One of the most common questions I am asked is, “How many instruments do you play?” After I give them the usual list, they typically follow with: “What’s your favorite instrument?” Well, the answer to that question depends on the situation. My favorite instrument while I am writing music, during jam sessions, when I want to challenge my brain, are all different! However, if you asked me about my favorite instrument when working with 2-5 year olds, I would reply (probably without hesitation): the ocean drum!
I have never witnessed a toddler completely ignore an ocean drum. Even toddlers with extreme difficulty sustaining attention will, if only briefly, look at the drum and tap it. When I facilitate group sessions I notice the child who seems to have the most difficulty attending (e.g., not following directions, etc…), and, during instrument play, I specifically give him the ocean drum. The child’s behavior changes from that point, and he becomes more focused and engaged.
Now, I’m not saying that the ocean drum is magic- definitely not the case!
My purpose is to say that each instrument has its own qualities that make it effective for training certain behaviors. Instruments are not arbitrarily chosen. When I hand someone an instrument, I have already observed his behaviors, evaluated his strengths, and predetermined his potential success on the instrument. The instrument is then used as a therapeutic tool towards accomplishing his goal.
-If you want to learn more about what makes the ocean drum great for addressing attention in toddlers, then I would be happy to chat more!
-If you would like to use instruments with the population you’re working with, but are not sure which ones to purchase, I am happy to hear about your experiences and give you some suggestions.
-Here is the Amazon link for a toddler-friendly ocean drum, similar to the one I use:
Please, feel free to comment below or email me questions or comments for further discussion.