Friday’s visit to hospital allowed us to visit a young man in his teens with special needs.
We began with ‘Zamina’ and played to him a few times through. The Play Specialist stayed with us the whole time and produced from the music box, a few different hand held instruments for the patient to try…a few different shakers and the bell stick. He spent some minutes investigating these sounds and playing with the music and testing out some different tempos and volumes.
The xylophone was then offered to try. His Dad told us that his son used to play the drums a lot at home. The patient soon showed us that he already had his own technique for holding 1 or 2 beaters. He demonstrated choice of note pitches, speed of playing, styles of playing and at times there was interaction between him and us and he engaged with our music as part of what he was doing. Mostly though, he seemed to be envigorated by the whole activity.
His father and the Play Specialist commented that he had not been very active or energetic since arriving in hospital that week and that this was the most energised and happy he had been. During the course of the session he had gone from a stretched out lying down position (watching the TV upside down from bed), to more upright, to leaning on one arm, and then finally sat right up vertically (sorting his legs so they were crossed in front of him and he could fully see what he was doing, see us and use both hands with the beaters for the instrument). He appeared to have completely changed his mood.
We left him playing the Xylophone with his father and the Play Specialist said she would call in and collect the instrument later when he had finished.
As we moved down the corridor playing and singing with other patients, we could still hear this young man making music.