Paddle Drum

Seth loved drums. It didn’t matter what kind – if he could use a mallet or his hand to make a big sound, he was a happy camper.  What Seth didn’t love was following his music therapy schedule and completing his work.  On the rare occasion that he did finish a task, he was rewarded with the chance to play a drum.  His face would light up and he would say “Boom, boom!” as he played, which is what gave me the idea for a song that would serve two purposes.

All this time, I had been using the drum only as a reward.  Why hadn’t I thought to incorporate the drum into Seth’s goal-based interventions?  (The answer to that question: because I was an intern, and I still had a lot to learn.)  One of Seth’s IEP goals was to count to 20, and I was determined for him to achieve it with the help of the drum.  At that point in my young career, I hadn’t written many songs of my own.  But this one worked, so I still use it today.

Boom, boom!
We can count to twenty.
Let’s start with number one.
Boom, boom!
We can count to twenty,
While we play our drum!

1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11, 12,
13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 18, 19, 20!

I used a paddle drum just like the one pictured above when I sang this song with Seth.  He held the mallet, and I held the drum up only when it was his turn to play (during the “Boom, boom!” lines and as he counted).  Not only did Seth achieve his goal, but he wanted to count even higher so that he had more chances to play the drum!

This song took the work out of counting, just as music so often does for tasks that might otherwise be mundane or frustrating for children.  The key is figuring out the motivating factor.  I may have helped teach Seth to count to 20, but I owe Seth big time for teaching me this important lesson.

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