One of my latest finds at the Dollar Tree Store is a package of party horns. They are sold in packages of 2 for $1.00. What, you may ask would a music therapist want with party horns?
When I first saw them, I thought they’d be great to use for an impulse control activity with my younger students. I used a “mash-up” of the song, “It’s So Hard to Wait!” by music therapist, Wade Richards, with “The Wheels on the Bus“ and Ralph Covert’s, “Drivin’ in My Car“. After each verse of “It’s So Hard to Wait!”, I would sing either “The horn on the bus go beep, beep, beep” etc., or the verse about the horn sound from “Drivin’ in My Car”. Since they are so much fun to play, student’s didn’t want to stop! This made them perfect for working on impulse control. In the video below, this was our second time using the horns. You can tell that the students are still very excited to play them and some have a difficulty stopping or waiting when cued. Because of this, we used “wait” or “stop” signs as additional visual reinforcements. You’ll notice at one point in the video that I stop singing towards the end of a musical phrase. This was to gain their attention and encourage vocalization. We’ve been working on the goal of impulse control throughout the year, and by the end of the activity, all the students stop when cued. Take a look at the video below or here:
I thought my students would enjoy using the horns, but boy did I underestimate how enthusiastic they would be! Since they were so motivating, I decided to use them with groups who were working on sequencing skills and following directions. I asked students in my younger groups to choose instruments for each sound in the song, “Drivin’ in My Car”. Of course, the party horns represented the car horns! For the wipers, they chose rhythm sticks to wave back and forth and for the muffler, they chose chiquitas to shake. We used our voices for the last verse when we say, “Hi”, to a friend. After playing together a few times, I then gave the students opportunities throughout the song to tell me what instrument would come next.
For my older groups, we used the same process for the song, “What Does the Fox Say?”. Students chose instruments and during the chorus, we changed instruments every time they sang the phrase, “What does the fox say?”. Since the tempo is fast, I used the app, AnyTune, to slow down the song at the chorus when we would be switching instruments. This ensured success for students with slower processing times or mobility issues. My older groups loved using the horns as much as my younger groups!
This activity can be adapted for students with mobility issues or non-verbal students by recording the horn sound or word, “Hi” during the song, “Drivin’ in My Car”, into a device such as a Big Mac or using the free PlayButton App on the iPad.