This walking stick was different from the run of the mill. It was made of bamboo, painted with a wolf, and had holes drilled in it to make it also a beautiful-sounding transverse wooden flute. In it was music, and magic.
There is some very good news today for parents of special needs children in the Litchfield area. I received an email today from Krizta Moon, a very talented musician, music teacher and musical therapist, which said that she will be offering a music therapy program at the Litchfield community center. If you are unfamiliar with music therapy, it is "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program," according to the American Music Therapy Association website.
Anyone who has fallen in love, lost a loved one, grieved or celebrated -- that is, all of us -- knows the power that music has to influence our mood and our minds. Amazing, isn't it, how a few bars from a half-forgotten song bring back to us in 3D living color the gestalt of a period in our lives?
Well, music is capable of far more than that. In the right hands, music therapy can not only help children cope with pain and stress, but also speed their progress in physical therapy programs. Music therapy can reach out and touch the untouchable, engage the unengaged. In fact, a recent Cochrane Review, largely considered the gold standard of evidence-based medicine, found that "music therapy may help children with autistic spectrum disorder to improve their communicative skills."
Ms. Moon said that she will be having an introductory "meet and greet" session open to everyone on Sat., January 23 at the Litchfield Community Center.
Music therapy sessions are specifically designed around the child's age and developmental abilities, Ms. Moon said. Sessions will be held each Saturday between the hours of 9am-1pm. Each session runs for 45 minutes, starting on February 20th and will conclude on April 10th for a total of 8 sessions. Total cost is $150.00. Sign-up for this event will begin at 10am at the Litchfield Community Center. From 11-11:45, be there to participate in a large group session for parents and special needs children ages 4-18.
"An advantage of music therapy," Ms. Moon's email said, "is that it is an inherently nonthreatening and inviting medium. It offers a child a safe haven from which to explore feelings, behaviors and issues ranging from self-esteem to severe emotional dysregulation. Music therapy techniques can be designed to address more complex issues such as grief, abandonment or deeply conflicted emotions. As a medium, music therapy has enormous range and scope in targeting multiple clinical needs across the gamut of childhood developmental stages. It can set the occasion for a child to establish a meaningful relationship with an adult through musical play and interaction. Music therapy can also facilitate the development of pro-social skills, trust and feelings of positive attachment. Developmentally, almost all children respond to music. This greatly assists in laying a strong foundation for engaging in deeper therapeutic work. A child's natural interest in music is enhanced by the fact that they are occupied in stimulating motor and auditory activities more associated with play or fun than work or therapy. The careful and repetitious orchestration of such multi-sensory experiences, in the context of a skillful and nurturing relationship, has a remarkable range of clinical benefits."
On a personal note, I would just like to add that Krizta Moon has been my daughter's singing teacher for several years. I know whereof I speak when I say that she is an extraordinarily talented, caring and skilled teacher, and I am glad that she has extended her talents into the realm of music therapy. I have no doubt that she will be of great benefit to many children here.
If you would like to attend, please call 860-484-9080 to confirm. You can also contact Ms. Moon via email, at lunazsoul (at) hotmail.com.