Rhythm Ring

I love my Rhythm Ring. I received it and some Boomwhackers I’d ordered to use primarily with my private clients, but I’ve been using the Rhythm Ring at the care center. Well, of course. There aren’t many reasons not to use it. I have found that it helps my guitar playing sound stronger, likely because I am more aware of my strumming.

I’ve been imagining all kinds of other instruments I can affix to my person while in session. I really could be “the one-man band” that many people refer to me as I pass by in the hall, with my cart filled with instruments and a guitar on my back.

Vocal care

My primary instrument is voice, followed closely by violin. Being a vocalist, I both think of my voice quite often, and yet take it for granted. I don’t warm it up in the mornings before work, unless you count talking to my mom on the phone during the drive. I don’t particularly rest it between sessions. This is mostly because I don’t have any time between sessions. Even during my lunch hour, I spend about half an hour talking with co-workers. I actually like being alone and quiet, and I take the rest of my lunch break to be just that. Doing so likely saves me my voice for the rest of the day.

When I say I think of my voice often, I mean that I am very thankful for it and my abilities to use it. I consider how I’m using it in session, and how it’s feeling. But, in its time off work, I don’t preserve it enough.

I bring this up because my voice was pretty off today. I notice I have a sore throat tonight, and hope to the good lord that I don’t lose my voice. I love it, need it, and feel really terrible without it.

So, to you vocalists out there, do you do anything particularly special for your primary instrument? I should be giving it more consideration.

Noodles with violin

I have been using my violin in my care center work more and more often. I am thankful for that; I do not use or play it outside of work, and if I didn’t find a purpose for it in my workday, I would feel so wasteful.

Not these noodles, though dang, they look good

A few weeks ago, I started using the violin to musically support movement facilitated by a therapeutic recreation coordinator on our memory care unit. The coordinator uses noodles to demonstrate certain movements, and I play music akin to what the music would be in PSE. However, I know my technique is not PSE, and that, clearly, the tool utilized is not a piano or autoharp. Regardless, I notice differences in residents’ participation and affect (before, there was random recorded music).

These noodles

Now, I’m beginning to use the violin on the palliative care unit, where many more of the residents are not alert. As with any new experience, there will be evolutions, but I am already having trouble wrapping my head around how to adequately address each individual when there are as many as 20 in the group at any given time.

Is there anyone out there who has tips on working with large groups? I am in need.

Renaissance Festival drumming

We went to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival yesterday, and saw a few songs performed by this group at one of the pubs. They were fun and rowdy, as was the rest of the crowd there. I noticed the way one of the drummers on the frame drum at the right of the ensemble was using her mallet, and am now interested in taking more drumming instruction.