Have you ever had a time when you were going along, leading your session, and suddenly realized that things were totally out of control?
Kids were screaming, people were wandering, and no one was following your instructions?
Insert hand raising emoji here. I’ve been there.
We’ve all had moments where it’s a runaway train and we feel like we’re losing our clients.
The great news is, as music therapists, we have lots of tools in our tool belt to steer the train back on track.
Today, we’re going to take a look at some of those tools.
The first one is to Be Proactive.
If you haven’t already, read last week’s post about “How To Plan Engaging Experiences For Mixed Ages & Abilities.” I share some great tips for ensuring your clients are engaged at a level that is appropriate for them.
Second, Use Musical Cues to Capture Attention.
Sometimes things are so loud and chaotic, it’s impossible to be heard when speaking. In these moments, I’ll strategically use musical cues to capture the attention of my clients. That might look like a loud, fast strum on guitar, and then gradually bringing down the tempo and volume as clients begin to quiet. Or, it might look like very, very soft fingerpicking and singing, in hopes that clients will quiet in order to hear.
Third, Get Moving.
Rhythmic movement is one of my favorite ways to reengage clients. There may be some extra energy that clients need to get out, or they may be seeking sensory stimulation. In these cases, I’ll get everyone up and launch into a movement experience – like jumping or stomping – with a strong, rhythmic cue.
In some cases though, our clients may be overstimulated by a chaotic situation. You must know your clients and be constantly observing them for signs of over (or under) stimulation. If they appear overstimulated, I may go into a slow and quiet swaying experience in a 6/8 meter. Or, simply slow, soft fingerpicking, to bring the energy in the room to a more calm and peaceful state.
Fourth, Get Creative.
This goes back to Tip #1 – being proactive in designing creative musical experiences that are custom made for your unique clients. If you do this, you are much less likely to lose your clients’ attention.
Which leads me to….next week, when The Elevate Email Subscription will be open for enrollment! This is a fantastic way to start the new year off with a bang, and get creative intervention ideas sent straight to your inbox each month.
There is a subscription for ideas for teen clients with disabilities, and a subscription for ideas that target attention & perception skills. (Or, better yet, you can get the Combo Pack which includes both subscriptions for a discounted rate!)
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!