DirectoryHealthBlog Details for "Music Makes Sense"

Music Makes Sense

Music Makes Sense
This site is dedicated to sharing ideas about how to use music more effectively at home, in school and for therapeutic aid in a variety of settings. I hope to be able to provide specific examples for teachers, parents and individuals who would like t


Patient Resource Page: Music Strategies for Relaxation and Wellness
2008-03-30 03:31:00
*This page is actively updated*Music Therapy:American Music Therapy Association - The official site for music therapy as a profession. This site includes a very informative FAQ section describing music therapy and its applications.Music as Part of Rehab - How music as therapy fits into the lifestyle changes that must happen after a major cardiac event or surgery. Improving your mood and reducing stress are key elements in maintaining a healthy future.How Music Works to Help Relaxation - Breaking down the elements of music to find out why music can be so powerful as an aid to relaxation.Abstract: The Effect of Preferred Sedative Music on Anxiety - The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of patient preferred, sedative music on the state anxiety level of patients undergoing heart catheterization or pacemaker implant.Music Strategies :Using Music Effectively to Manage Pain - Theories and strategies for pain management and distraction from pain.Relaxation Strategies for Pre-O...
More About: Page , Wellness , Resource
Memory Booster! Using Music to Memorize Lists and Facts.
2008-03-25 22:30:00
The popularity of shows on television, like Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics," and party games such as "Encore" emphasize the power of music to help us remember words and numbers. If I write the phone number 867-5309, you may naturally start singing the hit song by Tommy Tutone! I often use music to help my clients remember phone numbers, addresses and lists of information like the months of the year or counting by twos, fives or tens. The children I work with have a range of disabilities from autism to mental retardation, but the principles of music that facilitate memorization remain the same for helping anyone remember key items of information.1. Use "chunking" - Telephone numbers, as they are written in the United States, (###) ###-####, are good examples of dividing up information into manageable pieces of information. One way I have used this idea is by dividing up lists like the twelve months of the year into two groups before making up a song to help children memorize the...
More About: Music , Facts , Memory , Lists , Booster
Beeping Easter Egg Hunt! The Creative Use of Sound to Facilitate Children
2008-03-14 19:59:00
This story was featured in the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Click here for the full story: Blind, Deaf Can Play These Easter Games.I love this idea! I immediately started thinking about how small music chips could be placed into eggs instead of just "beeping" sounds. This is the first I have heard of this organized event and my kudos go out to the folks at AT&T. Keep an eye out in your own community for similar events
More About: Creative , Children , Sound , Easter Egg
Hey Mr. DJ! Dancing Activity for the Special Education Classroom.
2008-03-14 01:40:00
I learned this activity in my music therapy internship, but I do not know where the original idea came from. We called it, "Disco Nerf!" This group activity can be done in a variety of special education settings or even at home as a family. I think it works especially well for junior high and high school groups. Dancing is an age appropriate activity, but these kids don't usually get to attend the regular school dances and parties. Equipment:- Nerf Ball- CD player (remote control makes things easier)Rules:- Whoever has the ball when the music stops has to make up a dance move.- Whenever you get the ball you have to do your dance move if you have made one up.- If you get the ball a third time when the music stops, then you become the DJ!- Everyone starts over with no dance moves when there is a new DJ.Activity:Form a circle making sure that there are teachers or peer facilitators at strategic locations in the circle to assist students with disabilities. (Remain sitting in chai...
More About: Education , Special
Parent Resource Page: Using Music To Help Your Child With Disabilities
2008-03-07 01:53:00
*This page is actively updated*Music Therapy:American Music Therapy Association - The official site for music therapy as a profession. This site includes a very informative FAQ section describing music therapy and its applications.Prelude Music Therapy - Kathleen Coleman and Betsey King have developed many useful materials for use in music therapy. Kathleen is a pioneer in music therapy in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and offers helpful information about music therapy in the public school setting.What Happens in a Music Therapy Assessment - This article answers many questions that I regularly receive from teachers as I prepare to evaluate a student in their classes.Music Strategies and Inspirational Stories:Scooby Doo Meets His Match! - A story about the power of live music and singing to help a boy with autism do his work.Using Music With Child ren Who Have Visual Impairments - Children who have visual impairments or blindness combined with disabilities such as mental retardation, a...
More About: Page , Resource , Disabilities
Teacher Resource Page: Music Strategies for the Classroom
2008-03-04 23:39:00
*This page is actively updated*Music Therapy:American Music Therapy Association - The official site for music therapy as a profession. This site includes a very informative FAQ section describing music therapy and its applications.Prelude Music Therapy - Kathleen Coleman and Betsey King have developed many useful materials for use in music therapy. Kathleen is a pioneer in music therapy in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and offers helpful information about music therapy in the public school setting.What Happens in a Music Therapy Assessment - This article answers many questions that I regularly receive from teachers as I prepare to evaluate a student in their classes.BEFORE Asking for a Music Therapy Assessment - A guide to screening your students before presenting a case at the ARD meeting. Much time will be saved by paying attention to the right kinds of reactions a student has to music before proceeding with a full music therapy evaluation.Music Strategies :Using a Gathering Drum - Th...
More About: Page , Teacher , Resource
Up, Up, and Away! Music Activities With a Parachute.
2008-02-27 06:01:00
Small parachutes are a fun and unique way to complement music activities. Parachutes are common in P.E. classes, but I enjoy using them for my clients in the special education setting to target a variety of learning objectives. Unlike the huge one pictured here which can be used for large groups, I suggest using an 8' - 10' parachute in small group activities. Parachutes that are smaller than this do not catch as much air nor achieve the same effect of suspension in the air and subsequent slow, floating down.When to use a parachute:1. Gross motor movement.-Children who are in wheelchairs benefit greatly from using a parachute because it is easy for them to participate with a group in a movement activity that does not require lower extremity motor skills. There are also many applications for students to practice grasping and raising their arms up in the air. (Make sure that the parachute has handles or loops attached to it to facilitate the activity.) I like the song, "Reach Up...
More About: Music , Activities
Relax! How to Use Music and Relaxation to Help Your Students With Disabili
2008-02-21 03:17:00
I have had the opportunity to lead several music assisted relaxation groups in public school special education classrooms. These groups have included a range of ages and types of disabilities including Down Syndrome, autism, mental retardation and Cerebral Palsy. One of the key points I like to emphasize with my clients and their instructors is that learning to relax can become a conditioned response. This means that relaxing can be practiced so that it is more effective and useful in the future.Generally the clients that I work with in the special education classrooms do not have typical life stressors that would induce anxiety and require relaxation, but there are other reasons that relaxation can be an important tool for them and their teachers. I have found that many of the special education students are easily overwhelmed with environmental stimuli in their daily environment. Most teachers recognize this situation and have created quiet areas of their room that have been s...
More About: Music , Students , Relax , Relaxation
Bigger is Better! The Unique Powers of Drums, Guitars, Rainsticks and Other
2008-02-16 03:57:00
This week I made the observation that one of my clients responds more significantly to large instruments. He seems to prefer a large gathering drum, the guitar and a Q-chord placed in his lap. He is not the only client that enjoys these instruments, but it prompted me to detail the specific qualities that large instruments have that make them so powerful for some clients. Teachers and parents can benefit from understanding the qualities that make these instruments unique. Here are three ways large instruments can sometimes be so effective:1. They are cool! Many large instruments are visually attractive. My large gathering drums and African drums have tropical patterns and colors that are appealing to children. The larger ocean drums come with colorful fish panoramas and provide focus of attention on the moving beads inside. There also seems to be something fun about getting to play the biggest instrument out of a group when given a choice.2. Accessibility. Large instruments o...
More About: Drums , Unique , Powers , Guitars
Lessons About Music From a Spin Class
2008-02-06 04:21:00
This certainly seems like a strange title, but my bike class has provided some very good examples about how music works! I signed up for a bicycle spin class last year and usually attend 2-3 times per week, so I have been able to experience 3-4 different class teachers. Each of the teachers has their own way of leading the class, including how they utilize the music to facilitate the ride. The three different methods illustrate how elements of music affect our behavior.Lesson 1: One of the teachers uses music mainly for the beat. She usually chooses songs with a very strong and consistent bass beat that is easy to hear over the noise of the bikes. The music sets the pace by helping the riders pedal on the beat. The teacher has songs with different tempos depending on whether the ride is simulating going up a hill or staying on a flat road. Sometimes the songs do not work well because they are too fast or too slow, but the teacher is usually good about taking those songs out o...
More About: Music , Class , Spin , Lessons
What To Do and Not Do When Requesting a Music Therapy Assessment
2008-01-31 04:07:00
I am frequently asked how to determine whether or not a student should be recommended for a music therapy evaluation. I will focus this discussion on assessment requests in the public education setting, but many of the ideas may be applicable across other settings such as working with clients in the home or in facilities like hospitals or nursing homes.Teachers, parents, diagnosticians and other staff who would like to recommend a student for a music therapy evaluation should first realize that music therapy is a related service. As a related service, a school district is not required to provide music therapy unless there is sufficient evidence that music therapy will be a significant factor in the educational progress of the student. In other words, the student would experience slower or less pronounced success in meeting educational goals and objectives without the implementation of specially developed music activities.Educators should understand that the key words to keep in mi...
More About: Music , Assessment , Music Therapy , Therapy
Supercharge Your Music Making With Older Adults!
2008-01-23 04:16:00
One of my favorite places to facilitate music-making and foster growth and social interaction is at an Alzheimer's center or assisted living community. As a music therapist I bring a different perspective and methodology to the group experiences at these locations than the usual invited entertainers or activity leaders. I have been asked to come back to visit the Alzheimer's center based on the fact that I involve the residents in active music-making and encourage interaction and self-awareness. Given these reactions, I want to explore and recommend some of the strategies I use when approaching a group of older adults with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.I say that these groups are some of my favorite clients to work with mainly because of the dramatic change in demeanor that occurs during the music activities. When I walk into a room full of thirty to forty residents and all I hear is the sound of silence, it is sometimes intimidating. In my experience it is kind of like bein...
More About: Music
Schoolhouse Story: Scooby Doo Meets His Match!
2008-01-18 04:08:00
A story about the power of live music and singing to help a boy with autism do his work.Ricki is eight years old and spends most of his day in a classroom set up for children who have autism. He had been observed spending much of his time singing to himself, but also paying attention to songs and music activities that were part of the regular classroom instruction. His teacher requested a music therapy assessment to evaluate the potential to help Ricki make better progress on his academic and communication objectives.The music therapy assessment included time observing Ricki in his classroom working without music as a stimulus as well as time spent participating in specially developed music activities. After the music therapy assessment activities were completed, I observed Ricki working on a math exercise in which he was supposed to trace the numerals 1-5 on a worksheet. After he had traced only one number he began singing about Scooby Doo . He turned his paper over and started...
More About: Story , Match
Schoolhouse Rock: Teachers Make Music With the Suzuki Q-Chord!
2008-01-12 05:09:00
Music therapists in the school setting usually spend one or two times per week working with a client who has disabilities. Many teachers continue to use music strategies with their students throughout the week when the music therapist is not there. The majority of teachers that I work with are very creative and dedicated professionals and do their best using audio recordings and a cappella singing to assist them in music activities in the classroom. These teachers often lament their singing ability and wish for the live guitar accompaniment I am able to provide for the music therapy sessions.I have had much success in introducing teachers to using the Q-chord to help them enhance their classroom music activities. The teachers I have worked with agree that audio recordings are often too fast in tempo or do not allow enough time for children with special needs to make appropriate responses. The Q-chord changes this dynamic by allowing the teacher to set the tempo and even pause...
More About: Music , Rock , Suzuki , Make , Teachers
Five Ideas For Using Music Therapeutically With Children Who Have Visual Im
2008-01-07 22:41:00
I have the opportunity to work with many clients with visual impairments in the public schools. These children often enjoy music as a primary motivator and independently seek out music stimuli in their environment. In my work as a music therapist I am usually asked to find ways to help these children and their teachers use music stimuli more effectively to aid students in making progress on non-musical objectives. Many students who are singularly challenged with visual impairments pursue music in a traditional way as a hobby, leisure skill or career. We all know about the success and talent of people like Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, etc., but how do we use music to connect with those children with multiple disabilities? Children who have visual impairments or blindness combined with disabilities such as mental retardation, autism, Down and other syndromes present unique challenges for using music therapeutically. Traditional adaptations for learning music as a skill may not wo...
More About: Ideas , Music , Visual
Read and Sing for Christmas: Up On the Housetop
2007-12-20 03:50:00
Up on the housetop the reindeer pauseOut jumps good old Santa ClausDown through the chimneyWith lots of toysAll for the little ones Christmas joys.Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't go,Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn't goUp on the housetopClick, click, clickDown through the chimneyWith good Saint Nick.This song is great for teachers and parents alike as it is flexible for a variety of musical settings and ability levels. The song naturally provides several instances for using instrument sounds to compliment the story. I use bells for the reindeer, a rain-stick for Santa going down the chimney and rhythm sticks or sand blocks for the, "click, click, click." My adaptations include using a Bigmack switch to record the, "Ho, ho, ho," for non-verbal participants and using body percussion such as patting or snapping for the, "Click, click, click."Adding instrument sounds to go along with parts of a story in a song can be used to address many different educational objectives:1. Sequencing skills. I h...
More About: Read , Sing
Pain - Forget About It! Using Music Effectively to Manage Pain.
2007-12-18 03:14:00
Everyone dreads the dentist chair when they know they have a cavity. Sometimes even a sound that reminds you of a dentist's drill can cause perceived pain! I have worked with clients at the doctor's office, in hospital rooms, and at home to help them with pain management. These patients have been dealing with everything from needle sticks to chronic pain from disease and in many cases using music to help them relax and ignore the pain has been very effective.The main theory behind using music to help with pain management is centered around the "Gate Control Theory of Pain ." This theory establishes that a person cannot actively think about two different information streams at the same time. Pain is a perceived idea in our cognitive thought process. Without cognitively focusing on the pain, the sensation can be greatly diminished. The Gate Control Theory is useful in that it promotes using focus of attention to distract from pain. Active music listening or music used for r...
More About: Music , Manage
The Importance of Using Music as Part of the Lifestyle Change After a Heart
2007-12-14 21:33:00
Research has recently begun catching up with the conventional wisdom that mental stress after having a heart attack can greatly increase the chances for future cardiovascular problems and incidents. The emotional strain and life altering consequences after having a heart attack or cardiac related surgery are only the first challenges. Daily events produce additional physical, emotional and mental stressors that are documented to lengthen recovery times.I have developed a workshop called, Music for the Heart , that seeks to address the specific stress-inducing events that surround cardiovascular health problems. Recent research has emphasized the need for a holistic approach to health after heart attacks and cardiovascular surgery. I present tools and guidance in the workshop to help patients elevate their mood, learn to relax and introduce music as a leisure-time tool to help them make the post-cardiac event lifestyle change. Dr. Barry Bittman, MD, and the developer of the Health Rh...
More About: Lifestyle , Change , Part
Henry Sings For Success: A Schoolhouse Story About Singing and Stimming Beh
2007-12-11 22:59:00
Henry is a delightful boy in the second grade. He has recently been labeled as having an autism spectrum disorder and his behaviors are consistent with many of the common characteristics of autism. One of these characteristics is his desire for self-stimulation through hand flapping, visual and verbal perseveration, muscle flexing and in Henry's case, singing. For the purpose of this article, I will refer to these behaviors by the more official term, stereotypy, since "stimming" is not a word currently listed in the dictionary. Henry has been observed to sing to himself almost all the time. He is a very good singer with excellent pitch accuracy and the ability to remember many lyric phrases. His teachers have been working with Henry to have him sing more quietly outside of the classroom or at times when he should be quiet. His teachers have noticed that when Henry is working with his hands on tasks that involve objects with significant tactile stimulation, he stops singing...
More About: Story , Success , Henry , Singing , Sings
Schoolhouse Story: William Learns to Walk Like a Man
2007-12-05 03:46:00
I am fortunate that many behavior problems disappear during music therapy activities. The teachers I work with often joke that I remain around longer so that their students continue to pay attention and remain sitting appropriately. These students do not have bad teachers, but the power of the music activities is often strong enough to maintain order during the music therapy session without many of the behavioral interventions that are necessary during regular classroom activities. William is a student in second grade who I have often observed demonstrating defiant and oppositional behavior in the classroom. William has a rare brain disorder that affects his gross motor skills, but he is fully capable of walking. His teacher reported, however, that William was having great difficulty walking to the bus. William frequently decided to practice the safety protocol for when you are on fire and, "stop, drop and roll," in the hallway on the way to the bus! William did not respond to ...
More About: Story , Walk
Schoolhouse Story: Wendy and the Power of Melody
2007-12-04 03:36:00
I am often called upon to conduct assessments to see if a student will qualify for music therapy as a related service. "Wendy " was referred for a music therapy assessment after her teacher observed that Wendy significantly increased her focus of attention during songs at circle time activities. Wendy has mild to moderate mental retardation and speech impairments. As part of the music therapy assessment process I observed Wendy working in the classroom during various group activities as well as some individual work. Wendy was observed to provide very short attention to her teacher unless given direct verbal prompts. When she was prompted, she was able to maintain her eye gaze focus to the teacher or task for less than one minute for most tasks. I watched Wendy become very focused, however, during familiar songs that employed accompanying gross motor movements. Wendy began singing the songs and performing all the motions without prompts. Wendy had not verbalized any other wor...
More About: Power , Story , Melody
FAQ: Suggestions for Sedative Relaxation Music
2007-12-03 05:32:00
I am frequently asked about how to use music for relaxation. One of the most effective types of music for relaxation is classified as sedative. Sedative music is defined in part by having a fairly slow underlying tempo or pulse, around or below 80 beats per minute. The melody should be free of sudden jumps in pitch and without extreme high or low notes. The overall effect of the song should not be distracting, but still have aesthetic value. Sedative music can be difficult to find on one album or in a single collection of songs. The proliferation of digital music, however, has made it much easier to separate sedative music from a collection and place it with other music for the purpose of relaxing. I have compiled a list of some music that can be considered sedative. The music can be used in any order and it is important that any music that will be used for relaxation be something related to personal preference. This list is not all inclusive and is limited in genre. Th...
More About: Music , Relaxation
Schoolhouse Strategy: Drum Circles for the Special Needs Classroom
2007-12-01 03:04:00
Drum circles offer a sense of independence within a community situation. A typical drum circle usually involves a variety of instrument sounds including different sized drums, shakers and bells. The participants play their instruments, dance and even sing around a central drum facilitator. Sometimes a large drum may provide a steady underlying pulse for the group to build upon, but other times the group plays to whatever rhythm develops, changing as the drumming continues.A drum circle depends on the ability of the participants to play a steady beat or respond to the musical dynamic with a part that fits into the musical experience. A few people off the beat or not able to follow the directions of the leader will not disrupt the cohesion of the musical product. In a classroom with children with special needs it is still possible, however, to use a drum circle effectively for a group activity. The following strategies may be helpful for successful drumming with children w...
More About: Strategy , Special , Drum , Special Needs
Relaxation Strategies for Pre-operative Settings
2007-11-29 03:34:00
Surgery pre-op. Blank walls, metal and tubes. Bright lights and cold air. People come and go with the urgency of holiday shopping, providing cursory nods and perfunctory statements to the people on beds blocking their way. Certainly it is not always like this, but in general, the pre-surgery holding area is very lonely, with different professionals visiting you intermittently to take vital signs, blood or signatures. The environment is well formed for nurturing anxiety.The prospect of surgery usually presents patients with an array of feelings and worries. These anxieties are counterproductive to maintaining the calm and positive state of mind that is beneficial for successful recovery after an operation. I have had the opportunity to assist patients in several different pre-operative settings to help them cope with the stress of their situation. Through these experiences, I have discovered some simple strategies that can be used by patients and their caregivers to help them...
More About: Strategies , Relaxation , Settings
Schoolhouse Rock: Ten Great Ways to Use a Gathering Drum
2007-11-26 21:27:00
My Remo gathering drum almost always travels with me from school to school as I see clients for music therapy. The gathering drum is a wonderful tool that can be used as an instrument, but also in many non-traditional ways. A small gathering drum about 8 inches tall and 22 inches in diameter is a good size for working with an individual student or a small group of younger children. Remo gathering drums are made of synthetic materials which are less affected by changes in weather. My Remo gathering drum has proven to be very resilient and continues to make a nice drum sound after seven years of heavy use. Here are my top 10 recommendations, in no particular order, for using a gathering drum:1. Thunderstorm - Create a rainstorm that comes and goes using soft body percussion such as snapping and clapping. As the rainstorm moves closer the gathering drum can be played with fingertips and then gradually played with the entire hand to create heavy rain and thunder sounds. I add eve...
More About: Rock , Great , Drum , Gathering
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