Special Needs Summer Camp Music Program? – Why We Love Our Music And Movement Program At Camp Lee Mar!
“Where words fail, music speaks.” – Hans Christian Andersen
Our Music and movement program at Camp Lee Mar is specifically created to meet the needs of our campers with special needs.
Research has proven that music is processed in a part of the brain that is separate from language and speech, which explains why all children can more easily absorb information and communicate better through music or song. Think back to your preschool and elementary school days, there are so many songs to help children learn body parts, academic skills, social and emotional skills, etc. As adults we can have difficulty remembering a “to-do list”, but can remember words from a song from the 1980’s that we may not have heard in years! Music is that powerful.
Benefits of our camp music and movement program:
- Music inspires motivation.
- Both sides of our brain experience the benefits of music.
- Many of our campers experience sensory processing issues. Music is a great tool for developing sensory awareness as music is experienced by multiple senses at the same time.
- Our campers don’t need specific language skills to be able to fully participate in our music and movement classes.
Our music and movement program provides motivation for our campers to be involved socially and emotionally with their group. Singing a song or learning a dance with their cabin to present at social dance or at camp sing gives our campers something to be proud of, all while working on social skills, self-confidence and self-assurance.
Common knowledge suggests that people are either right-brained or left-brained, which means they are either creative and spontaneous or analytical and rational. However, music bridges the gap between our brain’s two hemispheres and engages our whole mind. When we experience music, almost all of our brain’s functions are accessed at once, helping us to be both creative and rational at the same time. This helps to explain music’s soothingly therapeutic benefits when words sometimes cannot be found.
When our campers hold an instrument in their hands and play it there are many incredible processes happening at the same time. Their auditory system is hard at work letting them hear the sound of the instrument. Their tactile system is allowing them to feel the object in their hand and experience the subtle vibrations from playing the instrument. Their visual system lets them see the movements and track them with their eyes, helping them to focus on the musical activity taking place. This creates many opportunities to help our campers regulate their sensory systems, all while having fun!
Our music and movement sessions allow our campers to express their thoughts and feelings using the speech and language skills they have. To be able to be an active part of the group without the pressure of verbal communication, but with all the freedom to work on articulation (singing a song with friends), social skills (being a part of the group) and self-confidence. Not to mention the emotional connection of a group dance or song with their group. Music at camp brings our campers and staff together. Many great camp memories revolve around camp songs and dances. Nothing can match the feeling of belonging that our campers and staff get from being part of camp sing or practicing for a camp show!
Every program area at camp allows our campers to use their unique skills, while working on new skills. Our music and movement program is no exception. Our music and movement program at camp allows each camper to build on their social, emotional and communication skills while making amazing camp memories!
Written by Lynsey Trohoske
My name is Lynsey Trohoske, I am the assistant director at Camp Lee Mar. I have three amazing children, my middle child happens to be on the autism spectrum and is a camper at Lee Mar. I joined camp as a counselor in 1998 and loved the campers and their families so much that Camp Lee Mar became my second home!