A Truly Meaningful Experience: Why Our Classes Are Unique

Music Classes for Children | Springfield, IL

One day I entered the doors of Music Therapy Connections as a music therapy intern, and the next (after passing my board certification), I entered as music therapist. The entire building looked and felt different. Though I was nervous and still a bit unsure, I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was easy for me to fall in love with what we do here.

I love that I have the opportunity to serve everyone from birth through adulthood and all of life. I have the pleasure of working with people in the lesson setting, group setting, and individual therapeutic setting.

I love that I am able to serve people of all ages and all abilities within these walls. Everyone needs a safe place to experience something meaningful, create a sense of purpose, and even just be heard. Providing that safe place is the heartbeat of what we do here.

Early Childhood and Preschool Music Classes | Springfield, IL

For many of our students and clients, their Music Therapy Connections experience begins in our Listen & Learn for Little Ones class where children ages 0-3 explore music with their parents, grandparents, and loved ones. We focus on supporting their precious development and creating bonding opportunities for every family.

When our students are 3 years old and ready for the move, they often graduate to our Listen & Learn a Little More class! This class is still developmentally supportive, but we also continue to work on social skills, reading, counting and so much more! Plus, Listen & Learn a Little More is for children only. Parents can relax and listen to our preschoolers laughing and singing from the comfort of our waiting area.

Music Therapy | Springfield, IL | Music Therapy Connections

And, of course, when you feel that your 4 or 5 year old is ready, they can graduate yet again to our pre-lessons class Listen and Learn Into Lessons. This course was made for our very active 4-7 year olds who want to learn a new instrument but aren’t quite ready to sit for a 30 minute lesson. Students will learn piano basics, rhythmic counting, musical genres, terms and application in a fun and interactive environment with peers.

Finally, when your young learner is ready, they can register for their very own individual lessons with one of our teachers specializing in a variety of styles and instruments. Students can learn to play ukulele, guitar, piano, or sing!

Keep in mind, our lessons are individualized. Whether you are an adult or fresh out of our Listen & Learn Into Lessons course, we will create an environment to facilitate your success, growth, and love of music.

To register for lessons, click on the link below. If you would like to learn more about Music Therapy Connections, what we do, and our various services, we welcome you to our Open House on Sunday, May 6th between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm for refreshments, fun activities, a drumming experience, and a giveaway you don’t want to miss!

Register for music lessons or music therapy

Life Journey Songs in Music Therapy

Older sister gives piggy-back ride to younger brother

One of my client’s favorite things to do is choose a song to listen to or sing together. Recently, my client chose the song “Seven Years” by Lukas Graham. I had heard the song on the radio before, but never really took the time to listen to the lyrics. The song talks about memories the singer had at age 7, 11, and 20 years old, as well as his thoughts about turning 30, and later, 60 years old.

“Seven Years” was a very poignant song that helped me realize that at every moment, we can look back and see ways in which we’ve changed. In the present, we can reflect on the things we’re feeling and learning, while also looking ahead to who we might be in the future.

I love this song because it has certain ages already put in place where the client can share about the times when he or she was (or will be) 7, 11, 20, 30, and 60…or any age, for that matter.

As a music therapist, my mind immediately started forming ways in which I could turn this song (or similar songs that have to do with growing up) into a songwriting activity.

How I go about starting a songwriting activity:

With any songwriting activity, I like to begin with asking a mix of open-ended and closed questions. For “Seven Years,” some sample questions I may ask a client include:

  • Can you remember the earliest memory you’ve ever had?
  • What do you remember about being that age?
  • How does that memory make you feel?
  • What are some things about yourself that you think have changed?
  • What are some things about yourself that that you think have stayed the same?
  • What are some things about yourself that you think might change or stay the same in the next 5 years? 10 years?

As my client answers these questions, I write down the responses with the exact words that he or she uses. I then do my best to fit their responses within the song structure, and if I need to adapt their response, I always give them choices of how they prefer to rephrase their lyrics to fit the song.  

My favorite moment during the songwriting experience is after new lyrics are written. This is when I get to sing through the song and see the look on my client’s face when their thoughts, feelings, and creativity become validated. Sometimes the moment we share together is so meaningful that I try to extend these songwriting experiences from session to session, or make recordings so that clients have something tangible to take away from our time together.  

The best thing about songs like “Seven Years” is that they encompass the entire life span of the individual. Whether you are working with a young child, adolescent, young or older adult, songs similar to “Seven Years” can be an outlet for the client to share and process thoughts and experiences from their past, during the present, and as they look towards the future.

As I close out this post, I’ve included two more songs that would work well with songwriting throughout one’s life journey. Feel free to try out this songwriting intervention with your clients, and let me know in the comments your experience in using them in your sessions!

“100 Years” – Five for Fighting

“Seasons of Love” – from RENT