Thursday, June 2, 2011

Music Therapists and Cartoons

Music Therapists and cartoons...where could I possibly be going with this one???

Well, the other day, after finishing a music therapy session with a group of students, a teacher asked me a (very important) question.

"Why do you sing a "Hello" and "Goodbye" song in every session?"

I really like it when people ask questions like that because it lets me know how much they understand about music therapy. It also lets me know how much work I have to do in terms of educating them about the how and why's of what we do.

So, why do most music therapists incorporate a "Hello" and "Goodbye" song in every session?

Well, there are many reasons!
First of all, many students have goals relating to responding to their name, responding verbally to a greeting, and being aware of those around them (of course, there are many more goals that could be added here).

A "Hello" song directly targets these goals!

Secondly, a "Hello" song sets the tone for every session. It sets a standard familiarity at the beginning of each session and let's everyone know that the session is starting.
A "Goodbye" song helps bring closure and an end to the session. It's a way of regrouping at the end and validating the participants.

How do we know this works in a real world context?

Well, if you think about it, cartoons all have a theme song.
It's the song that represents each specific cartoon and plays at the beginning and end of each episode. The theme song lets you know the show is about to begin and also previews the characters in the cartoon. There is a beginning and an end. And children (of all ages) definitely respond to them!

How many of you remember the theme songs from your favorite childhood cartoons?

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