I’m currently on maternity leave, and some of my colleagues have been kind enough to share their expertise through guest posts throughout the summer. The following comes to you from Wade Richards, LCAT, MT-BC.

“Another Beautiful Day” was a song improvisation I created for one of my groups consisting of young adults with special needs. It was just after lunch, everyone was trying to keep cool in the air conditioning, while the weather outside was sunny and hot. I noticed that some students seemed to have that “I have a headache” kind of look going on. You know, not as perky as usual, squinty eyes, hands over ears, insisting on putting their sunglasses on, or heads down on the lunch table.

I decided to lower the sensory bar a bit, so as the students came into the group, I turned off the lights (only letting in the lights from the window, and doorways to come through), picked up a frame drum, and decided we would work on a chant where each student would add in their own phrase about what they like to do outside when it’s a nice day. This was a great way to work on expressive language skills.

Throughout the song I encouraged participation by singing vowel sounds, taking breaths, and incorporating some tension/relaxation exercises. Each person was given a turn to play the drum softly and sing their line about what they like to do outside. After going around to 3 people, I would ask the group questions about what each person liked to do. This was a great way to bring attention and focus to each person in the group during the experience, and also work on memory skills. Using a simple drum pattern to accompany the voice is a great way to chill out on a hot day.

Another Beautiful Day

Another beautiful day.
Another beautiful day.
Let’s go outside and swing on the swing.
Let’s go outside and swing on the swing.

Another beautiful day.
Another beautiful day.
Let’s go outside and walk through the park.
Let’s go outside and walk through the park.

Another beautiful day.
Another beautiful day.
Let’s go outside and swim in the pool.
Let’s go outside and swim in the pool.

Another beautiful day.
Another beautiful day.
Let’s go outside and play in the backyard.
Let’s go outside and play in the backyard.

Another beautiful day.
Another beautiful day.

Wade created “What a Rainy Day” as a follow up experience to “Another Beautiful Day”. Members of Listen & Learn Plus! can read on to hear the song and find out how it can be used to address expressive language skills.

Wade Richards

Wade Richards, LCAT, MT-BC received his Bachelor of Science degree in music therapy and applied voice from S.U.N.Y at Fredonia. He completed his internship at the Broome-Tioga Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) in Binghamton, New York. He has been providing music therapy services in the Greater Rochester, New York area for close to 20 years.

Wade has served as Chair of the Music Therapy Department and Orff-Schulwerk Department at the Hochstein School of Music & Dance, and Program Director of the Trinity Assistance Corporation Blue Ridge Music Therapy Center. Currently, he is an instructor in the Music Education Department at the Eastman School of Music. Wade has pursued additional training in Orff-Schulwerk, Neurologic Music Therapy, and Performance Wellness.

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