To the Rhythm of Words, Sounds and Emotions (Action - Reaction)

Title of the activity

To the Rhythm of Words, Sounds and Emotions


Varies from a few minutes to an hour and a half.
Always respect the learning pace and availability of the participant. The aim is to have a positive experience and encourage the desire to continue.
Flexibility regarding the schedule aims to put aside the rigid aspects associated with taking charge and to let the participants be themselves.


The facilitator and a participant, with or without a neurodiversity challenge


Activity proposed by




  • To build a relationship with the participant, to give them confidence in their abilities, to help them communicate through the arts, to experience pleasant reciprocity. 
  • To develop concentration, shared attention.  Through the process of creation through rhythm.


It is about creating a Before, During and After, so the challenges of yesterday now become a new working base and we can now aim to a new challenges


  • A fundamental dimension on which it is important to insist: The participant/facilitator relationship.  The sincerity of this relationship has a significant impact on the nature of all the interactions that will follow during the workshop and thus influence the speed of the process of socialization and openness to others by the participant. 
  • Everybody, regardless of their condition and the label they are given, naturally has musical and artistic abilities. Therefore, it must be recognized that they also have the ability to create and contribute to the content of the musical workshop. 
  • What is not yet known is the essential element of the creative process that pushes an individual to review all the modes used to interact, communicate, and connect with others.


It is essential to have positive exchanges and mutual enjoyment.


  • A percussion instrument like the djembe, but it is necessary to be attentive, some participants are very? sensitive to the vibration felt by the djembe. We can then propose playing on the djembes with percussion mallet sticks.
  • Percussion drum sticks and chairs.
  • You can also use your body as a musical instrument. For example, using dance, tapping the floor with your feet and/or simply tapping on your thighs. We integrate the rhythmic movement of the body in an exploratory way.
  • We also use the voice to express certain emotions or feelings.
  • Guitar, ukulele and any other instrument can be used in an exploratory way and eventually, to facilitatea more thorough learning.


It isn’t important which instrument is used because the important thing is to get in touch and to experience reciprocity


  • Be rested and willing to respect the pace at which the participant will be able to function or will be able to propose to us.  Ready to meet the other.
  • Install a camera to film the entire workshop. Filming the workshops allows, among other things, feedback on one’s own work – through self-confrontation – and also gives certain details (behavioral, learning, etc.) that one cannot always be attentive to in the heat of the action. 
  • Physically place yourself in proximity that the participant is comfortable with, occasionally getting closer and paying attention to their reaction. 


Everything must be conducive to moments of exchange.


  1. Welcome: Take the time to welcome the participant in a pleasant atmosphere and be attentive to his or her level of receptivity, which will guide the rest of the exercise.  We invite them to join us.
    • It is important to know the participant minimally in order to be attentive to his or her particular needs, sensitivities and to be aware of factors external to the exercise that may disrupt the course of the exercise, if necessary using these disruptive moments as an opportunity to create.
  2. Warm-up: Propose exercises, rotation, stretching… to especially prepare the upper body to play musical instruments, propose movements and be attentive to the participant’s response.  From their response, continue the warm-up session, sometimes using a convergent mirror effect, thus following the proposed movement, or using a divergent mirror effect, going in opposite directions, or simply maintaining the sequence.  Alternate the mirror effects and always be attentive to the answer.  Use the responses to continue.   Ask the participant to suggest exercises and follow up on these initiatives. 
    • Involve the participant in the sequence from the beginning and thus create exchanges – start a relationship. 
    • To keep their attention, you can also count out loud and alternate the speed of the movements.
  3. Giving the pulse: suggest a pulse, a tempo and encourage the participant to join in.   Then asks the participant to suggest a beat in return.
    • It is important that the participant gains confidence in their own abilities.  Show them the importance of your commitment.
  4. Rhythmic round: propose a rhythm that the participant repeats.  Then, ask the participant to propose a rhythm and repeat it.   
    • Doing this in both directions encourages the participant to understand the “rhythm” of interaction in an exchange and this favors respect and listening between musicians.
    • Continue teaching other rhythms while remaining attentive to your participant’s availability in order to respect their limits and maintain a positive experience.
    • Gradually, as participants’ learn more and more rhythms, they will master them better and better, and the animator and participant will come to form a duo and reach synchronicity.
  5. Feedback on the activity: at the end of the exercise, take the time to go back to the participant, see their degree of satisfaction, frustration, and understand, accept their reactions and take them into account for the next session. 
    • Depending on the participant’s availability, you could also repeat some of the rhythms learned and even combine them to make new ones and thus reinforce the learning.

Evaluation method

Observe: what the level of engagement, interest, length of time the participant was available was. The simple act of touching the djembe and/or tapping the rhythm a bit is a very interesting social and communicative opportunity.
Ask: what was easy/difficult, what was felt/discovered, if anything surprised them…

Hints/tips for facilitators

  • a semi-directive approach in your interactions with participants. This attitude allows the participant to be themself while providing a flexible framework. 
  • One must know how to adapt to the participant; everything is an opportunity for learning and exchange.  A participant may be very sensitive to the vibration felt by the djembe, so they can be offered other instruments or other accessories so that they can still participate; the important thing is to develop a pleasant relationship, to get in touch and to experience reciprocity.
  • It is important to have an equal relationship between the facilitator and the participant, each can learn from the other.
  • Find and/or establish balance within the 1/1 relationship.
  • The objective is not to develop super musicians but to create meaningful relationships, which allows participants to advance in human development and to appreciate beautiful experiences.


After different action-reaction stages, convergence and divergence, it is possible to move to synchronicity and live a moment of creation and musical sharing in harmony.


The mirror activity is adapted from Augusto Boal’s Game for Actors And Non Actors (Routledge, 2002)

The concepts of Convergence / Divergence / Maintenance come from Giles and Ogay’s Communication Accommodation Theory

Giles, H. Ogay, T. (2007). Communication Accommodation Theory. In Whaley, B. B., Samter, W. (Eds.), Explaining communication: Contemporary theories and exemplars (pp. 39–59) Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers NJ

The APPROSH method, developed by Mohamed Ghoul, Lucie Beauregard and Nathanaël Labrèche, is based on over 20 years of experience and has been the subject of university research:


  • LARESCO group, University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue (Quebec – Canada) 2007
  • BAND group, McGill University of Montreal (Québec – Canada)  since 2017