Saturday, May 1, 2010

"New Soul" on handbells

Because you can never have too many activities (especially for that adolescent/'tween/teen age), I am posting an activity to get your group playing music together! For this activity, you should download a recording of Yael Naim's song (don't ask me to pronounce that), "New Soul." Also, you will need this document for use in your session.

Just a little info on the document I linked to above: page 1 shows all the colors that come in the handbell set made by Kidsplay and sold at West Music. Inside each colored circle is all the numbers that color should play. Pages 2 and 3 are the lyrics to "New Soul," with numbers written above (as guitar chords are often written).

Handbells (diatonic set of 8 in the key of C)
"Music" for clients (print document available above)
iPod/CD with "New Soul" mp3 (or other item able to play song of choice)
Equipment to play the iPod/CD
Shakers or other small instruments (optional)

Task Analysis:
1. Give bells to clients, assign them a number(s) that corresponds to their handbell's color (see document, page 1).
2. Provide clients with "music" (see document, pages 2 and 3). Instruct them to play when they see their number(s). Some clients will be playing when they see two or three different numbers. For example, the red bell rings when they see the number 1, 2, or 3 in the music.
3. Begin music, prompt clients to play by holding up fingers when it is their turn.
4. Encourage clients to sing along with the music.

Extensions & Adaptations
a) If you ever needed a song in the key of C, this is the one. It is easily transferred to other instruments.

b) If your group is too small to cover all handbell parts, give some clients two handbells to play. If your group is too large, bring shakers for the other clients. Remember to take turns playing the handbells.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Five: Songs about life's journey

I have often found myself desperately searching every corner of the internet for songs for lyric analysis. By the time you decide on a topic for discussion and read a dozen song lyrics for appropriateness, you may turn to YouTube only to hear that the song of choice is in a style straight out of the '70s disco era. And as much as you respect that genre and all, it is most likely that you will not be able to convince your clients aged twenty- and thirty-something that "Funkytown" is where it's at.

Honestly, starting from scratch with a lyric analysis is difficult for me. When I begin my internship, my supervisor will no doubt have plenty of songs tried-and-true for discussing coping skills and feelings of loneliness. But at the moment, I am stuck at the computer or in the car jotting down lyrics of songs I hear on the radio.

The songs in this list are perfect for discussing the paths you take in life, the fork in the road, and the bumps in your way. These lyrics are all about life's journey. If a client should say "You really like songs about roads" (which they have said to me), it makes all the more opportunity for sharing your reasons for sticking so loyally to this theme.

1. "The Long and Winding Road" by The Beatles (rock, 1970). The long and winding road that leads to your door will never disappear.
2. "Lodi" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (classic rock, 1969). Looks like my plans fell through; oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.
3. "Lost Highway" by Bon Jovi (country rock, 2007). In my rear-view mirror my life is getting clearer; the sunset sighs and slowly disappears.
4. "Life Is A Highway" by Tom Cochrane (rock, 1991), covered by Rascal Flatts (new country, 2006). Well, life's like a road that you travel on, there's one day here and the next day gone.
5. "Everyday Is a Winding Road" by Sheryl Crow (pop rock, 1997). Everyday is a faded sign, I get a little bit closer to feeling fine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hi! My Name Is.

In the past couple years gaining field experience through FSU, I have found that one of the biggest headaches comes from trying to invent an intervention appropriate for children ages 9 to 17. The middle school and high school age is a time when kids are overly concerned with what their peers are doing. And if their friends don't like it, chances are they don't (or pretend they don't) either. So you had better hope that your activity is "cool," with good music to boot.

This is a drumming activity that I picked up from a classmate, Shannon Kiley, in a MT drumming class. It utilizes a song by rapper Eminem from 1999, "My Name Is." This activity is a great socialization song, especially for introducing new groups.

Large drums for each child (tubanos, djembes, etc.)

1. Before group comes into room, have chairs set up in a circle with drums in front of each seat.
2. As kids come in, have them sit quietly at a drum while you give instructions.
3. In a simple 4/4 pattern, model hitting the drum on 1, hands off on 2, hit on 3, hands off on 4 at a moderate tempo. Encourage the kids to join.
4. When kids have the rhythm steady, chant: "Hi! My name is. What! My name is. Who! My name is."
5. When both rhythm and chant is steady, repeat chant using your own name: "Hi! My name is. What! My name is. Who! My name is ________________________." This chant fits into two total measures. (Listen to the actual song to hear its rhythm.)
6. Continue around the circle until everyone has introduced themselves.

This activity can be extended a couple ways.
a) In the actual song, Eminem scratches his name (a DJ technique). Each child will simulate this by playing with his or her name. For example, I "scratched" my own name to sound like Mi-chelly-chelle. Another example for someone named Jessie might be "Jigga-jigga-Jessie." Repeat the activity using the scratch names.

b) Have the first person start by just saying his or her scratch name repeatedly (without the chant this time). Build this by having each person chant their scratch name one by one. You can even opt to fade the drums altogether, so that everyone is simply chanting their name at once.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Psych: Current Trends in MT

Twenty-one percent of music therapy professionals belonging to the AMTA report working with patients in a psychiatric setting (Silverman, 2007). In three weeks, I will be an intern working among these numbers. And because more music therapists work specifically with psychiatric patients than any other single population, it is quite possible that you MT students who are reading this may eventually find yourself in this setting as well.

Recently, the results of a survey of professional AMTA members working with this population was published in the Journal of Music Therapy. This survey covered topics such as most common goals and objectives, most frequently used interventions, and other information regarding MT sessions.

Most commonly reported objectives for clients in the psychiatric population included socialization, communication, self-esteem, coping skills, stress reduction/management, group cohesiveness, relaxation, and decision-making. These objectives were ones that over sixty percent of the professionals surveyed had reported using in the past week.

(A long list of possible objectives surveyed in this study further include impulse control, leisure skills, emotional expression, depression, problem solving, self image, insight, reality orientation, anger management, aggressive behavior, relationships, substance abuse, music listening, symptom management, music skills, mental health knowledge, physical exercise, family issues, spirituality, life changes, community reintegration, community resources, daily living skills, music knowledge, medication management, and other.)

Interventions used by music therapists to address these included improvisation, song-writing, drum circles, singalongs, music games, lyric analysis, music and movement, music and art, music and dance, and music assisted relaxation.

This survey indicated that, if you work in this setting, you will most likely work in a long-term facility that is run by the state or a private practice. You will probably work with groups that are 5 to 8 in number, for an average of 31-45 minutes once per week. The reason? Group sessions are apparently more cost-effective than one on one sessions.

In the future, I will be posting intervention ideas for this population. There is much more to be said regarding the psychiatric setting, but I will tackle that information when possible.

Silverman, M. Evaluating Current Trends in Psychiatric Music Therapy: A Descriptive Analysis. Journal of Music Therapy, 44 (4). 2007; 388-414.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Introducing... Me

It is my guess that not many people will search my archives far back enough to read this first blog post. But for those of you that are reading this, I want to start with a very introductory post that explains who I am and why I am blogging. Here is the short version.

I am currently a music therapy student at Florida State University. I finished my last undergraduate class just forty-eight hours ago. (!) For the next three weeks, I will be enjoying my summer days between my parents' home and my own apartment in Tallahassee. Then, beginning May 17th, my summer vacation will abruptly end and I will become an intern at the Behavioral Health Center of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

I am beginning this blog now as a resource for fellow music therapy students. As part of my senior project required as an undergraduate, I want to create a place where students (and professionals) can go for intervention ideas, songs, music therapy news, advice, and anything else music therapy-related. I intend for this blog to have something for everyone. Where I can transfer ideas to cover multiple populations, I will. It is my goal to get a lot of information in one place, something I always searched for in the days of my undergrad.

That said, help me by sharing ideas, opinions, and suggestions for future posts. I hope that this will become a valuable tool for my fellow therapy students, and something that will extend beyond a senior project.