By LAURA BLASEY
The Frederick News-Post
THURMONT, Md. (AP) — The forecast called for heavy rain and thunderstorms outside on June 13, but meteorologists said nothing about rain inside.
Yet it rained in the community room at the Thurmont Regional Library. It drizzled, then it poured and thundered, and all the while, a group of children danced and clapped. Then, suddenly, they put down their drums and it stopped.
On a wet Thursday morning, Darcy Lipscomb led a band of about 20 children on a 45-minute excursion into a world of notes, keys and sounds in the library’s Everyone Drums! children’s program.
She called it an “integrative child development music class,” a place where, for a few minutes, community children could come and enjoy making music.
As a music therapist, Frederick resident Lipscomb uses sounds and motion to stimulate the brain. Since 2010, she’s run Notable Progressions, one of the area’s few music therapy clinics.
“I do things like these as education pieces to let people know about music therapy,” Lipscomb said.
Lipscomb specializes in therapy for the disabled and elderly, but music therapy can be helpful to people of all ages and abilities.
“Music therapists often have a saying that we work cradle to grave,” Lipscomb said. “Birth to death, babies in the NICU to the hospice.”
The act of making sounds stimulates many areas of the brain, Lipscomb said, helping to advance language and motor skills. It can relieve stress, improve memory and help channel emotions into productive action.
“It can stimulate areas that are behind in development and be an organizer for reaching developmental milestones,” she said. “Music can be used as a reward or as a vehicle for reaching those goals.”
It can be as simple as the beating of a drum or as complicated as an entire song, but placing a mallet and a drum in the hands of a child or disabled adult can address issues other types of therapy and education can’t.
At the library, the children sat on the carpet and took turns playing the wide variety of instruments Lipscomb brought.
Lipscomb can play the piano and guitar and sing, but that day, she focused on percussion.
There were small plastic drums in a rainbow of shapes and colors; there were rhythm sticks and triangles.
They played fast and they played slow and everything in between.
The children beat the drums at their own pace and rhythm, creating a percussive cacophony.
At first, the loud noises frightened some of the smaller children, but they quickly joined in. And when Lipscomb yelled “stop” and the room went silent, the tension was thick, almost too thick to bear, and more than a few children had no choice but to beat their drums again as fast as they could.
The children danced with scarves of green, pink, blue and yellow, swirling the colors together as Lipscomb sang.
They danced fast and they danced slow and everything in between.
And then they took up their instruments once more and made it rain.
It started with the gentle rushing sound of rain stick, and the “rain drops” got bigger and faster with the pitter-patter of bigger, louder drums. A few children blew into long plastic tubes to mimic the sound of strong winds.
Then Lipscomb brought out a strange-looking instrument. It was a tube with a long springy tail that made the sound of thunder when swung through the air, and the children took turns creating claps of thunder.
And by the time they put down their instruments, the sun was beginning to peak out from behind the clouds outside.
“I thought it would be a fun time out for the kids,” Eileen Knapp said as she watched her 5-year-old daughter Kayla shake a plastic egg-shaped maraca.
Knapp said she often brings her children to events at the library and Kayla and her brother Tyler, 2, seemed to enjoy drumming along.
Another parent, Angie Whitten, said the event was a chance to get out of the house and out of the rain for her sons, Jamie, 5, and Brayden, 2.
“Look,” Jamie said, showing off the egg-shaped shaker Lipscomb let the children take home.
“It’s something fun to do and different,” Whitten said.
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)