Dr. Martin Buntrock
Music in the Snoezelen room
A vital element of the multifunctional concept is music which can either be receptive (i.e. as background music) or on the other hand integrated into a Snoezelen session by actively making music. Music is usually used to induce and enhance relaxation and wellbeing. Besides the calming effect of music it can also have an activating effect. Therefore it is essential for the practitioner to possess a basic knowledge regarding the different reactions to music and their triggers. Furthermore it is important for the practitioner to be clear on what the purpose of the use of music is.
The purpose could for example be:
- to evoke memories (for senior groups by singing or listening to a song from their youth)
- to introduce a lesson or finish a subject (i.e. "All the birds are already here" for the subject "spring")
- to enable participant to relax better (through background music or relaxation music accompanying an imaginary journey)
- to activate participants after a relaxation exercise (i.e. through movement to fast music)
- to treat patients with music therapy (i.e. a music therapist might carefully play an instrument to a patient in a coma/vegetative state)
- to train acoustic perception ("Where does the sound come from?")
- to address several senses simultaneously ("I hear what I feel - I feel what I hear")
- to train and develop gross and fine motor skills through active use of instruments
- to promote social skills through making music together (to listen to each other, to make music together).
Besides setting the goal the composition of a group and the preconditions of each individual member are of equal importance. Further questions to be considered beforehand are:
- What is the age group?
- What musical experiences do the listeners have?
- What is the starting point of the participants? initial state
These questions cannot always be answered beforehand. Sometimes it is necessary to decide spontaneously which music or which instruments should be used when for example a children's group turns up to a lesson feeling unsettled or when the participants come to the Snoezelen room for the first time. For instances like that drawing on experiences as well as using a music index with information about the music that is available and possible applications can be helpful (c.f. Mertens et al., 2008).