As music therapists, we are trained to be keen observers. We use these observation skill in many ways. This includes using them to shake loose new ideas.
Here are 3 ways they support new ideas for instrumental play.
#1. It did what?
Let’s give credit where credit is due. From time to time a client explores new, non-traditional sounds on instruments. We can and do build on this when it is appropriate and safe.
That’s how I started using baby maracas as mallets in some intergenerational groups. A grandfriend and a child started playing together. Do I do it all the time? No, but I can use it when it promotes interaction.
We see someone drumming on furniture or some other item. Maybe we engage with them in the sound exploration or support them with some singing.
#2. Supporting abilities, minimizing limitations
The ability to respond can be limited with some. We take what they can do and build upon it ALL the time.
There was a client I had years ago that had the use of one hand but could only open her eyes using a finger to do so.
#3. Get your inner child on
Being playful (and maybe a little child like) can shake things loose on our own. Tap into a playful moment. Create something out of “junk”. Recycle materials. Get lost in the creative process.
Older adults also benefit from being playful. Yes, therapy is serious work. Yet, applying these skills in play can be therapeutic.