TME Tuesday: Thinking Ahead to October

I'm working on center ideas for the month of October this month. I'm doing this planning/strategizing 6 months in advance of the actual month because I find that I have more time to think about October things now (lots less pressure to complete session strategies when I have 6 months before completing the session). I have collected some materials and now I can think of therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) to go with those materials. So far, my storage strategy is working well - boxes for each of the months in my front closet. My October box is full - I have lots of materials for this month, books and carols and visual aids and pumpkins. I'm now putting together my October-themed TME options. All of this to introduce a Pumpkin TME in April rather than in October.

Therapeutic Music Experience
Gonna Carve a Pumpkin 
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Purpose: To address recognition of emotion; discussion of emotional states; holiday reference

Source: © 2008 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. Inspired by Meredith Cairer, SMT from UMKC, Fall 2008.

Materials: Pumpkin visual aid with variety of pieces to use to display emotional affect; OPTIONAL: guitar

Environment: Variable – all group members able to see visual aid

X                      X                   X                         X         X                 X         X
Gonna carve a pumpkin that matches my own mood. Two angry eyes, a big,
              X                  X              X             X      X          X             X
smiling mouth, and a nose that goes right here.     This pumpkin shows you my

Procedure: R = Reinforcement opportunities; C = Redirection/Cue opportunities; A = Assessment
1.      C=display the pumpkin visual aid with all of the pieces to group members
2.      C=start the chant, using body percussion to provide cue for engagement and entrainment
3.      A=assess whether group members are displaying entrainment behaviors such as movements or words coordinated with the beat
4.      R=reinforce group members who display entrainment behaviors, who chant, or who are keeping the body percussion beat
5.      C=demonstrate the goal of the TME by placing eyes, nose, and mouth onto the pumpkin
6.      C=ask group members to identify the emotion indicated by the facial expression on the pumpkin
7.      A=assess whether group members can identify the correct facial expression.
8.      C=If they cannot correctly identify the emotion, ask group members to explain why they chose the emotion
9.      R=reinforce all responses concerning emotions. Redirect any comments that are not part of an emotional response
10.  Repeat steps 2-9, inviting group members to take turns with the visual aid and expressing their own emotions
11.  Continue until group members show s/s of boredom or time runs out

Therapeutic Function of Music:
Music provides the structure and framework for the entire TME. The holiday theme offers a hook into the attention of group members. The lyrics offer the directives for how to successfully complete the TME. The pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, and timbre can be easily adapted to engage the attention of group members.

None – chant format
Variable to engage attention of group members
Steady beat – quarter and eighth note patterns
Variable to engage attention of group members

Variable to engage attention of group members – Best to use moderate tempo (70-85 bpm) if group member chanting is desired
Variable to engage attention of group members
Predictable with ability to personalize based on group member responses
Chart adapted from Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A Closer Look at the Therapeutic Function of Music. Presentation at 2010 American Music Therapy Association National Conference: Cleveland, OH.

·         Show group members specific emotions and ask them to make the pumpkin look like the targeted emotion

  • Change music to illustrate different emotions – ask group members to make pumpkin look like the emotion conveyed by the music


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