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 intervention 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.
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.
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!