Incorporating special holidays into my music therapy sessions and music classes is always fun — most of all, Halloween! I don’t know what it is that makes it extra special; maybe it’s how enthusiastic the kids are, the minor key that is often used for spooky music, or all the imaginative play, but it is just the best!
Since the beginning of October, I’ve been incorporating Halloween-themed songs into my music therapy sessions and music classes. Between the ideas that the monthly session plan gave me and my own favorite songs, I think my Halloween-themed session plan is so fun and goal-oriented, I just had to share!
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Increase ability to identify body parts
- Improve fine and gross motor skills
- Increase ability to follow directions
- Increase verbalization
- Improve critical listening skills
“Dry Bones” is a classic Halloween song, and I’m not sure if it’ll ever go out of style. My clients and students love this song, and they especially love when I begin to speed it up!
I start “Dry Bones” nice and slow, making sure that all of the children can identify each body part. Once they’ve demonstrated that they can follow along, I begin to speed up the song as a further challenge.
Because the body parts go in order of how they are “connected” to each other, this song is really more of a sequencing task than anything else, but a huge motivator, which makes it so successful year after year!
“Black Cat” has been a big hit with my groups this year. With some help from the internet and a laminator, I created a “Black Cat” book to facilitate this song. My clients and students get so excited when I bring out a book, even a homemade one like this!
When my kiddos hear that it’s time for the “Black Cat” book, they all gather around me, look intently at the pictures, and after we’ve read the book through, they all start understanding what “call-and response” is, and begin singing along! I love being able to meet the kids at their level, and then encouraging a higher level response, such as singing lyrics back to me.
Last year, I wrote about how I turn “Put the Scarf on Your…” into a spooky song about ghosts, but this idea is just so fun and motivating I had to share it again! By changing a few lyrics to be about ghosts instead of scarves, and playing the song in a minor key, it gives my clients and students a whole different experience. They love pretending to be scared when a “ghost” is on their arm, or behind their back, and this song consistently brings out high levels of engagement with my kiddos.
These three songs have made up a majority of my music therapy sessions and music classes this month, and will continue to until Halloween day! I love creating fun and seasonally appropriate session plans, and love it even more when I enjoy the music as much as my kiddos do!
I’d love to hear from you: Which Halloween song is your favorite to include in music class or music therapy?
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.