Moving to the music


Whether it's rap, jazz, rock or classical, most of us like music.

JoAnn Jordan, a board certified music therapist, uses music to enrich and improve others' quality of life.

"We are a very evidence-based practice," she said. "We can show what we do is effective."

As a teen Jordan knew she wanted to work with people and use music in her work.

After reading a newspaper article about music therapy, "I knew immediately that was what I wanted to do."

She's led a variety of music-oriented classes for the Hays Recreation Commission Center for about six years. Participants range in age from 6 months to adults at assisted living centers.

"The program and activities depend on the population I'm working with," she said.

Workshops provide a social skills learning opportunity for young participants, and on-task development for older children.

Children participating in Jordan's "Music Sparks" enrichment workshop last week at the Hays Public Library, were using their imagination to link music and reading.

Tracy Jenisch said she brings her 18-month-old daughter Katie to the library for story time, and decided to check out the music workshop.

Like the other children, Katie enjoyed moving to the sounds.

"I'm drawing a cowboy," one child called out while drawing in the air to Jordan's musical accompaniment.

Others drew a circle and a rainbow.

Jordan used music to add another dimension to reading, highlighting the drama while reading "The Pied Piper."

Children aren't the only ones who benefit from music enrichment and therapy. Adults also benefit from Jordan's work.

"When working with an older population, I help them maintain skills," Jordan said.

Playing instruments and moving with the beat help them retain range of motion.

"Intergenerational groups are my favorite thing in the whole world," she said.

"It gives children a chance to be around older people, and it's fun for the older groups to interact with children."