Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sensory Play and the Cello

My child, Matthew, has Agenesis of the Corpus

He loves music!! We have been taking him to
music therapy for about a year.

One of the many instruments that Matthew has been
playing at nearly every music therapy session is
the cello. He is not taking music lessons.
He uses the bow and also his fingers to
play the cello along with his music therapist.

Now typically a person plays the cello with a
bow or their fingers.

NOT Today!!

At today's session his music teacher, Marion, placed
Matthew's bare feet on the cello and then SHE played
the cello with the bow.

Matthew absolutely loved the sensory input that
he got through his feet each time his music
therapist moved the bow across the cello strings.

The moment the bow stopped moving, Matthew's
fingers went to work signing "more, more, more"
and this cello-playin feet-thrivin duo created
a sensation that lasted about 15 minutes.

Now here's where the beautiful music part appears.

The cello was then removed from the floor and
placed upright for Matthew to play. Matthew played
the cello for another fifteen minutes...using the bow
for about 10 of those minutes and his fingers for the
other five. This is the longest and most remarkable
cello playing session that Matthew has had in the
entire year.

My husband snapped a picture of Matthew with his
feet on the cello and when he witnessed Matthew's
remarkable cello playing accomplishment [post
cello feet sensory input] he said,

"I was surprised how well he did playing the
cello after she played it with his feet on it."

"It's like he just became more aware."

The sensory input that Matthew received through
the musical vibrations to his feet allowed him to
play the cello with the bow for a much longer
period of time and he did a better job of holding
the bow himself (only needing help with his fingers
on the bow a couple times). In the past he would
only bow for a very short period of time and he
needed much help with his finger placement on the
bow. He would also let go of the bow often and
need help to grip it again.

He was also much more attentive and focused on his
cello playing and he listened closely to the music
and sounds that he was making.

Now, I have to tell you that I could kick my own
backside because I didn't attend today's music therapy
session and I wasn't able to witness this musical
extravaganza sensation for myself. Matthew's dad took
him today, took a photo with his cell phone...and
remembered to tell me.

Revealing the story here for you to read took a full
fledged dental chair interview between Matthew's Mom
and Dad.

Sensory input is fascinating and when you discover
one of those sensory input moments that allows your
child to be awakened in such a miraculous way, you
just want to jump for joy!!


watch video of cello input to his feet from another music session.

I sit in a chair just a few feet away from Matthew and can feel the strong vibrations from the cello in my own feet on the floor.

When Matthew was very young, he also had a similar
experience during his physical therapy sessions.

If the physical therapist would put Matthew on the
platform swing at the very beginning of the session
and do a lot of spinning and swing movement with Matthew,
he would respond to the entire physical therapy
session much, much better. Again, the sensory input
for Matthew that came from the swinging, twirling,
spinning, moving swinging made a world of difference.

What type of sensory input do you notice helps
your child? Or if you are a music therapist or
other therapist I'd love your input as well.

Matthew's Music Therapist is Marion. She
founded Octave Music Therapy.

“Music speaks what cannot be expressed,
soothes the mind and gives it rest,
heals the heart and makes it whole,
flows from heaven to the soul.”
--Author Unknown

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