The Covid-19 pandemic has created the new “normal” of staying home and social distancing. While we’re remaining safe and doing our part by staying indoors when possible, boredom can still strike. The pandemic has shown us how important it is to find novel, creative outlets for ourselves.
Have you ever thought of making your own instruments at home? Well, now is your chance! Below are a few common instruments that music therapists use in our sessions. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to make your very own DIY music therapy instruments for yourself or your kiddos.
- Egg Shakers
Do you have extra plastic Easter eggs laying around? If so, you’re in luck! Egg shakers are easy, portable instruments to make that sound great with any song. You will need…
-Plastic Easter eggs
-A filler (rice, popcorn seeds, dry beans, etc.)
-Stickers (not required, but a fun addition)
Fill the plastic eggs with the filler of your choice. Be aware of the small holes that usually are found at the end of your eggs so that your filler does not sneak out. Fill one half of the egg about halfway full considering you’ll want to leave room for the filler to move around and create the “shaker” sound. You’re almost done! Make sure to seal the eggs with tape (Scotch tape works) to ensure the filler doesn’t make a mess at home. Feel free to decorate your plastic shakers afterward with colorful stickers or use markers to draw fun designs! Enjoy!
We’re all rhythmic and rely on a steady beat. Take your heartbeat and breathing for example! Now you can play along to a steady beat at home with DIY drums! Check and see if you have any of these items on hand…
-Empty coffee, soup, Pringles cans (the bigger the better in my opinion!)
It’s pretty simple…take the empty can you have available, place the balloon over the opening of the can to cover the entire circular face, and secure with a rubber band! Using numerous sizes of cans will create different sounds for each. All you need now are two items to work as drum sticks and you’re all set!
Ready for an even easier option? Leftover oversized paint buckets work perfectly! Flip them over to use the bottom as your drum face and play away. This will give the drum a deeper, louder sound compared to the “can drums” up above. Lowes and Home Depot have these available for under $5!
The final instrument to add to your “at home band.” Tambourines are great to take on-the-go or dance around the house with. This DIY instrument is a little more complex, but still uses common, household items. Look for…
-2 Paper plates
-Anything else needed to decorate
Put the two paper plates face to face while punching holes around the perimeter. Taking your yarn, weave it through a hole around the outside of the plate and back through that same hole to create a knot. Once you do this, you’ll be able to take your jingle bell and string it through the yarn. You can include a jingle bell on every hole or skip a few depending on how loud you’d like your tambourine to sound. Once you return to the original hole, tie off the yarn and you’re almost ready to play! Feel free to personalize the tambourine however you’d like!
Ready, set, make music!
The end of summer is quickly approaching! As enjoyable as this summer was, it’s time to start planning ahead for the fall and back-to-school months. The services Metro Music Therapy offers could be the perfect addition to you or your family’s schedule!
At Metro, we provide one-on-one and group services spanning multiple domains and diagnoses. Our team’s experience as board-certified music therapists allows us to cater to all client’s needs by tailoring each session to meet their desired goals and objectives. Our team serves the following populations…Developmental Delay, Autism, At-Risk Youth, Grief & Loss, Mental Health, Veterans, Refugees, and Hospice & Palliative Care. Visit our homepage, and click each box to read, in detail, exactly how we approach and carefully consider the needs of each client.
If you think Metro would fit well into your weekly routine, give us a call or reach out via email! We would love to serve you in the near future. The end of summer is a perfect time to bring enhancement into your life! We look forward to hearing from you!
Another month at home …
We can do this!
Our team is excited to offer another chance to make music with us
through an online platform throughout the month of April!
Here’s the Deal:
- Geared towards children ages 0-5
- All classes ONLINE!
- Singing, dancing, counting, learning letters, making animal noises, and meeting new friends!
- $80 for 8 classes
As a music therapy intern who just completed my internship at Metro Music Therapy, I have had the opportunity to experience the multitude of ways that music therapy can positively transform patients’ lives. Academic classes in college certainly hammered in AMTA’s definition of music therapy such that I could recite it in my sleep: “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Practicum sites in college gave me glimpses of how that definition applied to direct patient care. However, completing internship and learning to implement such music interventions with a more diverse variety of populations than I could have ever imagined has given me new insight into the importance of music therapy advocacy.
Music therapy groups can create a safe space with a sense of belonging for youth in the foster care system who have rarely known what belonging felt like before. They can create a welcoming community for refugee children who are navigating an entirely new country. Music therapy can provide comfort and relief from agitation for hospice patients who are nearing the end of their lives. It can increase quality of life for residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and memory care units. Music therapy can provide a unique outlet for emotional expression and processing for veterans who are suffering from symptoms of PTSD. It can help mitigate symptoms of mental illness for individuals in a behavioral health facility. Music therapy can do all of this and so much more.
With increasing advocacy efforts for music therapy, music therapists can continue to work with the populations most commonly served, expand services for those populations less commonly served, and design new programs to reach populations that have not yet had the opportunity to reap the benefits of high-quality music therapy care. As I have seen during my time at Metro Music Therapy, with a positive attitude that anything is possible, music therapy can continue to transform clients’ and patients’ lives for the better.
– Written by Haley Smith
***Photos used with Permission***
Now that school is back in full swing, many a young mind is likely pining for the days of summer past (as in, like, four weeks ago.) Here at Metro Music Therapy, we have a lot of exciting new adventures ahead – new clients, new contracts, and even our very own Music Therapy room in a private school! *Stay tuned for future blog posts.*
But for now, let’s take a moment to reflect on MMT’s music-filled summer camp experiences:
At the beginning of summer, MMT participated for the third year with Camp Cadi – a week-long camp for girls that have suffered from childhood sexual abuse trauma. Our own Camila Casaw served as the Music Therapist for the duration of the camp, staying with the girls on site and providing Music Therapy sessions. For seven days, Camila worked with the girls to provide validation, a safe space for self-expression and empowerment through the power of music and therapy! It was a privilege to be able to collaborate with Camp Cadi again and we are grateful to make some music with these brave girls!
Pictured is a portion of Camila’s musical “toolbox,” and an artistic expression created by the campers.
Stone Soup Camp
We were also excited to participate for the fifth year with Stone Soup Camp, a summer camp for kids and adolescents with autism and other special learning needs. Stone Soup held two sessions this summer, one week in June and another week in July, with the super fun themes of – wait for it – Dinosaurs and the Renaissance! Everybody loves dinosaur songs and court jesters playing recorder! While the students engaged in all kinds of amazing activities at Stone Soup, each camp also included one Music Therapy session with Kevin Middlebrooks for each age group. The students practiced their motor skills, sustained attention, auditory discrimination, teamwork, vocalization, and self-expression – all through singing, dancing, drumming, and, yes, even musical jousting! Kevin had a blast with the students. It was an honor to walk the dinosaur and fight dragons with these amazing kids.
Left: M. shows some quick response time during musical jousting to hit the target (bell) that matches the dragon. Right: Everyone uses their “dinosaur bones” to play some not-so-fossilized rhythms.
We’re grateful for our summertime experiences, and for our relationships with these two wonderful summer camps. They’re offering such valuable experiences for their campers, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have been able to add the benefits of Music Therapy to the mix.
And now school is back in session. Time to learn new things, make new friends, and create more music!
*In accordance with HIPAA, and out of respect for our client’s privacy, the initial A. will be used as an alias throughout this blog post.*
*Photo used with parent’s permission*
In the world of Private Practice, it’s not uncommon to spend the majority of a given week – professionally – alone. Of course, I am seeing clients, their families, and facility staff members as I drive from one location to the next. But most of these folks don’t know much about Music Therapy, apart from what I present to them. As for the sessions themselves, it’s usually just me and the client, and perhaps a parent stationed nearby. And sure, there are my wonderful colleagues at Metro Music Therapy, for whom I am immensely grateful. But we unfortunately only get to see one another in person about once or twice a week, for staff meetings and the like. Outside of those happy moments, they’re all off doing fantastic work with their own clients.
Suffice to say, I rarely have a chance to collaborate with another health professional in the midst of a session. Which is why those rare occasions are so much fun!
I recently had the privilege of working side by side with a Physical Therapist in a session with one of our mutual clients – we’ll call him A. The first thing worth mentioning is that this merging of sessions was suggested and arranged by none other than A’s parents! How cool is that? It’s always exciting when the benefits of interdisciplinary co-treatment are recognized and sought out by the client or his/her family. Let’s take a look at some of those benefits in A’s case:
1. It’s Practical – Time Efficient, Decreased Duplication of Services, More Hands!
I honestly believe that I would be a more effective therapist if I had four arms. Imagine the possibilities! Playing guitar with two hands, helping the client play another instrument with a third, and taking real-time data with a fourth – sounds like a sweet deal, right? Alas, even on my best days, I’m no Dr. Octopus. Which brings us to benefit #1: more professionals means more hands! It’s a simple, obvious benefit, but a benefit nonetheless. Live music is often preferred in a music therapy session, but that can be difficult if I need my hands to assist the client. With an extra set of hands, I’m able to incorporate all the good things that come with playing guitar (rather than a recording), such as easy fluctuation of tempo, while the client still receives physical assistance. And then there’s the time efficiency – in A’s case, his Physical Therapist and Music Therapist were able to see him simultaneously, so I imagine he was less worn out afterward!
When professionals work together, there’s less chance of the client “double-dipping” with a given service on the same day. For example, let’s say A’s Physical Therapist visits him to work on head posturing for 30 minutes, and then I show up to work on head posturing for 10 minutes, but in a different way. Sure, it’s not a bad thing to get more practice in on a given skill, but why not combine methods for a more concentrated practice session, with the combined knowledge and skills of two very different therapists? That brings us to our next major set of benefits.
2. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work – Combining Knowledge, Skills, and Experience
While I can address some physical goals through musical interventions, I am no Physical Therapist. There’s a significant difference between my knowledge and training regarding physical development and the knowledge and experience of A’s Physical Therapist. And similarly, there are skills that I possess as a Music Therapist that she does not, having never gone through my training. She may incorporate singing and music into some of her interventions, but not in the same way or with the same knowledge. Which is, again, why it’s so cool to work together! I had heard from A’s parents that he’d been working on holding his head up independently during Physical Therapy, but I did not entirely know what that looked like (or how the intervention was implemented in the safest, most beneficial way for A.) until seeing it with my own eyes.
Meanwhile, I recalled reading a research study in the Journal of Music Therapy, titled: “The Effect of Automated Interrupted Music on Head Posturing of Cerebral Palsied Individuals” (Wolfe, 1980). Participants in the study each wore a special head device, utilizing mercury switches which activated recorded music when the subject’s head was held erect, and paused the music when the subject’s head became improperly postured. Results of the study indicated that, for four of twelve participants, head control improved during the treatment condition. This essentially means that music can be a helpful contingency when it’s used to alert a client that they are holding their head properly.
We did not have a fancy head device, but with A’s Physical Therapist assisting him in initial head positioning and standing by to support him should he begin to fall, I was able to simulate the function of the device by playing guitar and singing while A. held his head upright. Whenever his head began to droop, the music would stop!
And there you have it: interdisciplinary co-treatment in action!
3. New Ideas – Next Time in Music Therapy…
What’s neat about co-treatment, even when it only happens rarely, is that it can inform individual treatment moving forward. Since that first co-treatment session, A.’s mother and I have replicated the intervention – using music as a contingency for head posturing, while she supports his head, should he start to fall – several times. And A. has been able to hold his head in place for up to about 45 seconds! I’m thankful that A’s mother brought me and his Physical Therapist together that day, for his benefit and for mine. Because, have I mentioned?
Co-treatment is just really fun!
4. It’s Fun!
Can’t really over-state this one. Other therapeutic disciplines are the coolest. There is so much we can learn from each other, and it’s such an honor to have a chance to work with another of my client’s therapists. I wish it could happen more often! In addition to the mixing of knowledge and experience, you’re mixing rapport and relationships too. My clients are awesome, and here’s someone else (namely, his Physical Therapist) who gets to work with A. and see how awesome he is every week!
And now we’re here with him together, working side by side?
That’s just… man, it’s a good time.
To quote Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock, sometimes,
“It takes two to make a thing go right.
It takes two to make it outta sight.”
– Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC
Co-treating: What Is It and What Are the Benefits For Your Child?
Lauren Weichman – https://nspt4kids.com/therapy/co-treating-what-is-it-and-what-are-the-benefits-for-your-child/
The Effect of Automated Interrupted Music on Head Posturing of Cerebral Palsied Individuals
D. Wolfe – Journal of Music Therapy – 1980
Benefits of an Interdisciplinary Approach: A Case of Collaboration
Dana Howell-Kimberly Cleary – Physical & Occupational Therapy In Geriatrics – 2001
Did you hear the news?
Studio PTC is officially open for business, and we couldn’t be more excited!
With a brand new space, we’re bound for brand new experiences, and we hope to offer the same to our brand new students! A world of music, exploration, and learning awaits in an environment we’re determined to make as motivating, rewarding, and downright fun as possible.
So what might you expect to find at Studio PTC?
First Things First: Let’s Boogie.
I think it says a lot about our team – and the type of instructional space this is turning out to be – that one of the first things to happen inside Studio PTC has been affectionately dubbed the #BlueWallBoogie.
Turning an empty room into a cozy and welcoming learning environment takes a bit of imagination and – sometimes – a bit of paint. And what better color for our brand new studio than “Metro Music Therapy Blue?”
Painting day – in true MMT fashion – became a dance party as the whole crew boogied away against the backdrop of a freshly blue-ified wall. Thus the #BlueWallBoogie was born, and we highly encourage any students, family, visitors, etc. to join in the dance craze that’s sweeping the nation (or, you know, Peachtree Corners, GA).
Here at Studio PTC, we engage in only the most serious and stoic of interactions.
We know that not every student fits into the “box” that general music instruction may presuppose. Our sincere goal is to adapt our teaching methods to suit the needs of any learner. So we made it a priority to draft a general music curriculum that we can easily present in a variety of ways – both “traditional” and “unorthodox.”
If a student is a “typical” learner… great! We’ll have a blast making music together!
If a student is an “out-of-the-box” learner… great!
We’ll have a blast making music together, just the same!
Because each of us here at Metro Music Therapy is a Board-Certified Music Therapist, we all have some practice in making music accessible, engaging, and fun for people of all ages and learning styles. We’ll be bringing that experience with us into every bit of music instruction at Studio PTC.
Will it always look like your typical music lesson? Probably not.
And that’s the way we like it!
Take a look at this sophisticated graph.
Here you’ll see the “box” of expectations for music lessons.
If you look closely, there is also a happy chick.
The chick is not inside the box. It’s a metaphor, see?
We are the chick. We are out of the box.
At Studio PTC, a slogan and social media hashtag of ours is as follows:
Lights… Instruments… Music!
So what kind of music lessons do we offer at Studio PTC?
We’re glad you asked!
For students as young as Kindergarten, we recommend starting with Music Fundamentals. In these lessons, we’ll focus on all the fundamental musical concepts and skills that lay a foundation for everything to come. That means rhythm, dynamics, tempo, melody, music reading, voice, and piano exploration – Fun stuff!
After Music Fundamentals, students 2nd grade and above are invited to experience more fully the wonderful world of the Piano – a personal favorite, I have to say! During Piano lessons (as in all of our lessons), we’ll combine our curriculum with the students’ favorite music. After all, the music a student already loves will be the most exciting for him/her to learn!
Once a student has reached 4th grade, they’ll likely have developed their fine and gross motor skills to a point that they’re ready to try a stringed instrument – like Guitar or Ukulele! This is also the minimum age we recommend for Voice Instruction. If you’re wondering: “Why wait until 4th Grade?”
We want our students to feel successful as they begin their musical journeys, so we’d hate to jump into something too soon before they’re ready! As such, voice lessons beginning before age 12 will focus mostly on vocal exploration, choosing appropriate repertoire, and caring for the voice.
Whether it’s Music Fundamentals, Piano, Guitar, Ukulele, or Voice —
Whatever the avenue, we believe that making music is a life-giving experience that anyone can enjoy.
We want to help our students do just that!
So drop on by!
Do a #BlueWallBoogie!
Remember to #BeTheChick!
There’s good times a-plenty to be had at #StudioPTC.
We’ll see you there!
Friday was a big day for the MMT Team!
Our morning was spent with a remarkably large group of bonafide rockstars – namely, the students of Simpson Elementary School! We were so excited to be there with these amazing kids to celebrate Exceptional Children’s Week. All week long, March 5 – 9, schools around the country celebrated students with exceptionalities and the families and professionals who serve, love, and support them. The theme of the week at Simpson was “Born to Rock!” and we had a chance to join in the fun with some instruments, singing, and dancing!
We were also excited to be sporting our new team “jerseys!”
First up, Bianca showed us how to “Shake It Off,” with several of the students using their brand new shakers. The whole crowd clapped, patted, and shook along, but we had to listen carefully – sometimes the instructions got tricky as they sped up!
Next, Kevin demonstrated how to get the instruments of a rock band going with some “Air Guitar” (and “Air” piano, drum, and violin) while the rest of the team provided a looping musical backdrop – all to create the song, “In the Jungle (The Lion Sleeps Tonight).” We even had some technical difficulties, like a real rock band!
Then Maria taught us how to use ASL to sign “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” using a familiar tune from Disney’s Moana. Everyone sang and signed along to practice, and Maria even rapped for us, a la Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson (a.k.a. Maui)! So I believe what we’re trying to say to Maria is… thank you. (“You’re Welcome!”)
Camila kept us on our toes with a “freeze” dance set to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” Whenever the music paused, everyone had to give their best pose to match whichever poster was suddenly flipped over. Things got even more interesting (and hilarious) when we had to do two – or even four! – poses at the same time!
All day long, the students were practicing their “Superhero,” “Dab,” “Selfie,” and “Hippie” poses.
To be honest, we were too!
Finally, Laura led us in some echo singing to the Jackson 5’s “A-B-C.” It was a school event, so why not do a little bit of learning while we sing? The students were divided into three groups to try and outdo one another with a hearty “A-B-C,” “1-2-3,” or “DO-RE-MI!”
We had such a blast rocking out with our new friends at Simpson Elementary. They are exceptional, every one of them, and we couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to celebrate them!
And for us, the excitement didn’t stop there!
After a team lunch at La Parilla, we had work to do, organizing, packing, and…
…wait for it…
In case you haven’t heard, Metro Music Therapy just moved into a new office space in Peachtree Corners, complete with a brand new Studio Room, where we’ll soon be able to offer music lessons to meet the needs of all learners! More details are on the way!
We can’t wait to welcome our students to Studio PTC!
The path leading to the Women’s Center Labor and Delivery unit may not always lead to the ending that parents have in mind.
While experiencing some of their deepest sorrow, families at Northside Hospital are surrounded by love and support from the H.E.A.R.T.strings Perinatal Bereavement and Palliative Care team.
Our team was thrilled to partner with this amazing department to create a relaxation CD for families who have suffered an unimaginable loss.
The MMT team poured months of work into this labor of love, and this morning, Mallory was thrilled to hand-deliver 100 “Mindful Moments” relaxation CDs to the hospital!
These CDs will be given to families upon discharge from the hospital in order to bring comfort and to create a time for healing and relaxation to take place whenever needed.
A huge thanks to our Assistant Director, Sam Shanine, for composing, recording, and producing the musical tracks for this album, to the MMT team and the H.E.A.R.T.strings team for writing the scripts, and to Selena Fettig of Beanpress Cards for the cover and insert layout and artwork.
Days like these remind us to continue to be grateful to have meaningful connections with others – whether it’s with our colleagues in the caring professions or with families that we may never meet, but who have already touched our lives.