Thursday, November 3, 2011

All Keyed Up!

This week I had the pleasure of bringing my new Casio key-lighted keyboard into sessions with me.  I have not done this much because I definitely need more skill when it comes to playing piano and keyboard!  This is definitely my greatest weakness musically!  But I decided to go ahead and bring it in to force myself to play in front of others.  It was a little bit nerve-racking and intimidating but I got through it!  I had a few unexpected and delightful surprises along the way!  When I purchased my keyboard from Target, I saw that it had light-up keys and I thought, "How awesome to provide my clients with a way to play with no musical experience!"  The problem was that when I chose available songs, they were way too hard to follow.  The left hand was lighting up to play chords and the right hand was playing melody.  I couldn't even follow it.  So I was very disappointed and came up with some other interventions that would work with the keyboard.  One intervention was inspired by Bonnie Hayhurst over at The Groovy Garfoose!  She posted a video about using only black keys (the pentatonic scale) and accompanying clients.  It worked very well! 

But at the beginning of the week, one of the clients hit a button and the keys started lighting up one by one as the client played the song!  So my client taught me how to correctly use the keyboard for what I was looking for!  That goes to show that extra exploration from clients during an intervention isn't always a and thing!  So after that happened, I let all of my clients play a song in each group.  One group in particular was a 10 student middle school classroom.  This little boy did not want to take his turn and took refuge in the bathroom when it was his time.  I went through all the clients, allowing them to pick their song to play.  When it came back around to be his turn again, he still did not want to participate due to anxiety.  So I did the first thing I could think of.  I brought the keyboard to him rather than having him come up to the keyboard at the front of the room.  At first he was very resistant to the idea until I told him I would play and he could watch.  I then invited him to press the next key that lighted up and he did!  He proceeded to finish the entire song!  It was so exciting to watch him light up!  After that intervention, he was excited, alert, and ready to keep going.  Unfortunately the end of the session had come up.  This happened a lot in several classrooms.  Students that would usually act out or be withdrawn would suddenly become very engaged in the keyboard playing.  I look forward to trying this again!

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