Yesterday, something happened in one of my sessions that stopped me in my tracks.

Now I’ve been a music therapist for twelve years (!!), and very little surprises me at this point.

But on this particular day, I was facilitating a localization exercise with my clarinet in the resource classroom for students with severe and profound intellectual disability. I started off by sitting in the center of the classroom and playing a chromatic scale run from the lowest low note to the highest high note the clarinet can play.

As soon as I played and sustained the low E, I could see the head of one of the students begin to rise. This was a student who hadn’t shown any outward responses to music in the past. But I noticed a slow head rise and then eye contact! The look on this student’s face seemed to be telling me that this was a sound he had never heard before. That it was different and noticeable.

The small head rise and eye contact were the best things that happened in my sessions that week.

They were responses, albeit small ones, that I am so glad I noticed.

After that happened, I committed myself to continuing to look for those small, but profound responses. The small head turns, the soft vocalizations. Those responses tell me the student is connecting to me and to the music.

What are the little things you’ve been noticing in your music therapy sessions this week?