Last week, I introduced you to the mini-series I’m starting that focuses on our therapeutic medium: MUSIC.

I’m excited to jump in because I want to take a look at a few musical elements and examine how they’re functioning to bring about positive changes in behavior. I’ll also dig into how enhancing our musical presentation can improve our clients’ therapeutic experience.

Sounds like a lot, but I promise I will keep it brief! We’ve got a lot of planning and implementation to do!

Today the focus is on melody.

Here are some ways we use melody to prompt and cue behavioral responses:

  • An ascending melody can be used to cue a client with Cerebral Palsy to raise their arms high in the air.
  • A descending melody can be used to cue client with autism to shake their jingle bells down low to the ground.
  • A descending melody could also be used during a transition song to cue children to go from standing to sitting on the carpet.
  • A melody line that is erratic like in “Flight of the Bumblebee” could be used to cue teen clients to create artwork that matches the melody.
  • A melody line that jumps from ‘do’ to ‘sol’ to ‘do’ to sol’ can be used to cue marching, as in “left, right, left, right.”
  • A melody line that has a small range (two to three notes, for example) could cue the small, controlled movement of a rhythm instrument; a melody line with a large range could cue a large, expansive movement.

This week when you’re session planning, take a closer look at melody and how you can purposefully use this musical element to cue responses.

Next week we will take a look at my favorite musical element. (Sounds silly, I know, to have a favorite musical element, but I do!) Stay tuned next week to find out what it is.