Early Childhood Music and Music Therapy Newsletter – October 2016


The frenzy of September is winding down and we are welcoming it in our daily routine. There is a certain crispness in the air and at this time your children are attending music classes or music therapy sessions. The children are learning and growing, the teachers and therapists are adapting and adding their classes and sessions. We are witnessing a Season of changes.

Music is certainly a catalyst for change. And music education and therapy must continue its evolving process of change to retain effectiveness. For example, using new technology to expand the learning process is critical in supporting music education or therapy. Pedagogical transformations are evolving to create a relationship between creativity and technology.

There is also a change in societal needs and the immense progress in the psychology of music help us to address these issues that affect all of our children in the classroom or sessions.

Music methods such as Orff and Kodaly are updating their resources and activities to reflect a more contemporary approach.  Multicultural essence is now added to most music education or therapy programs.

There is also a much better understanding, through a large body of research, of the crucial impact of early music education.

Teachers and therapists must take the ethical and professional steps to learn additional skills and knowledge to successfully teach and use music in an empowered setting. This must be done without losing sight of the real essence of music education while keeping the children’s current interest in the forefront.

It is imperative that music teachers and music therapists welcome the change to expand all of the above in addition to critical thinking, cooperative work and creativity in all of their classes.

Enjoy your music classes or music therapy sessions and celebrate this time of magical and necessary changes.

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

Music Therapy and Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s is defined by Parkinson Canada as a neurodegenerative disease. Movement is normally controlled by screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-11-42-59-amdopamine, a chemical that carries signals between the nerves to the brain but when cells that normally produce dopamine die, the symptoms of Parkinson’s appear.

This neurological disorder involving the progressive degeneration of the dopaminergic system gives rise to movement-related dysfunctions such as bradykinesia, tremor, and rigidity as well as other symptoms, mainly of cognitive and psychological nature.

How can Music Therapy assist individuals with Parkinson’s?
According to the following research How does familiarity with music influence walking speed in rhythmic auditory cuing? (Leow, Rinchon, & Grahn, 2014)  rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) therapy combined with music therapy can ameliorate gait abnormalities.  Findings revealed that music that was more familiar elicited faster stride velocity, reduced the variability of strides, and allowed for better (step to beat) synchronization performance.

In an earlier study How do Parkinson’s disease patients respond to rhythm? (Grahn and Brett 2009) it identified an area of the brain, the basal ganglia, to respond to ‘feeling the beat’ in rhythm. When appropriate music is played, music bypasses the basic ganglia to compensate for the lack of dopamine in the brain and therefore facilitate movements.

Through Music Therapy, gait training can be supported by a steady and rhythmic structure; which will facilitate smoothness, coordination and a range of motion. Rhythm-based exercises paired with words can enhance speech intelligibility. Music can also be used to improve memory organization, attention and memories’ retrieval. And playing and singing songs bring back memories and stimulate conversation.

The VCM President of out Board of Governors, The Honourable Roy Cullen, kindly shared this incredible video. There is a section on Parkinson towards the end of the video but take the time to watch the whole video as it will make you reflect immensely about the power of music:

Music Therapy offers specific treatment plan for a wide variety of participants.  Check out our web site and call our Department Head for more information on how we can help you or your loved ones.

Leading Note

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-11-43-47-amJacqueline Fraser,
Participating in a VCM work
experience through Community Living

We are welcoming Jacqueline Fraser as a new office staff and Helper to MTD/DECM Head at the VCM downtown location.

Where was your home before you moved to Victoria?
White Rock.

Give us three adjectives that describe you?
Generous, caring, determined.

What instrument(s) do you play?
Classical guitar, ukulele, drums, piano.

What do you like best about the VCM?
The accepting inclusive environment and sense of community.

What is your passion(s) outside music?
Yoga and meditation.

What is your favourite movie?
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

If you were a cookie, what kind would you be?
Fruit and nut.

The crucial importance of Music in the Early years

Music does not mean that you have to be a professional musician or screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-11-44-49-amsinger to share music with your little ones. Take the time to sing songs you learned when you were a young child yourself.  If you play an instrument, take great pleasure at playing for your child.  Make up fun poems and rhymes, dance to music, or experiment with sounds around the house.

Sing, play and be creative with music and sounds throughout your little one’s life.  You can listen to music and add some tapping, clapping, bouncing and dancing.

Sharing music together will allow your child to create significant healthy relationships. Do not forget to applaud and be delighted to any effort he or she will make to contribute to the music.

Participating in music time at home will also increase your child’s communication and imagination. And researchers have clearly indicated that music will assist to learn easy concepts such as colours or more difficult skills such as language, math while assisting brain development.

If you do not feel comfortable singing or playing, music classes may guide you to find your comfort zone in order for you to use more music at home.  Your child, in return, will also start to absorb new songs, instruments’ sounds, modalities and rhythmic patterns.  You and your child will meet other families and start to build a network of friends for both you and your little one.

Check out our music classes.

See you around the VCM!

Music Therapy in Nanaimo

JACQUIE DE JONG-SEINEN is our VCM music therapist working at the NCM in Nanaimo. She is introducing you to Jonathan.

“Jonathan is an 8 yr old boy with CHARGE Syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes deaf and blindness.  He can see well enough to learn sign language and function daily, but is profoundly deaf.  He is also trached, tube fed and has global developmental delays. Although so medically complex and challenged, Jonathan is progressing and thriving!! He loves his music therapy sessions and can’t wait to go!  He is responding to vibration and is more tactile receptive… keeping beat with the drumming and so interested in all the instruments!!  We all look forward to the future progress with Jacquie at the VCM at NCM!!

“Thank you for providing music to my deaf son!!!”
Grace (Jonathan’s mom)


“Jonathan is calmer, happier, and more willing to reach out to other people.  He loves his music time and it’s good to see him relaxed and willing to explore different ways of learning.”
Constance (Jonathan’s respite and after-school EA)

“Music therapy has the effect of making Jonathan calmer, more attentive and more open. If he’s had a stressful, high-energy day, by the end of his music therapy session, he has found “his centre” again. He feels vibrations from various instruments and often reacts differently to each.  Because he is profoundly deaf, it’s very interesting and rewarding to see Jonathan respond to music in a positive way.”
Ken (Jonathan’s nurse)

To learn more about the new Nanaimo Music Therapy program offered in partnership with the Victoria Conservatory of Music on location in downtown Nanaimo at 375 Selby St., contact:

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *