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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Music Therapy for Cerebral Palsy: The Carter School

Chronicles of Boston Breakout: Day 5
This morning, groups of three of us went to the Carter School for Cerebral Palsy to observe music therapy. The sessions were led by Sarah Blacker and music therapy students from Berklee. Each session consisted of around four students, each with various degrees of cerebral palsy or autism.

We witnessed how music could help the students with movement (such as using arm movements to hit a drum and dance) and vocalizations (such as singing). I truly saw the patience and care required of music therapists, and how it is extremely rewarding when one is able to reach another through music. I was delighted to have been able to interact with the students as well. The music therapist asked if I could help hold a symbol in front of a student and match the symbol's position with the student's arm movements. I desperately wanted to reach him somehow, as the music therapy student and I encouraged him to hit the symbol through actions and  song. One wonderful moment was when one of the students started banging the drums, and the rest of us answered him by playing back his rhythm. It was amazing because he realized what we were doing, and his face lit up in understanding. He ended up getting so enthused about it that we had trouble getting him to calm down and stop!

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