autism, music therapy, music therapy for autism, Uncategorized

Music Therapy for Autism: Fostering language through a song about balloons

I have a client who loves balloons and her speech and occupational therapists seized this opportunity to work on some of her goals within their sessions. The family was excited to show me how she can blow a balloon up on her own, but at that particular moment in time, she wanted someone else to blow up the balloon. So we helped her. Then we thought that she wanted to let the balloon go, so we did that and blew it up again while encouraging her to use language like, “Blow up my balloon, please.” And then a meltdown occurred and we finally realized that she wanted us to tie that balloon. You can imagine her frustration.

As a music therapist, I have the opportunity to create songs that encourage more language and comprehension. Within this creation process, some of the most important aspects I’m focusing upon include:

What kind of music does this child respond to the best? upbeat or slow, soft, predictable, or full of changes and surprises.

What can we do with this balloon? With the support of the family and allied health professionals, I can create language around as many aspects of this balloon as possible: blowing, bouncing, letting it go, popping it, tying, colors, sizes, hanging on so it doesn’t blow away.

images-1What are some things that appeal to this particular client? The main character of this story treats her balloon like a companion. She caresses it and speaks to it. She was heard saying, “Be careful, you’ll fall down,” while in the backseat of the car. If you’re a parent, share this information with your music therapist. If you’re a music therapist, use this language within the song and expand upon it.

Here are the lyrics. They are also incorporated into the video to provide visual support as well.

I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
I can blow it up, just a little
it stays very small.
I can blow it up, really big
it takes a lot of air.
I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
I can let it go and watch it blow around the room really fast
I can let it go, but still hang on as it blows air on my face.
I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
I can bounce it around in the air and hit it again before it falls
I can squeeze it close to my body and give it a little hug
I can cover it with a scarf and make it a different color.
I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
I can get different colors: Red, orange or yellow
blue, green,  or purple,
any color I can imagine.
I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
If we’re outside we have to be careful so the balloon doesn’t fall.
If we’re outside we have to hang on so it doesn’t float away.
I like balloons. B A L L O O N S
I like balloons. What can I do with mine?
Angie Kopshy
Angie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC
Music Therapy Services of Portland
music therapy, neurologic music therapy, special needs, Uncategorized

2014 Friends of Music Therapy Awards

On March 27, 2014, the Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association (WRAMTA) hosted our annual regional conference in Portland, Oregon. The Oregon Association for Music Therapy hosted a community forum that brought in both professional music therapists from the Oregon community and professionals with whom they partner. Following this Community Forum, WRAMTA kicked off Opening Session where we had the opportunity to honor some of the strongest advocates of music therapy from our community. 20140327_200139

Accepting for Providence ElderPlace was Marketing & Enrollment Manager, Jeannie Frederick, MSW, LCSW. For more than 15 years, music therapy services have been provided at 5 of their 7 locations in the Portland-metropolitan area.


Greg Roberts is the Superintendent for Oregon State Hospital. The Oregon State Hospital in Salem currently has 13 professional music therapists on staff! Music therapy has also been part of their recreation therapy services for more than 30 years.


Accepting for Willamette Valley Hospice  was Pam Matthews, Executive Director. Willamette Valley Hospice is a significant supporter of music therapy in Oregon. They have two staff music therapists and are also involved in community education of music therapy.

The following individuals are members of the Oregon State Legislature and are significant supporters of music therapy:

Julie Parrish
Oregon State Representative Julie Parrish
Oregon State Representative Lew Fredrick
Oregon State Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward

As a music therapist in private practice, I want to thank everyone for their support in the past, present and the future as we endeavor to find more ways to provide individuals with music therapy services.

Angie KopshyAngie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC, is a board-certified music therapist and owner of Music Therapy Services of Portland.

music therapy, Uncategorized

March is Music Therapy Month in Oregon

March is Music Therapy Month in Oregon. we invite you to join us in celebration & education.

As many families prepare for Spring Break , Oregon music therapists are gearing up to host their regional music therapy conference. As Local Chair for this year’s conference, I’m delighted to invite you to our Community Forum on Thursday, March 27, 2014, 5:30-6:30pm, at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel. This event is sponsored by the Oregon Association for Music Therapy and will feature a panel of local music therapists working with a variety of populations.

I know many of you are already familiar with music therapy and are eager to help educate the community. Please consider inviting teachers, doctors, parents of children with special needs, hospital administrators, local officials, legislators, human resources personnel, program directors, administrators, clinical managers, and others who may benefit from this educational opportunity.

The Community Forum is followed by the Opening Session of conference featuring keynote speaker, Jana Stanfield. The thirty minutes of time between the Community Forum and Opening Session will give you an opportunity to peruse our Silent Auction and enjoy live music by Portland based Indie band, Stoneface Honey. Both of these fantastic events are free and open to the public.


Finally, I want to thank Governor John Kitzhaber, MD, for proclaiming March as Music Therapy Month in Oregon. We are grateful for the support and appreciate the acknowledgement. Our proclamation:

  • Music therapy, as a profession, provides excellence in service to the citizens of Oregon and beyond.
  • The profession of music therapy was founded by a group of  pioneers dedicated to clinical services, education, and research over 60 years ago.
  • Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of  music interventions  to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.
  • Music therapists work with individuals of all ages who require special services because of behavior, social learning or physical challenges.
  • Marylhurst University and Pacific University train highly qualified music therapists in the Beaver State.
  • Music Therapy Month celebrates the efforts of board certified music therapists working with patients, clients, health and education facilities and the community to provide quality music therapy services.
  • The Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association has chosen Portland, Oregon, to officially hold their 2014 conference.

Angie KopshyAngie Kopshy, MM, MT-BC, is a board-certified music therapist and owner of Music Therapy Services of Portland.