When leading any type of music therapy session or music class, I always make sure that my clients and students aren’t all hyped up when they leave me. Music is a favorite activity for many of my kiddos, so they are usually excited when they walk in the door, but when they walk out, my goal is for them to be calm, cool, and collected.
Making sure children are in the “green zone” when they are finished with music is important for lots of reasons. Transitions are a lot easier when children are calm, because they are in a regulated state. On top of that, teachers, parents and caregivers will be forever grateful to you when their child walks away from music as cool as a cucumber.
Last week, we reached a new milestone in our family: both kids are back together again at the same school, on the same schedule! My daughter started all-day Pre-K and joined my son, who started 1st grade.
If you’re a parent who has juggled multiple drop-offs, pick-ups, and differing schedules at any point in time, then I’m sure you can appreciate my excitement over this new development.
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.
It’s CRUNCH time, so I couldn’t resist choosing an apple to represent this month’s session plan! Also, there is a song about apples included for September, so it’s doubly fitting ;)
This time of year has always been a chaotic one, as we finalize our new school year schedule, plan our sessions and curricula for the fall, and get back into the swing of things after a laid-back summer. I love the freshness of this season, but I also appreciate that it can be an overwhelming one when you have many classes, groups, and individuals for which to prepare.
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.
In early fall of 2018, I got the itch to write a book. This has always been on my bucket list, but I just couldn’t nail down a topic. I have dozens of ideas stored in the Notes app of my phone, most of which I quickly abandoned after brainstorming bullet points.
But on December 17, the topic I was meant to write about came to me — where else? — in the shower. (It’s where I get all my best ideas.) I got out, got dressed, then ran to my laptop to capture all the thoughts flooding out of my brain.
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.
My absolute favorite thing to do when I have any downtime at all is READ. I have been a book nerd my whole life, and now that audiobooks are a thing, I’ve been able to fit in a lot more “reading” than ever before in my adult life (especially since becoming a parent!).
This summer, I’ve made a conscious effort to read more for fun, and I’m pretty proud of the number of books I’ve added to my list so far. In case you are looking for some good reads, here are my favorites so far this summer.
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!
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!
Let’s Be Friends
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