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Rachel Rambach, MM, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist
The Hope Institute for Children & Families
1. Improve opportunities for children with multiple disabilities to learn cognitive, emotional and physical skills. Music therapy provides a fun and motivational setting for learning cognitive, emotional, and physical skills. Songs related to cognitive concepts, such as counting, reading, months/holidays, identification (colors, shapes, etc.), are presented to students and frequently repeated so that the information is absorbed. Example: The music therapist has written a song for each month of the year which highlights special events, holidays, and occurrences. The song is presented to the class each week of that month so that by the end of the month, the student can sing the words and therefore associates the information with the month. Songs related to emotional concepts, such as feelings, types of emotions, and facial expressions for each emotion, are also presented in the music therapy session. Example: The song “What Do You Do” asks the student to demonstrate the appropriate face or reaction for each emotion. Physical skills such as stretching, types of movement (galloping, skipping, etc.), and following directives for actions such as clapping, waving, and stomping feet are presented at least once per session in music therapy. Example: “Move Your Body Along” directs students to “clap, stomp, stretch, twist, and sway”. 2. Decrease inappropriate behaviors that interfere with the learning process. Because music is inherently an enjoyable and rewarding experience, students are in general more likely to practice appropriate behavior during a music therapy session than when there is no music present. The music therapist’s objective is for this appropriate behavior to be generalized to the classroom setting, outside of the music therapy session. Strategies such as preferred music activities contingent to appropriate behavior are used to encourage the decrease of distractive and inappropriate behaviors. 3. Develop targeted skills for children with significant learning deficits. The music therapist has pinpointed skills to be addressed in the music therapy setting based on the students’ needs and level of functioning. One area that is addressed frequently is social and communication skills. At the beginning and end of each music therapy session, students in a group are prompted to appropriately greet and say (or
Teachers are also asked to recommend students who they felt could potentially benefit from individual music therapy services. 2. When requested. The music therapist provides direct therapy services to both large and small groups of students as well as individual students. and attending skills. if speech is not possible) goodbye to the music therapist in the context of “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs. 4. Based on observations and the music therapy assessments as completed by teachers. Program Strategies 1. Students are much more likely to participate in an activity if it is fun. the music therapist designs a program tailored to fit each classroom’s needs. the piano. Before working with students and classrooms. snare drum. As mentioned before. . gross motor. Consultation with teachers. Along with speech. and guitar are used for more in-depth work on fine motor skills. Develop twofold curriculum that provides: 1) direct therapy with small groups of students and 2) consultation with teachers. the music therapist assesses each classroom by first observing the students in their natural learning environment. organized movement. Another area frequently addressed is fine motor skills and coordination. The students are also given the opportunity to make choices about which instruments to play and which songs to hear or sing. Other targeted areas include expressive language. and tambourines with the goal of correctly manipulating the instrument. respectively. which gives them a degree of control over their experience. small groups and individual students who receive music therapy are based on recommendations from teachers and other staff. In one-on-one sessions. which is why the music therapist chooses music and songs that she feels will appeal to that particular class. eye contact and gestures (such as waving) are encouraged. including songwriting. Conversation skills are also targeted through sung and spoken dialogue. Various techniques are used to increase these skills. She then asks each teacher to fill out a music therapy assessment form on which they are instructed to describe the specific goals and objectives they would like to see addressed in music therapy. Incorporate music into each classroom to increase fun and participation. and all other staff members is readily available and provided upon request or when the music therapist finds it necessary. direct care staff and other therapists.gesture. One of the goals of every group music therapy session is for each student to participate in the experience. Analyze current classroom environments to determine how music can be incorporated. Music and verbal encouragement is provided for motivation to accomplish this goal. Teachers and classroom staff are encouraged to offer suggestions and update the music therapist on areas that can be addressed as the year progresses. This curriculum is based on an evaluation of the students as well as the goals outlined in the initial music therapy program proposal. and impulse control songs/activities. teachers receive CDs from the music therapist to be used as classroom resources. rhythm sticks. direct care personnel. Students are provided with instruments such as maracas.
and other percussive instruments. Model skills for teachers and staff. which is one reason why music therapy is so effective. Assess/evaluate individual students' abilities/needs. MT-BC The Hope Institute for Children & Families 217-585-5437 rrambach@thehopeinstitute. It fosters creativity. and occupational therapies. self-expression. Additional Comments Like speech. 4. the goals/objectives addressed are listed. guitar with stand. students and groups receive 30 minutes per week of direct music therapy as well as indirect services that include the preparation of materials and resources. bells. instruments. In this note. The music therapy curriculum at The Hope Institute is currently being implemented in fifteen total classrooms as well as with several individual students and small groups. with or without multiple disabilities. it is a time to have fun. music therapy is viewed as an important aspect of the students’ education. Classrooms. and confidence. shakers. individuals and in classrooms. changes. Equipment. Rachel Rambach. Implement music therapy curriculum with groups. which are ideals that every child. iPod speaker. but they are also learning important skills that will carry them through their academic and personal lives. The students almost always greet the music therapist with a big smile. 6. should have the opportunity to realize.us . rhythm sticks. MM. Purchase necessary equipment/supplies. Music is intrinsically rewarding. iPod. tambourines. They might not realize it.3. Teachers and other staff are present for all classroom and group music therapy sessions. or additions are noted weekly as the music therapist completes a music therapy progress note following each session. maracas. as well as many individual sessions. physical. Any progress made. the staff is encouraged to participate just as much as the students in order to provide supports for both the music therapist and students. instrument cart. Students’ abilities and needs are initially assessed by the music therapist through observation and an assessment form completed by the classroom teacher. because for them. During the session. They have access to the strategies the music therapist uses in working with the students. 5. as well as strategies used to target these goals/objectives. and are given recordings and song sheets to practice skills addressed in music therapy when needed or requested. and supplies that are frequently purchased for a music therapy program include: a keyboard.
ongoing evaluation. Who is qualified to practice Music Therapy? Persons who complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. and cognitive skills through musical responses. • Music therapy involvement can stimulate attention and increase motivation to participate more fully in other aspects of the educational setting. and social skills. How is Music Therapy utilized in schools? Music learning is used to strengthen nonmusical areas such as cognitive skills. • Music therapy interventions apply the inherent order of music to set behavioral expectations. provide reassurance. and maintain structure for children with special needs. communication skills and physical coordination skills which are important for daily life. communication abilities. song writing.Music Therapy Fact Sheet Compiled by Rachel Rambach. • Music therapy can offer direct or consultant services as determined by the individual needs of the child. emotional. Music Therapy and Special Education • Music therapy interventions can address development in cognitive. behavioral. physical health. MT-BC What is Music Therapy? Music Therapy is 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. music and imagery. social functioning. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC). Music therapy can also facilitate development in communication and sensorimotor skills. Source: American Music Therapy Association . participate in interdisciplinary treatment planning. and learning through music. and follow up. physical. What do Music Therapists do? Music therapists assess emotional well-being. • Music therapists can support special education classroom teachers by providing effective ways to incorporate music into their academic curriculum. receptive music listening. lyric discussion. MM. music performance. design music sessions for individuals and groups based on client needs using music improvisation.
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