Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Adapted instruments

One of my favorite projects in school was an assignment from Dr. Alice-Ann Darrow. In our Music in Special Education class, we were asked to adapt an instrument as though it were for a student with a physical disability. We could either find an adapted instrument or create one. The adapted instrument I chose was deskbells.

I'm sure most of us are pretty familiar with the colorful handbells sold at West Music. But fewer of us know about the adaptation to those same handbells that make it much easier to produce a note. With a button on top of its handle, the bell can be set on top of a flat surface and ring by being tapped. If a person can move a part of their body, they can play this instrument.

Many of my classmates constructed their own awesome adaptations using household items. If your client is limited in mobility, think carefully about what sort of accommodations you can make. Some assembly may be required.

If you are not up to creating your own device, you can find deskbells at West Music, or check out other companies that specialize in other adapted instruments. A Day's Work is one of these. If you are reading this and know of another place to find adapted instruments, please leave a comment.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Three bears with a beat

I really love this activity! I first heard it from Darcy Walworth in our Music Therapy Lab class. It is perfect for young children. For each character in the rhyme, there is an action/sound/facial expression:

Papa bear: Hold hands up as though they are claws/"Rawrrrr," low-pitched growl/teeth bared, nose wrinkled, eyebrows furrowed.
Mama bear: Hold hands up with palms out, wiggle hands/"Ahhh!"High-pitched scream (not a real scream, please)/mouth open in surprise, eyes wide
Wee bear: Fold arms, shrug shoulders, hunch over/"Hmph," little-kid grunt/lip pout, eyebrows furrowed

At the request of the website owner, I will not copy/paste the rhyme here. However, here is the website. Pat knees in a moderate tempo. Each word with (parenthesis) is a downbeat.

Use this activity to work on emotions, facial affect, and listening skills.