1. Problem: Resident becomes anxious, agitated, or otherwise uncomfortable and expresses desire to leave the rhythm group.

    Solution: Escort resident out of group, ask if he or she would prefer to be in his or her own room or in the hallway. If possible create a smaller rhythm group for this resident and one or two others to introduce him or her to what a rhythm group is.

  2. Problem: Resident within the group complains of it being too loud.

    Solution: Offer a different instrument to resident; offer to move him or her slightly away from the circle, or beside a different resident who is playing a quieter instrument. If resident still complains ask if he or she would like to leave the group. When the next group is held, gently encourage resident to attend, or create a smaller group and invite this resident to attend.

  3. Problem: Staff complains of too much noise.

    Solution: Explain to staff member the benefits you have observed on residents who participate in the therapeutic rhythm group. Include a detailed description of the positive changes you've noticed in residents' behavior, interpersonal interaction, motivation, and mood. Invite staff member into the group and provide earplugs if necessary. Allow staff member to participate or at least observe to see for himself or herself just how beneficial a rhythm group is for the residents.


  • Have fun! You are a unique person who has talents and creativity special to only you. Celebrate these talents and your creativity in whatever way you can during this creative time, the rhythm group.
  • Always observe the residents. You are looking for positive changes, benefits that your therapeutic rhythm group is going well, and also negative responses, such as signs of pain, anger, or sadness.
  • If possible, make each resident feel special during the rhythm group. Use techniques like soloing, echoing, and re-stating what a resident says to make his or her presence in the group known, and special.
  • Always encourage residents to participate. If some residents are impaired physically and cannot hold an instrument, adapt an instrument so they can play (such as, tie maracas to their shoes, or wear a crown of bells). If your resources are limited, encourage impaired residents to move to the beat (shoulders, feet, etc).
  • Encourage guests, family members, caregivers, outside consultants, CNAs on break, maintenance (ANYONE who passes through room during the rhythm group), to participate. Allow them to participate in whatever way they choose (i.e. to help facilitate the group, or offer to dance in the middle of the circle).
  • Always encourage interaction between residents! It's often necessary to loudly repeat what a resident says, so that the rest of the group can hear.