BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: The Drumify Dances for Older Adults DVD will be available on Nov 16! More info to come soon! You will be able to

1. Order it online or
2. Pick it up in person in Cleveland at the 2010 AMTA Conference at the Erfurt Music Resource vendor booth.

My friend Natalie from Key Changes Music Therapy has just started her business this year, and I’m so excited for her! She asked me what angle I use to approach independent living communities. When I started to write this post a couple of days ago, I couldn’t stop writing. There were about 10 pages expressing everything you need to know about landing a contract and sustaining it with older adults communities. And I could write at least 40 more.

So, I’ve decided to write an e-book instead (coming soon)! First however, I’ve got to focus on the DVD launch  November 16!

Previously, I wrote some tips for drumming with skilled nursing, assisted living and memory care communities. Now, I’d like to broadly introduce 5 reasons why you, as a music therapist or facilitator, have a great opportunity to bring your services to independent living communities.

1. Everyone needs brain exercises. Use it or lose it. Design music experiences for participants to cross midline, alternate hand patterns, and come up with words for a song.

2. Everyone needs to sustain good range of motion and flexibility. Design experiences that incorporate stretching, contracting, breathing, moving, walking, dancing.

3. We are a social species. Design experiences that provide opportunities for uplifting each other, supporting each other, and checking in with each other.

4. With music, what cannot be said can be played out instead. Design experiences with intention for what the group brings that day. If someone comes in experiencing a recent loss, then be prepared with a session designed to address those needs.

5. A spiritual component underlies all of the above, in my opinion. Not everyone agrees, but everyone would probably agree that spirituality is important to those who believe it is. In other words, if your group of well older adults values religion, then recognize that music makes the spiritual experience of life on earth all the more rich for that group.

Do these points sound familiar? I transferred them from the idea that music therapy can be used to address cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. Ta-dah!

My favorite part of Dr. Madsen‘s classes in grad school was our transfer exercises. At the beginning of each class, we were required to write down a transfer. A transfer is one of the most sophisticated types of learning (as opposed to memorization, for example). For instance, “My computer stopped working, and I became angry. Then I became relieved because I didn’t have to do any work because it’s out of my control.” Transfer: “The parking attendant said something hurtful, and I became angry. Then I became relieved because I don’t have to fight back. What he said is out of my control and doesn’t have any bearing on my well-being.” Another Transfer: “I got a divorce and was angry for many years. Then one day I felt a touch of relief because I didn’t have to fight back anymore. What exited my life created a space for something new. I surrendered my desire for control of that person and the situation.”

Ok, so if you’re an expert on working with special populations, then take all that you know from that arena and just transfer it over to working with well older adults. 😉 You are the expert!

4 Steps To Integrate Essential Oils Into Your Work

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