One of my all-time favorite instruments in my music therapy arsenal is my collection of cabasas! I love them so much, and use them frequently in my music therapy sessions and music classes — probably every day.
When I pass out cabasas, people are often unsure how to use them and typically require some guidance. Because of this, the cabasa is a great instrument for children to explore, be creative, and practicing mimicking.
Beyond that, the cabasa is such a tactile instrument that many of my kiddos seek it out and actively request it. Often, my clients and students will brush the cabasa on their legs, arms, back, and feet.
Below, I’ve included two songs that are all about the cabasa, and how you can utilize them in your music therapy sessions and classes.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Increase ability to utilize palmar grasp
- Improve fine motor skills
- Increase tactile awareness
- Improve turn-taking skills
“Play the Cabasa” is an ideal song to use when introducing the cabasa. This song details a short history of the cabasa as well as some simple directions for how to play this unconventional instrument.
“Play the Cabasa” also has a built-in verse about passing your instrument to your neighbor, which can be challenging with such a motivating and interesting instrument, but my kiddos love sharing because they get a really wonderful long turn to explore the cabasa in this song.
“Cabasa Bossa Nova” is a relaxing and sweet song that pairs well with improvisational play, which makes it ideal for individual clients. It can also be used as a cool down song at the end of music therapy sessions.
“Cabasa Bossa Nova” is always highly requested not only by students and clients, but also teachers and parents who always report feeling calm after hearing it. This song includes short and sweet directions for how to use the cabasa and allows for exploration as well.
Both of these songs utilize the cabasa in similar ways, but have completely different vibes, which make them ideal for music therapy sessions and music classes in two different ways.
That’s the beauty of music; one song is a great introduction to an instrument and is nice and peppy, whereas the other is great for a relaxing moment before it’s time to say goodbye. How awesome is it that one instrument can be so versatile? Now that’s why the cabasa is one of my all-time favorites!
I’d love to hear from you: How do you use the cabasa in music therapy sessions or music classes?
You can listen to all of these songs in their entirety right here. Lyrics, chords, mp3, and instrumental track for these original songs are available for download. As is the case for all Listen & Learn Music creations, we invite you to adapt this song as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.