Every music therapist knows the woes and struggles of a music cart. Maybe even some music educators in smaller schools know the pain as well. And of course we all know the obvious items to keep on a cart are whatever we need for the activity that day... but here's a list of a few items that you might not think to keep on your cart!
1. An awesome cart- Every good MT needs an even better cart! Lots of room for instruments, small knick-knacks, and other necessities. The best carts maneuver easily and quietly, are not too bulky, but can still hold a lot of goodies.
2. Power strip & Chargers- Attaching a power strip to your cart is essential! Plug it in at every stop to get powered up or, even better, get a battery powered strip or charger and charge on the go! You never want to be left without power! Check out some unique power strips here!
3. Capo- Capos are not just for playing chords easier or cheating, there's so much more to them! Open tuning for clients is a great tool! Check out out blog "Capos are a girl's best friend"!
4. Kid-Safe, Non-toxic cleansing wipes- These are important! I used to use Clorox wipes on everything in my room until I realized how unsafe they can be for little ones if ingested. Now I use Legacy of Clean Multipurpose wipes: Biodegradable formula, No phosphates, chlorine, or other unpleasant ingredients so it’s safer for the environment, Concentrated, so less is more, and Dermatologist tested and allergy tested. You can even use these to wipe down mouth pieces and harmonicas!
5. Bluetooth Speaker- This is another item you can get attached to your cart and plug in where ever you are (or to your power strip!). Easy access for any bluetooth-compatible device that a client may have or quick access to your own devices that you've paired. Check out the best speakers of 2017 here!
6. Sensory basket- You never know when a sensory break may be needed so it's best to keep some sensory items on your cart! Check out our blog "Sensory in the Music Room" to get some ideas of great music-based sensory items and some added non-musical ones!
7. Go-to activity items (Egg shakers/wrist bells)- You never know when a session may not go as planned or you finish your activities faster than you thought. It's a good idea to always keep some go-to instruments on your cart for last minute activities. You never know when you're going to need them! Grab some low-cost egg shakers here!
8. Adaptive/assistive tools- This includes any mallet straps, grips, extensions, etc. that may be needs with clients. You never know how a client will be feeling that day or the limits of their abilities. Grab some quality adaptive gear here!
9. Hand drum(s)- Small hand drums, like lollipop drums, are great for group work or simple individual experiences. And let's face it, drums are fun and easy to use, so it's a great way to connect with clients. Get them in bulk here!
10. Water and snacks- THESE ARE MUST HAVES! A small bag of peanuts between clients and a quick sip of water, and you're proteined up and hydrated and ready to take on the day! Here's a great list of easy, go-to snacks for the road (or the cart)!
11. Scarves- Scarves are relaxing and increase movement. Seated in a chair, laying in a bed, or standing up, scarves or ribbons involve gross and fine motor movement by holding them in your fingers and moving them with your arm. Catch them discounted here!
12. Hand bells- Hand bells are easy to use, colorful, and most of all, aesthetically pleasing. These bells can be used for simple part writing or melodic chains, and can be easily separated and dispersed to clients based on colors. Reading color-coded music can help clients to follow the patterns and work together in a bell choir. These bells also come in a form with a push button on top for those that cannot grasp a bell. These are great for progress as well because they can be pushed or rung! Get a nice set with a case here at Music in Motion!
13. Extra sticks and mallets- Clients can get a little out of hand sometimes (we all know this), so it's best to keep some extra sticks or mallets on your cart! Store them in this inexpensive, simple bag!
14. PECS/AAC Device- There are days that even the most talkative of patients may be quieter than a mouse. Or a client may not be able to verbalize what he or she needs. That's where PECS or an AAC device come in. Photos of instruments and simple conversational phrases are all that are needed in order to communicate in the music room! Ask your local speech therapist for their advice on what might be best for your clients as a whole and ask them to direct you on how to obtain these assistive communication devices! Read this great article about AAC devices and where to get started!
So there you have it, ladies and gents! A few things to add to your music therapy cart if you haven't added them already! Let us know in the comments below if you have anything to add that you think someone might miss!
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