TOP 20 TYPES OF ACTIVITIES I USE AT MY SCHOOL

General types of activities and variations I do with my kids, who contend with language, communication, learning difficulties…  ages: 2-12.

  1. Mirroring/imitating activities.
  2. Circle dances.
  3. Instruments  -general rhythm instruments, homemade instruments.
  4. Songs with motions/movements/signs.
  5. Role playing/pretending/pretending.
  6. Lyric discussion.
  7. Lyric/Song writing…  adapting songs, fill-in-the-blank songs, mad lib songs
  8. Story writing to music.  Accompaniment to a story.
  9. Singing activities.
  10. Specific concepts taught through music.
  11. Auditory identification of sounds.
  12. Auditory attention span, discrimination and memory.
  13. Relaxation or coping strategy experiences.
  14. Guided imagery (very light unless done with a pro.)
  15.  Finger plays.
  16. Adaptive instrument lessons.
  17.  Call-response activities.
  18. Drawing to music.
  19. Improvising of every kind; instruments, dance, vocals.
  20. Dancing to live or recorded music.
  21. Play instruments in turn and cooperatively (ie: divide up a drum set and share the beat.) by Margie La Bella of MusicTherapyTunes.com

Top 20 BENEFITS OF KAZOOING by Margie La Bella of MusicTherapyTunes.com

1. Improved inhalation, exhalation, breath control.
2. Fosters vocalization and vocal play.
3. Improves awareness of lips, teeth, tongue.
4. Improves coordination of lips, teeth, tongue, and breath.
5. Improves oral musculature
6. Improves awareness and use of inflection and high, middle, low.
7. Improves auditory memory via echo games
8. Improves auditory awareness and processing of loud, soft, fast, slow, high, low…
9. Improves conceptual understanding of the same.
10. Allows shy singers to remain “anonymous.”
11. Children who can produce melodies but not words can succeed.
12. Easy group and solo success. Easy and convenient for Jamming/improvising.
13. Can help Foster turn taking
14. Fosters audiation: hearing the words within the mind. (Like “Bingo.”)
15. Easy to play name that tune with.
16. Fosters understanding of the give and take of conversation, musically.
17. Can help reduce nasality in hyper-nasal clients.
18. Can provide for mulch-generational interaction and fun.
19. It’s portable, accessible, and adaptable.
20. It is fun. Whoo-hoo.
A note on kazoo pedagogy: Instruct and model the process of vocalizing into a post-functional paper towel roll. Position the roll in front of the ambusher (your mouth) and vocalize a tone for the student. Have the student do likewise. Transition to the actual kazoo. Some naive students may think all that is needed is breath without sound. With younger players, the resonation device (thin paper) can be
removed so that the child can hear himself singing through the kazoo. I tell these students to“sneeze” or “howl” into the kazoo to foster proper vocalization and sound production. If this results in more
breath without voice, I suggest that the student make a long “whoooo-ooo” train whistle or perhaps a monkey sound. Once the student consistently vocalizes into the instrument, the resonating device (little thin paper thing screwed in the top) can be returned to proper position.
-Margie La Bella
Musictherapytunes.com

How parents and teachers can USE CD/MP3 PLAYERS TO ENHANCE LEARNING

USING YOUR CD PLAYER TO ASSIST LEARNING
Top 10 activities for mixing kids and music.
-by Margie La Bella at http://www.musictherapytunes.com
 
The big point is this: You can use your CD player like an instrument. It has stop/go and loud/soft capabilities.  You can also turn the volume off  for a favorite phrase or phrase you want to teach and have the children “fill in” the lyrics- – that’ll prompt language and participation.  Those are two bonus biggies.  TRY IT. You’ll like it!
 
1.Use the CD play button and pause button to make the music “go” and “freeze.”  Have the children play their instruments, stop, then resume. 
 
 2.Use the CD volume button to lead the class in playing “loud” and “soft.” Mix this skill with the “go” and “freeze” mentioned above. This fosters improved auditory awareness and attention
 
 3. Have the kids do a series of turn taking songs.  Use the play and pause buttons of your CD player to signal when turns begin and end.  Have the kids play under certain language characteristics and say things like “play if you’re a boy/if you’re a girl,” and “play if  you are 3 years old.” Repeat with the 4s and 5s.  How about playing if you’re wearing certain clothing items, or by the colors of your clothes?
See how this teaches peer awareness, colors, clothing vocab….. the list goes on      
and on.  What is it you want to teach?  Play games like this one.
 
 4.  Another turn taking game is to have the kids play depending on how their  
instrument is made. Turn the CD on and tell the kids to play if their instrument is                  made from plastic, wood, metal, or is homemade…
 
 5. Take turns and share the music depending on how you play the instrument.
Have the shakers play first. Then the tapping instruments play. Then the rubbing instruments and on and on.
 
 6. Play under certain conditions: for example, if you like to play basketball, or if you like to eat ice cream, or spinach.  If you have a June birthday, or meet some other condition. 
 
 7. Here’s another new type of idea. Have the kids march to music (and play their instruments) around a group of pictures of shapes, colors, numbers, site-words or any other picture representing something you want to teach.  The kids march to the music and when the music stops, they identify the picture of the object in front of them. Use chairs or a table or rugs to place the pictures on if the kids need more structure than just the floor.    
 
 8. Play musical hot-potato.  Pass a maraca (or two or three) around the circle. When the music stops, that child has to answer a question.  Use to teach concepts. Examples: what do we wear on a rainy day. What animal do you like.  What animal lives at the zoo? What toy do you play with? (You can write them out ahead of time.) Variation:  Or simply have the kids who end up with the “hot potato” come to the center of the group to play other instruments along to the music. Repeat with the next hot potato child coming to play with the music.
 
 9. Play instruments and pass them when the music stops. Too hard? When the music stops take the instrument of the last child, then tell the next-to-last child to give her old one away. Repeat down the line.  Give the instrument in your hand to the last child.
 
 10. Play along to part of a favorite song. Then have the kids put the instruments under their chairs and put their hands in their lap.  Give them a one-step direction (“clap your hands”, or “tap your knees”)  and have them do that for a little while.  Then repeat over and over with different directions/requests.  Have them come up with their own ideas of how to move. 
 
See you don’t have to go near a guitar or even sing!  Go have fun and give it a try.
Be careful with picking a song that’s too fast for your group; they will probably get over excited.  Also be a little wary of song lyrics and content. Listen to the words and only use it if you don’t mind them telling the parents that they learned the words in school. Even some kids music and music from kid’s shows and movies can be inappropriate for some groups. 

NOTES TO AN INTERN by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.com

1. First of all, it will be very handy for you to be very comfortable on the guitar. You’ll have enough to think about without having to think of finger positions. Sit with the guitar and switch chord positions silently while you watch TV. This implies that you have time to watch TV, but even 10 minutes every day will train your fingers. Guitars are much easier to carry than pianos, so there’s a decent chance you’ll need your guitar every day.

2. You probably got a copy of a blank evaluation form when you started your internship. That’s exactly what you’re being graded on. Use it as a guide to help teach yourself what you need to learn. If not the exact eval form, then use your syllabus to push your skills forward.

3. Put the songs you want to learn on CD or MP3 and listen to them when you’re in the car,cleaning, walking, or working out. If you can’t get a recording of the material, then buy a little tape recorder and sing them yourself and memorize them that way. See if you can record the songs your supervisor sings. Suggest meeting and having a song swap between the two of you. There are several handy free programs on the internet to help you obtain new material. Download a youtube to mp3 converter and have access to even more songs. Libraries have tons of great music for kids. Find a song and google words and chords. Have a question or a problem? Google or Youtube it. Try to teach yourself how to play by ear if you can. That I, IV,V bit really helps.

4.Get comfortable with your voice and singing. I think you’ll have a voice class. Sing in the range that you sound best in and don’t push. I use a mic and little amp every day. I had one intern that was quite tone deaf and one field work student with the same problem. Know yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses- now called “need areas.” That sounds nicer.

5. I used to think that I should be able to do all the right things, and know how to handle situations I’d never been in, in all my 22 years of life. Take it from me: Life’s a big lesson.
You may think you’re here to teach/work with this group of people. Guess what: they’re here to teach you as much. Different things because it’s a 2-way street. There’s a piece of every disability within us all. Whether or not it’s disabling is simply a matter of degree.

6. Open your eyes and open your mouth! Ask for help. This is where you are NOT supposed to know everything. Ask about what you don’t know. Ask the questions you’re afraid to ask.
Ask the teachers and assistants and OTs and PTs and speech therapists what their goals and techniques are. Ask. Sometimes you can work on the “same” goals musically. Articulation, oral-motor exercises, auditory memory, attention span and simple words are naturally done musically. And Watch. How does the teacher handle that same situation? When people offer you information, they may be doing it for a reason. When they jump in and say “Johnny close your lips and say mmmusic” they are telling you that’s significant for Johnny, so next time help Johnny say mmmu-sic.

7. My internship was with tough kids, some of whom were barely younger than me. Very challenging. Here’s something that helped keep my attitude focused. Every day I’d look for one thing that made me laugh, one way that I’d been blessed, and one lesson I’d learned. Seems simplistic but it kept me looking in the right direction. One thing I wish I has access to was a person to talk to about how I felt – someone to give me a good set of ears and some good direction. (But I didn’t talk about that stuff then.) Talk.

8. Back to my present job: you’d be surprised at who can do what. Sometimes I bring in a new instrument that’s a bit tricky to play and let the kids have at it: see what they come up with. Sometimes I do an activity that I’m suspecting is too hard on one level and the kids end up showing me that they can do it a different way or for a different purpose. I’ve given two-handed instruments to kids with only one working hand and guess what: they show me that they can do it! I made four short mallets for a tyke with virtually no fingers and he never needed them. He used a regular mallet. He also strung beads in OT. We don’t know how he did it! Whew. Think I’ll take a break. Good “luck” to all the SMTs!!!

the IMPORTANCE OF MOVEMENT

of http://www.MusicTherapyTunes.com


 What’s the importance of learning through movement to music? Does it really enhance the learning? Children are born with a major thrust to grow brain cell connections. They seek involvement, active engagement, and hands-on participation in their physical environment.

Babies and young children are like little physicists seeking out all the sensory stimulation and cause/effect experience they can wrap their little bodies around. They are scientists experimenting with everything they can get their hands (and mouths) on: gravity, momentum, parabolic flight paths, stimulus-response are among the subjects they study.

We all know about the senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. There are actually two other senses that we depend upon. The proprioceptive sense is stimulated whenever we use a muscle or compress/use a joint. The vestibular system responds where, or how, the head is positioned in space and to the speed of bodily movement. (It’s how you know where different body parts are when your eyes are closed.) It provides a reference point for the other senses to process their information in relation to. Educational research shows that multi-sensory teaching produces the best learning. When there is a difficulty learning through one part of the brain, the other senses and learning modalities can compensate, compliment and enhance each other.

So kids are hard wired to seek sensory input through movement- and movement involves the visual, auditory, tactile, propriocepive and vestibular sense. (If you move in the wrong part of the yard one can stimulate the nose, too.) Use of the correct music can engage, motivate, focus, reward and provide the maximum environment for learning. Use music that is meaningful to the learner, not overly “busy” or distracting or loud or fast, age appropriate, lyric appropriate, and- oh yeah, – fun! Moving to the right music can compliment and cement in the skill/lesson/goal you are trying to teach.