Meet Sam…

Sam is wearing the yellow cap. Sam is a natural performer and loves drama and singing.  Music therapy supports Sam’s personal development and nurtures his musical development in a well-rounded way.  You would never know that Sam navigates a range of challenges associated with the stroke he suffered at birth.

This clip depicts the music therapy technique of songwriting. In sessions leading up to this we had used the techniques of music listening and musical games to explore the blues chord progression, scat singing, and call-and-response play. In this session Sam started reciting a verse in response to hearing the “Rockabilly” song from the drum kit’s pre-recorded library.  The verse went – “Hello my name is Joe and I work in a button factory…”. Sam’s spontaneous input informed a focused and inclusive process that resulted in the group’s creation of a product they can call their own.  Besides playing the music, my role was to highlight the value and potential of Sam’s spontaneous contribution and to relate it to the learning of our previous sessions.  I also suggested that we could reference everyone’s name in the song, and they could choose to say what they do.

By reflecting on this process with his peers and his family Sam becomes more aware of the importance of peer support and the positive impact he can have on other people.  Sam also learns to trust the potential of his creative drive, which will guide him to be and become all he can be.

I have used songwriting with all populations.  Other examples of songwriting include the creation of purposeful songs, song collages, and parodies. Purposeful song refers to songs I have written to meet a specific need.  For example, I have written a range of “Hello” and “Goodbye” songs. For some clients it is important that sessions have a clear structure. These songs quickly become familiar and relieve anxiety.  Also, as you saw in Sam’s clip, they support turn-taking and participation.  Song collages involve working with clients to explore the elements in their preferred music that they like the most, and then applying these to their own song creation.  For parodies the client creates their own lyrics to go with a familiar melody.


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