Everyone has their preference when it comes to instruments, right? What are you most proficient in? What are you most comfortable playing? What have you learned helps you to connect best with a client? Well, although each therapist may think differently, we think these are the instruments proven most effective in a music therapy session:
1. Djembe- Oddly enough, I personally believe a djembe or a hand drum of some kind is the best way to connect with a client. Because there is no central melodic component to a single drum, it allows the client to express and connect without the worry of "playing a wrong note". A small drum in between the therapist and client allows for a connection to be made without a large boundary. It is much easier to play a drum at the same time together than a piano or a guitar.
2. Guitar- Guitars are probably the #1 go-to instrument for music therapists for many reasons. One is that guitars can be played in close proximity to a client. Another reason is that the music therapist has some melodic or harmonic control over what sounds emerge from a guitar while allowing the client to play, whether they choose to open tune, capo or just simply hold a chord for the client. Guitar can be soothing and relaxing, while still maintaining control in a group setting if needed.
3. Piano- Pianos are always a good choice when it comes to large groups. I believe that the piano is the most solidifying and grounding instrument, with the option of greater volume control. When in a group setting, a guitar can often be drownwed out by other instruments being used by the clients, so pianos can provide a more steady and holding background for the experience. One downside to pianos is that it can seem like a barrier between the therapist and client(s), unless the client is able to sit next to you. If you angle the piano and have the client sit next to it rather than in front or behind, you can open up the space, have a bit more control and still connect with the client(s).
Do you have a go-to instrument or an instrument that you prefer for specific sessions? DO you disagree or have another instrument for our list? Let us know in the comments below!
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