In the spirit of Music Therapy Advocacy Month, I felt that sometimes it is best to see music therapy in action in order to understand it. Therefore, today’s Thursday Therapy Tune features an amazing young man I have grown to know well over the years. When I first became board certified I landed my first contract with the Center for Music Therapy and Wellness at Drury university here in Springfield. Over the years, I have had numerous clients through the Center. Some I see for short durations and others for much longer. When thinking of clients who would be willing to help with this, I immediately thought of my good friend Peter. We have been making music together for years and having a blast along the way. Peter has a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy, so he has difficulty with fine and gross motor movements. This may lead people to believe that making music would be too hard for him, but watch him play and you will see the motivation he has to independently play along and be an active participant in the music making process.
For the tune today, I chose to share his favorite song of all time, The Ants Go Marching. He has enjoyed this song since he was a child and continues to love hearing it. Though we jam on the drums to the currents such as the Lumineers, Charli XCX, Mike Snow, and Monsters of Men, Peter will always choose the Ants first!
Music therapy is about so much more than just playing music though. The best part about music therapy, is the combination of “music” with “therapy”. By adding a musical component to determined non-musical goals, tasks that may seem tedious become fun. In this case, the exercise and motor control Peter is working on becomes masked by the music. Motor goals are being addressed within the music therapy session to help Peter reach his goals in other therapies and at home. Just think of how great going to therapy would be if music therapists always co-treated with physical and occupational therapists? Combining the expertise of the three always ends with maximum results.
So take a moment to see what music therapy is all about. Though Peter cannot use words to explain it to you, his face pretty much sums it up 🙂