I don’t know if it’s all the green or the Irish music, but St. Patrick’s Day is such a fun holiday to celebrate!
In the spring, when holidays are a little more spread out, I take any opportunity I can to add some variety to my repertoire as I continue to target my students’ and clients’ goals in an appropriate way.
An important factor that I always take into consideration is my clients’ and students’ ability to generalize the skills they are learning through music therapy. Sometimes when I switch up songs but continue to focus on the same goals, I am evaluating how well my clients and students are doing just that.
When the melody is different, the lyrics are unfamiliar, and children are thrust into a new experience, that’s an excellent opportunity to see what skills may need more work, and what the child is really mastering! Adding new songs into my repertoire is not only fun for the kids, but also an easy way to evaluate their progress.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Improve gross motor skills
- Increase ability to follow clearly stated directions
- Increase socialization through peer interaction
“Shamrockin’ Song” is a St. Patrick’s Day themed movement song that is bound to motivate all of your clients and students to get up and move. I encourage the participants to march around in various ways, including to the left and right (which is a skill in and of itself!).
Once all of the participants have practiced their marching, I lead several verses of the song, and then begin to challenge the clients and students in several different ways.
I may change the tempo, add in trickier movements such as marching backwards, or even have a child be the “leader” while the others follow their movement or march in line behind them. For children who are learning to read, I will often omit the word that indicates the movement, and display a visual so that they must read what the next movement will be.
To introduce something fun and different to my older elementary-aged clients and students, I’ve begun teaching them basic Irish dance steps, called Reel, during the month of March.
I was able to learn Reel steps from this video, and found out that the basics are easy to do with a little adaptation! My clients and students have learned movements such as pointing your toes in front of your body, hopping, and galloping, and they have absolutely loved practicing these fun dance moves and pretending to be dancing leprechauns. When participants are motivated, it’s always easier to encourage them to do something a little more challenging, which is exactly what I’ve found with the Reel dance steps!
“Shamrockin’ Song” is a movement song that provides the perfect opportunity to get kiddos up and dancing, and can target the same goals as many other movement songs, but with a St. Patrick’s Day twist.
I’d love to hear from you: how are you incorporating the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day holiday into your classes and sessions?
You can listen to this song in its entirety right here. Lyrics, chords, mp3, and instrumental track for this original song 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.