Music Moves

Perspectives & Insights from a Local Music Therapist

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One, two, buckle my shoe…

Sound familiar?  This little nursery rhyme has been the center of a new unit of mine at both the School for the Deaf in North Dakota and our upcoming programming week at the School for the Blind here in Grand Forks.  Why? A few reasons:

1. the Counting concepts involved: this song is great for young children to practice counting from 1 to 10 (and I have a fun verse that goes backwards from 10 to 1 too!) not just for reciting the numbers in order, but remembering that order with interruptions (like the phrase “buckle my shoe” between the numbers 2 and 3).

2. the Rhythm and Rhymes: my students at NDSD find this song a good one for practicing their signing fluency, and I am able to address the issue of rhymes with my older and more aural students.  I can show them a variety of cards with pictures of objects like shoes, doors, and sticks on them and say “5, 6, pick up…” and then wait for them to point to the picture of the sticks.  Seems obvious to us who know the rhyme, but if you don’t, this can be a tricky concept! My students enjoy playing matching games to songs that rhyme.  At the School for the Blind we’ll be practicing playing the rhythm of the song with Braille Music notation, to focus more on the steady “Ta-Ta, Ti-ti-Ta” of the chant, and how that can be expressed on paper.

3. And lastly, impulse control.  This can be a fun song to start with singing or signing really slowly, and then speeding up each time you repeat it, but learning to control those giggles after each repeat is a skill we spend our whole lives developing, if you think about it – when something is fun, how do you transition to what’s next without too much disappointment or craziness?  This week I’ll be presenting for an early childhood class on using Music for transitions – may be another blog post here on the subject then too!

Until then, however, I have my grandparents in town this week and am enjoying spending some quality family time before Fall really kicks into high gear with the return of my travel rotation with the School for the Blind, resuming of the LISTEN Drop-In kids groups (hopefully the first Wednesday in October – yay!) and the American Music Therapy Conference, which will be coming up sooner than usual this year, and at which I’ll be presenting for my first ever National Conference! Lots to enjoy, be thankful for, and look forward to – much to learn as well!

Speaking of learning, one last AWESOME announcement: this week a new continuing education course by yours truly will be released on Music Therapy on the subject of Music Therapy with the Blind and Deaf.  Some of the concepts I just discussed above will be included, as well as tons of info on the assessments I use in my work with NDSD and NDSB, and general information on using Music with individuals who are Visually Impaired or Hard of Hearing.  I could not be more excited about this or grateful to the amazing Kat Fulton for this opportunity, and I hope if this is a population or area of Music Therapy that is even remotely interesting to you that you’ll consider signing up for the course! It’s all online, available to you 24/7, and worth 5 CMTE credits.  It’s been an awesome experience creating the course and I look forward to hearing from students as they take it and seeing what they have to say about it – as much as I teach and advise in my profession, my clients and students teach and advise me every day!

So go out there and learn a little something new today – even better if you do it with music!




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