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Rhythm of Life Music Therapy
May 14, 2014
Music has been proven to promote intellectual, social and personal development. With this in mind, the Pujols Family Foundation has created the Rhythm of Life Music Therapy program to benefit adults living with Down syndrome. The PFF is dedicated to the love, care and development of people with Down syndrome and their families. Our goal is to promote awareness, provide hope and create supportive and memorable events for the families and individuals who live with Down syndrome and one of the ways we do that is with our Music Therapy program.
After a successful pilot run of the Rhythm of Life program in the fall of 2013, the Pujols Family Foundation in partnership with Maryville University launched an expanded program for the spring of 2014. This session featured a 10 week program taught by a certified music therapist. With two groups being held back to back, those who participated learned how music can create emotional reactions as well as music from different cultures and time periods. To culminate all of the learning that the groups had done over the 10 weeks, an Open House was held on the last night of class, where family and friends were invited to catch a glimpse of everything the groups had been learning.
The groups started out with a great introduction song where we learned everyone’s name and how they were feeling that day; Teacher: “Hi Matt, how are you today?” Matt: “I played golf and I’m happy!” Next, we moved to drums where we learned that drums were an older form of long distance communication; the class took turns imitating each other’s drum call, which was a great listening activity. After learning about drums and communication, the class moved into dancing. The groups performed two different types of dance, an African circle dance and a salsa dance. The audience loved seeing everyone up and having fun with movement. The groups ended the night by singing two songs, Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire and Bill Withers’ song Lean On Me. Everyone was invited to join in and sing along with the group. The group sang Ring of Fire with passion and excitement and they sang Lean On Me with love and thoughtfulness. The audience could not have been more pleased with the group’s performance.
After the performance ended, there was time for treats and for everyone to talk and share stories. Many parents shared how the Music Therapy group had positively impacted their child at home. Participants and audience members all agreed that the program was a wonderful success and everyone is excited for the program to continue in the fall.
The Pujols Family Foundation aims to provide programs that create and enhance socialization, community, and growth for the Down syndrome population and their families. At the conclusion of this Rhythm of Life Music Therapy spring session, all were in agreement that this program has continued in that tradition.