Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Music??? part 14 Cognitive Comprehension Speed, a Vital Consideration

Thanks for visiting musicfromthestart.com topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.

This is part fourteen of my blog posts where I describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so healing, meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This post describes a music therapy session that is fairly common where I have to take into account the client's cognitive comprehension (or processing) speed, i.e., through assessment, first identify how slow I need to speak to individuals for them to fully understand and then, very importantly, determine how slow I have to play the music to have them fully comprehend the experience.

I'll discuss this concept by describing sessions I have with a music therapy client named Freda. What a blessed privilege and honor to work with her. I say a blessed privileged because Freda is 104 years old! She sings beautifully and has her mental faculties relatively intact.
When I visit Freda she welcomes me with the cutest high pitched voice and a big smile. After a number of visits I know now what songs she knows the words to, and we enjoy singing and video recording the sessions. Very fun... when I video a song on my phone and we watch it she exclaims “look, we're on TV!”

When I play a song that I know she knows, I watch carefully how comfortable and with how much ease she is able to sing. When needed, I slow down when she has trouble getting some words out. It is common when singing with Freda (and those similar) that when a second or third verse comes up, that might not be as well known as the first verse, she slows down to remember or correctly sing the words. Being able to accompany and support her singing with precisely her needs in mind is the wonderful thing about live music and music therapy. I'll remind us that my favorite definition of music therapy is: using music to support and achieve non-musical goals. The primary goal is not to make beautiful music. The primary goals are to provide an opportunity for positive reminiscence, to be a positive diversion from stress and worry and to support hopefulness. The fact that we are making beautiful is simply “icing on the cake.”

These kind of experiences are so precious. Again, what an honor to experience live music with Freda and witness the precious responses that she has. Wow!!

So, "Why (live) music??"... To again be in the privileged position to experience live with others, i.e., supporting them, performing with them, witnessing and recording their responses and sharing these experiences with their family and others.

I'm excited to report about progress made on my new offering, Video Guitar Lessons for Music Therapy Students (and others of course). The new site, GUITARplayLIKEaPRO.com will open before my next blog post. And musicfromthestart.com is still progressing nicely. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for the time being.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
Also, I'm looking forward to recording my second music album early this year. This is music for child development, autism and special needs. As a reminder, one song, “High 5,” from David's Basics in Education (music album #1) is still a free download for a limited time.

In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts.

My prescription this week??? Sing and experience music with those you love and others!
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