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Why I use my iPad: Communication, Motivation, Tangible Feedback & Music Access

by Tiana Malone

In music therapy, communication with families, clients, other therapies and team members, and caregivers is very important. My iPad is an important tool for facilitating that communication.

Evernote is a cloud-based note taking program that has helped me communicate with my clients and everyone involved in their care. I keep records of my weekly sessions and can easily email them, with permission, to anyone involved in the care of my client. I can share the notebook in Evernote so the team has access to it in real time. They can even contribute notes, files and audio as they wish. It helps clients and family members stay on top of at-home work, schedule and progress and be involved in their own success.

Motivating clients inside and outside the session can be hard. If they are motivated to work they will see results. Here are two ways my iPad has helped me to motivate my clients at MacPhail and at home:

1. The countdown timer in the clock app is one of my favorites. For a thirty minute session I may set the timer for twenty-five minutes. When the timer goes off, and if our work is done, the client gets five minutes of iPad time to play games, listen to music, watch a video, or play a fun song on their instrument. Another fun one is to set the timer to random short intervals—if we are sitting, focused, and working when the timer goes off, we get a small reward (sticker, toy, etc.).

2. I also use musical (and non-musical) games on my iPad as rewards for work in-session. Twenty-five minutes of focused work is worth five minutes of fun time at the end of a session. It also gives me time to check in with families regarding progress.

Tangible Feedback
Videos can provide fast tangible feedback inside and outside the session. They can also provide a link to work done in-session at home. Videos can be uploaded to YouTube via a private or unlisted link, or emailed to families. It is a great way to see progress from early sessions to later sessions, and share progress with families, friends and caregivers. Audio recordings can do the same, whether it is a quick recording done directly in Evernote, or a more professional recording using TwistedWave and an external microphone.

Music Access
Streaming apps like Spotify are an amazing resource that give me instant access to hundreds of thousands of recordings, from that new cool song, to five versions of My Favorite Things done by opera singers, jazz musicians, and brass bands! Great for expanding musical repertoire, creating a conversation about style, or just finding a cool jam to warm up to.

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