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The Love of Music – Providing Self-Expression to Children at Alexander Youth Network

March 11, 2019  |  Comments Off on The Love of Music – Providing Self-Expression to Children at Alexander Youth Network

One staff member’s love of music has provided coping to the children of Alexander Youth Network.

“I play music in my classroom most of the day. They even ask me to play jazz for them now.” – Dorian Jones, Certified Drumming Therapist.

Dorian Jones started at Alexander working third shift on the weekends. After 10 months, he switched to a Monday through Friday schedule and had the chance to learn about the therapeutic drumming program. At the time, the program was in need of a new program lead to host sessions during the week. Though he was new to Alexander, Dorian quickly volunteered for the position and to become a Certified Drumming Therapist through Youth Villages.

For the past year Dorian, has been certified as a drumming therapists and the program lead for the program at Alexander. He has been able to share his passion for music with kids and to teach them how to self-regulate through musical expression.

“It’s is one of my coping skills and has become one for some of the kids.” Jones mentions how the incorporation of music has helped with the staff and the kids deal with stressful situations.

Therapeutic drumming provides a different type of healing for our children.

Through drumming, children create predictable, rhythmic patterns, which are recognized by the brain. The drumming patterns mimic healthy brain sequences that are typically disrupted by stress and trauma. Drumming also provides children with an outlet to channel their emotions. This outlet empowers the children to externalize their emotions in a healthy and safe environment.

Therapeutic drumming is offered at least once a day for kids at our residential program. Each class has the chance to practice in the drumming room for short increments of time. Even children who have trouble getting the pattern or rhythm down look forward to class. Jones, mentions that kids are still positive and excited to perform regardless of their musical inclination. Children get to perform at the Annual Celebrate Our Kids Luncheon, benefiting the agency.

“The kids love being able to show off their new music skills.” Jones and other staff members also mention that performances are a great chance for the kids to practice their coping and self-regulation skills.

Through therapeutic drumming we are giving them a chance to learn and to heal.

Dorian hopes to be able to expand to drumming program to be offered to the Charlotte Day Treatment classes. After a year of training and leading the program Jones has seen many positive changes in kids through drumming.

“Their whole demeanor changes and they are so positive for the future… even if it is only a 20-minute drumming session.”

The therapeutic drumming program at Alexander has given our kids a way to express their emotions and their personality, while they learn a new skill and heal. We are excited for our kids as we continue to see them make strides in their recovery.


Written by Emily Gordon.

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