The weather in the Rochester area of New York state is a crazy mix of temperatures and weather conditions in early Spring. This last week we had 75 degree gorgeousness one day, followed by plummeting temperatures and snow flurries the next. I wanted to incorporate a songwriting experience into one of my group sessions as we were exploring different songs about sun and rain. I decided to center the experience around the popular chorus of “Joy and Pain” by Old School Players. Selecting popular hooks or choruses from existing rap songs is a great step in exploring rap in creative songwriting. I then outlined four different rap verses for students to choose from. Since this small group of students needed a lot of visual and language support in the songwriting process, I included a vocabulary bank for each fill-in-the-blank section. One student used the vocabulary list as more of an example of words to use, and then selected their own words. Here is a sample of one of the verses.
I created the background music for the rap using rhythm loops in Garageband and adding a simple repeating bass line. I kept the music the same throughout to make it easier for students to perform their rap without the stress of trying to time their solo to fit between verse and chorus changes. Each person took a turn saying their rap into the microphone. We would then repeat the rap again with everyone saying it together. The group repeated the chorus section between every rap verse and also added simple movements to the words.
You could simply use a keyboard accompaniment style like rap or hip-hop to provide the backbeat. Garageband for the iPad has a Smart Drum section that can create amazing looped rhythms. Below is a sample of this feature I found on YouTube.
Become a Song Shop member to download the MP3 I created in GarageBand, plus the Pages/PDF files for the songwriting experience.
I love directing a community-based music therapy program. The variety of class offerings and populations served keep my particular brain active and creative. I love that from one hour to the next I am moving from neurologic music therapy treatment to adaptive lessons to wellness practices. The range of wellness cliental I work with is also varied and ever changing. Currently I am working with a younger group of individuals dealing with anxiety disorders. Several referrals have come from school districts in which I provided a workshop or consultation training for teachers/counselors.
I find that for school-aged children and young adults, practicing wellness strategies outside the therapy session needs to be very organized and the easy to follow. I find that by using more visually sophisticated materials, students tend to be more serious about practicing strategies at home throughout the week. I created a wellness board for students to add to their session binder. It is a simple way for me and the student to keep track of their weekly practices. First, I find clip art that represents the technique we are working on and add it above the name of the “Experience”. I add the name of any song titles or suggested music in the “Music” section. In the “Procedure” section, I give a brief description of how to execute the technique to remind them of what we did in the session. Then, under each experience, I leave space for the student to write in the dates they practiced the technique. Below is a sample wellness board:
The board is a great way to keep track of progress and initiate an open dialogue with the student about the ease or difficulty with following through with the experiences at home. You can customize the board and easily add assignments from week to week. This system also helps me organize my wellness approaches, and since I do use some of the same type of approaches with different clients, I’m spending less time writing out descriptions since I now have a bank of experiences, pictures, music selections, and procedures to select from at any given time.
On Episode 2 of On-The-Go Studio Podcast, I shared this new Valentine’s Day song and experience. The previous link will also lead you to bonus materials for this song under the Show Extras area. Bonnie Hayhurst, a music therapist and owner of “The Groovy Garfoose“, offered her vocals for the track. Become a Song Shop [...]
I often find that the simplest of ideas can lead to amazing outcomes, especially when a basic idea is easily adapted and can be used with a variety of ages and populations. I started out with a basic vocal exercise using numbers to sing simple pitched patterns. The numbers related to scale degrees and were [...]
Enjoy our resources and songs for February! For Show Extras, go to On-The-Go Studio Podcast. Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers Tweet about it Subscribe to the comments on this post Tell a friend
In the beginning of January, music therapist Megan Resig from The Music Therapy Annex and I launched a new podcast, “On-The-Go Studio Podcast”. The website is www.onthegostudiopodcast.com. The website also has bonus content and information about our monthly songwriting challenges. You can also subscribe for free on iTunes, and each month a new episode will [...]
Here is my updated version of my original “Super Bowl Sunday” song, something I wrote several years ago. My student Nate Sobko learned the guitar chords for the song and we recorded it in Garage Band. We then went back and added a spoken track. Our office intern, Josh Hauck, created the Keynote slideshow for [...]
The following video talks about the Therapeutic Arts Program at the Blue Ridge Music Therapy Center in Rochester, New York. Family members share their stories and perspective on how music therapy has impacted the lives of their loved ones. The day program, a transitional program for ages 18 to 30, was designed and launched by [...]
I love creating slideshows of current interventions for students to watch and listen to on their devices at home. If you have Keynote for Mac, it is really easy! Here’s a quick look at how to do it: Here It Comes Slideshow Training from Wade Richards on Vimeo. Become a Song Shop Member and [...]
I have always been a HUGE Elvis fan. My Grandmother owned every Elvis album there was at the time and played them constantly when I stopped by for a quick visit. (She lived just a block away from me growing up.) She went to concerts, read books about Elvis, watched his movies, and collected memorabilia. [...]