Friday, July 23, 2010

Rhythm Bag Instrument #5

The triangle is a popular percussion instrument that can be a good addition to your Rhythm Bag. The triangle provides the opportunity to work on several objectives such as developing fine motor skills, increasing motor coordination and decreasing auditory sensitivities.

To play the triangle, one holds a bar or loop that is attached to the top of the triangle with one hand and strikes the triangle with the beater held in the other hand. The triangle can also be suspended from a music stand.

The sound of a triangle can be described as sharp or tinny and can cause overstimulation in children with auditory sensitivities. Don't ever force a child to play the  triangle if it causes obvious distress, instead, show them how to make a soft sound and see if they would like to hold and explore it.

Music and Learning

I was asked to do a guest post on Music and Learning by Chynna T. Laird of "The Gift: A Blog For Caregivers of Sensational Children". My post appears today and you can read it here:

Be sure to check out Chynna's blog while you're there. She provides wonderful tips, expert interviews, book and product reviews and insight for parents and families touched by someone with special needs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Air Band

"My Air Band" is a song I wrote many years ago but still use quite frequently. I use this song to try and increase interaction, to increase the recall of instruments I've introduced and how they are played, to stimulate the imagination and just to have fun together through music! 

This song would work well with the instruments I've been highlighting in "My Rhythm Bag" as well as better known instruments such as the piano, guitar, drum and trumpet.

Once the child is comfortable with the song and the concept of playing an "air instrument" ask them to suggest an instrument to play!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Time To Sing Hello

Music Therapist Rachel Rambach has just released her first studio album of original songs entitled "Time to Sing Hello". The project was funded through fans, friends and family. The album download is free - but if you wish to make a donation, it will go towards recording her next studio album. My favorite song is "Move Your Body Along". Here is the link to listen or download her album!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Rhythm Bag Instrument #4

Finger Castanets!
Castanets are percussion instruments that are commonly made of hardwood, but for children the plastic ones work just fine.

My favorite finger castanet for children actually looks like a frog.
Most of my children love this castanet, although there are a few that are overly distracted by the face and eyeballs that move!

Finger castanets can be an excellent instrument to use to stimulate fine motor skills. Try these ideas:
1. Allow the child to pick a favorite castanet.
2. Hold your castanet between your thumb and pointer finger and click the castanet together. Ask the child to copy you.
2. Repeat with the thumb and middle finger, thumb and ring finger and thumb and pinky.
3. Hold your castanet in the palm of your hand and use all fingers to click the castanet. Try using separate fingers too.
4. Hold your castanet in the palm of your hand and use all the fingers of the opposite hand to click the castanet. Try using separate fingers too.
5. Take turns! Ask the child to pick a way to play the castanet and copy them!

For children that have difficulty holding and playing a finger castanet, try a castanet with a handle!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Instrument Concentration Game

As you collect instruments for your Rhythm Bag, take a picture of each one. Arrange them on a table or the floor in front of your child. Sit behind your child and briefly play or shake one of the rhythm instruments pictured without letting them see the instrument. Encourage your child to identify the instrument just played by pointing to or picking up the correct picture card.

As you add more instruments to your Rhythm Bag, add more picture cards to the game!

To make this game more difficult:
1. Add more instrument picture cards
2. Turn the cards over

To make this game easier:
1. Use less instrument picture cards
2. Show the child the instrument as you play it and have them match it with the picture card.