“’Hello, hello! I see you there in the green shirt, the green shirt, won’t you please tell us your name?’ A child looks down to check before opening her eyes wide and pointing to her own shirt. The Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) responds, ‘That’s you! Welcome! Everyone say hi to Sarah!’ Several shy children whisper their greetings and make brief eye contact. A father helps his toddler wave. An older child turns to shake Sarah’s hand and pronounces, ‘Hello!!! I’m Gaawry!!!’ The MT-BC smiles, then challenges everyone to repeat the shirt’s color “green” before giving each child their own turn.
“Next, the group sings, ‘Music sweet music, all children love music! We work real hard and have great fun, we know it’s therapeutic!’ Every Tuesday morning and afternoon on the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital’s outpatient Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) floor, children with speech and communication delays achieve non-musical benefits through music therapy groups. These fun and innovative clinical services are funded by donations to Music Sweet Music, Inc. ‘Great singing! Let’s practice that big word, ‘therapeutic.’ Stick your tongue out a little and try it again. Yes! Timmy, that was great a ‘th’ sound when you sang the word ‘therapeutic’!’
“Before singing our ABCs or drumming today’s activities, before sharing instruments or labeling our emotions, we’ve already shown off our social skills, articulated several target sounds, demonstrated new confidence, and engaged successfully in a clinical environment. We have connected on an individual basis through music; the children are motivated to engage in SLP interventions without realizing how hard they’re working.
“Whereas the children love the music, their families value the therapy. Music therapy is the clinical application of music, evidence-based interventions, and a unique therapeutic relationship in order to accomplish non-musical objectives.”
James E. Riley, MM, MT-BC provides Music Therapy across Pinellas country through Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC (MTSP) and Music Sweet Music, Inc. (MSM). MSM provides MT to families of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital out-patient pediatric Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) program, and featured this blog post illustrating what a “normal” session might look like; continue reading here!