autism, music therapy, music therapy for autism, special needs

Music Therapy Outreach Week #5: Synchronicity for Developing Social Connections

unnamedGroup music is a great setting to create opportunities for developing social connections. Moving together in synchronicity, which in this case is everyone participating in the same rhythmic movement, encourages social cooperation and creates a sense of purpose and togetherness. Singing in unison can also have the same effect. Examples of a couple songs we use are Tap Your Knees inspired by Anne Green Gilbert of Creative Arts Center‘s BrainDance concepts) and Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Our full example for the week is We’ve Got Rhythm. Try this song every day as a family until you’ve mastered it and are ready to move on to a new song! Here are the lyrics to help you:

Here to share a rhythm. To sing a song on a sunny day. We’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands. Yes we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands.

Here to share a rhythm. To sing a song on a sunny day. We’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes.  And we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands. Yes we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands.

Here to share a rhythm. To sing a song on a sunny day. We’ve got rhythm in our arms. Squeeze your arms. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our arms. Squeeze your arms. And we’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes. And we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands.

Here to share a rhythm. To sing a song on a sunny day. We’ve got rhythm in our hearts. Tap your chest. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our hearts. Tap your chest. And we’ve got rhythm in our arms. Squeeze your arms. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our arms. Squeeze your arms. And we’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our toes. Tap your toes. And we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands. Yes, we’ve got rhythm in our hands. Clap your hands.

Group music also provides the opportunity for children to learn social skills such as imitation, turn taking, joint attention, shared affect, and empathy. We often incorporate several facilitations that involve passing instruments such as Pass the Squishy Ball, Saturday Band, and The Drum Song. Passing instruments provides a structured activity for engaging with the person on either side and helps create awareness of others.

Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC
Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapy Services of Portland is directed by board-certified music therapist, Angie Kopshy. Upon completion of her Master’s in Music from Boise State University, Angie returned to Portland to study music therapy at Marylhurst University. Music Therapy Services of Portland specializes on working with children on the autism spectrum. Angie is also a singer/songwriter with the band, Stoneface Honey.

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