Published: March 30, 2020
In practicing social distancing and keeping those in our programs safe, programs have transitioned traditional therapies to virtual therapies including music services provided through Roman Music Therapy! Music therapists have been setting up group sessions at Bridgewell residences – and our residents are loving it.
“Roman Music Therapy Services supports the efforts of physical distancing during this time, and we continue to advocate for social connectedness. We all need to feel connected more now than ever before! For the folks we serve in our music therapy sessions, virtual music therapy services has allowed us to bridge what is happening in their homes with the outside world,” said Meredith Pizzi of Roman Music Therapy Services.
“In this web-based session, clients share in familiar songs and live, interactive music making, technology has allowed us to create new memories, bring joy and fun to the residents’ day and decrease the risk of isolation and loneliness through music therapy sessions.”
From Music Therapist Kim:
When we got the technology set up and the session rolling, I was thrilled to see how eager they were to make music with me and how aware they were of my presence and interactions with them despite the circumstances. Group members smiled and waved enthusiastically when they saw a familiar face pop up on the screen, and they even helped me out by nodding or giving a thumbs up when I had trouble hearing their verbal responses through my speaker.
In connecting with a nonverbal resident virtually:
S always responds to the music with excitement, clapping happily and vocalizing along singing “ahhhh!” Whenever I visit, I make sure to engage him directly by approaching him in his wheelchair, letting him strum my guitar (which he LOVES), and changing my physical perspective to maintain his focus and excitement. That being said, I was afraid that a virtual session might not have the same effect as I would not be able to use movement and proximity to grab his attention. To my pleasant surprise, however, S was arguably the most engaged of all the residents.
Each time I called out or sung his name a smile would slowly creep across his face. Throughout the session he frequently raised his arms in the air, clapped his hands, tossed his head back, and sang out as loudly and proudly as ever. As a nonverbal client, I am also always working hard to give S ways to communicate, and Monday’s session was no different. S continued to make choices when presented with a field of two, and pointed out his choice between his roommates to indicate their turns when prompted. Continuing these sessions and making connections with these residents during a time of such uncertainty and change brought so much comfort and joy to both me and my clients, and I am so thankful to the staff and program directors who worked with me to make the session possible and successful.
Click below for resources from Roman Music Therapy: