The Coolest Internship EVER

banding together secret show

Banding Together’s Jam Sessions provide youth with special needs with an opportunity to come together for a one-hour jam session where we play drums, sing songs, dance and have a great time with friends. After EVERY Jam Session, I leave feeling completely inspired, full of enthusiasm for life and a heart full of love and appreciation. I always feel incredibly grateful to be involved with this organization but I also feel the desire to share it with others. I want everyone to know how amazing these youth are and how music therapy allows them to shine at their brightest.

On February 12th, 2016 that desire to share with others became a reality. Banding Together was recognized by professional skateboarder/snowboarder, two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White and his band Bad Things! We were invited to a secret show by Bad Things, sponsored by San Diego’s local radio station 91X. We all arrived and got to hang out with the members of Bad Things, rock out with them, take pictures with Shaun White and just plain ol’ have a good time. The best part of it all was getting to see the Jam Session participants in an inclusive environment, thrilled by this unique and exclusive opportunity just for them

When I started internship, I had no idea that I would get to hang out with the coolest people ever and get to go to events with celebrities sponsored by radio stations! Every week I get to jam and hang out with the best of the best! This is definitely one of my top internship highlights.


Adapted Lessons

When teaching music lessons to those with special needs, it is important to be able to adapt to each of their individual needs and to be understanding of the ways they learn best.  Here are some tips for teaching adapted music lessons:

  • Put yourself in their shoes, learn as much as you can about their diagnosis so that you can think like they do
  • Be precise and detailed in your instructions, some students can take things very literally and do not generalize, so be careful of idioms or terms that could be confusing
  • Use a routine with order and repetition, you can list out what you are going to do in the session
  • Be consistent, with the way they do things at home, with what is in their IEPs, etc and if you are preparing for a recital then you may need to help prepare them for several weeks in advance.  The more they feel comfortable, the less you will have acting out behaviors
  • Adapt and be flexible, you may need to work on left and right hand with them first on a drum or by throwing balls, they may need breaks if they are having a melt down
  • Set expectations, make sure you are setting high enough expectations, have them perform in the same recital as typical students
  • Have patience
  • Have compassion
  • Have a sense of humor, find ways to make lessons fun for them

Mary Jane