I realized on Monday that I don’t use my primary instrument nearly enough during my music therapy sessions.

I have to admit that sometimes I get comfortable using my guitar and my keyboard and forget about all the other interesting instruments I have available to me that I play ~ the clarinet (my primary instrument in college!), the flute, the ukulele, the recorder…even the kazoo!

I had pulled the clarinet out for my Toddler Rock music session at the Brockway Library and the responses I got reminded me that I need to do that much more often.

When they heard the sound of the clarinet the children stopped moving.

They listened.

Their eyes got wide.

They giggled.

They were intrigued.

I had their undivided attention so I knew I could use this instrument as a tool to work on a number of different goals.

Here are some ways I used the clarinet in my toddler music session:

Listening (briefly): I played the chromatic scale so they could hear the range; I played high notes and low notes; I played legato and staccato.

Movement: When the clarinet played from low to high we moved our arms from low to high; when the clarinet played from high to low, we moved our arms from high to low.

Stop & Go: When the clarinet played a boom chuck, we stomped our feet; when the clarinet stopped playing, we froze.

Name That Tune & Singing: I played through a number of familiar songs (“Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Twinkle, Twinkle,” etc.) I asked the children to tell me the name of the song and then sing along with the clarinet.

The children LOVED. IT.

They started gathering around me and following my directions more closely than for any other musical experience I did that day.

If you want even more ideas for how to use the clarinet (or whatever your primary instrument is!) in your sessions, watch this video:

Movement 4










Now I would really love to hear from you.

What is your primary instrument and how do YOU use it in your sessions?

Leave a comment below to let us know so we can learn even more ways to make the most of our primary instrument in our sessions.