As some of you know, I am a music therapist. Right now, I am only working with hospice patients, but I have worked with a variety of populations: children with Autism, people with Down Syndrome, adolescents/adults with behavioral health issues, people with brain injuries, pretty much you name it!
I have seen a lot over the years--happy moments, sad moments, heart-broken people, people in physical pain. I like to think that I am a fun therapy. At least, I like to think that. :) Some people are skeptical and afraid that I might 'make' them sing or act silly.
Although I use therapeutic goals to help my patients, I incorporate musical instruments to provide a rhythm, motivation, and fun! Sometimes I sing with my guitar, play piano or harp, listen to a cd and study the lyrics, and sometimes we go all out and bring in small percussion instruments.
For Christmas, my parents spoiled both me and my clients by purchasing African instruments!
The large drum is a djembe. It originated from West Africa and is played with bare hands. The name djembe comes from the saying "Anke dje, anke be" which translates "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose.
If I am working with a group of children or teenagers, there is usally a fight for who gets to play it.
The rest of the instruments are fun, too! Most of them were made in Kenya. Would you believe that my mother found all of these at a ZOO in Minnesota? They were all in the gift shop. They offer a variety of stimulation and sounds for people of all abilities.
This giraffe is not an instrument, nor is it from Africa, but it gets people smiling. The bottom of it is held in your hand, and when you squeese the lever, the giraffe bites down. It is pretty cute and causes quite the laugh.
I am very grateful for my parents' thoughfulness in gifting me with these instruments. Not only will my patients and I get to enjoy them, I pray our children will get to enjoy them as well!
Outtake....photobombed by Mercedes: