Blog Category: Early Childhood

Music Therapy for Early Childhood

Music Therapy For Early Childhood

Everyone can make music! It’s true! Whether singing along to your favorite song, tapping a beat on a bongo or experimenting on GarageBand©, everyone has the ability to create music. And you’re never too young to be involved with, or respond to, the benefits of music making. Watch any child, especially babies and toddlers, and you’ll see for yourself. They bang, they strum, they sing and dance without any care as to how ‘good’ they might be or if they are hitting the right note.

Music isn’t only fun for our little ones, it plays a critical role in overall development, helping to build neural pathways and unlock hidden potential. Before language skills are even developed, music can serve as a vehicle for communication with babies and toddlers.

Who can benefit?

Children of all ages and backgrounds are especially receptive to music! For those receiving early intervention services, music therapy can be a creative strategy to successfully reach children with identified developmental delays or other unique needs.

Children without delays, and those in daycare centers or preschools, also have fun engaging in music making that supports their emotional, social, cognitive and language development. Music making also provides young children a great opportunity to bond with caregivers and peers!

Program Offerings

  • Sprouting Melodies: Created for children, ages 0-5, and their caregivers, Sprouting Melodies is an award winning early childhood music program. Offering age-specific classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and sibling pairs, Sprouting Melodies classes are facilitated by Board Certified Music Therapists who have additional training in early childhood development.
  • Clinical Music Therapy: Music therapy sessions can be provided in conjunction with other early intervention therapies or pediatric therapies in both individual and group settings.
  • Music Therapy Club: Targeted for children ages 3-7 with special needs, the Music Therapy Club offers a supportive music making environment that facilitates engagement, joy, and success for all.

Does your little one light up when you sing to him or her? Are you looking for an activity that stimulates your child’s development while also fostering the bond between the two of you? If so, demo one of our Sprouting Melodies classes! Or call to find out more about our individual music therapy sessions.

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I Have a Drum! Now What?

Why Music?

A music therapist’s voice can be so important, especially when reaching out to populations that are not always able to respond and communicate by conventional means. Music has an impact on all areas of growth and development, making it a particularly valuable therapy in early interventionMeredith Pizzi, music therapist for various populations including early intervention work work. Bonding and attachment are just some of the areas that can be enhanced through moving together in music.

On May 9th, our founder, Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC and Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC, one of our music therapists, presented at the Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium’s annual conference. Their presentation, entitled I Have a Drum and Maracas! Now What? provided guidance for music therapists working with children and families participating in early intervention work. Intended to offer colleagues some tried and true strategies and tools for behavior management, the training included large and small group experiences, song sharing and writing, as well as a prepared lecture.

Developmental Framework

Elizabeth Schwartz, LCAT, MT-BC, Meredith’s co-founder of Raising Harmony and Sprouting Melodies, created a developmental framework that breaks down skill development into five categories or areas: awareness, trust, independence, control and responsibility. Music therapists can stylize their sessions to target specific traits exhibited in these five categories. For example, if a music therapist is working on control with a group or individual, he or she may use a song that allows for instrument choice.

Learning ObjectivesLaetitia Brundage, music therapist for various populations including early intervention work

Key learning objectives established the goal of the session. The first objective involved participants being able to identify ways that music can be used to facilitate skill development in the areas of gross and fine motor skills, language, communication and social interaction.

The next objective was learning songs that targeted these specific developmental skills in addition to songs that do not require instruments or musical materials. Songs that were shared included:

  • Row It Faster by Elizabeth Schwartz, LCAT,MT-BC (skill development – Awareness)
  • Dancing Kids by Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC (skill development – Independence)
  • Train Ride, by Alison Albino (skill development – Trust)

At the end of the two hour presentation, participants left with the ability to list three ways to support and encourage positive behavior through music, create solutions to challenges with behavior and sing three new songs and suggest functional uses for the songs.

Music therapy can have a profoundly positive effect with early intervention populations. If you are a parent or early intervention provider looking to incorporate music therapy, please contact us!

 

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Fall Happenings & Sprouting Melodies Schedule

Fall 2 Session began this week!

Schedule updates: Last week saw the end of our Sprouting Melodies Fall 1 Session. Fall 2 session kicks off this week so there are no breaks in the music! These will be our last classes in the Melrose center before we move to Wakefield on October 31st. We anticipate Sprouting Melodies will begin in Wakefield starting Tuesday, November 1st.

This session will run through December 17th, with a break for the week of Thanksgiving. This will be the final session of 2016, as we take a two week hiatus for the winter holidays. I can’t believe there are only two more months until a new year. How does it go by so quickly?!

There are still spots available in some of our classes, so make sure you reserve your space today!

registerbutton

We look forward to introducing all of our families to the new space! And watching as the kids make it their own!

Halloween is coming and we’ll say BOO!

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Melrose Trick or Treat 2015, from Melrose Chamber website

Join us, and the rest of the businesses on Main Street, at the annual Trick or Treat at Melrose Businesses. This event is sponsored by the Melrose Chamber of Commerce and will be held on Friday, October 28th from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.

Melrose Trick or Treat 2015, from Melrose Chamber website

Melrose Trick or Treat 2015, from Melrose Chamber website

Main Street will be shut down for the duration of the event and trick or treaters will be able to roam around, getting Halloween loot from area businesses.

 

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Music Therapy in Special Education

See music therapy in the schools in action!

We are often asked about how music therapy in the schools works. Under IDEA, music therapy can be included in special education through various types of delivery including programmatic services, individual or group direct services, and consultation.

In this video blog, our Board Certified Music Therapist, Kristina Rio sat down with special education teacher, Bonnie Albanese, to discuss how music therapy has impacted her students and paraprofessionals. Her students have had music therapy in the classroom since September of 2013 as a programmatic service, with sessions focusing on shared goals. They are currently working with another music therapist on our team, Mary Kerrigan, and you will get to see her making music with the students.

A very special thank you to the Lynnfield Public School administrators, teachers, students and parents for their help in creating this video!


Learn more about music therapy services in schools, or send us an email to find out how we can serve your program.

A special thank to Alisa Carbone who produced this video.

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Mother-Daughter Investment

An Investment in Quality Time

As parents and caregivers, we are always looking for activities to do with our children that are fun and enriching! With all of the demands facing today’s families, it can be difficult to take time out of our busy schedules for fun, but it truly is an investment that will pay off!

One mom, Christina LaRock, who has taken our Sprouting Melodies classes with her daughter, faced the same questions as many moms do. What can I do with my child that will be fun and rewarding for us both? Of her experience at Sprouting Melodies, Christina says “If Sprouting Melodies were a financial vehicle for investments, your ‘return on investment’ would be a sure thing, a true win!

Sprouting Melodies® is a unique program offered by Roman Music Therapists for children and their caregivers, ages 0-5. With Board Certified Music Therapists leading classes, Sprouting Melodies focuses to create child-centered musical experiences that integrate what they know about young children, development and music!

An Investment in ConnectionsHappy Sprouting Melodies Student

What makes Sprouting Melodies stand out is not only our focus on children and their expression through music, but the connections they are making with their caregivers and peers. Christina has seen the rewards of that connection. She says,

“When my daughter — who was 22 months old at the time — and I attended a Sprouting Melodies class, I thought it was going to be a fun way to engage my daughter in music and movement. More than enough reason to go! It sure was fun! What I hadn’t anticipated was that the benefits to her would be much, much more than that!”

Reaping the Rewards

Christina experienced firsthand how the classes stimulate and enhance musical, social, physical, and emotional growth and development. She says that her daughter “learned in more meaningful ways what cooperative play is, how to share and take turns more effectively, how to use music as a vehicle to express her emotions. She also gained confidence and self-esteem by being in and sharing the spotlight, exploring different instruments and building an authentic, caring relationship with our Sprouting Melodies leader, Laura!

What distinguishes our Sprouting Melodies Providers™ from others is their expertise in music therapy and special training in early childhood development. Our team is uniquely qualified to accommodate the needs of individual children within groups. They also strive to teach parents how music can strengthen bonds, engage cooperation and transform situations within the family

If that wasn’t enough, what was even more amazing was how I, and my whole family, benefited from what we learned organically through Sprouting Melodies. All the while having a lot of fun! I learned songs to help ease those times when frustration would get the better of me (or my daughter). I learned how that not just listening to music — but making music –sparked a curiosity in musical instruments, patterns and body awareness in my daughter that has provided hours of fun at home together! And, in making music alongside my daughter, I had fun and met other local parents. To this very day, I sing the songs with my daughter that not only are fun & silly but truly help me be a better parent!”

Lessons That Stick

The investment of music is one that lasts. Christina finishes, “I asked my daughter, who just turned 5 years old, what her favorite memory of Sprouting Melodies is. She gave me a huge smile and ran to get her ukulele. Without missing a beat, she started singing “oh gather round, come and sing with me”. The music and the lessons remain … we’re still reaping the benefits!”

Roman Music Therapy Services has been providing Sprouting Melodies® classes to area families for over six years. With a loyal following, some children who are now in pre-K have been with us since their early infant days! Many parents and families have made connections with one another through the classes they attended.

Our Winter II Sprouting Melodies Sessions have just started and run for six weeks. Register today to start making music and connections with your little one!

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Early Childhood Mental Health: A Growing Concern

Early childhood mental health is a growing concern.

Often mimagesproutingmelodiesisunderstood, Early childhood mental health is also overlooked or underestimated. Research shows that exposure to ongoing toxic stress in early childhood can have significant impacts on development early in life, and may lead to long term consequences in education, health and financial prosperity. Continue reading

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Speaking of Books….

If you have experienced a Sprouting Melodies Class, you know we often refer to, sing about, and read books as well as make music in class. Books and music, they are such vital aspects of a child’s well-being journey. And the fun of this journey is being along for the wondrous ride.

Enjoy this post written by a pediatrician who not only understands the developmental value of reading with a child, READING TO HER OWN CHILDREN IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF  HER DAY!

Why All Parents Should Read to Their Children | Wishing Well


gotbooks

Also, speaking of books… we are collecting new and
used baby and toddler books until 12/20/2014.

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5 Reasons Music Therapy is Great With Autism

1. Music therapy is an individualized form of therapy that uses the strengths and abilities of a person to accomplish personal goals and meet personal needs.

2. Music therapy is flexible and able to work across multiple goal areas at once! Music therapy is able to address, communication, social, cognitive, emotional, motor/physical, and independent goals. Some parents have referred to music therapy as “one stop shopping!”

3. Music therapy can be both motivating and a positive reinforcer.

4. Music therapy is able to provide a personal experience for individuals and group members alike, incorporating preferred music into sessions, creating a deeper connection to the experiences.

5. Music therapy is Fun! Music therapy is individual in its approach, in that it allows a person to work in a way that is both self-expressive and goal oriented., making it seem like no work at all!

Music Connects

Channing Shippen MT-BC

 References:

Reschke-Hernandez, A. E. (2011). History of music therapy treatment interventions for children with autism. Journal of Music Therapy48(2), 169-207.

Allgood, N. (2005). Parents’ perceptions of family-based group music therapy for children with autism spectrum disorders. Music Therapy Perspectives, 23(2), 92-99.

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Our New CD!

Gather Round Music CDGather Round: Music Time is Family Time

Hopefully you’ve already had a chance to hear some of the songs on our new CD! If not, buy your copy now!





This CD has been such fun to record, produce and share with you, our families. We are confident that you will enjoy listening to this music as much as we do. It’s been playing non-stop in our music therapy center in our homes. Our children, nieces and nephews have all had a chance to hear it and the responses we’ve heard so far have been wonderful!

Girls Listening Girls-Recording-small-300x225 Laura RecordingKristina RecordingMer Recording

My son, who is 2 and a half and attends Sprouting Melodies has been asking for “Laura’s songs” all the time! He asks for “More Bye Bye Music Time is Done” all of the time as that is his favorite song at the moment! He also loves listening to the songs he’s heard in class and is singing them along to the CD. I’ve also seen him run over to get a drum to march with the marching song! This is exactly what the CD was intended for! So we want to know, how is the recording being used in your home? What is your favorite song? Which song do your children keep asking for again and again? Let us know by contacting us!

And mark your calendars for February 3, 2013 when we will have our very first CD Release Party!

 

CD Release PartyCome to our CD Release Party!

The Prince has been gracious enough to let us use their space to celebrate the release of Gather Round! The best part is you can order anything off their full menu to enjoy a family lunch, great music, and our amazing Roman Music Therapy Service Community of great families!

There will be two shows – One at 11am for families with young children, and another one at 1 for families with children from 6-14 years of age of All Abilities!!! Everyone is welcome!


February 3, 2013 Gather Round Family CD Release Party

11:00am-12:30pm For families with children 0-5 years old
1:00pm-2:30pm For families with children 6-12
More Details to Come Soon!

BONUS!!
Bring a friend with you and be entered into our “Friend of a Friend Raffle”

Bring a new friend who has never been to one of our programs or events before and they will be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate good towards merchandise, classes or a birthday party!

If your friend wins….you do too!

Please spread the word.  This will be a great time for all.

Looking forward to seeing you all there!
Meredith

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Notes on My First Music Therapy Session

A Co-op’s Post: Taking a Closer Look at Music Therapy
Written by Britney McNeilly, Northeastern Co-op Student at RMTS

Today I had the pleasure of witnessing my first music therapy session.  Though I have read numerous books and studied cases in which music is used as a therapeutic tool, I have never actually been present during a session; this was both an exciting and reaffirming experience for me.  As the new Northeastern Co-op student assisting at Roman Music Therapy Services, I am going to be sitting in on sessions led by Board Certified Music Therapists and assisting them with their programs during the next six months.

On Tuesdays at 2:00pm, Roman Music Therapy Services hosts a group session called “Music Makers,” (Drop-Off Program) which works with young children ages three to six, with or without disabilities.  This is the first Drop-Off class as part of “Sprouting Melodies,” the children’s program at Roman Music Therapy Services.  Music is used to help them express themselves, develop social skills, and learn how to positively interact with others.  The session I took part in was with two children. Despite their differences, I witnessed both reap the benefits of music therapy.

The session started with us all (including Meredith and Kari, the two music therapists in charge) sitting in a circle, each with our own hand drum.  Varying in sizes, the drums were used to bang along to a melody that Meredith sang to introduce the class and get the children involved.  Whether it was quiet and slow or fast and loud, each of the children clearly demonstrated their personality through their playing technique and preferences. Next we sang along as Kari played the guitar.  Meredith has developed a catalog of songs that get the children moving and hold their attention, which is crucial when working with young kids.  Passing a drum around, the kids learned how to share, take turns (and accept when their turn was over!), make eye contact, and call each member of the circle by name. They also were learning musical concepts– how to maintain a steady beat, how to improvise, and the sonority of various musical instruments.  The second to last song used scarfs as props, an idea that I found quite creative. Kari sang “I See Colors All Around” (written by one of our music therapists, Holly) and the children waved their colored scarfs in the air.

After forty-five minutes, the session ended with a goodbye song, and the children moved to the next room where they were greeted by their parents.  Joyful, they said their goodbyes and left RMTS. I was happy, knowing that they had enjoyed themselves and  were a step closer to achieving their goals.  Even in this brief session, I was provided with proof that music therapy can indeed help children grow.

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Introducing Music Makers

Music Makers

Graduating from Sprouting Melodies is a proud moment for participants but when the party’s over, your 3 to 6 year old can get bored and lonely mighty fast without a follow-up program that is every bit as compelling as Sprouting Melodies while continuing to offer them new and exciting experiences.

That’s why, after serious consideration, we’ve decided to offer a follow-on program. Music Makers will be equally delightful and transformative for your wee folks (pre-school through kindergarten).

At Music Makers we–surprise! –make music in small group environments. Enrolled children will sing, play instruments, learn how to get along with their peers, and learn how to build foundations for lasting friendships.

Music Makers is a drop-off program. This means you (parents and caregivers) can drop off your charges and cool your heels in a nearby room or at our new on-site Coffee, Tea, and Me coffee shop located downstairs from our Music Therapy Center, while your preschooler enjoys independent music-making time. And as a Sprouting Melodies Class, your child will continue to earn stamps towards on their Repetition Reaps Rewards Card. After 5 Full Sessions, the 6th Session is 50% off!

The program, led by Board Certified Music Therapists, will focus on peer interaction, communication, and social skills development. The groups will be inclusive and integrated so children become aware of the rainbow of diversity that exists across our great land. Children with special needs of any kind will be enthusiastically welcomed and treasured. The therapists will model appropriate attitudes and behaviors so that children without clinical challenges or difficulties learn that another person’s differences aren’t deal breakers and that they can find good friends everywhere.  For more about the program, click here.

Music Makers Class

We would love to have your youngsters join us. We promise to provide  wonderful experiences in a safe and nurturing environment.  Please give us a call, send us an email or go online to sign up nowSpaces are limited and filling fast.

We know you want to establish a weekly routine by the second week of summer, so don’t delay! When the spaces are gone, they’re gone!

Program web page

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Repetition Reaps Rewards

Our Sprouting Melodies Program has really grown over the past year and has provided an enriching, playful, and supportive music class to more than 60 children. We have seen the children

  • Grow in language development as they sing greeting songs, body awareness songs, and books set to music
  • Develop motor skills as they learn to shake maracas with a musical cue, march, run and jump to music and play the drum with one or two mallets
  • Request and giggle with glee during lap rides, which give the babies, toddlers, and preschoolers the sensory stimulation they greatly need, especially during this time of year when playground time is limited.
  • Foster new friendships with each other, asking for their friends during the week and identifying them by name when they come in the room each week!

This winter session, we are rolling out our New Repetition Reaps Rewards Program. This program aims:

        1. To reinforce that repetition is the real secret to learning, and

 

      2. To thank all of the loyal families who continue to participate in Sprouting Melodies with their children.

Early Childhood Music

Here are the details…

  • For every full session that you register for, you will receive a stamp on your Repetition Reaps Rewards Card. (Prorated Sessions will not count towards your 5 classes.)
  • After five full sessions, you will receive 50% Off your 6th class!
  • Repetition Reaps Rewards cards are for each individual child and stamps can not be combined within your family.
  • Stamps can be earned within any Sprouting Melodies class and can be redeemed throughout the year.

We are so excited to offer this opportunity to both thank you, the parents, and to support your children in their overall early childhood development!

Please read all about it on the Repetition Reaps Rewards program page!

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One on One: A Music Therapy Duet

Is Individual Music Therapy right for you?

By: Meredith Roman Pizzi, MT-BC
Here’s a fireside chat with Meredith about individual music therapy sessions.

1.   What does individual music therapy look like?

Individual therapyMeredith: In a typical individual music therapy session, the music therapist and client will engage in a variety of musical experiences including:

    • singing
    • playing instruments
    • songwriting
    • song recording
    • lyric analysis
    • active music listening
    • movement to music

Individual music therapy is truly individualized! The client’s needs and goals are addressed directly in the musical interactions and active  participation in music.

2.   Do participants reach their goals faster in private sessions?

Meredith: Because individual music therapy sessions are designed to focus directly on the client’s needs and goals, participants do reach individual goals faster in private sessions.  In group music therapy settings in school or afterschool programs, the primary goals are always related to the group. Individual participants do make definite progress towards their individual goals, however, they are not the focus of the entire group session.

On the other hand, in an individual session, the individual’s needs always come first. The music therapist is able to respond to whatever the client needs in the moment and although music therapy is still a process and takes time, consistency and engagement, individual progress is often seen more quickly in private music therapy sessions.

3.   What can be accomplished in a 1:1 session?

Individual therapyMeredith: One on One music therapy sessions are a great way to target and increase skills in the following areas:

    • expressive and receptive communication/language
    • motor development
    • self-awareness and awareness of others
    • academic and cognitive areas
    • sensory regulation
    • behavior

4.  When is 1:1 music therapy NOT the right choice?

Meredith: If the goals you are looking to address in music therapy are based on social skills and functioning within a larger environment, then individual music therapy is not the best choice.  Skills like waiting and turn taking, asking and answering questions, increasing joint attention to group activities, and understanding socially appropriate behaviors are best addressed in a music therapy group format.

What are your questions about music therapy? If you have any other questions you would like to see answered about music therapy, please email me and I will answer them in a future newsletter.

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“Your baby is not bored! Your baby is totally confused!”

By: Meredith Pizzi, MT-BC

babyI said it again this month at the Melrose Public Library program during a music therapy session.

I love looking out at all the babies and toddlers who came unsuspectingly. I begin to play my guitar and they just stare at me. It is partially a look of panic, “Who are you?” And partially a look of disbelief, “You want me to do to what?” It is also a look of intrigue and confusion. But I do know, and I’m sure of this based on my 5 years of music therapy experience, that these looks are not looks of boredom!

I have to admit that it did take me a long time to come to this realization. I used to think it was just me and that I was boring them to death.

I remember, my very first session with preschoolers for my music therapy internship. The students were brought down to the music room for thirty minutes. I started with the hello song I had prepared. I was petrified when I realized that they were all staring back at me with that deer in the headlights look. I sang the song two times and then, because they obviously didn’t like that one, I quickly transitioned to another song. The second song was received with those same empty stares. As was the third, and the fourth, and the fifth, the sixth, seventh, eighth and even the ninth. That’s right! I sang nine songs in that first thirty-minute music therapy session!
No wonder they were confused. I never gave them a chance to catch up with me!kate baby photo

babyIt took me years of experience and learning about early childhood development and music, but now I know that if I’m still getting that deer in the headlights look, I need to do the song again, and again, and again, until the young children who are participating in my music groups are no longer in panic mode. Once their facial expressions relax and they begin to look at me with the expression that says, “Oh, okay…tell me more,” then I know we are ready for more music making. I assure you, as adults we will tire of a song much more quickly than our babies will. But our babies are not bored!

So the next time you start singing a new song with your baby, sing it again and again and again until they start to get it. Never do what I once did and run through 9 songs in 30 minutes! Instead, give your child a chance to really soak it all up and experience the music. And then when you are bored, sing it three more times!

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Announcing New Birthday Party Packages!

You’re Invited!

When?

Saturdays and Sundays
Weekdays at Schools and Daycares also available!

Where?

Our place or yours!

What happens at Roman Music Therapy Services?

1 hour of fun and interactive music making!
Pizza and cake downstairs at Papa Gino’s

Papa Gino'sRoman Music Therapy Services is announcing that we have teamed up with Papa Gino’s to offer a brand new option for Birthday Parties for children. Here’s a fun way to celebrate your child’s birthday in developmentally and age appropriate ways in which the kids and grown ups all have a blast!

Forget those crazy places that spin you around for an hour and a half and you come out feeling dizzy! Come on in to our comfortable music therapy center for a Music and Movement Birthday Party for children 1-5 or a Let’s Rock! Birthday Party for children 6-12. We’ll make music, play instruments, sing songs, and have a great time for your child’s birthday.

Then downstairs to Papa Gino’s for Pizza and Cake! Everything is included!!

I’m so excited about this! If you’re interested in having a birthday party with us, give us a call!

For More Information, check out:
Music Therapy Birthday Party Flyer
Music Therapy Birthday Party Agreement

Contact Meredith R. Pizzi, MT-BC at 781-665-0700 or mpizzi@romanmusictherapy.com

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“No Momma. No Dadda. No Sing.”

By: Meredith Pizzi, MT-BC

Early ChildhoodDoes this sound familiar?

“Don’t sing, mama, me sing.” Or maybe it’s not quite so verbal. Maybe your child stares you down until you stop singing. Or maybe they walk over and hold their hand over your mouth. Or maybe they scream and cover their ears until you stop singing.

So what is this behavior about, anyway?

First of all, it’s not you having a terrible singing voice. And,  it has nothing to do with your child disliking your voice. There are many other important developmental issues at play here. As a child goes through the stages of development, they are grappling with many different skills and concepts.

I’m currently reading a fascinating book titled “Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach“, written by Beth Schwartz, a Board Certified Music Therapist in NY. She writes about the musical development of young children and how that can be applied to help young children and older children who are moving through the developmental levels of Awareness, Trust, Independence, Control, and Responsibility. This book has led me reflect further on a lot of the behaviors that I observe in children of all ages and the developmental reasons behind the behaviors.

As a child develops new skills, they like to practice them and demonstrate independence. For instance, a young child learning to dress him or herself wants only to dress independently. Any efforts to help will quickly be refused. A child’s musical skills are also developing. As a child begins to recall music and songs, they understand the lyrics, melody, and rhythm and then they begin to reproduce them.

When they don’t want to hear you singing, it may be a sign that they want and need to practice the music themselves to better understand and master this new skill.

But don’t quit singing yet!

Music Therapy and Early Childhood bookAfter this stage of development will come a new area for growth in which the child will learn how to engage in music making with others and will be ready to participate in group music making.

Here are some ideas for engaging your child in music making at this developmental stage. Many of these ideas come from the book, “Music, Therapy, and Early Childhood: A Developmental Approach“.

    • Encourage developing motor skills through music by doing a lot of songs with repeating patterns of body movements. Clapping hands, patting knees, and stamping feet are engaging and fun, and give the child a chance to demonstrate her skills
    • Use instruments that the child can play independently including maracas, eggs, drums, and tambourines. Also include two handed instruments, like a triangle, finger cymbals, or a wood block.
    • Give children many opportunities to make choices in the music. Choices can include what instrument to play, singing loud or soft, fast or slow, or what movement to do to the music.
    • Allow for developing language skills in songs by leaving out the last word of a phrase and waiting for the child to fill it in.
    • Sing or make up songs with very simple language that is repeated. Children learn the words to songs before they remember the rhythm and melody. As Beth Schwartz says in her book, “Less talk is more.”

I hope this provides for some fun music making opportunities for you and your child.

And next time your child covers his or her ears when you start to sing, remind yourself, “It’s developmental, not the quality of your voice.”

Keep making music!

If you have questions or would like to find out more about how music therapy can help address your child’s developmental needs, please call me at 781-665-0700 or email me at mpizzi@romanmusictherapy.com

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Why I Love Making Music with Children

How could you not love making music with children? I love providing music therapy programs for little ones at public libraries and in our Sprouting Melodies classes. And I love making music with older children in afterschool groups. But honestly, the best part is knowing that Moms, Dads and other caregivers can bring those songs home and develop the music making at home.

So on that note, here are My Top Reasons Why I Love Making Music with Children:

Music is Music – Simple Enough

EMARC-Hands-300x190There is nothing like sharing in the simplicity of music making with a child. As a newborn, music is a profound experience that causes the baby to stop and look around, waiting and watching. As children age, they become more and more aware of the environment and still attend to music as if it is a huge presence in the room. I learn a lot from their experience of music.

Progress is obvious – And so much fun to observe!

When you see children, young and old, master a musical task in a song, the progress is crystal clear! I enjoy working in groups of 6-7 weeks because at the end of a session, the progress from beginning to end is absolutely magnificent! We can all sit around and say, “Do you remember when we first started this group?”

The same is true with a child at home. With repetition, you see great growth! Every time a song is shared, children soak it in. With even more repetition, they are able to make the music their own. And it is really is fun to see.

Music making with children is joyful!

When you can see the anticipation of a musical phrase in a baby’s eyes, smile, and body movements, it is shear joy! And as the baby grows, (which happens much too quickly) the joyful responses become joyfully contagious! It’s hard to not laugh with a 3 year old when playing the drum, or a 7 year old delighted to be strumming to the blues on the guitar!

Bonding through music is natural

Early Childhood MusicThere is a closeness in making music with your child that goes beyond a song. It is our common understanding that songs and lullabies create intimate shared moments for babies and caregivers. With repetition, those shared musical moments create meaningful bonds.

The same can be said for music making with older children. Think about all of the stress and conflict in our parental relationships with our children. From putting on shoes in the morning, to clearing the dinner table, to brushing teeth. There are plenty of events that take us away from bonding with our kids. Making music on a regular basis with your children returns some of he playful bonding to our relationships that we all need.

 

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Music for Early Childhood

Taking the Music In

Music for young children, like music in general, is a unique experience that is unlike anything else. For young children with no language there is still music. For the young child with limited movement, there is still music. For a child who cannot see or touch objects in the environment, there is still music. Even for children with hearing loss, there can still be music.”   -Elizabeth Schwartz, LCAT, MT-BC

Sprouting Melodies

Sprouting Melodies early childhood music program was designed to offer all children the unique experience of being part of the music. In our groups together, the children spend quality time with their caregivers, the music therapist and the other young children in the class exploring instruments, songs, and movement. It is a full experience of relationships, bonding, and nurturing as the babies and toddlers bounce with joy to the music on their parent’s lap, smile as they shake maracas, and laugh as they move to the music throughout the room.

Sprouting Melodies provides a positive and supportive developmental experience for children of all abilities. For those children who are meeting all of their developmental milestones, they are able to jump into the music, to explore their world and their relationships with others and each week stretch and grow into their music. Children who are receiving Early Intervention services benefit from participation and are able to address their developmental skills in a fun and natural environment. Children with delays who do not qualify for Early Intervention services are able to get the support they need in a therapeutic, but playful environment.

Learn more about our Sprouting Melodies Program.

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Individual Music Therapy for Children

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Almost all children respond to music. Music is an open-sesame, and if you can use it carefully and appropriately, you can reach into that child’s potential for development.  -Clive Robbins

Roman Music Therapy Services has a private music therapy center for individual and group music therapy sessions conveniently located at 333 North Avenue in Wakefield, Massachusetts.

This intimate and private setting has been created with the therapeutic process in mind and is equipped with guitars, a keyboard, drums, tambourines, and various other hand percussion instruments.

There are currently openings for weekday and Saturday sessions. Please call Meredith R. Pizzi, MT-BC to schedule an individual music therapy assessment.

The Music Therapy Center creates a space in which the client can freely explore a musical relationship with the music therapist and be supported in their growth by the music therapist and the music. There is also space for a parent to sit and observe during the sessions if desired. As a private pay service, goals and objectives are agreed upon by the parent, music therapist and the child, if possible. Goals may be related to areas addressed in school or other areas which the parent feels are not being adequately addressed.

Read more about music therapy for children and our services in the following pages and articles.

To find out more about how music therapy may benefit you or your child, contact Meredith R. Pizzi, MT-BC at 781-224-3300 or submit an inquiry through our website.

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