Music for the Military

Music for the Military

by: Cami Smith


So how do you deal with people you love leaving on a regular basis and not coming home for 6-12 months or longer?


I don’t know that I would be able to handle that myself without support from other people that are going through the same or a similar situation.  I have moved far away from my family and lived away from them for many years, but that was my choice and I was an adult when that happened.


There are military families that go through such a routine every year and sometimes more than 1 time per year. What is worse is the children do not have a choice in the matter.  According to Kids Turn statistics, these children experience a change of schools 5-9 times and an average of 5-7 deployments before the age of 18. Many children see their parent or sibling going off to war or deploying somewhere out of the country and are not given much notice to do so.  As one can imagine, this is very alarming for the spouse, parent, and children.  Such situations can be very unsettling for children and upsets their routines and life balance.  So, what is out there that can help these children deal with such situations?


Villa Musica and Kids Turn have started a Peak Performance class for military families.  “With over 75% of military couples having a marriage that ends in divorce, classes are designed to preserve the family by bringing military members, spouses and children together to build empathy and understanding while learning new communication skills and strategies for family members to stay connected before, during and after deployments and other military transitions.” (Kids Turn)


“Anticipated outcomes for parents: learn three new skills/concepts and commit to using one of the new skills/concepts right away. Anticipated child outcomes: children will learn that their thoughts, feelings and experiences are similar to others, thus normalizing their experiences, and will honor their family through drawings and the creation of a song that is performed to the parents.” (Kids Turn)


This FREE class happens every 3-4 months where military families and their children come and learn coping strategies to deal with family members leaving on deployment, going through a separation, or divorce.


I lead the music part of the class with the children.  After learning that there are many other children going through similar situations and have similar thoughts, ideas, or concerns about their family members, we engage in music making and singing about how proud they are of them.  This is where the children have a chance to express how proud they are of their parents, siblings, friends, or any others that are important to them.  They also have a chance to play the drums or boomwhackers and enjoy some music making during the class.


Why come to this class?  This is a great educational opportunity for children and their parents to discuss their fears, upsets, excitement, and proud moments with others going through the same or similar situation.  At a recent class, one of our young participants stated “My dad is the military because he helps better the world by helping the different people all over the world.” During our “I’m Proud” activity, she reads, “I’m proud of my mom because she is loving, caring and takes care of me and our whole family.”


I’m not part of the parent education, but one of the parents stated on the class evaluation: “I’m going to apply what I learned to my relationship with my children.  Listening to my spouse is probably the first thing I will do and practice.”  Come join us for this musical, educational experience January 31, 2015 from 3:00-6:00 p.m. at Serra High School.


Please register online at by Jan. 26th!!! Walk-ins are also welcome.




What is Autism NOW?

What is Autism NOW?

 Autism NOW

You know how some children with Autism have difficulty communicating and often jump up and down flailing their arms because that is the only way they know how to communicate their needs to their loved ones or the people around them.  Well, music therapists can immediately dissolve that behavior through the use of music and rhythm that is specifically chosen to help them regulate their systems and use improvisational songs to encourage and inspire vocal and verbal responses, thus, enabling them to communicate more effectively and even use their voice for the first time.


People with autism are often labeled as being a ‘behavior problem’ and ‘mentally retarded’ whenever there is an odd behavior, such as flailing their arms, jumping up and down repeatedly, rocking side to side, making vocal noises while clapping their hands, etc.  What if there was another explanation for these ‘behaviors’.  New research and a new paradigm are shifting the belief that people with autism have cognitive difficulties and that much of their movement is involuntary.  These movement patterns are a way for these individuals to communicate because they are not given effective ways to communicate.


The new paradigm is looking at autism as those that have movement differences and processing difficulties.  Most of their movements are involuntary or visually driven and they often have difficulty initiating, sustaining, and inhibiting movement patterns.  This is why people with autism often fail or have difficulty on standardized tests because they require intact motor and communication skills.  Sign language does not work with individuals with autism either because that requires intact motor functioning.  Neurologic music therapy is very effective because it uses rhythm and music to directly impact the motor system.  NMT techniques are scientifically and clinically proven to enhance communication and motor functioning in those with autism.


Neuroscientists researching the affects of music and rhythm on the brain are finding that rhythm and music primes the motor system.  The motor system synchronizes to auditory-rhythmic cues sub-consciously in those with neurologic impairments.  So, when given those cues, individuals with autism can regulate their systems and express themselves at a faster rate than when given visual cues. Providing external auditory rhythmic cues while participating in drumming can prepare the body and central nervous system for appropriate interactions during cognitive tasks or social engagements.


Bring your loved one or child in for an evaluation with Cami and find out if Neurologic Music Therapy would be beneficial for them.

Registration and enrollment is open now! 


Register at: and for more information about music therapy please check out


Contact: Cami Smith at for questions or inquiries about music therapy.





Summer CAMP!

Villa Musica Summer Camps!

REGISTER today before spots fill up!
REMEMBER, all private students are eligible to enroll in one group class per semester at a 25% DISCOUNT!

Music Adventures!

Ages: 5-8 (4 year olds accepted if separation is a non-issue)

Description: Learn about Music-Singing, Karate Recorder, make and play their own percussion instruments, movement, field trip and a performance at the end of the week!


Session I: June 23-27

Session II: July 7-11 (CANCELLED)

Session III: July 28-August 1

Session IV: August 11-15

Times: 9am-3:30pm (early drop off and pick up available)

Cost: $250

Summer Camp for Young Singers

Ages: 13-17

Description: Audition preparation; addressing stage fright; acting, movement and yoga for singers; private coachings; exploring “The Third Line” and Master classes with Master teachers! Showcase on Friday.

Dates: June 16-20

Times: 9am-5:30PM

Cost: $325

Camp GLEE!

Ages: 8-12

Description: Acting/presentation class; dance/movement class; singing class; music theory; anatomy of voice; yoga; showcase on Friday!

Dates: August 4-8

Times: 9am-3:30PM

Cost: $275

Summer Camp for Young Strings Players

Description: Work in an ensemble; hone solo skills; make new friends; classes in string technique, posture and movement; fiddle playing; chamber music; field trip and performance!


  • Session I: Beginning Strings (Ages 5-8): July 14-18
  • Session II: Intermediate Strings (Ages 7-10): July 21-26

Times: 9am-3:30pm

Cost: $275

Flute Mania! – Just for Flutes

Ages: Middle School Age Range/Level

Description: Duet and trio repertoire; hone flute skills; half-day camp!

Dates: August 4-8

Times: 10am-1pm

Cost: $185

Teen Rock Band Camp

Ages: 13-17

Description: Be a member of Villa Musica’s School of Rock; Learn classic rock tunes, techniques, and history; Friday evening concert 
August 18-22

Times: 9am-3:30PM

Cost: $275