Posts Tagged 'music therapy activity ideas'

Zoom H2 Recorder

I was recently recommended the Zoom H2 recording device from someone at Long & McQuade music stores, as a good tool for doing recording projects with the seniors I work with who have dementia.  After finding out more information and hitting a few bumps in the road with funding, I was able to purchase one on behalf of one of the sites I work at.  This recorder has been wonderful to work with, and what I would call a music therapist’s dream for managing recording projects.  The Zoom H2 has been easy to use, and the sound quality of this little recorder is amazing!  I would highly recommend it for any music therapists who want to record with clients easily and inexpensively.  It retails in Canada for $189 and can be bought from Long & McQuade.  To learn more about the recorder, you can visit their website:

Blessing Blossoms

This is a nice activity idea for reminiscing groups, when having your group celebrate a person, i.e. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, etc.  It could also work well as a goodbye activity for a group member or staff person leaving the group permanently.  Have your group create two lists: one with words to describe that person and one with phrases of what you would say to them if you could.  Weave in related songs, poems, photos and discussion for a very meaningful session.  After the session write these words and phrases onto cut out blossoms and make a display for your group to admire next time.

Mother’s Day CD

One of the most meaningful gifts you can give someone is a home made music mix.  For anyone looking for ideas for Mother’s Day coming up, or wanting to find a way to find a gift within your budget, a CD or personalized playlist will do the trick.  Here are some song ideas for mothers to get you started:

Let It Be – Allison Crowe
Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh – Allan Sherman
Mama’s Song – Carrie Underwood
I Got It from My Mama –
Ave Maria – Charlotte Church
Does Your Mother Know – Abba
I Wanna Thank You – Darius Rucker
Good Mother – Jann Arden
Mamma Mia – Abba

There are many more and you can easily find song ideas online.  I also like adding songs with lyrics that express how I feel about that person or see them to mixes, in addition to the obvious ones.  Making CD’s with this kind of purpose can be therapeutic and meaningful for the person making it, and the person receiving it.

Good luck!

National Music Therapy Week

There are a number of ways you can celebrate music therapy week and promote our profession.  Here are some ideas courtesy of the Canadian Association for Music Therapy:

*Display Music Therapy banners in high traffic areas
*Post a Music Therapy fact sheet at nursing stations and general bulletin boards
*Place a table display about Music Therapy on tables in the cafeteria, lobby, staff lounge, or waiting room.  Include a schedule of Music Therapy Week events.
*Show videos (from the CAMT library, or of your own work) in the cafeteria, lobby, staff lounge or waiting room.
*Invite staff and residents to join you in performing in a noon hour concert.  Distribute fact sheets to the audience.
*Organize a lunch-hour contest of music-related activities for staff.  Award prizes donated by local music stores.
*Set up a display board (which you don’t have to supervise) at a visible location in your facility.
*Prepare a display of recordings, Music Therapy literature, instruments, and adaptive devices that you can supervise over a lunch hour.
*Offer an education session on a specific client population of your expertise, and include experiential of techniques and activities used in your sessions.
*Submit an article profiling Music Therapy service and staff to the in-house newsletter.
*Hold a Music Therapy Services open house in your treatment area, including displays, demonstrations, background music and refreshments.
*Host a day of music; schedule volunteers, staff, family and/or residents to play for a set amount of time for the day.
*Have daily noon hour concerts.  Invite local music students to play each day throughout the week.

Happy Music Therapy Week!

7 Ways for Music Therapists to Combat Cold & Flu Season

First of all, if you’re sick, you’re sick and should not go into work.  However, even when you’ve been cleared by the doctor to return to work often a pesky cough and weak vocal cords can interfere with your regular routine.  Here are seven helpful tips I’ve found for getting through.

1) Make arrangements to spend more time on preparation, documenting, and special projects where you can cocoon at your desk, but still get work done while you’re on the mend.  When you are feeling better you can balance by spending more time with your clients and less time on the latter.

2) Invite an expert to come in to make hand made instruments, such as drums.  If there isn’t funding for this, you can easily learn how to make other instruments by searching online (i.e. the Christmas jingle bells mentioned in my previous blog).

3) Find activities that don’t require you to use your voice.  Musical Bingo, Name that Tune (using a different instrument for the melody), Musical Wheel of Fortune, and music trivia are all excellent activities for addressing cognition and reminiscing goals.  Beckie Karras’ book “Say It With Music: Music Games and Trivia” is filled with these kinds of activity ideas and a resource I use often.

4) Try doing a themed session about a well known musician where you can get away with using a lot of recorded music.  I did this last month with a session I called “Remembering Vera Lynn”, and the residents loved it.  It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it.

5) Empower your colleagues, volunteers and students by asking them to help you out.  The last time I was at the end of a cold and had to work, I invited a staff member who loves to sing to carry the melodies of songs while I provided lower harmonies (when I could!) and accompanied on guitar.  We sat on either side of the client we were working with, providing a “musical bath”.  He cried at the end of the session, reporting tears of joy from how beautiful it sounded.  Harmony heals!

6) Provide an opportunity for a resident who loves to sing to give back by being your voice.  You’ll have much less resistance to this if you provide the resident with written lyrics of the songs that will be sung, and make him or her feel like you’re doing it together.

7) Come to work prepared for the times when you will have to use your voice by bringing lots of tea, honey, lemon, cough syrup and drops.

Wishing you a healthy winter season!

Make your own jingle bells

This easy christmas activity is good for a variety of populations and will save you a fortune on buying brand new jingle bells.  Head down to your local craft store and purchase pipe cleaner, beads and jingle bells.  Slip beads and bells in any particular order/design you like over the pipe cleaner, leaving a small space at both ends.  Tie ends together when finished by wrapping them around each other (you may need pliers or another tool to make sure there are no sharp tips sticking out).  Celebrate by singing and shaking the bells along to Jingle Bells, Silver Bells or any other related Christmas song.

Spectrum Educational Supplies

I stumbled upon a great resource this afternoon… a Canadian based company called Spectrum Educational Supplies.  They sell a wide variety of resources, equipment, props, books, etc. for several different populations.  I ordered the “Seniors Activities” catalogue and am sure that I will be purchasing some supplies from them in the future.  I also posted this resource on my links page for future reference.  Happy shopping!


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