Monday, November 20, 2017

Music as a Therapeutic Tool by Ashley McCauliff, Behavior Interventionist

     There is so much derived from music--there is kinetic narrative in a child who is amidst dysregulation--the body seeks to achieve catharsis via manifestation of anxiety, displaced anger, false bravado--telegraphed in the seemingly mindless exchange of objects among a table, "the search for the elusive nothing" is the lyrical enactment of a body in crisis.
     As the winter approaches, there is limited opportunity to disperse of this energy--having witnessed the beautiful equilibrium 20 minutes on a drum set achieves, or the melodic calm of working in tandem with a child to learn the opening chords to "Jump" by Van Halen has--I believe, with immovable conviction, music is so, so an integral part of Laraway.
     Allow me to recount the afternoon I sat in on a flock of children and staff orchestrating the story of that moment; then, cohesive, healing:
     Today there was a keyboard alight with electric funk--skillful notes ricocheted off the surrounding skulls and inhabited the snare drum in vibratory triumph-they were long, brassy hums reminiscent of a computerized Tibetan Monk--each key jangled loose the opening seconds, that gloriously haunting synth intro: classic eighties noise capable of waking you at 3 a.m. so as to remind you it’s still there,  doing figure eights on your hippocampus----there it was--the most natural kind of glibness--where I might sing, broken keyed, "it's the final countdown, (dun-na-na-na, dun-na-na-na-na (poorly transcribed phonetic rendition of proceeding beats) and incite a modicum of laughter.
     The children arrived, hot blooded, placated by nothing but the symphony of their outpourings upon that piano. I watched them, first buzzing and electric, thunderous, wailing--transform into bodies with purpose, the joyous agony and emotive power of their pain echoed, shook free to the somber, sorrowful, then resilient cry of music, as harmonious and wondrous as ever I'd heard.

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