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Play the Bell

Ruthlee Figlure Adler, MT-BC Private Practice Bethesda, Maryland

‣ Description The purpose of Play the Bell is to address many developmental areas while engaging children in a simple song and instrument playing. Goal ‣ ‣ ‣

Other instruments, number concepts or actions may be added or substituted with this experience, e.g., “Pat the drum,” “Tap Your Sticks,” “Play the bell two times,” and so forth. For children with moderate intellectual disabilities, the whole group may participate simultaneously (e.g., “Everyone clap your hands one time”). For children familiar with the alphabet or numbers, specific notes may be requested (e.g.,”______, play the C one time”) or numbers counted.

To increase motor planning and coordination To promote peer interactions To encourage communication

Behavior Observation The child will: play an instrument in response to visual and auditory ‣ cues. pass the mallet to another student. ‣ participate in singing and/or signing. ‣

Adapted from Adler, R. F. (1988). Target on music (2nd ed.), (pp. 77-78). Rockville, MD: Ivymount School.

Materials • Resonator bell and a mallet Directions 1. Sing through the song once and demonstrate the actions, inserting your own name and playing the resonator bell once at the designated time. 2. Pass the mallet to a child and encourage the other children to join in singing while each child takes a turn with the bell. Adaptations Initially, you may have to hold or hide the resonator ‣ bell and only present it to the child at the time designated for playing. To practice verbalization and social skills, children ‣ may say the name of the person to whom they are passing the instrument (e.g., “It’s your turn, ____”).

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About the Author Ruthlee Figlure Adler practices as a private music therapist/consultant in Bethesda, MD, and is serving her fourth consecutive term as Assembly Delegate on the AMTA Board of Directors. Ruthlee established the Ivymount School’s Music Therapy Program and coordinated it for 30 years, worked at NIH, authored two editions of Target on Music, and contributed to AMTA’s 2006 Effective Clinical Practice in Music Therapy Monograph publication. Contact:


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imagine 2010  

Additional early childhood music therapy resources available at

imagine 2010  

Additional early childhood music therapy resources available at