Music Monthly with Ms. Sam (April 2019)



Often times, I get the question of "what is music enrichment"? What sets the Sonatina Center apart from another music instructor in the town? Both are completely valid questions. What seems to be a couple of sung songs and played instruments can transform with intentional planning. Intentional planning is our key. I approach each session through my lens as a board-certified music therapist. Music therapists are specifically trained to assess, develop, and implement treatment plans specific to an individual or group's needs. When facilitating a non-therapy service, such as music enrichment, I don't "turn off" my therapist brain. I use my training and knowledge gained to inform how I develop experiences for each class. Instead of working on more individualized goals I target large developmental areas including gross motor, emotional, social, and communicative domains through activities in each session.


We sing hello and goodbye

At all ages, singing the hello song is the first step. It establishes the space and invites young children to sit and learn to receive. To feel the experience of receiving music. Singing each child's name encourages social reciprocity. This term refers to the back and-forth flow of social interaction. Singing each friend's name helps to encourage a response. We always sing hello and goodbye at all ages

We move

Once we've established our space by singing hello, we move! Typically, we do a shaker song that introduces movements such as shake up high-shake down low. It gives the children an opportunity to explore playing the instrument and playing along with peers. For our infant friends, we spend quite a bit of time playing instruments. Lifting and pulling the hand to strum the guitar has recently been what we've been working on. For our toddler friends, we play with shakers but we also do movement songs. Songs that have built-in directions to move our bodies to jump and spin. Movements that help our gross motor development. For our preschool friends, we play with shakers and we also do movement songs that help us to practice our developing gross motor skills! Similar to the toddlers, songs start out with built-in directions then branch out to have different leadership opportunities

We do so much more

Each month we'll be taking a look at some of the activities we do in music enrichment and why. This is only the beginning and I look forward to continuing to share with you! Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.

Warmly, Samantha Brewer, MT-BC



Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Row Your Boat is one of the best known nursery rhymes originating from early America. It is also a song that sparks imagination in early childhood. In music enrichment, we row our boat but with a slight variation. We sing the familiar tune, then we move on to a faster chorus of:

Row, row, a little bit faster
Row, row, a little bit faster
Row, row a a little bit faster
Now it's time to go go go

Afterwards, we switch back to the slower, familiar tune of Row Your Boat. By moving between slow and fast sections, we are providing a highly structured experience for young children to experience what it feels like to switch between low arousal and high arousal. It helps to develop much needed regulation skills. It can be adapted to all ages, For younger ones, it can turn into a lap song that involves rocking then bouncing. For our older preschoolers it can spark imagination in asking what they may see in the water that would make us go faster. For a fun and engaging activity to do at home, let's all row our boats!

Samantha Brewer received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy with an emphasis in special education and psychology from Seattle Pacific University. She has over five years of Pre-K-12 experience in various community settings including family work with complex trauma histories. She can be contacted by email: