4 Keys to Communicating with Children

4 Keys to Communicating with Children | Listen & Learn Music

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.

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Keeping Caregivers Engaged in the Music

Engaging Parents and Caregivers in Music Class or Music Therapy | Listen & Learn Music

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!

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DIY Cupcake Shakers + A Song for Shaking Along

DIY Cupcake Shakers for Children | Listen & Learn Music

How innovative are you when it comes to instruments for music classes, music therapy, and classroom use? Well, I can tell you I’m not even a fraction as innovative as my colleague at Music Therapy Connections, Becky Waddell.

About a month ago, Becky sent me a Slack message: “I picked up tiny cupcakes that I’m turning into shakers for one of my classes if you get an itch to write a song about cupcakes! Ha!”

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#Goals (and When to Reassess)

Setting and Reassessing Music Therapy Goals | Listen & Learn Music

Summer is usually a pretty laid-back time at my private practice, Music Therapy Connections. However, summer 2019 is a MAJOR exception to this rule, as it has been quite the whirlwind so far.

At the end of May, we welcomed a new music therapy intern, Emma, and then just a couple weeks later, we welcomed a new full-time music therapist, Molly. Then, one week after that, our long-time music therapist, Alisabeth, left us to have her baby.

So as you can imagine, there has been an overload of new client intake, new contracts beginning, and current clients being reassigned to different music therapists. Thankfully, we are at tail end of this shuffle, and now the real work begins.

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How to Find the Right Song Every Time

How to Find the Right Song Every Time | Listen & Learn Music

You know that moment when you need a song for a child, music group, or music therapy session? In your mind, you clearly know what goals the song will target, the instruments or props that you want to use, the theme…now you just have to find it. Well, you are in luck!

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Keep It Simple

Keep It Simple - Music Therapy Applications for Drums, Scarves, Rhythm Sticks and Shakers

Last week, I told you that my colleagues and I were hard at work on a new resource centered around our go-to props and instruments: drums, rhythm sticks, scarves, and shakers. Today is the day we get to share that new resource with you!

Keep It Simple: 16 Goal-Based Applications for the Instruments & Props You Already Own is here, and I can’t wait for you to check it out and start putting the applications to use.

In this comprehensive downloadable PDF, we are sharing:

  • Overviews for each instrument/prop, which include a list of general objectives that can be targeted using those materials, additional intervention ideas, and 10-15 extra songs that pair well with each instrument/prop. We created Spotify playlists for all 4 categories, which are linked in the overviews.
  • 16 applications that you can easily put to use in your own sessions. Each application includes a demonstration video and link to lyrics/chords, along with a detailed facilitation guide outlining the targeted objectives, procedure list, and multiple adaptations.
  • A quick reference spreadsheet containing an overview of the objectives for each application. Although many of the songs may seem simple or you’re familiar with them already, we have found a variety of ways to facilitate them in order to help our clients meet their goals.
  • 2 extra applications that can be used not only with the big 4 instruments/props, but also incorporate many meaningful signs that can be used across populations. Sign language demonstration videos are included.
Keep It Simple - Music Therapy Applications for Drums, Scarves, Rhythm Sticks and Shakers

These tried-and-true applications have been effectively put into practice in schools, hospitals, early childhood centers, senior living facilities, and private practice, and our clients ranging from 3 months old to 90+ years old have benefited from them. We hope that your clients will, too.

Give your instrument- and prop-based repertoire a big goal-based boost with Keep It Simple, created by our team of 4 board-certified music therapists. You will find all of the details and option to purchase right here!

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