Pattern Sensory Enhancement (PSE) from one Aspiring Scholar to Another *

Pattern Sensory Enhancement, or PSE, is a Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) technique developed by Michael Thaut. This technique’s purpose is to elicit movement with musical cues through all elements of music (i.e. tempo, rhythm, dynamics, etc.). Those cues fall under three primary categories, spatial, temporal and force, and has a step by step procedure to follow. When done correctly, PSE can be very effective in not only engaging but driving movement and prompting full range of motion and functional motor movement.

Spatial cues are broken down into pitch, dynamics, sound duration and harmony. All of these elements indicate how the body should be moving in space in one capacity or another. If a music therapist wants to facilitate an arm swing up and down, they could use a legato scale crescendoing as the scale ascends to elicit the upward momentum of the arm and a decrescendo as the scale descends down on the release of the movement. Gravity naturally assists this lowering or downward motion of the arm meaning emphasizing the movement with rising dynamics and a connected melodic line are less of a necessity as the laws of physics state that what goes up must come down.

Temporal cues encompass tempo, meter, rhythmic pattern, and form. Matching the desired motion to these cues is important for the clarity and facilitation of the movement. For example, if a therapist’s objective is to maintain or improve lower body gross motor function in the legs, and therefore is facilitating leg lifts, using a duple meter march will depict the movement within the music. Duple meter because the natural cadence for walking goes 1. 2., 1.2. (i.e. leg goes up/down, up/down). An example of an appropriate song might be “When the Saints go Marching in”. It is in a duple meter and the downbeat is very strong and easy to pic out. The corresponding lyrics are convenient, although not necessary.

Force cues are musical elements like dynamics, harmony, and tempo. Although these elements are used as spatial and temporal cues, they can also be used to indicate where the “work” or exertion is in the movement (i.e. in the leg lift example above, lifting the leg requires more exertion to work against gravity). In other words these help to cue the points at which the muscles are either exerting or releasing energy. A dissonant chord, such as a diminished C, might be used at the moment a client needs to hold a position of tension. The chord resolving to C major would indicate the release or relaxation of the muscles.

To effectively implement PSE, it is important for the music therapist to follow these 4 steps.

    1. Demonstrate the movement with your client and set a tempo on a metronome that matches their natural cadence (i.e. If you will be marching, introduce it verbally but also demonstrate what the movement should look like.)
    2. Following the metronome, give your clients rhythmic verbal cues. (i.e. Give your verbal cues in the corresponding meter. If you have a metronome that allows for tapping in the beat, do so.)
      1. I.E. up and down, out and in
    3. Continue the verbal cues while gently bringing music in.
    4. Fade out the verbal prompts and let the music facilitate the movement.
  • Optional: add a song, but never compromise the beat!

-Noriah Uribe

 

 

*Source by Tara Harwell

Thumbs up for the Belly Up- FUNdraiser

        My outlook on fundraisers has usually been that they are a necessary evil. I often viewed them as the time of year when a non-profit would have to shmooze up to the rich and affluent in the hopes that they would donate enough money for the non-profit to continue to provide whatever services that may be. However, this past weekend I came to see fundraisers very differently as I had the pleasure of being a part of a fundraiser, Greatest Hits, for Banding Together, a non profit that provides music therapy opportunities to those that may not have access to it other wise. The fundraiser was held at the Belly Up, a concert venue in Solana Beach, California. It featured a live auction, donor board, wine and beer pull, as well as variety of live musical performances. The event sold out for the first time in its nine year history thanks to the support of local grammy award winning musician and avocado farmer, Jason Mraz.

        As the events of the fundraiser progressed and money was raised I noticed something. People were excited to give and be a part of Banding Together’s mission. The community atmosphere was palpable as clients participated as “hype men” (a.k.a. The ones building up the excitement in the room by cheering the event along) for those around them, cheering on donors as over $60,000 was raised to make a difference for those with special needs to experience music opportunities. Those that gave, gave generously because they believed in the cause. It was as I looked around at the excitement on everyone’s faces, those giving and those volunteering, that I noticed my previous perspective changing. Those attending the event were not there to be an ATM. Instead, they were there to stand with Banding Together and share in the mission. The Greatest Hits fundraiser was meant to showcase the individuals who benefit from the programs, why it matters, and what fruit partnering together will produce and it did so exceedingly well. I will without a doubt look back on it with the fondest of memories.

-Noriah Uribe MTI

 

jason maraz at the bellyup

Out-Of-Sync Child Vestibular Sense

Vestibular sensory processing disorder can be an everyday challenge for the out-of-sync child. Knowing what’s going on in the child’s brain and understanding signs of dysregulation can lead to more effective and efficient treatment. The Out-of-Sync Child by Carol Stock Kranowitz is a great resource for educating yourself on sensory processing disorder. The following visual outlines what the vestibular system is, what happens when it’s out-of-sync, and everyday challenges relating to vestibular sensory processing disorder.

 

Vestibular Sense

Maggie