Posts Tagged "Music Classes for Autism"

Having Fun: Play Based Music Learning

We all have fond memories of learning skills that are play based. Time flies by and we didn’t notice how many hours we spent learning how to ride a bicycle or put the basketball through the hoop. We were busy having fun.

Having fun learning music can start very young, and continue for a lifetime.

My approach to acquiring music skills, (regardless of the instrument), is based on having fun. I carefully choose songs and activities that engage the student and help to develop all the skills necessary to do something well and improve in all these other areas.

  1. Language Skills – singing generally, and specifically, is potentially helpful for developing the function of language including the following areas: speech, vocabulary, articulation, flow, and even literacy.
  1. Cognitive Functioning – developing memory, learning how to learn, mental processing, and clarity. Note that there is a lot of information available about how music can help develop the brain. While this is true, I am talking a great deal more than this: enhancing specific mental abilities as a consequence of becoming a more accomplished musician.
  1. Physical Functioning – singing and playing instruments require a high degree of coordination, and, at a higher level, flow. And, as music making becomes more flowing and coordinated, so too does the body usage. It is possible to use the acquisition of musical mastery, therefore, to enhance body usage.

To do this I play and sing with the student so that we are learning how to work together, and have fun. I also have at my fingertips, an enormous amount of material that I use and adapt for each student, depending on their age and interests.

The goal is to have music making become an activity that is rewarding and will last a whole lifetime.

How making music can help people living with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

Music touches us in profound ways, and while many of us enjoy listening to music, it is the activity of making music that has the most powerful effect on our wellbeing. The Sing-Play approach makes learning how to do this an easy and rewarding experience. We have so much music inside of us just waiting to come out.

Most adults currently living with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s will have grown up in a significantly more active musical environment. Many more people were engaged in music making, in their local communities, through participation in local orchestras, chorus, church choirs, as well as playing in dance bands. Despite having Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, they will possess a huge reservoir of music that they have heard which makes it very easy to develop.

While scientific studies continue to show us how making music has a positive effect on our brains, cognition, co-ordination and emotional well- being, it doesn’t really show us how much enjoyment we get out of making music ourselves. With Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, the sufferer is learning how to navigate a life that now includes diminishing life skills, and an increased need for help. Learning how to activate their creativity and make music themselves becomes a powerfull addition to their lives, both personally and for their families.

Music Wellness

Music Wellness is an approach to music learning that has evolved over many years of my ongoing interest in different wholistic modalities. It was sparked by the instant improvement in my clarinet playing from just one lesson in the Alexander Technique. This was such a shock, as it was a radically different approach to developing excellence that I was learning at the time from my famous teacher. This led me to becoming a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and introduced me to a whole new world.

If you think of wellness as developing a lifestyle that you can easily live on a daily basis it covers three broad areas, Body, Mind and Spirit and Music Wellness addresses the Spirit. You learn to make music with the aim of giving it out to others, regardless of whether they are in the room or far away.

While I teach this to all my music students, it was brilliantly demonstrated to me by one of my music students, only four years old. During our last music session, she was singing one of her favorite songs and playing the drums, while I was playing the piano. Then she spontaneously made up a song to all her grandmothers, (they are all in heaven), and another song for all her grandfathers, who are also in heaven. In the process of offering them her songs, she was connecting directly with them – despite the great distance between earth and heaven! – and creating wellness for herself.

Music Wellness means that every time you make music you are helping others, by playing to them and yourself by thinking outwardly. This can be part of your daily life.