You see my social media posts with a bunch of services I offer down at The Well, but there’s one part of my job you probably don’t know about. I provide virtual music programming for students with special needs. It’s such a rewarding part of my job! I have been a special education teacher for ten years and my severe latex allergy has made me decide to narrow my environments. I no longer teach in a school building. Through my LLC, I’m currently working with a few different special education districts to provide virtual music sessions. So what does that look like? Well, it looks different for each group of students based on their needs. Here are some things we do during our music time…
- Movement – I play a variety of songs that have actions to them. Each group has their favorites. These songs vary depending on the developmental stage of the students and their interests. We do actions to anything from The Hokey Pokey to Old Town Road (censored to be school appropriate, of course)!
- Sensory Input – Students have different types of audio sensory input because I use my voice, guitar, ukulele, banjo, cello, and keyboard. They also get to use their sense of touch. They feel the rhythm while tapping their toes, clapping, or playing along with egg shakers and other percussion instruments.
- Regulation – I incorporate breathwork songs and body regulation songs. The breathing songs are very calming and prompt students when to inhale and exhale. Some students have a hard time regulating their body movements so we give them practice through songs that require them to hold still for a period of time.
- Creative Expression – We do some “free dance” songs so students are able to show off their best dance moves. I have seen some pretty awesome moves!
- Fill-in-the-Blank Songs – These are like Mad Libs but instead of having the freedom to blurt out any word, the students are given visual choices of which word they want to use. We write the song together in this way and then I sing the finished product.
- Personalization – Sometimes I take requests and learn them for students. They take ownership of that song and are so happy when they hear a song I learned just for them.
This has been a new adventure for me this year. I absolutely love it! Even over a screen, I am able to get to know the kids. We connect through music! When I end a session and it’s ready for me to log off, I say “Thanks for jamming with me today”. Every day is it’s own amazing experience.