After several days attempting to sit in hard chairs, I am struggling to sit long enough to post this information. I learned so much at the Heart of America Christian Writers Network conference that I forced myself to sit at a 90 degree angle for longer than my nerves and muscles allow. Today and tomorrow I will be limited to my apartment. My companion dog won’t eat and drink in order to reduce the number of times that I have to take her outside, too. This is part of having M.S. and arthritis. You may ask- what does this have to do with musice therapy?
Music therapy is just what I needed to forget my pain long enough to do a few things around the apartment today. The right music is crucial for the proper motivation. This is also true for children who have to fight challenges.
As a teacher, I’d absolutely done everything that I could to keep the attention of a child that I could only describe as an actual butterfly. He flitted and floated from place to place as quickly as I could blink. How did I attract him long enough to teach him anything? At first, I started singing a tune from the radio as much to calm my nerves as to see if he would recognize me. Instantly, he paused flitting for a moment and joined in singing the chorus.
That moment was the beginning of my song rewriting career. For several years, my colleagues and I were giving directions with tunes that he knew. We were fortunate to have added a talented music therapist to our team to help us write songs to help him remember math, reading, and spelling concepts that were more abstract for him. Sometimes, just giving him an opportunity to drum on a desk to do his math problems would do the trick.
Did music change his life? Absolutely! I hate to think what would have happended had I not taken a chance to sing to him all those years ago.
If you have read the work of Howard Gardner and the areas of intelligence, you know about the musical/ rhythmical intelligence. For parents of children with exceptionalities, I would recommend learning about these areas of intelligence. It helped me discover the areas of intelligence in my students. Then I used this information to design activities for learning with their areas of strength.
Obviously, I am grateful for his research. I wouldn’t have started singing that day with my little human butterfly without having read his work. Today, I played the Michael Buble’s CD from the library in order to write to you through my pain. For those of us with music on the brain, the perfect music can help us accomplish many different things that are difficult. It, at least, bears consideration.