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One of the greatest things I like about my job is the variety.  Each day/week brings time with different populations, settings, goals and music.

Part of my week is spent giving adaptive lessons with young people and adults with some developmental disabilities.  As our website offers, “Adaptive music education focuses on assisting the student in learning proper technique, elements of music, theory, music history, and expanded repertoire. Adaptive lessons focus more on the student’s process of learning than the outcome of performance, however performance may be a key tool for reinforcement.”

One clear distinction between music therapy and adaptive lessons is that the goal does include the musical product.  A music therapist adapts the instrument and/or the learning process so that the student is “successful” in making music.

For instance, a lot of my adaptive lessons students want to play the guitar.  By using D-tuning, the student is able to play the D chord just by strumming the guitar in the open position.  Then by using either of a specially designed bar that straps on the left hand (usually) or by using a plastic tube that slips over the first finger, the person is able to play the other chords.  I also adapt the guitar in another way by placing colored dots on the neck at the appropriate frets for the G and A chords. By working with the identification of the colors “yellow”, “red” and “blue”, for example, a person can soon play a myriad of 2 and 3 chord songs.  If the student can join in the singing, it is even better.

Other instruments such as drums and keyboards are also used for adaptive lessons.

Periodically all my students have a recital and there is great pride felt by all to see these individuals perform and then bow at the end of their performance.  Homemade cookies and other treats brought by the families and group homes make for a wonderful reception to end the evening.

I love my job!!!

For more information on Music Therapy at West Music, please visit the Music Therapy site.

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