{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:]

{Application of the Week} Drumming to “Hound Dog”

Drumming Application for Music Therapy

This week, we’re featuring an application that could be implemented for individuals in a rehabilitation setting. Employing paddle drums and an upbeat song, this application may be used to motivate clients to increase their range of motion, while also increasing duration of movement at the same time.

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Increasing gross motor movement
  • Crossing midline
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Increasing duration of gross motor movement
  • Strengthening palmer grasp strength

Music used:

Leiber, J. & Stoller, M.. (1953). Hound dog [recorded by Big Mama Thornton]. On Night Mare [LP]. Los Angeles, California: Radio Recorders Annex.

Materials (optional):

Paddle drum
Paddle drum mallet
Small hand-held rhythm instrument that can be played with one hand (tambourine, bells etc.)

Application:

The music therapist will introduce the paddle drum to the client and demonstrate how it’s played. After handing out mallets to each client, the music therapist will begin singing “Hound Dog” while tapping out a beat with one hand playing a small rhythm instrument and with the other free hand, holding out the paddle drum to the clients. The music therapist will hold out the drum to the clients as a target for the client to hit.

Depending on the needs of each client, the therapist may vary the position of the drum or gradually move the drum from one direction to the other to increase the client’s range of motion.

Lyrics:

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog
Cryin’ all the time
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine

Well they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Yeah they said you was high-classed
Well, that was just a lie
Well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit and you ain’t no friend of mine

{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} Learning Your Address with “Count On Me”

{Application of the Week} Learning Your Address with Count On Me

This week, we’re shaking things up with a song that can be used with individuals who are working on identifying and communicating helpful information about themselves.

Using the tune from Bruno Mars’ popular song “Count on Me”, the adapted lyrics teach situational problem solving, as well as utilizes the natural pause in the song to prompt the client to communicate his or her address in a fun way!

Possible Goals Addressed:

  • Address identification
  • Augmentative/adaptive communication device navigation
  • Verbalization

Music used:

Mars, B., Lawrence, P., & Levine, A. (2011). You can count on me [recorded by Bruno Mars]. On Doo-Wops & Hooligans [CD]. Los Angeles, California: Larrabee Recording Studios.

Materials needed:

Print out of adapted lyrics (with client’s address)
Accompaniment instrument of choice

Application:

The music therapist will sing the adapted version of the song “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars. When mentioned in the song lyrics, the therapist will prompt the client to state his or her address.

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:

Verse 1

If you ever find yourself lost and you don’t know where to be
Just rem-e-ember
Your address

If you ever forget just how to find your street
Just rem-e-ember
Your address

Pre-Chorus

[Client] get ready,
Tell me, where do you live?

Chorus

It’s
[1-2-3-4]
[Centre W Dr,]
[Springfield, IL 62704]

Oh yea

Ooohh
Ooohh, oooh, yea, yeah yea

Pre-Lesson Series: Piano Play! Recap

Pre-Lesson Class - Piano Play!

Music Therapy Connections’ Listen & Learn Into Lessons: Pre-Lesson Preparatory Series, for ages 4-7, recently finished its first session, and the outcome was remarkable! Interest was soaring and we ended up needing to open a second section!

During this first session, titled Piano Play!, students listened to, participated in, and sang 8 original songs while learning about a multitude of information to prepare them for 1:1 piano lessons. They played on keyboards and wiggled with delight as each skill became easier to accomplish!

All goals were met as students discovered:

  • melody vs. harmony
  • low, middle, and high sounds in music
  • the musical alphabet
  • the low, middle, and high parts of the keyboard
  • piano fingers and finger bracing.

Up next is Rhythm Time! This second session will provide students with a basic understanding of:

  • steady beat
  • counting patterns in music (3s & 4s)
  • basic rhythmic patterns
  • loud vs soft
  • rests -or- moments of silence
  • basic note values

They’ll again sing several original songs with some familiar ones incorporated as well. Be prepared to play on various drums and rhythm instruments, while dancing to the beat!

Pre-Lesson Class - Piano Play!

Are you unsure if your child is ready to attend piano lessons on their own? Does your child show some interest in music classes but might not be ready to participate in 1:1 instruction?

Register for Rhythm Time! to open your 4-7 year old to the next level of music exploration. Classes begin the week of July 16th. Both sections are filling up fast, so don’t wait too long!

Listen & Learn Into Lessons: Preparatory Music Classes | Music Therapy Connections | Springfield, IL

{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!

Register for music lessons or music therapy

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.

 

Song Discussion and Songwriting: Increasing Emotional Wellness

Song discussion and songwriting can be beneficial and fascinating practices. Not only do they give an opportunity for the client to respond to a song in a real and genuine way, but they are also exercises in expecting the unexpected.

It can be scary to never really know how the client will respond. Thankfully, through many hours of clinical training, embracing the uncomfortable has become easier. I’ve come to appreciate the moments where my clients feel empowered to express themselves through song lyrics in a safe space.

How do I validate emotions that can’t exactly be defined?

One song discussion and songwriting intervention that I have recently used involved goals of discriminating and processing emotions, increasing self expression, increasing reminiscence, and strengthening coping skills.

The application began when I played a song that was requested by my client. Once the song ended, I asked my client how it made her feel. After a long pause, my client answered, “somewhat in between.”

In my head, I was pondering: how do I validate emotions that can’t exactly be defined? Do they need to be defined to be valid? All of a sudden, this intervention popped up in my head that both honored my client’s response and could be a starting point in helping my client increase her coping skills and emotional processing.  

My client mentioned that the song made her feel both sad and happy. I grabbed my white board and used a dry erase marker to draw a happy face on the left side of the board, a sad face on the right side, and a neutral face in the middle.

With each experience, I validated what was shared and made her know that it was a safe place to share only what she felt comfortable with.

Next, I went through the lyrics, two lines at a time, and asked my client to place the lines under each emotion that best matched how the lyrics made her feel.

After we finished placing the lyrics under the various emotions, we took a look at the board and saw just how mixed a song could make someone feel. Not only was this helpful for my client to visually see the diversity of emotions, but it also helped the her to see that it was okay to not feel strictly “happy” or “sad” all the time.

To make this intervention more personal and to further allow my client to discriminate emotions based on her own experiences, I prompted my client to describe moments in her life where she felt happy, sad, and in between. With each experience shared, I validated what she said and again stated that it was a safe place to share only what she felt comfortable with.

We didn’t have time to put her experiences to music yet, but we are excited to finish our original song during our next session. 

Song discussion and songwriting can be a very personal experience, and therefore can look different for each client. What are ways that you have incorporated emotional goals and coping skills in song discussion and songwriting? We’d love to hear from your experiences, so let us know in the comments below!

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