This afternoon we went to Tunes Together. This is music therapy - there are 5 other children that attend and it's all about making music and using it as a way to communicate. There is one lady (Suzanne) that runs it with the support of what I imagine are music students and/or music therapy students who are all talented and very keen. Its 2 hours, once a month and we have it for a year. And Seth absolutely loved it this afternoon. The biggest thing about these sessions is how they are geared toward the child and responding to each child individually. Seth and I went to music therapy when he was pre-school and this is something else again. Suzanne is not content with having the parent hold the child's hand and bang the drum in time with the song. She wants the child to interact with the music themselves and any independent response is pounced on and encouraged. So, for example, at the beginning of the session we passed a drum around and the children were encouraged to bang it and say their name as part of a song. Seth nowadays might feel the drum but is unlikely to hit with any strength to make a sound. And he is very unlikely to hold and use a drumstick. Plus, he's never appreciated having his hand taken and forced to doing something like that. But he does enjoy using his feet. Suzanne noticed and put bells around his ankle and he was able to fully participate in making music, moving his feet in time to some of the music and stopping and starting when the song stopped and restarted. And boy did he giggle! And we were able to sit back and let him participate on his own terms.
Another example of how the activities are entirely responsive to each child was the first session we attended last month. The children were encouraged to play an instrument and when they hit the drum or shook the bells or pressed the pre-recorded switch the group played their instruments. When the child stopped, the group stopped. A lovely way of allowing the child to control what was happening. One of the children didn't want to play an instrument but instead wanted to bounce and slap his feet on the floor. So we were encouraged to join in with this instead and he loved it.
So you can tell I'm pretty impressed. Galaxy Hot Chocolate have a charitable fund and they are giving financial awards to a number of small, community based projects. Tunes Together is hoping to get some of this funding to buy more equipment but they need votes. So please visit Galaxy Hot Chocolate Fund page and vote for Tunes Together.