Friday, September 30, 2011

There's an App for that.....Echo String

The other day I was looking through harp apps and I stumbled upon a great one!  This app is called Echo String.  It has some really pretty sounds and a lot of different options.  You can only pluck a couple strings at a time if you like, you can play chords, you can play sample songs, and much more.  I love the sample songs such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  I currently have the free version which serves my purposes of the I-IV-V chords and plucking individual strings.  Here is a video I found on youtube featuring the paid version.  What I notice that is different are the numbers of chords on the string and different sample songs that are available.

So with this app, I found many different clinical uses.  First of all, I use my iPad with one client primarily as a reward.  This is a great reward for them!  I also use this app for fine motor skills.  It is a little bit challenging to hit the strings individually without missing them, but I believe that makes it better for the students to work hard at hitting them.  Of course when you strum the harp it is very easy to play.  Also, this app can be used for social interaction with other clients.  It could be used between two partners taking turns playing their own solos.  In my next blog, I will talk about another harp app that I love!

Comment below if you can think of other ways in which this app could be used for clients or therapists!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Music: That's What You Are Game

Find this book on Amazon

At Regional Conference last year,  I bought a great book that I haven't really been able to look through until recently.  It is called "101 More Music Games for Children".  This book is amazing for school groups of any age!  It is fantastic because it splits up categories by type such as listening, improvisation, rhythm, relaxation, etc.  It also has an index that shows the age group that the activity is best for.  These activities can be used with children preschool age all the way up to high school and any age.  There are even some great games such as musical card games that would be great for adults in the geriatric setting or medical setting.

Today I want to highlight one game that would be great for middle school, high school,  or adults.  This game is called "Music:  That's What You Are".

Common Goal Areas:  Emotional expression, Leadership, Eye Contact, Unity, Listening, Attention

Objective: Given Instruments or a sound of choosing, clients will watch the conductor for their cues when to play within the activity.


1. Put instruments in the middle of the circle.
2. Clients will stand in a circle around instruments.
3. Clients will choose to make a sound of their choosing (body percussion, voice, etc.) or pick an instrument in the circle.
4. Explain that you will be the conductor first and point to the client when you want them to play, and show them specific gestures for continuous play while you choose others to play along.
5. Begin by pointing to one person and make a gesture for them to continue and add on more players.
6. Stop some players and choose others.
7. Continue this process for a minute or two adding 2-4 people at a time.
8. Stop all play and choose a new conductor.
9. If time allows, let each student have a turn to conduct the whole group.

This intervention can be varied in many different ways.  You can choose just to have them use everyday items for their instruments, just their voices, instruments, or a combination of everything.  Also, you can choose how many people you want to play at a time.  You could have 2-22 people playing, make up your own gestures for specific meanings, and design the group to your liking.  With adults in a geriatric or rehab setting, you could have them all sitting and keep the same process.  Have fun making this activity your own!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello Song

I am always looking for new interventions constantly from online sources such as other music therapy blogs, music educators websites, YouTube videos, etc. But I found a YouTube video in particular that was of great interest to me. The beginning of your session is always very important. You set up the mood and pace for which you expect patients to match. The Hello Song is a great way to set up your session for success. If it is bouncy, fun, and catchy, your patients will expect just that from your session. The following video is a Hello Song that has all of those qualities. It is high energy, very catchy and fun, and will be a great way to begin the session by patient involvement. Watch this music therapist to see how she sings the song.

Here is the video:

Monday, September 19, 2011

There's an App for that....MadPad

So I recently discovered a new awesome app that I just have to share!  This app is so cool because you can record any sound you can think of and then put it into a viewing square.  I believe there are 12 squares to record sounds in.  Examples can include kitchen sounds, voice sounds, construction, starbucks, instruments, etc.  Basically where your imagination leads you is where this app will take you.  Below I have a video that I created using Mad Pad.  I used my music therapy instruments in each square to create some cool sounds and beats.  Here it is!

So there you have it!  I had a lot of fun creating these sounds and I cannot wait until I come up with some more things to do with the app.  There are definitely music therapy applications that would work great with this app.  I plan to use this with some of my individual clients for them to create their own band.  They can make whatever noises they want and it will turn out great.  By using this, I can target their fine motor skills, sharing, turn taking, creativity, musicality, and so much more!  Have fun with this app!

Memory Song Game

    This will be my first blog that is talking about one of my intervention ideas and I am veryexcited.  I created this intervention to meet the needs of severaldifferent clients.  The great thing about this intervention, is that itcan be used for practically any goal area that needs to be met.  First ofall, I will explain what this intervention is. 
    The picture above showsthe visual that is needed for the intervention.  All that is needed forthis visual is white cardstock, a laminator and laminating sheets, clipart fromthe internet, and something to color the pictures with if you don't havecolored ink like I do.  First, go to Microsoft Word and create a box thatwould be a good size for holding a picture.  Then copy that box four timesonto the page.  Then, find four pictures from google images for the topicof your choosing.  I chose animals for this particular set.  I alsohave another set of fruit visuals.  Then place each picture inside thebox.  After you do this, go to a new page and do the same exact thing withfour different pictures.  After you have finished creating all of yourcards, print out two sheets of each page.  This ensures that you have twoof each animal, fruit, etc.  So in the end, you will have 16 cards whichis plenty.  I actually split my up into groups of eight to make iteasier.  When they master that set of animals, I use the other set ofanimals, and eventually add them together for the full 16.  So after youhave printed our your cards you are ready to laminate them.  Place aboutfour cards per laminating sheet.  And then you are finished making yourvisuals!  Now let's talk about what to do with them. 
    First,  show theclient the cards by holding two pairs of each animal.  Explain that theirare two of each.  Then, place all cards face down.  Have the clienthelp you shuffle them up.  This is usally a fun way for them tohelp.  Most really enjoy being able to help at something.  Then, placethe cards in rows of two with four cards each as shown above.  Next, youwould sing the "Memory Game Song" with the client.  I will posta video below to show you how this song goes.  For now, here are thewords: 
Let's play a memory game (3x's)
And say/spell all the words. 
The reason I have say or spell in the line is because I haveclients that need to work on speaking the words, and then I have clients thatneed to work on spelling the words.  Either way the game works forboth.  After you sing this part, you ask the client to pick their firstcard.  If their first card is a bird, you sing the song again likethis: 
This word is bird (3x's)
It is spelled B-I-R-D (Bird) 
So above is the same melody except at the end you spell eachletter while singing.  In parenthesis I have (Bird).  If you areworking on having the client speak the word, you say bird at the end instead ofadding extra words.  This gives the client a chance to speak the word 3-4times.  So while singing this part, you would pause each time you get tothe word bird in order to allow them to speak the word. 
So now you ask them to turn over a second card.  If this cardis the bird again, you would be finished with that stack and applaud them whileputting it to the side.  If it is not a bird again, you would go throughthe same process and sing the above verse with the correct animal.  Youcan go through the whole game like this until they have found all of thepairs. 
    I think this game isgreat because it targets so many different things.  It works on memory,fine motor skills, academic processes (spelling), and communication.  Youcan pretty much change up the intervention to fit your needs.  Have fun figuring out your own style!  Enjoy!

The Music Never Stopped

     Last night, I sat down to watch a movie I have been wanting to watch for some time.  The movie is called "The Music Never Stopped" and it is available in Redbox.  This movie is about a music therapist working with a man who has suffered from a tumor that affected a huge portion of his brain.  One big ability that was affected was his inhibition.  He lacked the restraint and filter he once had when speaking to others.  When somebody would speak to him saying, "Would you like a coke?", he would reply by saying, "It's the real thing."

   The movie continues to show his severe amnesia.  He remembers long term memories from his high school years and below.  The music therapist reveals this information when playing him music.  His mood instantly changes from stiff and passive to emotional and active.  When the therapist found his musical preference, he began telling stories of his younger days.  The therapist continues to work with him and finds that when she turns off the music, he goes back to his passive state.  One technique she used included playing music while asking him to remember a new phrase he had never heard before.  He repeats it back perfectly.  As soon as she turns off the music and asks for the same phrase, he cannot remember.  This is when she tries a new technique.  This technique is a neurologic music therapy technique called Rhythmic Speech Cueing.  When she turns off the music, she says the phrase again but taps out the rythmn while speaking.  She asks him to try the same thing and sure enough it works.  Later on in the movie he uses these techniques to remember a phrase taught to him by the therapist to greet a lady.  Amazingly, he retains this information even though he was not able to retain new memories in the past.  He begins to progress as music is used.  He is less rigid and more active even without music. 

   Towards the latter end of the movie, his father takes him to a Grateful Dead concert which is his favorite band.  He was never able to see them in the past.  At the concert he recognizes most of the songs except for one which he had never heard before.  In the past he had associated his old memories to songs he already knew.  But this new song had the potential for a new memory to keep long term.  He sang the song with his father and they shared in singing together.  If you plan on watching this movie and don't want me to spoil the ending, go ahead and stop reading right now. 

   After this concert and the bonding between them, his father has a heart attack and passes away later.  At the funeral, upon his father's last wishes, the new song by the Grateful Dead is played in remembrance of him.  The son plays back the memory of the concert in his head and tears rush out of his eyes.  He remembered their special time together.  The amazing thing is that he associated a new long term memory to a new song he had never heard in the past.  This shows the great power music can have.  Even when there looked to be no possible way for him to create new memories, music changed his life.  I definitely recommend watching this movie.  It definitely shows the power of music to heal people.

Here is the trailer:

About Me

     So for my first entry, I would just like to tell you a little bit about myself.  My name is Ashley Lundquist and I am currently a music therapy intern.  I graduate in December and am very excited to become a board certified music therapist!  I can't believe time has gone by so quickly!  It seems like just yesterday I was entering my freshman year of college as scared as can be.  Now here I am finished with all of my coursework and one step away from my career.

     I didn't actually begin college with music therapy on my mind.  I intended to become a choir director in a high school because I had enjoyed the Texas All State Choir experience for four years.  This made me want to lead others along the same path.  But soon I realized it was the choir experience that I loved most, not necessarily the teaching part.  So I began college with the mindset that I would be a music teacher one day and I was already not looking forward to it sadly.  I think deep down I knew then teaching was not my calling.  Then, after my first two years, I made the decision to change to music therapy after much thought.  I always had a passion for helping others.  I especially had a soft spot for the elderly in nursing homes.  My first experience of giving through my musical talents was with my sister.  One day we traveled to a nursing home to sing and play guitar for them.  I saw the great joy this brought to them and how some seemed so lonely.  I realized that they didn't get to see much of the outside world, much less, music.  So this began my interest in using my talents to aid others.  Music therapy was the perfect choice for doing just that.

    Thankfully, I began my college career at Sam Houston State University majoring in music therapy.  I wasn't completely sure of what it was when I went into it.  I pretty much thought I would be singing to people in hospitals, nursing homes, or schools.  Boy was I off!  I learned that there was so much more to the field than I had previously expected.  Much more!  My first semester there was definitely tough.  I had some great instructers that pushed me to my limits.  At times I was so overwhelmed with the workload that I didn't know if I would make it to the end.  There was so much clinical and scientific information that I had to learn in order to even start my real life practicum experiences.  Through my years at Sam, I was able to gain experience in working with preschool children, rehabilitation patients from the hospital, special needs children, and clients that were victims of domestic violence through a shelter.  I gained so much knowledge in working with clients throughout these experiences.  They definitely greatly prepared me for my time as an intern.

     So now here I am in my internship working under a private music therapist.  We see clients of many different types including private clients, school settings, and patients with traumatic brain injurys through a center for neurorecovery.  I have learned a great deal already and still have four more months to go.  When I finish my internship, I plan to work with private clients of my own and hopefully contract with a hospital in the medical setting.

     After talking all about me, I realize that I have not explained what exactly music therapy is.  There are many correct definitions I could give you, but I would like to stick with the best one available from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  Their definition is as follows:

"Music Therapy is an established health[care] profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings." -AMTA-

In short my definition is as follows:
"Music Therapy is used by trained music therapists to address nonmusical goals using music as the tool to address those goals.  Such goals include communication, social/emotional needs, physical needs, and cognitive needs.  After referrals, assessments, and observation, the therapist presents a treatment plan to the client throughout the course of a predefined time period.  During that treatment the therapist uses musical techniques such as instrument playing, therapeutic singing, neurologic music therapy techniques, movement to music, and many other techniques to address the client's greatest needs." -Ashley Lundquist-