Music Therapy Hits All the Right Notes
Music therapy at Roots and Wings Music Therapy provides an outlet for expression, allowing opportunities to explore and communicate in new ways during sessions, then carry discoveries into everyday life.
Working together in a music therapy session at Roots and Wings Music Therapy.
M-U-S-I-C, my son quickly typed for his instructor when asked-what are you crazy about? Our journey with music therapy started five years ago at Queens University, but my child’s love of music began at birth. It really was the only thing that soothed my colicky baby. I sang every children’s song I knew over and over and over again. Anything to calm my sweet boy.
My son is far from a baby now. He is a handsome, intelligent young man with autism. He communicates through a letterboard using the rapid prompting method (RPM). Music therapy was an integral part of figuring out that this method of communication would work for him. More on that in a bit.
Guitar, q-chord, piano, boomwhackers, drums and ukulele-oh my! Patriotic, Contemporary Christian, Jazz, Pop, Classical and a little Country are all on the menu with music therapy. Handel to Lady Gaga. He loves it all! This therapy has given him an opportunity to explore different music genres, instruments and rhythms. Music has given him an opportunity to feel accomplishment and spend time basking in an environment that brings him great happiness.
Music therapy at Queens starts with a supervisor leading the sessions assisted by a student teacher. As the year progresses, the student takes on more responsibility and eventually the student takes over. We were with the program 3.5 years and had some very talented student teachers. The program is very cost effective and runs with the college calendar. There are lots of breaks and holidays throughout the year. Queens puts on a Spring Performance which is not to be missed and they sponsor several parties during the year. Our favorite was the Halloween Bash.
Eventually, we decided that our son would benefit from a year-round program with more frequent classes and a consistent instructor. He is thriving with Miss Stacey with Roots and Wings Music Therapy. Finding the right therapist is key. These two just click. But most important, she believes in him and he knows it. Stacey is an incredible musician. Her ability to pick up the tune my son is humming and tell me the song is astounding. Of course, the song is immediately downloaded from iTunes to his iPad.
Through music therapy, we have learned that my son reads a line of music at a time. This translates to how he reads and looks at a sentence. He also can play the piano purposefully when given support at his wrist. This skill helped when he started using the letterboard to communicate. Steadying his arm allowed him to decisively point to letters and create words which lead to our view into all he knows but was unable to communicate verbally.
When I told my son, I was writing this blog, I asked him what I should share with you about music. He typed - Tell them it is my favorite therapy! It brings him great joy and for that I am so very thankful.
Andrea Priest holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and worked in the telecommunications industry before becoming a stay at home mom to her two boys and one rowdy golden retriever. Andrea enjoys cooking, boating and spending time with family and friends.
To connect with our special needs community, you can join the private facebook group Special Friends Connection - Charlotte Area.