<![CDATA[Harmony Music Therapy Scotland - Blog]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 13:05:19 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Piano Tutor Books For Term 2]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:04:23 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/piano-tutor-books-for-term-2There are a number of piano students needing new tutor/exam books this term so here links to the books that you might be needing. I will advise which books in lessons. 

Grade 1 level

for those who are preparing for grade 1 this year the following books and apps are going to useful to get!
Just click on the links and you should be taken directly to purchase the books!

1) Scales and Arpeggios Grade 1
2) ABRSM Grade 1 piano pieces
3) Improve your sightreading 
There are also a couple of apps that are useful to help with Aural training and practicing

The aural Trainer

Piano Practice Partner

<![CDATA[Happy New Year]]>Tue, 05 Jan 2016 16:26:52 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/happy-new-yearHappy New Year to all my lovely clients. 
I hope you all had a great festive holiday and are all ready to get back to some music making.

I have locked myself away today session and lesson planning for the term ahead, making sure that every individual and group will have some great new musical experiences to explore that are tailored to meet their specific needs. 

I will try to accommodate new groups over the next week and if you are waiting on email responses or calls I will aim to have these all answered by the end of the week. 

I am hoping for some new changes and developments with the business this year and I cannot thank everyone enough for their continued support. I am hoping to make the blog, facebook and website more interactive and have them supporting the ongoing session work this term. Watch this space as I try to encourage and show ways in which you can bring more music into your homes even when Im not there! 

Piano students - I am hoping that we will have a little concert towards the end of this term so keep practicing so you can all showcase your fabulous progress!! Many of you will be needing some new tutor books and theory materials this term so look out for my direct links in this blog for where to buy!

Can't wait to see some groups tomorrow and all sessions starting back properly on Thursday. 

enjoy the last day of holidays and see you all soon!

Kristen ]]>
<![CDATA[Christmas Music Activity for Kids- Wrist Bell Focus]]>Fri, 06 Dec 2013 13:04:57 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/christmas-music-activity-for-kids-wrist-bell-focusPicture
A favourite song at this time of year for young and old is the song jingle bells and already I have sung this song so many times in my music therapy sessions . It's always great to sing and play familiar songs in sessions as this can really bring a sense of security into the session and also a sense of accomplishment.  

I like to use a variety of jingle bells to accompany this song in my session but I especially love wrist bells! Wrist bells are such a great fun and accessible instrument that allows nearly everyone access to playing an instrument. They can be held, put around a wrist, put around an ankle or a foot, tied to a wheelchair, tied in your hair, tied to another instrument to name but a few. They are so versatile and make a sound VERY easily which is great as it allows many to participate who have very limited mobility. 

Activity 1: Quietly Jingle
As they are so easy to use to make a sound it can often be a challenge to keep them still and quiet! Therefore Passing them around a circle trying not make a sound is a great game to play that addresses goals of increased concentration, listening skills, fine and gross motor and socialisation 

Activity 2. A symphony of words
Play and sing Jingle Bells and encourage the client to only shake their bells on the word Jingle. This really helps increase concentration and listening skills. 

Activity 3: Jingle Little Bell
Another great Jingle Bell Activity you can do at home uses the melody from 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'.  
This song looks at encouraging listening and movement along with active participation within the familiarity of the popular melody.  however be careful and sensitive to reactions when beginning this song as those that are used to the original Twinkle Twinkle words may become agitated and confused with the change. 
"Jingle Jingle Little Bell
I like to shake my little bell
Shake it fast
(have them shake their bells quickly)
Shake it slow (imitate slow shaking and have them match or assist them in speed change with hand over hand)
Shake it high 
Shake it low
Jingle Jingle Little Bells
I like to Shake my little Bell

Jingle Jingle Little Bell
I like to shake my little bell
Shake it here
Shake it there
Shake it, Shake it everywhere
Jingle Jingle Little Bell
I like to Shake my little Bell"

Enjoy music making this weekend and keep warm and safe in the snow!!


<![CDATA[Useful ipad apps in Instrumental teaching]]>Thu, 25 Apr 2013 13:31:59 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/useful-ipad-apps-in-instrumental-teachingPicture
I have found that along with using the ipad in music therapy sessions I have been increasingly using the ipad in my instrumental lessons and adapted piano lessons for Kids. 

Kids live in a technology world and I think its important that we as teachers and therapists are able to speak their language and find interesting and innovative ways to keep them engaged in their learning.  Many of the Kids that take part in my adapted piano lessons for those with additional needs are familiar with the ipad and use it for their learning in a school setting. So last week I tried out some note reading apps to see if they would help improve note reading and theory. It has certainly been successful and there has been lots of laughter as they have had so much fun!

Here is a list of apps I found to be fun and educational and that the kids responded to well: 

  • Flashnote Derby - 69p 
  • Do Re Memory- 69p
  • Piano Monkey - 69p
  • DooDah - Free
  • Pluto Piano - 69p
  • Let's read music HD Lite - Free
  • My Note names- Free
  • Music Theory for Beginners - £2.99

Happy Practicing with your note reading!!

<![CDATA[Halloween Theme Music Therapy Sessions]]>Thu, 25 Oct 2012 13:58:58 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/halloween-theme-music-therapy-sessionsPumpkins

A few of my pre-school clients absolutely love "super simple songs" at www.supersimplelearning.com and often watch great videos of these songs on the super simple songs youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/supersimplesongs?feature=results_main

Many of the videos and songs really appeal to younger children on the  autistic spectrum so I often try to incorporate some of the songs into my sessions depending on the goal I have set for my clients. 

They have some great Halloween songs and I have been using 2 pumpkin songs this week to address the theme of understanding emotions and counting 1-5.  
1) Five Little Pumpkins
2) Can you make a Happy Face? 

Five Little Pumpkins

We use flashcards with pictures of the number of pumpkins looking happy or sad etc and also a mirror (if its not too distracting)  so the child can practice making the facial expression. Here is the video of the song: 
Can you Make a Happy Face?

This next song is all about making facial expressions also. For this one I like to use the mirror with the client to allow them to practice the facial expression. I also like to use the free flashcards that are available on the simple songs website of pumpkins smiling, laughing, frowning etc. 


Stay tuned for more Halloween activities for different populations! 
<![CDATA[Music Therapy with Burn Victims]]>Mon, 10 Sep 2012 09:35:04 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/music-therapy-with-burn-victimsWhile studying for my master's in music therapy in Boston in 2009, Music Therapist at Shriner's burn Hospital in boston Annette Whitehead Pleaux took time to talk to our principles and practices class about her inspiring work. I remember how passionate she was about music therapy and this population and until then I had never thought about how beneficial it could be to those undergoing traumatic surgery and recovery from severe burns. We saw videos of how her music assisted staff in keeping a patient calm during the dressing of wounds and how interactive music also helped rehabilitate both physically and emotionally. 

Music therapy with this population focuses on pain and anxiety management, reduction in trauma symptoms, improving fine and gross motor skills and quality-of-life issues for those who are burn survivors. music therapists work with patients in acute care, reconstructive care and in the out-patient clinic, co-treating with physio therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, child-life specialists and physicians.  Music interventions can include listening, singing, songwriting, improvisation, instrument playing. 

A recent news report from Boston this week reminded me of the important work and research that music therapists do at Shriners hospital. The news report talks about a young Ukranian boy who had severe burns and was undergoing treatment. What I find interesting though is that in the video clip music therapy is featured showing the vital role it plays in a patients life at this hospital. 

check the video out! 
<![CDATA[Sensory Activity: The Thunder Drum]]>Fri, 17 Aug 2012 15:51:48 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/sensory-activity-the-thunder-drumPicture
This week I'm excited because I finally got round to adding a Thunder Drum to my instrument bag. The thunder drum is another great instrument that can be used alongside the ocean drum to create some great sounds that are very sensory.  The thunder drum is useful for many populations including hearing impaired, autism, sensory disorders to name a few. 

The drum is made up of a long cylinder with a metal coil at the bottom that that when it is shaken produces a thunderous sound with the vibrations from the coil flowing through the cylinder. 


The activity I'm going to share with you is using a song that my good friend and fellow music therapist Laura Micheli MT-BC shared with me.  A good activity is to sing the song with your client and allow them to play the thunder drum when they hear the words thunder or stormy. If the child is unable to do this you can play the thunder drum gently near them to allow them to feel or hear the vibrations. The song which is chant like along with the thunder drum can often help calm agitation. Depending on the client it is a good activity to include vocal improvisation keeping the chant like structure and matching or mirroring any of the vocal sounds or thunder drum sounds the child uses.  I also like to use this chant singing the melody to la or ba and imporvising around it vocally  and using a rainbow coloured organza material sheet. Sometimes the client likes to hold the material with me and lift it up and down or lie under it  and I wave it up and down and improvise around the melody . 

File Size: 889 kb
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<![CDATA[Music Helping heal the Brain of Aurora Theatre shooting victim]]>Fri, 03 Aug 2012 17:30:16 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/music-helping-heal-the-brain-of-aurora-theatre-shooting-victimAlthough Music Therapists have been working with Brain Injury patients for a number of years, it is only recently that the media has become aware of the remarkable influence that music can have on their recovery. Following on from the story the music therapy played a vital role in US congress woman Gabby Giffords regaining speech and movement after being shot and suffering TBI, this news report explains that music is also aiding another in similar ways. 

Having worked with Brain Injury patients I can say that music is so important in their rehabilitation. Many patients who have lost ability of speech can often sing before they can talk again. 

Check out the video by clicking the below link:

<![CDATA[I am not a Label]]>Mon, 16 Jul 2012 13:12:48 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/i-am-not-a-labelPicture
Labels are something we have to deal with everyday.  Society has them everywhere: chav, fundamentalist, working class, conservative, disabled, weird, quiet.  For those who suffer from mental health issues labels can sometimes be a big part of their life. Their diagnosis can become a negative label or the way that society views those suffering from mental health problems can be damaging to their self esteem. 

While working with a variety of mental health groups I saw that it was hard for group members to break away from their "labels" - from names they had been called, for the negative things that people have said about them. It was really hard for them to think about positive labels for themselves or to identify positive good qualities that they had. For example: creative, kind, friendly, intelligent, helpful, funny.  Labels can take away much of a persons self esteem and self confidence. 

Music Therapy Intervention
I decided to develop a few interventions that dealt with the issue of labels and self esteem and to encourage group members to see the positive qualities in each other as well as themselves with the goal of increasing self confidence, self esteem, and peer relations while allowing creativity and a space for their voice to be heard. The intervention I am going to share today is a song activity called "i am not a Label" and is suitable for adult and adolescent mental health groups, addiction groups and many similar groups where a recovery model may be used. 

Each person is given a copy of the lyrics to the song after we discuss the concept of labels. 

I am not a label , Lyrics

I look in the mirror
I know who I see
It's not who you want me to be
But who I am in me. 

I am not ______________________________
But I am _____________________________
I wish I was _________________________
Maybe I can maybe I will. 

For I am not a label
I am just me
I am not a label
And I know who I can be. 

Each individual is given a moment to think and fill in the blanks with a label they may have been given and who they feel they really are or would like to be. Those who feel comfortable can share this with the group and then we sing the song with their lyrics. What I have discovered is that many find it difficult to fill in the second line with something positive about themselves so if this is the case I encourage others to help them by telling them something they like about that person. Often once we sing the song we can also encourage others to comment on an individuals positive strengths to reinforce self esteem and confidence. 

It is important that a solid therapeutic relationship is established before this intervention is used as there needs to be a great deal of trust in you as the therapist and the other group members before this can work out and also be beneficial. 

If anyone would like an MP3 recording of the song along with lead sheet and chords send me an email at Kristen.MT@live.co.uk and I will get them to you. 

<![CDATA[Monday Music]]>Mon, 30 Apr 2012 20:37:36 GMThttp://www.harmonymusictherapyscotland.co.uk/blog/monday-musicIt's always more fun to share with everyone.... 

When working with children especially those with additional needs it is often important to teach the concept of sharing within music therapy sessions. This can be taught in individual sessions within the client- therapist relationship or also within group sessions through passing and turn taking and sharing songs. 

This week Im going to SHARE with you a couple of sharing teaching songs. Stay tuned for an original song towards the end of the week with notes on how to facilitate it within your sessions or with your own children. 

Today I'm sharing a Jack Johnson song with you called......"The Sharing Song!"  Kids love it!