Updated: May 24, 2021
When a parent is feeling upset or overwhelmed – what do we do?
Sometimes when I am working individually or in a group setting, it is evident that at that particular session a parent may be feeling really upset, or overwhelmed. It is important to use music in ways that provide nurturing comfort and support for parents and children in order for the parent and child to come into synchrony.
It would never work if I had a preconceived plan, or set of songs that I was going to use.
Rather, it is always a case of assessing the energy levels, listening, watching, feeling the emotional and energy levels of each child parent, using the elements of music specifically to match and support them emotionally moment by moment.
I may have to start by helping the parents to be aware of their breathing, to help
them slow down, to match with a slow soft singing, supportive drum beat and slow rocking metre. The song might not have any words, I simply use a supportive humming song, as I model rocking gently from side to side. The parents then often instinctively starts to cuddle their child close to them, rocking them in time to the song and my movement.
At other times the children might be almost bouncing off the wall with high levels of energy. I then have to start with high energy songs and actions that exactly match the energy level, then gradually bring everyone to a place of calm and synchronous play.
Conducting a music session is a bit like being the conductor of an orchestra, helping everyone to sing in tune, play in time, and feel valued as a vital part of our music community.
Songs and gentle lullabies are such an effective tool for slowing and calming ourselves when we become anxious or overwhelmed with the pressures of daily life.