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Online Music Therapy from a sensory point of view

Updated: Feb 12, 2021

Last weekend, I shared my experience of running online sessions with fellow Music Therapists in the Online Conference of Music Therapy. It was clear from the conversations in the conference that online Music Therapy is here to stay.


How do I get my clients to engage on screen for online session?


When seeing clients online, our audio inputs are limited by the headphones and our visual inputs are limited by the size of our clients' screen. We are competing with the toys on the floor, the sound of the kettle, the smell of the toasts and even the temperature of their homes for their attention. This prompted me to explore how online sessions are experienced differently by children comparing to face to face sessions.

However, it's not all gloom and doom! In fact, some families with children with attachment challenges and sensory needs prefer online sessions to face to face sessions:


"My daughter is really enjoying having therapy sessions on Zoom. She's at home, where she's most comfortable, and is surrounded by her cushions. She's able to interact with therapists and teachers without feeling the sense of physical invasion resulted from past trauma.'


This feedback from a parent of a client I've been working with gives us valuable insights in how children with sensory difficulties and past trauma may benefit from engaging in therapy online.


As Music Therapists, our trainings prepared us to be musically competent. However, engaging with children involves more than just sounds. The rise of demand for online sessions provides an opportunity for us to reconsider how to capitalise all of our clients' sensory needs. Experiences that offer visual, audio and touch stimulations simultaneously can be very helpful in supporting children's engagement in sessions. I've collected 5 sensory integrated music production websites that might support your online sessions.

 

Top 5 sensory integrated websites


This is one of my clients' favourite. You can find a wide range of virtual instruments and song making tools on this site. You can save some of the soundtracks as links or .wav or .midi files for further editing as well.




Another one of my clients' favourites. IncrediBox gives clients an easy way to produce soundtracks with visual output. A free demo version is available, but you can only save the soundtracks in the paid desktop/ iPad application.



Share screen & remote control to allow clients to create music through their keyboards or using their mouse. Each letter has its own sound and visual output. Press space bar to change to a different set of sounds.



The site gives colourful visual outputs according to the volume it detects. It was originally designed for teachers to keep noise in classroom down. However, I've found it extremely useful with children experimenting with their voice and volume control.




The site gives colourful visual outputs according to the volume it detects. It was originally designed for teachers to keep noise in classroom down. However, I've found it extremely useful with children experimenting with their voice and volume control.

 

Online Music Therapy resource pack


If you're keen to get the full list of hand-picked resources approved by tech-savvy Music Therapy clients and recommended by me, check out the resource pack I put together!

 

Thank you for reading! Have you tried these sensory-integrated resources before? How have you been engaging with your clients online? Keen to know your thoughts!


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