Here in New England, there are single digit days left until back-to-school time. The kiddos’ backpacks are packed, first day of school outfits have been chosen, and every teacher I know is buzzing like a bee, making sure their classrooms are ready for that first day.
As a music therapist, that means lots of scheduling and preparing for the new year and the fall season! Personally, I’ve always felt like the school year is a fresh start, so I’ve taken it upon myself every fall to learn new repertoire, create new visuals, and refresh my musical tool kit.
I love the summertime, especially being out enjoying the weather. I DON’T want to be stuck inside working more than necessary, so when I’m planning music therapy sessions or music classes during these long and lazy days of summer, I try to find something fun, familiar, easy to learn, and of course, goal-oriented.
When working with young children, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what they are trying to tell you. Whether that is because their language skills are still developing, their speech isn’t quite intelligible yet, or because other modes of communication are preferred, we need to make sure we are doing all that we can to communicate effectively with our students and clients.
There are many ways in which we can adapt our methods so that we can communicate with children of any age and a variety of needs. Below, I’ve listed a few strategies that I utilize in my music therapy sessions and music classes. I’ve also included a song from the Listen & Learn Music collection that makes use of each communication strategy.
One of the most amazing qualities about music is its versatility. It can pump us up, bring back memories, teach us new skills, and calm us down. There is so much power in our melodies and chords, so let’s use our powers for good, and make sure that our clients and students leave music therapy sessions and music classes in a regulated state.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about What It’s Like to be a Therapist at a Camp for Kids with Special Needs, and I briefly mentioned that I use music to help the campers (and staff!) stay calm and practice regulation strategies. This week, I want to expand on that and let you in on all my secrets for helping children remain slow and in control in situations where that is most appropriate!
Parents and caregivers often attend music classes and music therapy sessions, and although those classes and sessions are not for them, their presence so important to the progress and growth of our clients and students.
It’s always important to engage everyone in the room through the music, and unfortunately sometimes the adults get forgotten. But parents and caregivers are more likely to engage with their children and return to music class and music therapy sessions if they are also playing instruments, singing along, and dancing.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few things that can help keep everybody engaged during music class or music therapy!
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
Click the image below for this free resource and song collection!