As a Music Therapist, I work with a number of people, individuals and groups. They have varying areas of goals for their lives depending on the individual and collective group. Since they come to me for music therapy, of course, they want to make music. Music therapy is different than music education. In music therapy, the life skill is first, then music is constructed to accomplish that goal. I always tell my clients and families that the client will learn music along the way. Learning can come in many forms in music therapy. It can be visually, auditorily, verbally, and physically or kinesthetically. I learn how my clients learn best, and focus on the skill using music as the vehicle and motivator to bring about achievement.
Sometimes my clients need a little adjustment with the tools of the music therapy trade. So, I try to find ways to meet the goal of accomplishment while building confidence. That means I adapt the surroundings or the instruments. For instance. I had a client who needed to work on movement in his legs, but overall mobility was low. He wanted to play the drum, and the best way to get movement in his legs was to kick the drum. So, I turned a gathering drum sideways. But, it would always roll away. So, I sewed a long (about 36″) tube of tough fabric and filled it loosely with rice. This tube became a cradle for the gathering drum, so it wouldn’t move around when kicked. Awesome!
The Wobble Mallet
The most recent adaptation that I have shared with the world is my Wobble Mallet. I created it a year ago to help a client play the drums. The issue was his range of motion and the lack of force that he could put behind the mallet in order to hit the drum and make sound. It was very important to him to play the drums. So, I configured this mallet with two sections that were connected with a strong spring just wobbly enough to cause the wooden mallet head to hit the drum with force. All of this with just a slight movement of the arm or hand. BINGO!! It worked! We use it all the time, and it has stood the test of time and drums! If you are interested in purchasing this mallet, it is available for sale on my Guitten website. www.guitten.com/product/wobble-mallet/
I am always willing to make adaptations in order to promote success, achievement and happiness for my clients. These are just a couple of the ones I’ve done over time. I know I will be creating more in the future. Do you have an adaptation that you have created for your clients or students? Share in the comments below.