get over involved with the idea that everything has to be brand new, and I forget that my clients don't need the fanciest of visual aids. They simply need the basic foundations of music therapy.

Sessions don't have to be fully thematic. Sessions don't have to be full of gee-whiz instruments and/or technology to be effective. We know that music - in it's most elemental form - can change the way human beings interact with the world.

A day like yesterday helps me focus in on what is really important - the way my clients interact with the music and the way I can help them with, during, and through that interaction. Sure, the themes and centers and nifty electronics are fun, but they are not required for therapy to occur.

It is good for me to have this type of day every so often. 

Music did the work. I simply set things up. My clients did what they do - they engaged. All of this was good for me to see and experience.

Happy Friday!


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