Happy Fall! As we begin a new season, school is starting, leaves are falling, and I’m ready to share some of my favorite fall-theme intervention ideas with you.
Movement interventions are some of my favorite. Music paired with movement primes the brain and body to work together to move & groove.
September by Earth, Wind, & Fire is song with a strong steady beat to engage clients.
Music therapy in a group setting provides a natural opportunity to practice social skills.
Changes by David Bowie is a great song to use in the fall, as leaves change color.
Enjoy the fall, embrace the changes, and enjoy intentional fall music-making!
This summer, we are leading music therapy & enrichment groups surrounding the theme of “The Elements.” Each week we are sharing interventions & experiences that utilize songs that mention Earth, Wind, Fire, & Water.
We just finished a successful first week, and wanted to share an “Earth” intervention that exercises motor, social, and cognitive skills.
Carole King’s hit I Feel The Earth Move is a great song to piggyback. Paired with each group member playing maracas, I played a live version with these lyrics:
I feel the earth move under my feet,
I feel the sky tumbling down
Play the maraca under your feet
Play it all around
I then asked different group members to choose how they wanted to play, to practice choice-making and promote creativity & leadership. Instead of under their feet, they chose fast, slow, around, etc.
Other songs we used this week were “I’d Like to Teach the World To Sing,” “We Are the World,” and “What a Wonderful World.”
Stay tuned to hear about our favorite “Air” interventions on the next blog post.
Summer is a time for fun and playing lots of games outside with friends and family. I like to bring that fun spirit into my music therapy sessions with a game of musical pictionary.
Musical pictionary can be used with a variety of populations and exercises cognitive skills and memory, as well as communication and social skills. I encourage music therapy groups to work together as a team to figure out what song the picture is trying to convey. Best of all, musical pictionary can be adapted to a broad age range of clients, ethnicities and preferences.
Here are two musical pictionary boards I used with a group of 8-10 seniors with varying stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Can you guess what songs they are?
This first one was a number #1 hit in the summer of 1955
This next one was a number #1 hit in the summer of 1958
Pro tip: Musical Pictionary works best when the title of the songs are concrete concepts and 5 words or less. I hope this inspires you to have a fun summer using musical games!
Music therapy is a beneficial choice for individuals with cerebral palsy and other physical disabilities.
Music is processed all of the brain and can be be a motivator that transcends regular ability. Have you ever been listening to music and then notice you’re tapping your foot? Music therapists use this phenomenon to assist children and adults with physical limitations improve their motor skills.
Below are pictures (shared with permission) of how a music therapist uses specific interventions to improve motor skills paired with cognitive and communication goals as well.
Music therapy can increase quality of life by providing music experiences to help ALL clients be successful, have autonomy, and increase quality of life.
I really enjoy piggyback songwriting when helping clients reach their goals. One of my favorites is teaching emotions through the pop song “I Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.
You can play this as a game with feeling flashcards, or just by singing through the song and filling in the end of the phrase. Here’s my version!
I got a feeling, when stomp my feet
When my face gets red
When I cross my arms , I’m feeling mad
I got a feeling, when everything is alright
When nothing’s going wrong
When nothing’s bothering me, I’m feeling fine
I got a feeling, when I start to yawn
When my eyes start to close
When I want to lie down, I’m feeling sleepy
I got a feeling, when I want to jump up and down
When I can’t stop smiling
When I think something’s really cool, I’m feeling excited
I got a feeling, when I want to frown
When something’s got me down
When I feel like I could cry, I’m feeling sad
I got a feeling, that when I want to smile
When I’m with the people I like
When I like what I do, I feel happy
I got a feeling, when I’m by myself
When no one is with me
Yes I got a feeling, I’m feeling lonely.
I got a feeling, that I can do anything
When I solved a problem
When I help a friend, I feel strong.
Can you think of any other emotions? Leave us a comment with your own verse!
At the Groovy Garfoose, we are proud of what our all of our clients accomplish in their music therapy sessions. For Autism Awareness Month, we want to share with you a song by one of our clients that encourages and inspires those of all abilities. Composing, practicing, recording, and sharing original music is a creative way to express yourself, build self-confidence, and give back to your community.
Here is Lift Every Voice & Sing , just one song by the band that formed within our music therapy sessions: “The Garfooses.” The mission of “The Garfooses,” collaborated on with all members of the band, is to inspire and help people realize they’re wonderful just the way they are!
We were given permission by parents and clients to share this video with our community. Please click on the video to see the full screen!
Verse 1 :
If you’re feeling nervous, like you have no purpose
There’s 2 minutes till the show comes on
The tension builds up inside you.
You want to run and hide you think that this sounds worse than it has to
I know it seems hard, like it’s not meant to be
But there is something great inside you; set your voice free
Lift every voice & sing, let the voices ring
When we sing together, we can do anything.
Lift every voice & sing, just let out everything
Doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong
These voices can bring, joy to the world
Lift every voice & sing
When you walk on the stage, and you have shaking knees
You can’t pick up the microphone; You feel like you can’t sing
Let your confidence guide you through everything you’ll do
Never look behind you; what I’m saying is true
Everyone feels this way sometimes
Don’t let it tear you down
Everyone feels this way sometimes
But you can come around
April showers, bring lots of spring-themed music therapy interventions. Check out some of our favorite ways to incorporate a spring theme into music therapy sessions.
Create a Thunderstorm
Try creating a thunderstorm indoors using instruments and body percussion to to mimic the sound of rain (finger snapping) and thunder claps (hand clapping). If you’re leading a group, give members different instruments and have them follow your cues to get loud and soft, depending on how intense your storm gets. If you’re with an individual, try working together to create a specific order of instruments to create a unique and personal thunder storm. You can also put music in the background to support the storm. Ideas include: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt, and “Singin’ in the Rain” by Gene Kelly.
You Are My …
You are My Sunshine is a traditional song that is accessible across ages and populations – which is what makes it so great for songwriting. Rewrite this song with other things, besides sunshine, we see in the spring. For some populations, you could have them answer spontaneously or provide a choice sheet.
You are my ________, my only __________
You make me happy when skies are grey.
You’ll never know dear how much I love you
Please don’t take my __________ away.
Today is an exciting day at The Groovy Garfoose because we have officially met our fundraising goal for Rainbow Camp! I have been working behind the scenes to raise money to keep camp tuition costs low and I’m thrilled to share that with the help of our Groovy Garfoose supporters and friends and our Groovy Garfoose Ambassador, James Denton, we have raised $2,000 for camp! This Summer we are offering not one but TWO camps, so these funds will be divided between the camps and allow us to reach twice as many families of teens and adults with special needs than previous Summers. And best of all, we will be able to provide camp to a handful of deserving families for FREE! :) A huge thank you to our supporters and our celebrity rockstar, Mr Denton!
You may be asking, how DO you thank a celebrity for supporting our little camp? Well, you promote his latest movie, of course! And it’s a great family flick. “For Love And Honor” will air for the second time on The Hallmark Channel April 13th at 9pm EST / 8pm CST and it not only stars James but his son! To watch a promo and behind the scenes footage click here. James, a sincere thanks from all of us at The Groovy Garfoose for your support! #jamesdentonROCKS
With all that said, there are still plenty of spots left for our Macedonia, Ohio camp and only a handful of spots left for our Mayfield, Ohio camp so be sure to register ASAP to secure your spot for this Summer. Learn more and register for either camp here. :) And contact Bonnie at email@example.com to learn about a scholarship to attend camp for FREE!
We can’t wait to see YOU at Summer Camp!
The Summit County Board of DD has created the Family Engagement Program to allow your family to access your community the way you choose. The fund uses local dollars to that Family Support Services funds can be now be used as a match for Waivers. It can be used when services or supports cannot be paid for by Waivers. The purpose of this program is to help families access money for services or equipment ahead of time, without worry or burden.
The Family Engagement Program is eligible you are:
To access this program, simply contact your Summit DD SSA, Referral & Support Specialist, or Developmental Specialist, and they will walk you through the process. Need your SSA’s contact info? Check out our How to Contact Your SSA blog at SummitDD.org.
We are so excited for the Family Engagement Program of Summit County, because the funding can be used to fund music therapy services and our summer camp. As Holly Brugh, the Director of Service & Support Administration and Children’s Services, says “The more children and young adults with disabilities engage in their communities, the more relationships they develop, and ultimately – the better our communities become.”
In addition to the Family Engagement Program of Summit County, The Groovy Garfoose accepts 3rd party funding from:
Coming July 2017: The Jon Peterson Scholarship
Please contact Bonnie@groovygarfoose.com with any questions about funding sources and have a groovy week!
Ellen & Bonnie
Love is in the air! Below are some fun ways to incorporate my favorite love songs into your music therapy practice or a fun activity at home with YOUR loved one.
Put on some Nat King Cole and practice motor and academic skills by spelling L-O-V-E with your whole body. This works well for all ages for people with limited mobility or as a sensory break both in groups and individuals.
The Temptations’ hit My Girl is the perfect song for some piggyback songwriting. Instead of singing “my girl, my girl, my girl” fill in the blanks with things you love. This helps with communication, cognitive, and creative skills.
I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it’s cold outside,
I’ve got the month of May
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
I hope these ideas have helped and you use them or make them your own to have a very musical Valentine’s Day!
Hello music therapy, special education, art education, art therapy, music education, and creative arts and expressive therapy students!
We will be offering Rainbow Camp twice in back-t0-back weeks to better serve our growing client base in Northeast Ohio this Summer 2017! Our Lake County Area Rainbow Camp will run M-F June 19-23 rom 4-6pm at 435 SOM Center Road in Mayfield, OH. And our Summit County Area Rainbow Camp will run M-F June 26-30, 2017 from 4-6pm at 8575 S. Freeway drive in Macedonia, OH.
To ensure camp is our best camp yet, The Groovy Garfoose is seeking student volunteers with relevant education experience eager to gain experience working with teens and adults 15 and up of all abilities. Students will have opportunities to support and encourage camper participation (i.e., staying on task, passing out instruments, providing hand-over-hand assistance , socialization) in addition to observing two board-certified music therapists in action (Ellen Antes, MT-BC & Bonnie Hayhurst, MT-BC). Camp is only as successful as the people that run it, and we hope you will consider helping us make it AWESOME! Here’s what that entails…
As in Summers past, we are anticipating 10-20 campers per camp. Each day of camp will start as a group. During this social time, we will learn our theme song and introduce the color theme for that day. Then we will divide campers into three small groups. Each group will rotate through 30 minutes of creative arts experiences (Dance, Art, Music). The end of each camp will conclude with a group experience wrapping up the theme of the day. Volunteers will spend the entire week supporting one group of campers through each arts experience for consistency.
We are looking for energetic students willing to jump in and learn even if you are new to our camp or special needs in general. We ask that volunteers arrange their own transportation to and from camp and that you be willing and able to commit to the entire week of camp to provide consistent support and familiarity to campers. Interested but still have more questions? Please contact Ellen Antes, MT-BC at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To sign up to volunteer at The Groovy Garfoose RainbowCamp, please email Ellen@groovygarfoose.com with the following information:
Preferred Email Address:
Previous Clinical Experience:
If you are new to The Groovy Garfoose Summer Camps, each are designed for teens and adults with special needs ages 15 and up to express, engage and feel empowered through intentional music, art and dance experiences. The beauty of the arts being there is no wrong note, no wrong color and no wrong step in creating something as unique as each of the campers we are privileged to serve. This Summer 2017 we are proud to offer:
Our Lake County Rainbow Camp will be held June 19-23, 2017 from 4-6pm daily at 435 SOM Center Rd. Mayfield, Ohio and will be lead by Ellen Antes and Bonnie Hayhurst. And our Summit County Rainbow Camp will be held June 26-30, 2017 from 4-6pm daily at 8575 S. Freeway Dr Macedonia, Ohio and Ellen and I will lead this one, too.
Since we offered our first creative arts Summer camp back in 2011, our fans, families, friends (and even a celebrity or two!) have helped us raise over $6000 to cover all of our camp expenses and keep the out of pocket costs to camper families low for 5 straight Summers. And with your help, we hope to do it again in 2017, too! This year we are setting a goal to raise $2000 for Rainbow Camp (that’s $1k per camp) by June 1, 2017. When you donate to Rainbow Camp, you will receive an exclusive video thank you message from campers the week after camp via email. AND you will be entered to win one of 5 Groovy Garfoose SWAG prizes! 5 Winners will be drawn at random on Thursday, June 1, 2017 via our GG Facebook Page! To donate, click the donate button below and you will be directed to PayPal to support GG Summer camp. You can also support our fundraising efforts by sharing our donate page on Facebook and Twitter. Bring on SUMMER!
It’s time to advocate! January is social media advocacy month for music therapy. Bonnie and I are always advocating for music therapy with administrators, parents, program directors, people in line at the grocery store, our families, etc. Basically anyone who will listen…
Now we’re asking for your help.
Are you a music therapist?
Are you a parent or family member of an individual receiving music therapy services?
Are you a program director contracting with a music therapist?
Are you an individual receiving music therapy services?
Keep reading to learn how to advocate for music therapy!
You already know how powerful music therapy is – you’ve chose it as your career. But how can you communicate that with others? By giving specific and intentional examples of how music therapy can address goals for communication, mobility, self-esteem, and memory recall. Give concise and focused responses, and keep your audience in mind.
Parent or Family Member
Are you witness to the positive effects of music therapy with your loved one? Tell someone about it! Emailing a boss, a funding agency, a program director, or even your state representative about a specific experience your family member had in music therapy. You could help ensure that the program or funding continues, and others will receive services, too!
You can advocate for music therapy with administrators because music therapy is a powerful marketing tool. Music therapy has the potential to increase healing time, shorten hospitalizations, help individuals reach goals faster, and provide unique services to your facility that others may not offer.
If you are receiving music therapy, you can advocate by letting anyone you know how music therapy has positively influenced your life. If music therapy has made you feel more confident, then tell someone. ANYONE. Be proud of how music therapy has shaped your life, and maybe your story will inspire someone else to seek music therapy services, too.
Good luck advocating this month. Remember, advocating is more than just convincing, but sharing the power of what you believe in!
The new year is upon us. A time to reset and make resolutions to become better versions of ourselves. As a music therapist, I write S.M.A.R.T. goals for clients and patients. This creates an environment for accountability and conducive for success within our sessions. Each letter stands for a component of the goal. Let’s walk through one of my new year’s resolutions – improving my piano playing – and see what makes it S.M.A.R.T.
Ellen will practice scales, songs, and sightreading 3 times a week for 30 minutes for 3 months.
What makes this goal specific? Instead of saying, Ellen will practice piano, I listed definitive aspects of piano skills I want to improve on to ensure my practice is focused.
What makes this goal measurable? I made plans for how long and how frequently I want to practice. I could even make a practice sheet and set a timer to hold myself accountable.
What makes this goal attainable? This goal is realistic. Ellen will practice…2 hours a day 6 days a week is not a practical goal for my life. Making a goal too lofty can be discouraging, starting small and working your way up can sometimes be motivating!
What makes this goal relevant? I am a music therapist and improving my piano skills will help me achieve more musicality with my clients in their sessions.
What makes this goal time-specific? There is an end-date in sight! After 3 months, I will re-evaluate my progress and set a new goal more appropriate to my current skill level.
Happy New Year from the Groovy Garfoose! And all the best setting your S.M.A.R.T resolutions.
This time of year we hear the same songs again and again. Here are some new and creative ways for music therapists and families to use the same song to achieve different goals.
Let it Snow
Use a white sheet as your snow and shake it up, down, fast, or slow to either favorite recorded version (or sing a live version!) of this winter classic to help with motor movement, and receptive communication skills. Give everyone who participates a turn to choose how to move the snow!
Let it Snow
Try singing these lyrics with the familiar winter tune:
Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the music we play is delightful
And since making music is fun
Play the Drum, Play the Drum, Play the Drum
You can change the last lyric of the song to any instrument you like! This activity helps with motor movement and two-step directions.
Let it Snow
Rewrite this song to allow for self-expression, environmental awareness, and learn about another friend or family member!
Oh the ______________ outside is _____________
(something outside) (adjective)
And the_______________ is so ________________
(something inside) (adjective)
And since we’ve no place to ___________
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
Enjoy these activities this winter for some snowy fun!
P.S. Here’s my favorite recording of “Let it Snow” by Michael Buble!
Six months ago, I walked out of an H&R Block testing center with a piece of paper that said “Congratulations. You have passed the Certification Board for Music Therapists Examination.” Here’s what I’ve learned so far…
Duh. I did not realize the importance of hydrating until I had to sing for 7 straight hours a day. Your voice is one of your most precious instruments because it cannot be replaced!
A sip before your session is not enough. Start your day, experience your day, and end your day with water!
Bad sessions exist. I will have one when I am 23 years old, 33 years old, 43, 53, etc. Working with people (as opposed to a computer, or other technology) means that they will make mistakes, have bad days, and be downright difficult. Does that make them any less valuable as a client? If you answered no, then you’re right! Expecting perfection hurts my clients and me. I have learned to enter my sessions with the mantra of “how can I use my knowledge and expertise to create an environment for success?”
Boundaries and limits are a good thing. There have been times in the past six months when I could have ended a session, when I could have not persevered, not held back tears for 30 minutes, because of one incident or another. I won’t go into too much detail, but setting boundaries allows you to take care of yourself, not only in the music therapy environment, but also as a friend, a partner, and a person.
When I walked into my first solo music therapy session as an “MT-BC”, I thought “Wait, do I know anything about music? Or therapy?”
“What’s a piano? What’s autism? Where’s my supervisor? Do people seriously trust me, a fresh 23-year-old music therapist, to provide services to their children?” Trusting in yourself opens the door to have others trust you. Relying on my training, my boss’s faith in me, and my intuition has guided me to many meaningful therapeutic moments. I’m not going to have all the answers at 24, but why would I want to? I am making valuable decisions with my clients and learning every day.
It’s actually necessary. Taking time to unwind, disconnect, and NOT think about work is actually essential to your well being as a therapist and as a human. As a student, I worked under the assumption that self-care was something I did if I was selfish or had the time between homework assignments. Make yourself a cup of tea. Sit in silence for 5 minutes. Binge watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Cook yourself a delicious meal. Schedule an appointment with a mental health counselor. Self-care has many forms because we are all unique selves. Making it part of your work routine is will make you a better therapist and help you better serve clients.
And for people in their early 20s, that’s not always the case.
It’s amazing how many people I know who are working in a less than ideal situation. Who have chosen a career based on something other than their passion. It’s something I was ignorant to, but has allowed me to love my job even more.
I may not know a lot, and I may not be the best music therapist in the world, but I am learning.
I am growing.
I am doing something I love.
I am helping others.
Cherish the experience, no matter how challenging the day may be. Because at the end of it, I am using music to help people reach their fullest potential, and that is pretty special.
It’s hard to believe that A Midsummer Night’s Dream Camp is two weeks from today! We are SO excited to welcome 18 campers, 7 volunteers and 3 staff for our 5th Summer running. :) We couldn’t have done this without the financial support of our GG Ambassador and so many wonderful donors!
And YES! Kellie, Amanda and I are gearing up to #runforcamp at the Johnnycake Jog on Sunday, July 12, 2015 in appreciation of all our supporters. We can’t promise record speeds, but we can promise plenty of Garfoosey selfies on the Groovy Garfoose FB Page the day of the race and the week of camp.
Until then, keep it Groovy!
YOU GUYS! I’m so excited to share that we have raised $1,000 for camp already! And we have our amazing GG Ambassador, James Denton to thank. Again. Yep, James Denton, aka Mike the Plumber from the hit TV show Desperate Housewives has donated to our camp for a second time. My husband had the privilege of meeting Mr. Denton last year when they both happened to be in Toronto for work. Dirk would be the first person to tell you (and I’d be a close second!) that Mr. Denton is as kind and down to earth as he is generous. From all of us at the GG, thank you, Mr. Denton! Oh, and be sure to tune your TV to the Hallmark channel beginning February 28th to check out Mr. Denton in Good Witch. Looks like it will be a fun, family friendly series!
Amanda, Kellie and I are feeling EXTRA motivated to #runforcamp this Summer at the 5 Mile Johnnycake Jog Sunday July 12 and we would be honored to have your support! To support our camp, click the donate button below to be directed to PayPal. You can also share our #runforcamp fundraiser on Facebook and Twitter. Only $500 to go!
For the 5th Summer running The Groovy Garfoose is proud to offer a week long creative arts camp experience for teens and adults of all abilities! A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Music, Art & Dance Camp will run July 13 – July 17, 2015 from 4:00-6:30pm each day. Amanda, Kellie and I are already hard at work planning music, art and dance experiences centered around the five elements (earth, air, water, fire & sky). We are hoping it will be a ZENTASTIC time for everyone! Check out the flyer below for all the details (click on the flyer to enlarge it):
To register for A Midsummer Night’s Dream Camp click the registration button below. Register by March 20th and you will receive $10 off!
To celebrate our 5th Summer running (pun intended!) we are pulling out all the stops. Amanda, Kellie and I will run the Johnnycake 5 Mile Jog on Sunday, July 12, 2015 to raise $1500 for A Midsummer Night’s Dream Camp! Whether its $1 a mile, $3 a mile, $5 a mile or sharing our fundraising page on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #runforcamp your support is so appreciated! To donate to our camp fundraiser click the donate button below and you will directed to PayPal. Now, off to the gym to start training! :) #runforcamp
To celebrate the first snowfall in Ohio, I rewrote the lyrics to “Frosty the Snowman” today and wanted to share it with all of you! Almost a year later, my clients are still loving “Let it Go”, “Do You Want To Build A Snowman?” and, well, anything associated with Disney’s 2013 blockbuster movie, Frozen. I can’t wait to share this Olaf-inspired take on an old classic with my clients next week! Click the link below to download your free lead sheet of my “Olaf The Snowman”.
Here’s hoping this Winter is short and sweet so we can get to enjoying Summer like Olaf did at the end of Frozen real soon!