It’s always so much fun to incorporate goal-oriented holiday songs this time of year. My clients and students are even more motivated to sing, move, and play instruments when the songs include holiday themes.
The Listen & Learn Music library includes countless winter and holiday themed songs that address a variety of important goals, and in this post, I will cover a few of my favorite songs that bring the spirit of the holidays into my music therapy sessions and music classes.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Improve fine and gross motor skills
- Improve understanding of various holiday traditions
- Increase verbalization (articulation of “L” sound)
- Object identification
- Improve critical listening
- Increase directional awareness
“Do You Hear the Reindeer?” is one of my favorite songs to bring into my music therapy sessions every year. I pass out castanets to every child and watch them click away. I challenge them to use the pincer grasp to play their castanets, but also encourage them to explore other ways to play, but of course my clients and students prefer playing their castanets with their stocking feet.
“Do You Hear the Reindeer?” is easily adaptable and can be modified to suit many different needs. For some children who struggle with pincer grasp, I swap out castanets for rhythm sticks to utilize the palmer grasp instead. I also encourage clients and students to think creatively, and I modify the lyrics to include tapping in different directions and pretend their body is a house, by swapping out “roof” for other areas of a house.
There are so many wonderful traditions that happen this time of year, and “Lights, Lights, Lights” features one of my favorites! Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa festivities all include candles and lights, and this goal-oriented song presents the opportunity to bring a greater understanding of holiday traditions, as well as practice articulating “L” sounds and identifying objects.
I pair visuals with the lyrics of “Lights, Lights, Lights” to improve object identification, but sign language can easily be used to improve fine motor skills. Additionally, “Lights, Lights, Lights” can also be used as introduction to discussing each client or student’s holiday traditions.
“Parachute Fa La La” is the perfect song to incorporate a traditional holiday melody into a movement song. My clients and students are often so excited during this time of year, it’s important to continue to provide meaningful and motivating opportunities for movement to maintain engagement. This song provides that very opportunity, as well as opportunities for critically listening to the lyrics and vocalizing to the iconic “fa la la” melody.
Although “Parachute Fa La La” can be quite challenging on its own, my clients and students have been very motivated by an added verse about shaking the parachute fast or slow, which continues to require not only critical listening, but also impulse control. “Parachute Fa La La” is super fun, but most importantly, it is goal-oriented and addresses important skills that are necessary to the development of all children.
Some of my favorite songs are holiday songs, and I love that I can bring in familiar melodies and fun topics while still staying true to the goals I’ve set for my clients. These three songs are just a few of the many available on Listen & Learn Music, but are some of my favorites to bring into my music therapy sessions and music classes.
Tell me in the comments: what songs do you use to bring the holiday spirit into your music therapy sessions and music classes?
You can listen to all of these songs in their entirety right here. Lyrics, chords, mp3, and instrumental track for these original songs are available for download. As is the case for all Listen & Learn Music creations, we invite you to adapt this song as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.