Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When things go stale

It's been two weeks since my last post, and I'm very happy that with the onset of summer break, I'll have more time to post here on More with Music!

This past year, I have received several emails from a couple of readers who have asked some great questions. One of the readers is a practicing music therapist (like myself), and another one is currently studying to be a music therapist in a music therapy program on the west coast.

One of the great questions the student reader had for me was,
"When working with the same students (over the course of 1 or more years), how do you keep your songs, music therapy interventions and activities from going stale?"

First of all, I knew exactly what the reader meant when she asked this question. It is definitely something to think about!

So, the definition for stale is:

Having lost freshness, effervescence, or palatability; Lacking originality or spontaneity; Impaired in efficacy, vigor, or spirit, as from inactivity or boredom; Law Having lost effectiveness or force through lack of exercise or action.

Each and every music therapist has their own favorite songs and activities he/she likes to do when working with various clients (i.e. various disabilities, age groups, 1:1 sessions, group sessions,etc.). Sometimes this includes an upbeat hello song or name song, opening song (ice breaker), or maybe even a song the therapist chooses because the participants will be more likely to sing along.

If you choose to establish a routine like this, normally the students and/or clients become oriented to this routine and get comfortable within it. They can predict most of what you will be doing and this gives many of them feelings of safety and trust.

But how do you know when to switch things up?

I'd love to hear your thoughts! I will be answering this question from my point of view in tomorrow's post, so stay tuned!


  1. For me, I find that if I'm getting tired of a song, my clients probably are, too. I try to find a new song working on the same goals as the "stale" song- sometimes progress toward that goal dramatically improves with something new and exciting! And if I'm excited about something new, my students pick up on that and will be more open to something new.

  2. Thanks for your comment Stephanie Elizabeth!
    You hit the nail on the head! :)