Instruments ?

On Monday, I did something that I’ve never done before.

I forgot my entire bag of instruments and props.

All of it.

Maracas, bells, scarves, stretchy band, letter cards, books, microphones, animal pictures, bubbles, kazoos, and a drum.


In my private practice, I have a variety of music therapy sessions scheduled on Mondays with children with special needs.

This Monday in particular I had some really cool winter-themed musical experiences planned (counting snowflakes, a book ‘n song to a snowman book, and a falling snowflakes dance with scarves just to name a few).

That whole plan had to be scratched. Fortunately (I guess?), my morning drive is an hour, so I had plenty of time to think of what I could do with the only two instruments I had remembered: my guitar and my clarinet.

The day ended up going really well and I was able to grab some books and puppets at my library session and use some instruments my clients already had in their homes in my other sessions.

But mostly the day revolved around me being spontaneous, creative and flexible. Good thing they trained us for that while in school!

This reminded me of how I trained my interns while I was a music therapist at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP).

In their last month as an intern, I would give them a series of challenges.

One challenge was giving them a mystery bag filled with random instruments and props – an agogo, shape cut outs, the parachute, a cabasa, three shakers, a xylophone, a duck puppet and a ball – for example.

It was their job to facilitate a session targeting their client’s goals using only the instruments and props in the bag.

The key here was to practice: spontaneity, creativity, and…you guessed it, flexibility.

How many times have we gone into a music therapy session only to find the batteries on our keyboard have died, or the strings on our ukulele popped, or….we left our entire bag of instruments and props at home.

I’d say it’s not such a bad thing when these situations happen because it keeps us on our toes!

What do you think?