As we reflect on this past year, we wanted to share with you all some of our favorite music therapy moments of 2017:
To some people, “5 golden rolls” are a fantastic addition to the dinner table, but to me, it’s my favorite Music Therapy moment! During one of my adult music therapy groups, a client of mine verbalized very few words and mainly just listened and watched the previous music groups we had together. But when it was his turn on the Thanksgiving version to “12 days of Christmas,” the room cheered with excitement when he sang “5 golden rolls” independently. It’s also been amazing to see his peers follow his lead by singing, dancing, and communicating more independently in music! Thus far, it’s been an eye opening experience to see the exponential growth and progress in many of the Groovy Garfoose clients.
“Oh my gosh, he held onto the maraca all by himself for the entire song!” – This quote from a staff member at an adult workshop is EVERYTHING, including my favorite music therapy moment of the year. In this specific case, the staff member (quoted above) regularly attends group music therapy and acts as her client’s hands and voice, daily. On this particular day, during one particular song, her active participation wasn’t necessary as the client independently held and played an instrument as she sat back to watch him in awe. Even though it was just for one moment, during one song, with one instrument, this person demonstrated his ability to grasp, and shake the maraca, according to its function, proving his ability to learn and grow should never be underestimated. Just as I suspected, inside this client lives a rock star, and we got to see him take center stage!
It was my first day seeing a new referral providing hospice music therapy to a gentleman with early-onset Alzheimer’s who was both non-verbal and difficult to engage. However, the social worker, who gave me the referral, shared that this man was a former musician. I was excited to see what kind of work I could do with him, and how I could create an experience to engage him and increase his quality of life. When I entered his room, he responded to his name by looking at me, then staring ahead again. Then I started to take out my instruments. The man’s face lit up and became tearful as I showed him my baritone ukulele. His eyes tracked the instrument, and watched intently as I made chord changes, and he offered his hands, typically tight to his chest, to strum. I offered several country music songs, which I discovered he enjoyed At the end of the session, I asked if I could come back again. Clearly and assuredly, this man said, “Yes.” I am thankful for the connection I made and the opportunity to increase someone’s quality of life through music, and I can’t wait for what other special moments 2018 will bring.
When I think back on 2017, I’d have to say my favorite music therapy moment is all the growth we’ve experienced at Groovy Garfoose. Not only are we serving more clients of all ages and abilities including Hospice Music Therapy with Gardens of the Western Reserve, but we are strengthening our community connections in Summit County by partnering with HCER, LLA Therapy Hudson, FCC and The Up Side of Downs to offer music therapy, music rec and expanded music camp opportunities for all ages and abilities. And all that wouldn’t be possible without expanding the Groovy Garfoose TEAM! In addition to Ellen Antes and myself, I’m thrilled to have hired a third employee, Sarah Chappell, who brings a wealth of experience our school contracts in Mayfield, Solon and Hudson City Schools in addition to our private clients in Hudson. And our team wouldn’t be complete without our very first intern, Bri Grucza. Bri is gaining a wealth of experience from Ellen and Sarah and is already taking the lead with private clients and groups moving her one step closer to earning her MT-BC! As an owner and now a boss, I never dreamed of reaching so many amazing people and getting to partner with organizations that believe in the power of music as passionately as we do. I can’t wait for 2018, because there is SO much more to come! But I’ll save that for another blogpost. ;)