Thursday, May 5, 2011

May the fifth be with you!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! In hindsight, it probably would be best to post holiday-themed activities BEFORE the holiday. But luckily (1) this post will be around next year and (2) I can start planning for next time.

Of course, if you have a Cinco de Mayo-themed session (or any holiday-themed session for that matter), do your research to know what it is you are celebrating. In this country, this holiday is a bigger deal than in Mexico, largely due to advertising from alcohol companies and Mexican restaurants. It is day of celebration of the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1892 in which the Mexican army overcame the French. The meaning of the holiday is to celebrate freedom and the people that fought for it. (Read more about Cinco de Mayo here.)

Some ideas for music therapy interventions:
1) Teach a dance! The macarena (which I think we all know by heart) and the mexican hat dance.
2) Limbo (at your own risk).
3) Have a pinata (again, at your own risk). There are many different things you might do with this. To keep things under control, you might just choose to write songs on slips of paper, then have people reach into the pinata to find a song for the group. This would also work the same as a sombrero!
4) Pass the sombrero. Play a game where the clients sit in a circle and pass the sombrero from one head to the next (it must be placed on the head!) until the music stops. If you end up with the hat when the music stops, you are out (or maybe just move outside the circle to accompany the game with instruments).
5) Make maracas. Who says you can't craft in a music therapy session? Create your own musical instrument to play. There are many different ways to do so, whether with paper plates, yogurt cups, or drink cups. Or buy plain wooden maracas (12 for $14) and have the kids decorate them (use markers if paint is too much to handle... I'm also having visions of sequins, glitter, and puffy paint).

This was a very brief list that is meant to inspire ideas. If these don't work for your sessions or clients, then you can certainly adapt them however you like!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

URL: Easy Ear Training

I want to share a link with you of a site that is definitely worth the read! Easy Ear Training is a UK-based software development company that specializes is music education and music training. Not only do the offer apps for musical development, but they offer a lot of really interesting posts on a range of topics. They keep track of the latest in music technology, perception/cognition, and related news as well as teach techniques for guitar and other instruments. My favorite posts are the Music and Life series that directly relates to us as music therapists. You will also find links on their resource page to a other awesome sites.

Please read! I found articles on recent Ted talks, research studies, music technology for people with disabilities, and child development. A big thank you to the site as well for adding Beyond the Music to their list of resources!