Music Therapy Advocacy: Share A Story

January is Music Therapy Advocacy month!

It is an exciting month for music therapy as Ben Folds has #FollowMTWeek on Twitter and is one of my Twitter followers.  He is an awesome cheerleader and a huge supporter of music therapy.

SM Advoacy Badge

I am participating in this year’s joint AMTA/CBMT Social Media Advocacy project.  The project is based on the idea of connection.  I am collecting music therapy stories and I want to hear a story from you!

Share you story about music therapy below in the comments or email them to me at  I want to share them via my blog and to the Social Media Advocacy project.

Here is a story I want to share:

One student that I work with has difficulty processing through emotions and feelings.  Due to low language skills and coping mechanisms, he cannot always express how he is feeling.  Instead he screams and gets physical with the furniture and people around him.  It can be dangerous to be around him during his meltdowns.

In our music sessions, we process each emotion by playing through them in any order, spending as much time as needed.  We labeled various different instruments with emotions of happy, sad, mad, silly, surprised, worried, grumpy, and any other emotion he wants to throw in for the day.  The instruments are xylophone, accordion, hand bells, slide whistle, gong, castanets, and any other new instrument he wants to assign an emotion.

With me changing accompaniment patterns on piano, we pick an instrument/emotion to start and he directs when we switch to the next instrument/emotion.  Some days, we start with happy, sad, or mad and spend more time on mad, sad, or worried throughout our emotion improv.  We have almost always ended on the happy emotion.  He is able to express that he feels better and feel happy after music with me.  Our music session helps him get ready and focused for the school day; also it gives him an outlet to express what he cannot say in words.

Families share a little something:

“Cole loves singing and music in general.”

“Tapping on the leg improved articulation- auditory processing delays caused slow and sing-songy speech- and now it is greatly improved.”

“He LOVES music, and as you pointed out, the kids on the autism spectrum especially connect, and Patrick is definitely one of those whom music reaches!!”

Although continuing to recognize letters and numbers, Charley still struggled with remembering the spelling of his name. Noticing his love of music, his teacher collaborated with the music therapist at Parish and they put a plan in place. The goal was to create a song about Charley’s name. Within two weeks, mission accomplished! He was finally able to write his name! He was so proud. This year, one of Charley’s struggles is counting past the teen numbers. And again, the music therapist, Hilary has created a song! I have no doubt he will be on to the twenties in no time at all.”


About Hilary Yip

Music Therapy. Martial Arts. Rowing/Coxswain. Creative Movement.
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