A music therapist will often be called upon to come up with a song in the spur of the moment to facilitate a positive therapeutic intervention. Over the years, I’ve built up quite a collection of these “on-the-spot” creations to help children with special needs relax and learn special skills. It occurred to me a while back that other music therapists might find these songs useful, so over the past year I recorded some and wrote out the musical score.
I recently I received a very touching email and newsletter from Jennifer, a music therapist in Jacobsburg, Ohio who bought my fall song, “Leaves are falling down.” She shared with me a beautiful video of how she used the song with young pre-school children. Here is what she wrote:
What's Happening this Fall!
“At Creative Learning Daycare my preschool music class has been singing songs about fall. What a great way to incorporate learning when you have a seasonal theme! I love searching for new songs to use with my groups and I came across a song written by John Mews who is a music therapist and owner of Mewsic Moves. His song is called "Leaves are Falling Down.” There are many ways to use this song but I chose to use my new NSL 30" drum and scarves. Instead of using the stand that the drum came with I chose to set it on the floor so that the children can sit around the drum and experience playing one instrument as a group. I placed colored scarves in the middle of the drum (preferably fall colors) and held up each scarf as we sang what color was picked up. This was a great activity to introduce group drumming and color recognition.”
Click on the video to the right to watch how Jennifer adapted this song on the gathering drums with pre-school aged children.
Watching her video with those beautiful children really warmed my heart. Seeing the wonderfully creative way Jennifer used my song to create that moment made me feel very glad that I’d recorded it.
I love your stories, and am so grateful when you share them with me! Thank you Jennifer for your amazing work and for sharing this beautiful video.
To view Jennifer’s webpage go to: http://lifesongtherapy.com
Now that you get a sense of how this song can be used in creative ways I would like to offer each reader a discount on this song!
Now you can get a 50% discount of “Leaves are Falling Down” through the end of November. (Offer expires November 30th)
Click on the "buy now!" button to the right and enter this code at checkout: LEAVES
For FREE songs and tips on how to support children with special needs through music Click Here!
Let's Stay in Touch!
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Does your child have challenges with speech and articulation? Eye-hand coordination? Or even having difficulty with social skills or social cues? Then drumming maybe the right tool for your child to overcome and build on some of these challenges.
There has been a lot of research on the benefits of drumming over the past few decades. Drumming has been shown to help reduce depressions, boost immune systems and build self-esteem. In this blog I want to focus on five main benefits of drumming for children with speical needs.
1. Increase Communication and Speech
Drums can reinforce speech, vocalizations, sounds and even help with sentence building. You can use drumming to reinforce word syllables and then expand to full sentences. Have the child sound out each syllable or word as they simultaneously play it on the drum.
2. Support Eye-Hand Coordination/Motor Skills
Drumming can help strengthen upper body control, arm movement and increase eye-hand coordination, particularly if you use more than one drum. Drumming with mallets helps with reaching, grasping, fluidity of movement and fine motor skills.
3. Develop Social Skills
Groups drumming, with the proper facilitation, is a powerful exercise for people of all ages to strengthen social skills. Group drumming teaches children to listen, pay attention, turn-taking, sharing, and taking cues from one another.
4. Support Emotional Needs/Impulse Control
Drumming can help a child learn to regulate their emotions. It can be very useful for expressing emotions and to "get it out." Drumming can vent aggressions, and invite in a calmer state of mind, particularly improve impulse control.
5. Improve Self-Esteem and Fun!
Drumming is catchy and can be a lot of fun. If you have ever been in a drumming group you can surely attest to this. Drumming is a great way for children with special needs to play and to get physical exercise.
Drumming combines motor movement with auditory and visual feedback, which makes it a great tool for strengthening a variety of skills for children with special needs. Since drumming is multi-sensory, it facilitates greater engagement, encourages learning, brain function, and skill building all while having fun! I have seen drumming to be very effective for my clients. I hope you'll give it a try!
To get you started, I wrote a song that helps facilitate a fun drumming experience while working on various skills mentioned above. To download the full song, click on the image to the right, check it out and let me know what you think. Happy drumming!
LET'S STAY IN TOUCH !
Please leave your comments below as we'd love to hear from you.
January is Social Media Awareness month for music therapy advocacy. #mtadvocacy
To me, an advocate is someone who believes who-heartedly in their cause, and demonstrates by example those values and beliefs, and seeks to educate others on the merits of their particular cause.
I wasn't always a music therapy advocate. During my undergraduate studies in music, I soon realized that a career in music wasn't for me. I knew the power of music, but I really wanted to be in a healing/helping profession. My faculty advisor suggested I consider music therapy and recommended I read Case Studies in Music Therapy, by Kenneth Bruscia. That day I became a music therapy advocate!
This discovery caused me to move from Newfoundland to Vancouver to get my degree in music therapy. That was 14 years ago this month! Wow, how time flies.
Over the years I have learned and applied the modalities of music therapy, and have seen some amazing transformations in many of my clients.
My music therapy clientele has mostly been children with special needs, primarily autism. Over the years, I have heard so many parents say that they had tried every kind of therapy out there, but that music therapy is the only one that worked. This is why I have been such an advocate for music therapy in everything I've done since -- as a music therapist, marriage and family therapist, child advocate, student executive, college professor, online blogger, and in various committee positions. Here is how I advocate for music therapy every day:
- and more...
These are just a few qualities I have committed to as a music therapy advocate. Can you think of other qualities to add to this list? Please write in the comments below.
To celebrate music therapy advocacy month (#mtadvocacy) I am offering 50% off all my original songs.
Click on the image to the right and it will take you to the song list.
Enter Code: MTAD2014
Offer Ends: January 31, 2014
Get Your Discounted Songs Now!
Happy Music Therapy Advocacy Month!
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