Fun with Drums

Our friend Gillian from Project Grace came by recently with percussionist Jonathan Hicks to do a drum session with our group.  Jon brought a variety of percussion instruments, from large congas, and a djembe, to chimes, and small shakers from around the world.

Drumming is often used in music therapy. Therapists use drum and percussion experiences to help children with special needs in the areas of motor strength and control.  We noticed that our own children enjoyed standing up to the tall drums and would shift their balance as they tapped with both hands.

Drumming and drum circles can also contribute to significant social and emotional improvements for the participants involved. For children with special needs, drumming can be a powerful tool to help them address many areas of development, such as communication, fine and gross motor, social, emotional and cognitive needs.

We had a great time trying out all of the instruments.  Thanks so much for sharing them with us!



Drop the Bass!

Recently, the father of one of our children came in to play the double bass for us!  I have to admit, I was not overly familiar with the double bass (ok, I thought it was the same as a cello), but I learned a lot!  The double bass is also called an upright bass, bass fiddle or bass violin.  It is in the violin family and is the largest and lowest pitched bowed string instrument. It stands about six feet tall, and towered over our little ones!  They enjoyed plucking on the strings and feeling the vibrations through the body of the instrument.

Being a Dad, he was well versed in children’s songs, so we had a great time singing along to some classics like “Old MacDonald”, “B-I-N-G-O” and “Mary Had a Little Lamb”.  Thanks so much for sharing your music with us!  It was a new experience for all of us!


Play it Loud!!

Today we had another fabulous music session with our friends at Project Grace! This time, our children were introduced to the trumpet!

Terry Campbell is a local trumpet player and educator.  He treated us to some classic jazz tunes and a few sing-along Christmas songs. Our little ones were amazed by the many different sounds that a trumpet can make!  We even tested Terry to see how many animal sounds he could produce!  Each child had a turn pressing the valves and controlling the mute to create different sound effects.  It was a wonderful experience for them!

Thank you for sharing your talent with us!


Project Grace


Project Grace is a music program with a social justice imperative. Following the model of the Venezuelan “El Sistema”, Project Grace offers after school music lessons and summer music camp, free of charge, to students from all walks of life – providing them with the opportunity to learn and make music together whilst benefitting from the individual skills and community values that are inherent in music making.

This fall, Project Grace will be expanding its reach within the community by partnering with Little Tulips Family Child Care to deliver an “Experiencing Music” program to children with challenging needs. The pilot project will include interactive sessions with Project Grace teaching faculty, with the aim of expanding sessions to include performances and contributions by students from the PG program.

For more information on Project Grace, please visit their web page at


The Adaptive Use Musical Instrument is a free software interface that transforms any computer with a webcam into a flexible musical instrument that can be played with just the slightest movement.

While the AUMI can be used by anyone, the focus has been on working with children who have profound physical disabilities.  The AUMI enables children with both physical and cognitive delays to play music and improvise with each other.  It allows users who have very limited controlled movement to independently engage in music making. 


Andrew, Brennen and I attended an AUMI Training Session at the Memorial University of Newfoundland School of Music.  Musician and Occupational Therapist, Leaf Miller and multi-media artist and composer Jaclyn Heyen of the Deep Listening Institute demonstrated how the instrument is used and we took part in a drum circle where Brennen was set up to participate using the Adaptive Use Musical Instrument.  You can view a clip below.

Brennen_AumiThat was just the beginning of our experience with the AUMI.  Working in conjunction with Easter Seals Newfoundland and Labrador, music therapist Susan LeMessurier Quinn, and Dean of the School of Music Ellen Waterman, our son Brennen was fortunate enough to be a participant in a research study exploring AUMI’s potential in both solo and group music therapy sessions. 

Brennen has had great success with the AUMI, and it has been truly a remarkable experience for me as his Mom, to see him independently making music!  To be able to freely express yourself through music, not confined by the limitations of your physical ability is a profound gift, without question!

We are thrilled to now be able to introduce the AUMI to our group of children here at Little Tulips Family Child Care.  Every child has the potential to create and to express themselves, and our goal is to empower them with the tools necessary to do so. 

The AUMI software is available for free download in PC and Mac versions at:

Sweet Sounds

Socially, emotionally and cognitively, music enriches the lives of children.
Many of our children are involved in the Music Therapy program at Easter Seals, and we want to continue to nurture their love of music here in our family child care home.

The power of music can transform a child’s mood, encourage spontaneous movement, and most importantly, inspire joy!  Our friend Lori Reddy came back to visit us recently, and shared her musical talents with our children.

Thanks again, Lori!  We are already looking forward to your next visit!

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