Stretchy Bands in Early Childhood Music Class

In my early days as a music therapist, adapting songs and interventions on the spot was a real challenge. I come from a performance background, so I’m all about rehearsing and then executing as practiced. But it didn’t take long to realize that approach just doesn’t work in the music therapy setting, especially when young children are involved.

Being flexible, creative, and quick on your feet are three essential characteristics of anyone who facilitates music groups or classes with kids. Alisabeth displayed all of the above a few weeks ago during our Listen & Learn for Little Ones class, when she realized that a song we had planned to use with the stretchy band just wasn’t going to work.

Although it had gone perfectly well as planned in an earlier class, this particular group of children was older and wanted to move more freely around the room. So Alisabeth put the stretchy band up instead of redirecting the kids and tweaked the song lyrics right there on the spot, all without interrupting the activity.

Did the new lyrics match the ones the parents were following in their binders? Nope, but nobody cared — because the kids were happy and engaged. As Alisabeth’s internship supervisor as well as the parent of a child in that class, I was super impressed by her quick thinking and ability to adapt to meet her students’ needs.

Don’t be afraid to stray from the binder, lesson plan, or whatever else you prepared, if it’s not working. Adapting is a skill that takes time to develop, but you’ll only get better with practice.