Intervention Spotlight: Encouraging Vocalization Through Singing

Intervention Spotlight-Have you ever seen the  movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

One scene depicts the bad guy trying to get Roger to show himself by tapping the rhythm of “Shave and a Haircut…” on the walls.  Roger tries to resist, but in the end he can’t help but to jump out and complete the phrase: “Two Bits!”

We all have a natural inclination to complete unfinished musical phrases.

Music therapists use this to our advantage, especially when we’re working with clients who need some encouragement when it comes to vocalization.  Watch the video below for a demonstration with my sweet daughter:

I remember being fascinated with this concept in my college music theory classes.  Certain Continue reading

Feel the Beat

Feel the Beat Joyful Melodies Music TherapyI use a lot of improvisation in my music therapy work.  This week I had many music therapy sessions with infants in the hospital who were falling behind on their developmental milestones due to their medical circumstances.  This song, Feel the Beat, stuck with me after it arose spontaneously during a session.

With these infants, I used this song while gently tapping them on various specified body parts.  This helped them become accustomed to positive touch – touch that isn’t painful, like much of the touch they experience during their medical care.

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Session Story: Promoting Development Through Music Therapy

Music Therapy Joyful Melodies Development

Many of my clients and patients have developmental delays.  In the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), I often get referrals for patients who have been born very prematurely, but have grown up and reached or passed their due date.  These patients often are already delayed or are at least at great risk for developmental delays, because the typical course of development that occurs when babies are born near their due dates is altered when they are born early.

I once received a referral for a baby boy who had been born about 3 months early, but was now 5 months old – 2 months past his due date.  He had a feeding tube, but didn’t need to be on any respiratory support, and was able to be held. His mother wasn’t able to be at bedside, and the nurses knew that letting him lay alone in his crib day after day would certainly slow his development even further, so they referred him to music therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

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3 Ways I Use Songwriting in Music Therapy

Joyful Melodies Songwriting
Tweet: 3 Ways I Use Songwriting in Music Therapy

I love songwriting!  Each music therapist receives special songwriting training in college, because it is such a powerful intervention to use in a variety of situations.  My favorite ways to use songwriting in music therapy are:

Songwriting to promote bonding between parents and their critically ill babies and give the parents a creative way to express their feelings

Part of my job in the pediatric hospital is to support the families of hospitalized children.  It can be so stressful to have a sick child, especially when the child is an infant who has never been home.  The process of writing a special song for their baby gives parents another way to express Continue reading

Intervention Spotlight: Counting Songs

Joyful Melodies Music TherapyHello!  Thanks for stopping by to read this post!

Since writing this post about the importance of repetition in early childhood music experiences, I’ve been even more aware of repetition in my music therapy work with young children.  Many of the children I work with are hospitalized for extended periods of time.  Being hospitalized at a young age can often slow or stop typical child development.  It makes sense – kids at home would be having tummy time on the floor, rolling around, practicing pulling up on things, being held often, playing with toys and meeting friends for play dates.  In the hospital, depending on what the child is going through, many of these things don’t happen.  Enter an amazing team of child life specialists and creative arts therapists, who make it part of our job to give kids opportunities to grow and develop despite their medical challenges.

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Fetal/Maternal Heart Beat Recordings + Personalized Lullaby Creation



Because of your response to this post, Joyful Melodies is offering a special deal on fetal/maternal heart beat recordings and personalized lullaby creation for pregnant women and new mothers.  For a limited time, this offer is available for only $200, and includes:

  •  The creation of a personalized lullaby for your baby
  • One in-person meeting with a music therapist, with additional communication about the song through email or by phone
  • A digital recording of the baby’s heart beat (must be at least 24 weeks pregnant)
  • A digital recording of the mother’s heart beat with soothing guitar or piano music
  • A digital recording of your lullaby performed by you or your music therapist, with piano or guitar accompaniment, mixed with the sound of the baby’s heart beat

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Intervention Spotlight: Heart Beat Recording

Music Therapy

I HAVE to tell you about this new music therapy intervention I’ve been using.  I learned about it about a year ago from a music therapist who works for a hospice company.  He and I both were guest lecturers for a college music therapy class, and he demonstrated this intervention during his lecture.

He recorded my unborn baby’s heart beat into his iPad, recorded the class and I singing “You Are My Sunshine,” and layered the music on top of the heart beat.


I finally got one of these fetal dopplers and figured out how to connect it to my iPad, and now Continue reading