What Does an Adapted Lesson Look Like?


What Does an Adapted Lesson Look Like?

For those of you who still have questions about what an Adapted Lesson looks like, I've compiled a few examples and pictures of interventions, music games, and instruments that may be utilized in an a lesson.


Here is a picture of a music game I used to teach a client how to play Mary Had A Little Lamb, before we learned how to play it on the keyboard:

Mary Had A Little Lamb

Here is a picture of a rhythm game I used with a client to better help them understand different rhythmic notes: 


Here is a picture of a game I used to help a client understand the notes on the Grand Staff:


Adapted Lessons differ from typical lessons in a few ways. Each session is taught by a Board Certified Music Therapist, and each lesson is tailored to fit the needs of individuals who learn differently.





Hal Stern


Hal playing at the 2017 Recital at Crossroads in Garwood. NJ

Hal playing at the 2017 Recital at Crossroads in Garwood. NJ

    Hal Stern has been playing music since 1969, having started on piano and then moving on to clarinet in 4th grade and saxophone in high school.  While playing in the Freehold Township High School marching band, musical pit bands, wind ensemble, jazz band, and various NJ honor bands, Hal still developed a love of classic rock, progressive rock, jazz, blues, punk and just about everything in between. College saw him trade in the clarinet and saxophone for the DJ's turntables, where Hal hosted a morning jazz show and occasional punk rock segments on WPRB-FM, and spent far too many hours (when he should have been studying) immersed in the stacks, reading liner notes and discovering musical connections that he wishes would help him land a spot on Jeopardy!  Hal has always loved live music, production and sound engineering, an expensive habit that started with producing commercials and on-air promotions at the radio station.  His musical adventures have included nearly 30 Phish shows (in five states), having Pat Metheny bassist Mark Eagan drop in on one of his jazz shows, taking his (then) 4 year old son to a Rush show (starting 20 years of father-son touring), an executive producer credit on the Flux Forteana EP, and helping start the Reviver Records label.

    After 40 years of wanting to learn to do more than hold a guitar to look cool (didn't work), Hal enrolled at So.I.Heard in January 2015 with his Fender Bass and fuzzy memories of music theory. He learned the bass part to the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane" in his first lesson and years of musical memories came flooding back. His favorite musicians include Rush, Yes, Genesis, Phish, Renaissance, Steely Dan, Coheed & Cambria, Jaco Pastorious, Pat Metheny, Tower of Power, Sonny Stitt, Charlie Parker, King Crimson, the Allman Brothers Band, Animals as Leaders, the J.Geils Band, Lou Reed, the Who, Led Zeppelin, and some bands whose members are mostly still alive.  He counts among his bass playing influences Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Jon Camp, Tony Levin, Mike Gordon, Rocco Prestia, and Michael Robert Todd. 

    When he's not at the studio or remembering to practice, Hal works as a technology executive for a pharmaceutical company, coaches the New Jersey Devils Youth Hockey club U8 teams, enjoys traveling, food, photography, poker and concert-going.  He has two adult children and has been married to his very patient and understanding wife Toby for nearly 30 years.


STUDENT PROFILE:  Lauren Mulligan


STUDENT PROFILE: Lauren Mulligan

Lauren Mulligan


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Lauren has performed in several musicals, including Aladdin at her school. She was in the So.i.Heard band called the Delirious Angels who performed an original song at the June 2017 recital. She has been singing in school choir for 4 years and sang in the auditioned a Capella group at school called FM Glee, and is returning to the group again this year. She also used to play guitar at age 7. Her other interests include soccer, cosplay, anime, Harry Potter, Dark Matter, and NCIS.








Hamilton, Wicked, Heathers, Phantom of the Opera, Beatles, Rihanna, Eminem, James Arthur, Imagine Dragons, Green Day, Fallout Boy


Getting to Know the Brain


Getting to Know the Brain

Last week while I was grabbing a few things at the grocery store and waiting in a long line, I began to scan the magazine rack. This beauty caught my eye - anything with a brain image of any kind will not slip by me! I decided to treat myself and take it home with me.

A friend teased me that the headline didn't know who they were talking to. "100 things you never knew about the brain? So, how many were new for you, Brooke?"

Yes, it's true - I have a bit of an obsession with brain research, and it's something I'm proud to say that I keep up with pretty well. I am unfortunately known for taking all of the excitement and magic out of recovery stories and interesting brain anecdotes by following up friends' comments with "I can tell you exactly why that works!" and going into snoozeworthy details about the cingulate gyrus and the posterior hippocampus. Sorry everyone... it's fun for me, and I forget it's not always fun for others. :p

Anyway, I scoured the magazine for music related things, and a cool thing I decided to share from the issue is about the "choral effect" - a phenomenon that occurs when people who stutter sing with others. The stutter magically disappears temporarily during the choral effect. As a music therapist, this was not a new thing for me, but it's still something I get excited about every time I see it in action. And, I was very excited to see the phenomenon referenced in this magazine!

What's possibly even more exciting is that when the music is rhythmic, dynamic, and personal to someone singing it, their stutter will go away even if they are singing by themselves! I'm sure you've heard these heartfelt stories in American Idol auditions, but I also get the pleasure of seeing it in my own clinical practice. The best part is that it doesn't just have to be temporary - with the right application and plan for practice, this can have long lasting effects, and the person's stutter can significantly decrease overall.

More coming soon from this very cool issue of National Geographic! There's juicy stuff about mirror neurons, one of my favorite phenomenons of the brain, and even some cool little tidbits about Mozart.

Happy Monday, and keep making music!