PostHow will the band solve the problem?

submitted by Christina Grandoni-Barlow

Mindfulness Activity (for group)

Noticing subtle versus not-so-subtle tempo changes.

Have clients choose instruments (one drum, one rhythm, one melodic etc.) as if they are forming a ‘band’. Explain that you are going to play a tempo for them to follow (on either a tone bell, triangle, or other instrument with a distinctive sound.) It may help to have a metronome track in some headphones so you can be sure to change tempos accurately and smoothly, and to include both subtle and obvious changes) Have the clients follow you as you play, they have to REALLY listen for this one and can’t play too loud. Remind them that listening for subtle changes in tempo and responding is much like noticing subtle changes in your mood or how you feel, and responding appropriately if you need to.

Group Problem Solving-

For this activity, have the group reassemble as the ‘band’ they made at the beginning of the session. Then, take one of the instruments away. Explain that the band needs to play on despite the missing instrument, how can the group solve the problem of the missing instrument in a way that is best for ALL the band members? Will someone decide to sing instead of playing and instrument? Are there any instruments that can be shared or played in a different way so that more than one person can use them? Go over multiple options and talk about the positives and negatives of each. Present a scenario (such as telling one band member to sit out during some songs) that may not be in the best interest of EVERYONE involved and discuss why this may not be the best solution.

(Optional: come up with a positive band name related to problem solving; i.e ‘the solution sisters’ or ‘the problem pulverizors’)

Relate this to the process of solving problems in life. Explain that all factors (represented by the band members here) need to be considered when making a problem-solving plan. Explain that you need to come up with more than one solution and think through them to figure out which is best, just as you have done with the band/instrument problem.

End the session with a fun ‘jam’ to a song the group likes, or an improvisation if the group is more advanced.

For more about DBT informed Music Therapy visit