This blog’s title is taken from Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2. While Hamlet was referring to a ghost, I use to refer to music making. As a music therapist music making is my job. Most of my current sessions involve my clients in the music making. So, the music play is the thing! It is the connective items in my sessions. Often the music making is very playful, very creative. The goal is generally not quality of music but rather playful enjoyment of the process and the people involved.
Play is important in child development. Whether it is on the playground or in a gym, in a room filled with toys or with only a couple of objects, alone or with others, free form or organized , play is important. But, it is also important for adults. It allows us to relax, to take a break from our “to – do” list, in interact, to create.
Many of the people I work with living in Assisted Living facilities speak with me about the games of their childhood. They also speak to me of family music making. Often one or more family members took piano lessons to facilitate this activity. Singing and instruments of all sorts would join the merriment. The process was not a refined product but the making (playing) of music together. My family did much the same when I was a child. That is where I learned many of the songs from my parents’ youth as well as those from their parents.
While we may not all have pianos or musical instruments at home, you can still bring such play into your home. Consider playing recordings of favorite songs which family members can sing. They can range from children’s songs to popular fair. Create instruments out of old pots, pans, recycled materials. If one does play an instrument, invite them to create on that, too! Remember, the idea is to have fun. The plays the thing!