“Into the Unknown” – Drumming Intervention

I’m sure all of you have seen or heard about the movie that is all the rage nowadays: Frozen 2. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. If you haven’t heard the music, listen to it. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I couldn’t help but get some inspiration from the amazing music for future music therapy interventions.

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Holiday Music!

I am sure all of you have your holiday list of music ready to go during this time of year. I started getting requests for Christmas music before Thanksgiving, which I suppose is quite common. I personally try to wait to listen to holiday music until after my Thanksgiving meal, but I will definitely break that rule if someone requests it. :)

The holiday season is definitely my favorite time of the year. There is so much joy to be experienced and to share with others. Lots of people have been waiting all year to hear their favorite holiday tune again. There is nothing else quite like singing a beloved holiday song with your group members and seeing the excitement in their eyes. 

It has been fun to see all of the suggestions I have gotten so far. Here are just some of the requests I have gotten from clients ranging in age from school age children to older adults:

  • Adeste Fideles
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Hallelujah (Pentatonix version)
  • Here Comes Santa Claus
  • It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas
  • Jingle Bells
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • O Holy Night
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Silent Night
  • Silver Bells
  • Up on the Housetop
  • Winter Wonderland

While my personal list of favorite holiday songs is much longer than this, it has been interesting to hear what my clients and students are most often wishing to sing. 

What holiday tunes do you get requests for most often? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Emma Kovachevich

Preparing for the Board Certification Exam

Hello again everyone! Did you think you saw the last of me? Well, surprise! I’m back! As my internship has come to a close, I’m adjusting to my new professional life and preparing to take the Board Certification Exam for Music Therapists. 

As I gather materials and refresh on all I have learned throughout my music therapy education, I am realizing that I learned A LOT in four and a half short years. It has honestly been pretty daunting thinking about everything I need to study or refresh on (I’m looking at you music theory). 

Yes, there is a lot of material to cover, but it’s important to remember that you learned all of it at one point. Plus, much of it has been applied in numerous real-life situations throughout college practicums and internship. Now it’s just a matter of getting it back fresh in your head. Here is how I’ve been preparing for the exam:

The New Music Therapist’s Handbook by Suzanne B. Hanser

I remember reading this book my freshman year of college. It is full of so much information, and breaks it down into chapters that are similar to the CBMT Domains. I re-read the whole book, but if there is a certain section you are specifically concerned about, I would recommend reading its corresponding chapter in the book. This book is a great refresher on the individual components of music therapy fieldwork.

Flashcards

I have made lots of flashcards for this exam. Most of them include definitions that may appear in the questions on the exam. As I create and study these flashcards, I need to keep reminding myself to set aside what I already know well, and focus on the ones that need a little more work. It will make the process of studying seem a lot easier.

While studying the flashcards, I also think about how the information may be asked on the exam. I ask myself questions like: What aspects of the term on each flashcard set it apart from others? What makes this specifically unique? How should I respond if this happened during a session? 

Take Advantage of the Practice Exams

CBMT offers two practice exams to help you prepare. I took one after reading the Hanser book but before making flashcards and studying further. I did this to see where I was and how I was doing so far. This helped me pinpoint what I really needed to study and focus on. I plan to take the second practice exam closer to my actual test date. 

This is what I am currently doing to prepare myself for the Board Certification Exam for Music Therapists. Everyone will have different study techniques, but this is what is working for me right now. If you would like to read some more tips, check out Molly Robitaille’s blog post about her strategies for conquering the exam!

As I continue to prepare, I would love to hear what has worked for you while studying for this exam. Please let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Emma Kovachevich

{Application of the Week} Train’s A-Coming

{Application of the Week} Train's A-Coming | Instrument Play in Music Therapy

This application uses a simple call and response tune to facilitate an instrument activity that challenges clients to listen and follow along as the song gradually moves faster and faster!

I love how the music and lyrics naturally motivates clients to listen and move together, providing ample opportunity for clients to work on gross motor movement and other auditory skills.

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • gross motor and fine motor movement
  • discrimination of fast and slow
  • tolerating transitions

Music Used:

Jenkins, E. (1996). A Trains-A-Coming. [recorded by Ella Jenkins] On Jambo and Other Call and Response Songs and Chants [CD]. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Materials needed:
shakers

Application:
The music therapist will pass out shakers to each client. After prompting the clients to listen and move with her, the music therapist will begin to sing the song at a slow pace. (optional call and response can be added for added engagement).

As the song progresses, the music therapist will gradually increase the tempo, so as to imitate a train accelerating, prompting the clients to shake faster. Adaptions can include prompting clients to lead the change in tempo through visual aids of red lights, yellow lights, and green lights.

Lyrics

Trains-a-coming (trains-a-coming)

Train is a comin’ (train is a comin’)

Tell me how do you know (Tell me how do you know)

Trains-a-coming (trains-a-coming)

Train is a comin’ (train is a comin’)

I can see that engine puffing so

{Application of the Week} I’m Walkin’

I'm Walking | Music Therapy Application for Adults

This application is a fun way for adults with special needs or older adults to get active and try out different body movements together. The lyrics are set up perfectly to allow for various body movements to be added into the song, making it the ideal song for your next body movement application!

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Positive social interaction
  • Gross motor movement
  • Coordination
  • Increase duration of body movement

Music Used:

Domino, F. & Bartholomew, D. (1957). I’m Walkin’. [recorded by Fats Domino] On Here Stands Fats Domino [LP]. Imperial Records.

Materials needed:
None (instruments may be added to motivate additional movement if desired)

Application:
The music therapist will sing the song “I’m Walkin'” by Fats Domino. The music therapist will then prompt clients to engage in various body percussion actions. The music therapist will insert the new action into the lyrics (i.e. “I’m [clapping] yes indeed…). For an added challenge, the music therapist can ask clients to think of actions of their own and change the lyrics to [I’m moving like [client’s name].

Lyrics

*Lyrics may be adapted from “for you pretty baby I’ll even die” to “For you, I’ll even cry” depending on the context of the group.

I’m walkin’, yes indeed and I’m talkin’
About you and me, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me, yeah-yeah
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’
For your company, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me
What you gonna do when the well runs dry?
You gonna run away and hide
I’m gonna run right by your side
For you pretty baby I’ll even die
I’m walkin’, yes indeed and I’m talkin’
About you and me, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me

I’m walkin’, yes indeed and I’m talkin’
About you and me, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me, mm-mm
I’m lonely as I can be, I’m waitin’
For your company, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me
What you gonna do when the well runs dry?
You’re gonna sit right down and cry
What you gonna do when I say bye-bye
All you gonna do is dry your eye
I’m walkin’, yes indeed and I’m talkin’
About you and me, I’m hopin’
That you’ll come back to me

{Application of the Week} Thank You

Thank You | Music Therapy Application for Social Skills

This application is a creative way for clients to express positive words and gratitude towards someone they appreciate. Whether it’s to a fellow client or to another person, this application helps individuals practice positive communication that can be a stepping stone in developing trust and key social skills in all contexts!

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Social skills
  • Positive social interaction

Music Used:

Trainor, M., Johnson, J., Johnson, S., Lomax, M., Thomas, T., Thomas, T., Peterhof, O. & Federman, J. (2016). Thank you Ft. R. City [recorded by Meghan Trainor] On Thank You [CD]. Los Angeles, California: Epic Records & New York City, New York: Sony Music.

Materials needed:
Print out of the lyrics and print out of the ‘Fill in the Blank’ version

Application:
The music therapist will sing the song, “Thank You” by Meghan Trainor Ft. R. City. The music therapist will then prompt clients to write a personalized ‘thank you’ song of their own. The subject of the thank you song can depend on the context of the group, and how comfortable the group is with each other.

Examples of who clients can write about: close friends, fellow clients, role models etc. Once clients have filled in the song with their own words, the therapist can choose to sing the newly composed songs with the group. Additional steps can include recording the song and sending it to the person that the song is about.

Original Lyrics

[Verse 1:]
You keep me humble, keep me focused everyday
You know how to put a smile on my face
When I think about you, all my worries fade
You say you’ll love me ’til forever and that’ll never change

[Pre-Chorus:]
Oh, I hear your words
Oh, they don’t go unnoticed
Oh, I feel your love

[Chorus:]
You know without you I got nothing, I got nothing
Without you I got nothing, I got nothing
Forever you’re loyal and you know I adore you
Without you I got nothing, I got nothing

[Post-Chorus:]
So I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
Oh, oh, hey

[Verse 2:]
No one knows how to love me like you do (like you do)
I could bring a dream to life, oh, all because of you
You help me when I’m feeling low (feeling low)
You let me know I’m not alone (not alone)
You say you’ll love me ’til forever
So I’mma love you, too (I’mma love you, too)

Pre-Chorus:]
Oh, I hear your words (Hear your words)
Oh, they don’t go unnoticed
Oh, I feel your love

[Chorus:]
You know without you I got nothing, I got nothing
Without you I got nothing, I got nothing
Forever you’re loyal and you know I adore you
Without you I got nothing, I got nothing

[Post-Chorus:]
So I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you

//

Adapted Lyrics

[Verse 1:]
You __________________________________________________________
You __________________________________________________________
When I think about you, __________________________________________
You _______________________________________and that’ll never change

[Pre-Chorus:]
Oh, I hear your words
Oh, they don’t go unnoticed
Oh, I feel your love

[Chorus:]
You know without you, ____________________________________________
Without you, ___________________________________________________
Forever you’re ________________and you know I _____________________
Without you, ___________________________________________________

[Post-Chorus:]
So I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
I wanna, I wanna, I wanna thank you
Oh, oh, hey

[Verse 2:]
You __________________________________________________________
You __________________________________________________________
When I think about you, __________________________________________
You ______________________________________and that’ll never change

[Pre-Chorus:]

[Chorus:]