Happy Happy New Year!
I’m kicking off this year with a series of 3 “How To” posts.
How do I plan engaging experiences for groups with mixed ages and abilities?!
Read on friend because I’ve got some ideas for you.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in a wide variety of clinical settings with individuals ranging in age and ability.
I’ve provided services at schools, libraries, adult day centers, and a variety of organizations for individuals with autism and related disabilities.
I have a lot of experience in this area.
Here is the #1 way I plan engaging experiences for groups with mixed ages and abilities:
I have two levels of participation (high and low) for each and every musical experience.
I’ll give a few examples –
Instrument playing: I might bring in an experience where students are prompted to play instruments. One level of students needing less support, plays a rhythm pattern for the verse and another rhythm pattern for the chorus. The second level of students needing more support, would play their instruments in any way.
Winter Vacation Rap: This week, my students and I are doing a rap about what they did on their winter break. One level of students shares what they did on vacation using a full sentence. The second level of students needing more support, points to a picture, from a choice of three, that shows what they did during the break.
Parachute: One of my favorite ways to engage clients is with manipulatives. And my clients and students of all ages LOVE the parachute. During a parachute activity to the song “Happy” by Pharrell, one level of students would shake and raise the parachute up every time they hear the word “happy.” The second level of students needing more support, would shake the parachute throughout the song.
In these ways, I’m allowing my clients and students to participate and feel successful at their level, whatever that level is.
Students who need more support can feel successful by playing their instrument or shaking the parachute.
And students who need less support can still feel challenged, because I’m increasing the complexity of the instructions I’m giving them.
If you have groups with mixed ages and abilities, see how you can plan each of your musical experiences with two levels of participation. Get creative and see how much more your clients are engaged!
And, if you’re looking for ways to infuse more CREATIVITY in your sessions, I would encourage you to sign up for a subscription of Elevate.
You’ll receive monthly musical experience ideas sent straight to your inbox each month, have access to instructor support for any questions, AND complete Creativity Worksheets to double or triple the number of ideas you walk away with and earn 7 CMTE credits.
Enrollment will be open (at a discounted rate) from Jan 16 – 20, 2023!