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Listen and Learn Music: Picking Favorites

Monday, April 13, 2009

Picking Favorites

I guess I shouldn't be surprised at how fiercely my students become attached to certain books, songs, and activities, but it never ceases to amaze me that they can be just as amused today with "Eight Silly Monkeys" as they were 18 months ago.

One of my students in particular is very attached to that book, along with "Down by the Station". Every week, I pull out new books in the hopes that he will move on, but it just hasn't happened yet. He will happily listen to the new book, even participate and answer my questions, but when it's over, he will without fail walk over to my bookshelf and pull out the two old standbys. He will flip through the pages, hum the melody to himself, even answer the questions he remembers me asking about the book. Then he'll close the first one and move on to the second book, doing the same.

I've considered my options: 1) remove the books from the shelf, 2) stop him when he goes to take them off the shelf, or 3) continue to let him do what he's been doing. For now, I'm sticking with option 3 because he is not resitant to the new books, and his skimming through the old ones only adds about three minutes total to the session. He completes every task I present to him, and his behavior is almost always impeccable during individual music therapy.

So what would you do?

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At April 13, 2009 at 4:53 PM , Anonymous Sandie said...

I think every child has a favorite book or song and I wouldn't want to deny any child his or her favorite books or songs even if the song or book was the same favorite one over and over for what seems like a very long time to us. If he has a great fondness and adores those two particular books right now I would also leave them on the shelf because they obviously bring him great joy and provide something for him that is enjoyable and maybe even soothing. I may play with the idea of using one or both of his favorite books in the therapy session since he loves them so much and find something new within those books to work on. Some new questions, some new movements, whatever his goals are that could be accomplished with those books, etc. I know for my own child he had a favorite book that he wanted all the time, over and over and over again for several years and now that he doesn't enjoy the book the way he once did it's kind of sad. It was called Dont Cry, Baby Sam and it was a lift the flap book. We all have favorite things and some of us hold on to those things for a very very long time for whatever reason.

At April 13, 2009 at 6:51 PM , Blogger Rachel Rambach said...

Thanks so much for your advice, Sandie. I think you are spot on. It helps to get the perspective of a parent who has experienced this, and I agree - it just feels wrong to deprive him of something that obviously makes him very happy. I love your idea of bringing new elements to those same books. I'll let you know what happens!

At April 26, 2009 at 8:40 PM , Anonymous Brenda MT-BC said...

From a therapists point of view it's also important to remember that these may be serving as transitional objects for him and that's okay too! You could always find ways to add new lyrics to them and address therpeutic goals within these lyrics or also use them as his down time self soothing time. I think as MT's we become fixated on filling every moment of a session and sometimes it's these down moments that provide the most to our clients.

At April 26, 2009 at 8:45 PM , Blogger Rachel Rambach said...

Brenda. so true. It is so easy to forget that a little bit of down time is not a bad thing!


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