Are we really approaching the eight month mark of leading music therapy sessions and lessons virtually?!
It’s hard to believe, isn’t it.
Although there have been MANY challenges to switching from in-person to online services, there have also been some benefits.
I’m a glass-half-full kind of gal, so I thought today I’d share a few of those benefits. (And if you’d like to add your ideas, drop a comment below!)
Weather and Missed Sessions Aren’t Issues Anymore – In the past, we’ve at times had to reschedule due to weather (hurricanes or snowstorms). But with virtual services, as long as you have an internet connection, your sessions can go on as planned, regardless of the weather outside.
In addition, in the past if there was a cancellation due to a holiday or illness, we’d likely have to miss that week’s session. But with virtual sessions, rescheduling is So. Much. Easier.
Access To More Music and Resources – I’ve found that with YouTube, I now have access to virtually any song, instrumental track, or video. In the past, I typically only had the MP3s available for songs I had planned in advance to use. Now, if a client requests a song, I can immediately pull it up and use the requested/preferred song (as long as it aligns with their goals and my general plan for the day, of course!)
In virtual sessions, I also have access to videos that I previously didn’t have the technology to share. For example, in August I facilitated a musical experience with a group of teens with autism, that used “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco. We sang the song and had a discussion about our high hopes for the new school year. Then, I showed them a behind the scenes video of how the music video was created. (If you haven’t seen it yet, the lead singer walks up a sky scraper!) It rounded out the session nicely and was something I never would have been able to show during our in-person sessions.
Screen Share – Can we pause for a moment and get a round of applause for screen share? Not only can we easily share music and videos, as I describe above, we can share BEAUTIFUL, COLORFUL, ENGAGING visuals. No printer, no laminator needed.
Whiteboard – Lately, I’ve been loving the whiteboard feature, especially for musical games (for example, Musical Spaceman, my musical version of hangman) and for songwriting. Just yesterday, one of my ukulele students wanted to write a Thanksgiving Song. So, I pulled up the whiteboard and we brainstormed lyrics together.
Location Independence – I’ve been in Pennsylvania and Maryland the past few months to have some help with my kiddos while I work virtually. One is doing virtual 1st grade and the other is being homeschooled for PreK 3 by yours truly. If you’re in the same boat as I am (or a similar one!) you know how tricky it is to figure out online school platforms, plan a homeschool curriculum, and still do your music therapy work (not to mention laundry and dishes!) It has been so nice to have a change of scenery and childcare help from family.
I’m sure there are many other positive things about virtual services that I’m forgetting to list here. If you’d like to add your ideas, drop a comment below!
And if you’re in need of some virtual session-planning inspiration, check out these E-Books. Although they were created for Spring and Summer session planning, the ideas can be customized and adapted for any time of year!