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March 13, 2006

creata: healthy vibrations

by gl. at 12:47 am

this is the eleventh and final in a series of posts about workshops sponsored by CREATA during Creative Arts Therapy week. i'll go back & add images to these afterwards. session date mar09.

this intro to music therapy was an energetic & lighthearted session to end the conference with. the same music therapist from "establishing a private practice" facilitated.

we had about 12 more people than usual -- a pacific university instructor had brought her students and they trickled in late for the first 15 minutes and many looked like they'd rather be somewhere else, especially the boys, of whom there was a larger proportion than i would have expected.

all the toys came out for this session: several baskets of drums & rattles & maracas & tambourines & sticks & spoons & ratchets & bells & and oddly shaped unknown instruments were offered for us to choose from in the middle of the room. i chose a paddle drum because i'd never seen one before and i wanted to see how they sounded: if i ever wanted to buy some, they'd sure take up a lot less space in the studio than the cylinder drums i keep thinking of getting.

i've not had success w/ music exercises yet, but i'm relieved that this workshop gave me some ideas about how i could go about it next time:

  1. warm up by making sounds from pictures: screaming, barking, sleeping, etc.

  2. let people choose their own instruments. let them feel & explore the instrument. ask them to explain why they chose them. for people who aren't very comfortable playing w/ music, having an intermediary in the form of an instrument is important, especially as the instrument they choose will be their "voice" for the rest of the exercise. (this also means one must have a variety of instruments to choose from, which could get expensive. if everyone contributes one, this might be a good birthday present request....)

  3. play for a bit individually: play regularly, play loudly, play softly.

  4. go around the circle, each person saying "hello" to the person next to them just with their instrument.

  5. play 4 beats at a time together, then 4 beats with one person solo: take turns going around the circle 4 beats together, 4 beats solo.

  6. then move into a full-fledge drum circle, where you add a person every four beats until everyone is playing at once. drum circles i can do. :)

the opportunity to play as a chorus and then small solos is quite a nice technique. if you move into non-mediated music (i.e. clapping, voice, etc.), begin with a chant (hers was "welcome to our sacred space/thank you for our sacred space" but i'd have to think of something else :), then move to clapping & snapping (lap, lap, clap, clap, snap, snap, beat), then do the clapping and the chanting together. you can model a hey-ey-ey-o sort of call and response while doing the drum circle, too, and add sign language to translate singing to movement.

during the "establishing a private practice" presentation she showed us a video with an instrument that intrigued me and she remembered my interest and brought them in for us to play with! tone chimes are freaking awesome: portable, one-handed and with a beautiful sound, i would buy some today if they didn't cost (wait for it) $700. still, it was a lot of fun to play with them. since our tables were in a horseshoe shape, she grouped them into 5-note chords ("this is where your music theory comes in handy," she said) for each of the three sides and she orchestrated our chimes to ring while we sang "peace like a river." since there weren't enough tone chimes to go around, for the next verse i handed it to one of the boys next to me, and he was amused but also delighted at how delighted i was. by the end of the session, everyone was smiling.

posted by gl. | March 13, 2006 12:47 AM | categories: classes & workshops