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water xylophone
Discovered on Pinterest

Miles Davis, the famous jazz pianist once said, “I’ll play it first and tell you what it’s called later.” By that I’m sure he was speaking of musical improvisation. Great creative musicians, as well as folks inventing musical instruments, begin with a blank slate and then commence their work. As they go, they create, sometimes taking different directions, until the finished piece is in their hands. We might not necessarily like their creation, but we must keep an open mind and try to imagine what was actually in their minds while developing their work. In doing so, we expand our ability to imagine and create.

Summer is here and playful months are upon us.  I invite you to take a little journey into the world of creative and almost imaginary music and even make your own musical instruments.  To start the journey, I encourage you to visit Odd Music for musical inspiration.  I have had so much fun discovering all of the unique and creative musical instruments that have been invented and I bet all of you will agree.

Ignite Your Child’s Imagination

Gather your family and friends together, open up Odd Music and listen to each and every instrument. Ask your gathered group to close their eyes, listen closely and picture what they see in their mind’s eye. There are truly some strange sounds, but there are also those instruments which are almost “normal.”

I find this type of interaction to be quite successful for children dealing with a wide range of isms.  This is a wonderfully unstructured time to encourage communication without requiring an act of active participation,  such as playing an instrument.

Of course, when listening to mainstream instruments, we can enjoy many of the same moods, feelings and thoughts, but when listening to these unique sounds – well, all I can say is “WOW!”

Add a Bit of Guided Imagery

One person can begin by reading the short description of an instrument on Odd Music, reading off details such as where it’s located and who invented it.  As an example, there’s a sea organ that’s located in the ocean.  Through guided imagery, I can visualize the kids imagining all the sea creatures that make different sounds that try to communicate with us.  What are they really telling us?

Let the children fantasize, encourage them to explore and allow them think about inventing their own instruments. This is truly an exercise of creativity that can therapeutically serve as an outlet for children with many different isms.

Since guided imagery helps to soothe anxiety, you can use some of these “odd instruments” to encourage that soothing process. You most certainly will be able to find just the right instruments from the long list to accomplish those moments.

Improvise Your Own Musical Instrument

A wonderful summer project is to build your own musical instruments using “strange” materials.  Also keep in mind, while building your instruments, that you can use the percussion elements to teach repeated patterns in music. By strumming and or drumming, we offer the repetitive nature of music which helps in so many areas of communication.

Check out all these cool ideas found on Pinterest!

Follow Special -Ism’s board Music Therapy on Pinterest.

Making your own instrument this summer?  Take a pic and share with us via Twitter or Facebook!