{Application of the Week} I Love Rock ‘N Roll

{Application of the Week} I Love Rock N Roll

This intervention is a simple and fun way for clients to express what they love doing. The driving rock beat motivates clients to share various activities they enjoy or general preferences, while giving opportunities for clients in the group to listen to each other and encourage group cohesion.

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Creative expression
  • Gross motor movement
  • Choice making
  • Expressing wants and needs
  • Social interaction

Music used:

Merrill, A. & Hooker, J. (1975). I love rock ‘n roll [recorded by the Arrows]. On “broken Down Heart [CD]. London, England: Rak Records.

Materials (optional):

White board to record clients’ responses
Visual aids of possible items a client might enjoy

Application:

  1. Sing the first verse and the chorus with the clients.
  2. Go around the group and ask individuals what they love or love to do.
  3. Incorporate their responses in the chorus (“client” loves [ice cream] come on everybody and sing with me).
  4. Encourage the group to chant with you in sharing what each client loves.
  5. Encourage the rest of the group to clap or tap to the beat while each person shares.
  6. At the end, ask the group if they remember what each client loves.
  7. Lyrics can also be adapted to include “so come on everybody and [move/clap/tap/drum etc.] with me.

Lyrics:

I saw him dancin’ there by the record machine
I knew he must a been about seventeen
The beat was goin’ strong
Playin’ my favorite song
An’ I could tell it wouldn’t be long
Till he was with me, yeah, me
And I could tell it wouldn’t be long
Till he was with me, yeah, me, singin’

I love rock n’ roll
So put another dime in the jukebox, baby
I love rock n’ roll
So come and take your time and dance with me
Ow!

{Application of the Week} I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

{Application of the Week} I’ve Been Working on the Railroad

This week’s application features a well-known song that can be used across a multitude of populations. When used with a guitar or other stringed instrument, the music therapist can target several movement and non-movement goals at once. This application can be used in a traditional music therapy setting as well as in an adapted or typical lesson.

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Participation
  • Fine motor control (pincer grasp)
  • Gross motor movement
  • Finger isolation
  • Creative expression

Music used:

Traditional. (1894). I’ve been working on the railroad.

Materials needed:

Stringed rhythm instrument (guitar, banjo, ukulele, or autoharp)

Application:

The music therapist will sing the song once through, encouraging the clients to sing along. Once the song is finished, the therapist will prompt clients to play with her. While singing the “fee, fie, fiddly-i-ooh” verse, the therapist will go around to each client and place the guitar (or other string rhythm instrument) in a position that is accessible for the client to strum along.

Additional considerations can include:

  • The use of a traditional  pick or oversized pick
  • Utilizing hand over hand prompting, partial physical prompting or limited prompting
  • The client’s appropriate range of motion
  • Utilizing certain fingers, certain hands, or both hands

Lyrics:

I’ve been working on the railroad
All the live long day
I’ve been working on the railroad
Just to pass the time away
Can’t you hear the whistle blowing
Rise up so early in the morn
Can’t you hear the whistle blowing
Dinah, blow your horn

Dinah won’t you blow
Dinah won’t you blow
Dinah, won’t you blow your horn
Dinah, won’t you blow,
Dinah, won’t you blow,
Dinah, won’t you blow your horn

Someone’s in the kitchen with dinah
Someone’s in the kitchen i know
Someone’s in the kitchen with dinah
Strumming on the old banjo

Fee fie fiddle eell o
Fee fie fiddle eell o
Fee fie fiddle eell o
Strumming on the old banjo

{Application of the Week} Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Music Therapy Application for Impulse Control and Motor Skills

This week’s application pairs a classic rock song with instrument play to target a variety of objectives in several different domains. With just a little lyrical adaptation, we’re able to address clients’ needs while also maintaining the original flavor of the song.

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Impulse control
  • Choice making
  • Discrimination between slow and fast
  • Discrimination between high and low
  • Gross motor skills
  • Creative expression

Music used:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BN1WwnEDWAM

Headon, T., Jones, M., Simonon, P. & Strummer, J. (1982). Should i stay or should i go [ recorded by The clash]. On Combat Rock [CD]. Los Angeles, California: Epic Records.

Materials needed:

Hand instruments (rhythm sticks, shakers, etc., visual aids if appropriate)

Application:

The music therapist will adapt the lyrics to the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go”, by The Clash. Repeat the song as appropriate to include various clients choosing different options. Additional resources such as visual aides or the use of body percussion can also be added to fit the individual needs of clients.

Choices that the music therapist can insert into the adapted lyrics include the following:

  • Should we play fast or play slow? (proceed to the chorus while playing fast or slow)
  • Should we play high or down low? (proceed to play the chorus tapping/shaking high or low
  • Should we stop or should we go? (if client says stop, pause and then cue the group to say “go” and proceed to the chorus. If the client says go, immediately proceed to the chorus)

Lyrics:

Should I Stay or Should I Go (Adapted Version)

Verse 1

[name], you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine
I’ll be here till the end of time
So you got to let me know
Should I [insert action] or should I [insert action]?

Chorus

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

Should I [insert action or should I [insert action]

Verse 2

Now [shake/tap] down by your knees, knees, knees
Come on, let’s [shake/tap] down by by your knees, knees, knees
One day it’s fine and next it’s black
Well, come on and let me know
Should I [insert action or should I [insert action]?

Chorus

Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know

Should I [insert action or should I [insert action]

Finding Balance in a Job with Multiple Hats

When a typical day consists of balancing being a therapist, music instructor, and occasionally, an early childhood music teacher, it can feel like my main job is actually figuring out how to balance all of the different roles.

I struggle with balancing the position of teacher and therapist because I tend to rigidly categorize myself as a music therapist who should only pursue music therapy-specific roles.

Although I grew up taking music lessons every week, I never pictured myself in a teacher role. Even in my current position, I am still learning what the role of a music therapist truly looks like.

How I found a balance in the various hats that I wear in my professional life

I struggle with balancing the position of teacher and therapist because I tend to rigidly categorize myself as a music therapist who should only pursue music therapy-specific roles. However, the more I’m actively working within this field, the more I see opportunities for my music therapy training to supplement other disciplines/roles and vice versa.  

In teaching lessons, the music therapist in me is able to tune into my students’ developmental, psycho-social, and behavioral needs, all the while keeping them engaged in the music and task at hand.

In music therapy sessions I often find myself drawing on the resources, repertoire, and lessons that I have used teaching the individual lessons and classes.  

During the times when the roles of music instructor and music therapist intersect, I have to remember that no matter what I’m doing (whether it’s teaching individual lessons, 1:1 music therapy sessions, or leading group music therapy sessions), the most important aspect of my work is empowering my students and clients to live life fully.

I find joy in knowing that growing my students’ music skills could lead to more opportunities in their academic and extracurricular life, future performance opportunities, and even a future career.

As for my clients, I love using music as a tool to lead to physical, communicative, emotional, academic, social, and recreational wellness.

These are just some of the reasons that I love what I do, day in and day out. If you have taken on different roles as a music therapist, I’d love to hear from you! let me know in the comments how you have worked through your various roles, and how your roles have informed your day to day life.  

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

Music Therapy in the News: What We Know About Music Therapy and Dementia Today

Is Music Therapy Right for My Loved One

This week, the Chicago Tribune published an article highlighting the benefits of music therapy for individuals with dementia.

In the article, McCoppin (2018), not only provided an overview of music’s effectiveness with individuals affected by Alzheimer’s Disease, but also introduced a current study led by neurologist, Dr. Borna Bonakdarpour, which studied the impact of music therapy with nursing home residents affected by various forms of dementia, including its effect on improvements in cognition, conversation and relationships.

With the rise of dementia diagnosed in older adults, this article comes at a critical time where more and more people are seeking out progressive treatment options for their loved ones who have been declining in responsiveness to outside stimulation, orientation to their environment, and connection with close ones.

As a music therapist who regularly works with older adults with dementia, I see the toll that dementia takes on residents. However, I view it as a privilege to facilitate a supportive environment where familiar songs bring a sense of normalcy and social connection to the residents’ day.

With the knowledge base expanding in regards to the benefits of music for older adults, it is also important to know that special consideration and sensitivity must be applied when using music therapeutically. Not all music and music activities are suitable for older adults with dementia, as it is important to take into consideration the following:

  • cultural background of clients
  • creating a supportive environment to handle sensitive topics of discussion or unexpected emotional reactions that may arise
  • the physical, psycho-social, and sensory status of each individual.  

Want to learn more? Check out the article for yourself, or take a look at our current collection of resources on music therapy and older adults.

Music Therapy and Dementia

Music Therapy & Dementia: Improving Quality of Life and Inspiring Memory Recall

Music Therapy with Older Adults: What Can Music Therapy Do for My Loved One?

As always, we would love to hear about your own experiences with how music has helped you or your loved one. Comment below to share your story!

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References

McCoppin, R. (2018, June 11). Music can call back loved ones lost in Alzheimer’s darkness: ‘so much we can do to improve quality of life’. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-music-therapy-alzheimers-northwestern-20180324-story.html.