Early Childhood Music and Music Therapy Newsletter – November 2016

Early Childhood Music and Music Therapy Newsletter


The frenzy of September is winding down and we are welcoming it in our daily routine

The usage of electronic devices (ED) among children has tripled since 2011. According to research, some screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-03-51-amchildren can spend an average of 7 hours daily on combined TV, computer, smartphones and other ED.
ED are so prominent in our society that there are even debates to argue if children still need to learn how to write.

Research demonstrates that there is now a decrease of 13 % on weekend physical activity in pre-school age children due to ED usage.  There is also a higher consumption of juice, soft drink and food while using the devices.

Excessive use in young children can lead to hyperactivity and difficulty concentrating in regular school or family settings.  Research pinpoints that for each hour per day there is a decrease of sleep length and if the child uses an ED just before bedtime that it actually affects the sleep quality.

There are also many advantages such as increasing learning of specific skills (vocabulary, literacy, concepts, reaction time, etc.).  It has a very social element amongst all children and it is crucial that every child feels that they can relate to their friends.

But as parents, we must ask ourselves how to set boundaries and are we actually modeling the appropriate usage of ED for our children.screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-04-13-am

We should try to establish ED free zones, encourage conversations more often, remove electronics from bedrooms, turn off devices during meal, and encourage outdoor play, reading and free play.

The choices of options on ED must be developmentally appropriate and provide healthy incentives to hold interest.

ED are now a crucial part of everyone’s lives but it should not dominate our lives.

Source:  American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015

Dr. Johanne Brodeur, Ph.D., MTA
MTD and DECM Department Head, VCM


Leading Note

Adrienne Kastelic,
 Music Therapy Intern under Dr. Johanne Brodeur

Where is home?
Victoria, BC.

Where did you study Music Therapy?
Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo ON.

What is your earliest music childhood memory?
Singing in choirs in the community. I’ve been a “choir kid” my whole life!

Why are you interning at the VCM?
The VCM is an innovative site with an amazing team of Music Therapists. I am excited to learn all I can from these wonderful professionals.

What is your passion outside music?
The outdoors! I love hiking and kayaking.

Favourite movie?
Legally Blonde.

Favourite music at the moment?
I’m exploring rap and r&b right now.

What do you like best about living in Victoria?
I love being so close to the ocean and the mild weather is always great as well.

If you were a cookie what would you be?
A peanut butter chocolate chip cookie.


HEART Bags from Rwanda

My daughter Anne-Isabelle recently spent 4 months in Kigali, Rwanda and worked at two sites.screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-11-16-20-am

Umucyo W’ejo (light of the future) is a youth transit and psycho- social rehabilitation centre for boys under the age of 19 living on the street.  The centre provides holistic care, shelter, food, psychological support, schooling, vocational training and health care.

The centre works toward reintegrating youth with family members to the extent possible.

Tubahumurize (let us console them in kinyarwanda) is a grassroot organization that supports and empowers female victims of violence and marginalization through group and individual trauma counseling, income generation training, sewing school and a cooperative.

The talented women at the cooperative create a wide range of products including yoga bags, aprons, Xmas stockings, and “heart bags”, to name a few.  Anne-Isabelle gave me a heart bag and I absolutely love it.

Perfect for Christmas stockings or Valentine’s Day!


The Brain and Early Childhood Music

Music is certainly a multi-sensory learning experience. Researchers studying brain development compared brain in young children enrolled in a 15 month program of 30 minutes of weekly classes and children who did not take music classes at all. Young children participating in music classes were able to develop to a higher level necessary life skills such as auditory skills, attentiveness, focus, cooperation, language and social skills.

Children of early primary grades taking an instrument lessons weekly were also compared to children the same age not taking any music lessons. The children taking music lessons developed the same brain areas that one can find in highly skilled adult musicians.

Clearly music stimulates brain growth.


Can you name this Instrument?

The duduk (doo-dook) is
an ancient double-reed
woodwind flute made of
apricot wood. It is
indigenous to screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-07-48-pmArmenia.
It is commonly played in
pairs: while the first player plays the song, the second plays a stready drone, and the sound of the two instruments together creates a richer, more haunting sound.
The unflattened reed and cylindrical body produce a sound closer to the English horn than to more commonly known double-reeds. Unlike other double reed instruments like the oboe or shawm, the duduk has a very large reed proportional to its size. UNESCO proclaimed the Armenian duduk and its music as a Masterpiece of the Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005 and inscribed it in 2008. Duduk music has been used in a number of films, most notably in The Russia House and Gladiator.

Shared kindly by Chris Kask, VCM CFO. Source: Wikipedia

Thank you to Mrs. G. Nagley for her continuous support of Music Therapy.screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-08-26-pm
Thank you from the bottom of our heart! Your generosity gives a lifeline to many in our community.
If you wish to support the Music Theapy Department or the Department of Early Childhood Music, please contact Dr. Brodeur.

Music Therapy with Marie Slade at Luther Court

Greg was an elderly man living with dementia and anxiety. In the halls of the complex care facility where he lived he was restless and on edge and extremely sensitive to sound. He would easily be overwhelmed by the seeming cacophony of sounds that would invade his space, such as call bells, conversations of staff and screen-shot-2016-11-04-at-12-24-07-pmfamily, residents calling out, and floor polishing machines. Some days by the end of the day he would be so agitated that he would become aggressive, so much so that he would be transferred to hospital for the safety of other residents and staff. He was referred for music therapy and the therapist discovered that the resident had a passion for opera and classical music. The therapist would bring him into his room where it was quiet and sang opera pieces, and listened to excerpts of beautiful and powerful pieces of music. The change in him was immediate – he had a very gentle warm tone of voice and gave the therapist a hug when he heard the music. His eyes welled up with tears as he conducted with his hands during swells in the music.

The therapist kept a sense of calm and gentleness at all times when with the resident. Greg came to recognize the therapist, and therapist developed a playlist of music which he could listen to with headphones which helped block out the unwanted sounds around him and replaced his environment with something he loved passionately. On most days, his music kept him calm, and prevented him from becoming aggressive and having to return to hospital for stabilization.

*Name changed to protect privacy of resident, consent received to share story.

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