Saturday, April 23, 2011

New students - new challenges

I have been traveling for the past month (visiting my glorious Ukraine), and have not had time to add any updates about my music therapy progress.

Today however I had a trial class in a new school, with two new children. Actually they are not really kids, but rather young adults - both being in their twenties. It was the first time, that I interacted with patients who are not 3 years old and who can actually speak. I enjoyed our class tremendously, and feel that I can truly use the music to help them explore their inner feelings and emotions, and find soothing pleasure in music.

In our class today we did few songs that I use with my other students - these are mainly children songs in Arabic, few in English, and a beautiful lullaby in Arabic. They were received very positively, I guess, due to the fact that they are very well known and my students could follow them and sing along since the beginning.
I also used some props (pictures of vegetables and fruits), while singing to a 'Shopping song' (to be posted soon), and it worked wonders, as it gave them safe background to show their knowledge, laugh at fun pictures, and help be at ease while communicating with me.

Also, turned out Fairuz is the ever favorite! I am truly excited about  using some of her songs for our therapy classes. I hope we can have good discussions around the lyrics, and use those songs as means of expressing inner world of my students.
Overall, exciting! New direction, new approach and new challenge!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Did you know that?

Music therapy has a long tradition in the Orient as a core component of the Islamic arts of healing from the 9th century onwards. It was used by scholars such as Kindi, Razi and Ibn Sina and was routinely used as a treatment in hospitals from this period.

It was thought that the features of Oriental music had specific effects on various organs of the body and on the “humours” – the four substances that were believed by ancient medicine to preside over the body. Also, a component of Islamic theology held that music could nurture the “spirit soul”.

The practice died out by the 19th century, when modern medicine did away with the theory of “humours”. But Oriental music therapy was revived during the 1980s in Turkey and its potential is being explored by Western practitioners of music therapy.

Cars' Song

Today I would like to share a song, that a lot of children in the Middle East know. It works really well for music therapy as well.

Everyone has a car

Kollon aindon siyarat
O djiddi aindo hmar
Birakebna khalfo
Byahodna mishwar

O police bisafferlou
Biidou, biasherlou
Siyarat betzammerlou

Here is the same song, but in a funny video

I have used this song for:

- learning about transportation
- pronunciation of sounds 's', 'z', 'sh'
- playing different instruments for each line of the song (small music sequence with instruments that the child likes)


Kids love 'bap-bap-bap' :)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sounds song

One of the songs that I use with my students is 'Sounds song'. I 'stole' it from a website, where it was done in English. I translated it into Arabic, and has sung it ever since.

This song is a great way to do oral exercises, as well as to make them say sounds that are not easy to pronounce.

Iftah tummak o ghanni 'ah' (or any other sound that resembles it)
Sakker shweye o ghanni 'oh' (or any other sound that resembles it)
Warjini isnanak o ghanni 'eeh' (or any other sound that resembles it)
O kolshi maba3ad 'ah', 'oh', 'eeh'

I repeat this song 5-7 times, to practice the syllables that are hard for a child to pronounce, while h/she sings 'sah, soh, seeh', or 'za, zoh, zeeh'. You can also adjust it and use it to sing any other mix of syllables (e.g. as-ma, os-mo, is-mi).


I had such a great class with K. today. I could not wait to share it with someone!

It's been sometime since I was trying to get him to repeat the sounds that I pronounce. The challenge is that he can actually talk; he says 'bah', 'dah', one or two occasional words, but he is not able to connect words to actions. I feel that he talks only when he feels like doing so, and does not actually communicate. I don't feel that he uses words as tools to get something for himself, or to express his emotions, needs, thoughts. That's why I felt, that though his speech therapist has done a great job, in making sure he understands the beauty of speech, and at least starts talking, something was missed out.

I did some research and came to a conclusion that imitation skills are important prerequisite to communication. How am I supposed to teach him to say words, if he does not even want to repeat my sounds, whenever needed?

So few classes ago I tried the ever-famous lollipop, as a reinforcement tool for making him repeat either oral movement or a sound. Well, turned out it was probably his first time to ever see/try a lollipop. First class turned into a observation and exploration. Next two classes I unsuccessfully tried getting him to imitate my mouth movements or a sound I produce. Alas, in vain!

But today he did it! At first of course it was on 5th try, then on 3rd, and then finally he repeated the sound straight away! I was so thrilled. He repeated sounds from the Sound Song that I am using (will be posted later); primarily - bah, boh, beeh, dah, and sah, soh, seeh.

It is a great progress for him. I can't stop thinking back to our first classes, where he did not even pay attention to my presence in the room, not talking about imitating an action song, or repeating my sounds.

I am just thrilled!