Music Therapy: Decrease Thunderstorm Anxiety

“Oh no, it’s raining and there is lightning and thunder!” – P. Labs

By afternoon today, the Houston weather had turned to thunder, lightning, and heavy rain fall.  When I went to pick up my student for a lesson, he was very afraid of the weather and looked about ready to cry.  The crash sound of thunder was too much for his sensitive ears and the sight of lightning made him cringe.  He did not feel safe or comfortable.  My goal of the session turned from learning music to decreasing his anxiety and to give him a coping method.

I brought out the rainsticks and showed him that they sound just like the rain.  I told him that we can control and play the rain inside while the heavens play the rain outside.  His eyes were fixated on the little beads as they rolled down the long tube.  He played the rainstick several times, turning it over and over.  Then as the rain poured outside he shook his rainstick up and down to imitate the sound he heard.  To imitate the thunder, I played loudly on the drum and then he played several rhythms.  At that point, he felt much better, less anxious, and decided he wanted to play piano.

Near the end of the session, lightning flashed several times and he wanted to play the drums again.  This time we added the ocean drum to add the waves rolling fast through the thunderstorm.  We played the ocean drum fast and hard to make it sound like the thunder and rain we heard outside.  At one point, it was too loud for him and he said we should play quietly.  We dropped our volume and then a minute later, he raised the sound and with steady rhythm, he played the ocean drum, large drum, and the vibra-slap to get the whole thunder lightning storm effect.  We briefly talked about us being in control of making the thunderstorm with our music while the Heavens were in control of the storm outside.  He left the session feeling calm and ready to walk through the rain to the parking lot.

Some people say that a thunderstorm is the sound of God bowling, we determined that a thunderstorm is God making music with his instruments.


About Hilary Yip

Music Therapy. Martial Arts. Rowing/Coxswain. Creative Movement.
This entry was posted in Drums, Instrument Play, Music Therapy, Ocean Drum, Rainsticks, Vibra-Slap and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


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