It's All in the TimingFrom the recent time change to discussions on scheduling, time is on my radar.  You know what happens when something is on your radar? You start to notice it. For me “timing” has shown in some diverse ways. One is humor in our work. The second is the timing in our sessions.

Time for humor in our sessions

April Fool’s Day starts National Humor Month. Jokes and humor require proper timing. If your timing is off, the joke fails.

What does humor have to do with our older adult sessions?

While music therapy is a “serious” profession, there are times I include a little joke, a light-hearted song or something silly when the treatment calls for it. (Looking for some silly songs? Check out this list by Julia Glover or these crazy songs.)  Researchers are even looking at humor as a coping strategy for aging and how it impacts quality of life.

Do I use it all the time? No!

What do I love to see? Those times an older adult shares a memory that makes them laugh or a clean joke or shares a laugh with others.

Timing in our sessions

In recent conversation in Music Therapists United! on increasing response in older adults offered many helpful ideas for the student to consider in their practicum. Here was my response:

As diagnosis, how one slept (or didn’t sleep) and medications can all play a roll in responsiveness, leaving space and time for a response is key. We are so used to automatic responses in our society that when we encounter the need for 30 seconds or more for a response, we may have moved on.

There are some clients whose eyes are closed most of the session but will verbally respond to direct questions. They may also respond to verbal cues for a movement or instrument play. Be open to seeing small responses – foot tapping to the beat, changes in facial expression,..

In reflecting more on the question, I realize it is all in the timing.

  • How we time the delivery or cue
  • The tempo of our music
  • The time of our session during the day
  • The length of time we leave for a response
  • Our ability to shorten or lengthen our session to meet the needs of the individual or group

Just like a skilled comedian, it’s all in the timing. Do you agree?