Infusing Music Therapy Sessions With Joy

As December goes on, we draw closer to the BIG DAY! The joy is visible on every little face in my music therapy sessions and music classes, and it is so contagious. Between the green Christmas trees, jolly Santa Claus, beautifully wrapped presents, and Christmas music, it’s impossible not to be filled with joy!

Below are several goal-oriented songs that discuss the people and things that bring us joy this time of year, and encourage our students and clients to share their joy with others.

Some of the goals addressed in these songs:

  • Improve understanding of the word/feeling “joy”
  • Increase creative expression
  • Improve object identification and color identification
  • Improve palmar grasp
  • Increase knowledge of the holidays
  • Increase verbalization skills
  • Improve ability to transition

“J-O-Y” is a catchy song that is a great jumping off point to explore what it means to feel joy. Not only does “J-O-Y” give students and clients an opportunity to spell joy, but the verses also explain what joy feels like and the kinds of things that can bring us joy.

J-O-Y | Listen & Learn Music

“J-O-Y” is an ideal song for brainstorming with clients and students about what brings them joy, and even write their own lyrics based on their ideas. Visual aides can be added to give students and clients an opportunity to spell joy or identify objects, and sign language can be used to target fine motor skills. “J-O-Y” can be adapted in endless ways to meet the needs of any client or student.

“Red and Green” are the colors of the holidays, and this song discusses many popular holiday objects that are either red or green. I pass out red or green chiquitas to each student or client, giving them a choice between the two, and challenge them to shake their chiquitas high in the air when they hear lyrics about their color.  

"Red and Green" | Listen & Learn Music

Sometimes I will pass out red and green chiquitas to each child and encourage them to listen extra carefully and only shake the chiquita that matches the lyrics, which is such a challenge and targets impulse control skills. Of course, visual aides or sign language can be paired with lyrics in place of chiquitas.

“Spread Some Cheer” is a great way to end a music therapy session or music class during the month of December. After focusing on joy and the holiday objects, “Spread Some Cheer” reminds every child to spread cheer to all of the people in their lives, as well as ways to spread cheer in their communities.

"Spread Some Cheer" | Listen & Learn Music

“Spread Some Cheer” is a traditional goodbye song with a holiday spin that is sure to bring a smile to every child, caregiver, and teacher who hears it!

These three songs will undoubtedly spark joy in your music therapy sessions or music classes. Each song focuses on a thematic topic while targeting important objectives, which is my favorite part about these goal-oriented songs!

Tell me in the comments: which songs fill your music therapy sessions and/or music classes with joy?

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.

The January Session Plan is Here!

{January 2019} Session Plan | Listen & Learn Music

I will be the first to admit that planning for after the holidays in the thick of December is NOT an easy task. As much as I would love to spend every spare minute curled up on my couch watching Christmas movies, I know that my future self will thank me for putting in the time now so that my January sessions and materials are ready to go when 2019 begins.


{GGB 67} Wearing Multiple Hats in Music Class

Guitars & Granola Bars Podcast: Episode 67 | Listen & Learn Music

There is a whole lot of crossover when it comes to being both a music therapist and a mom…especially when you teach early childhood classes and have young children. Jaime and I can check both of those boxes, and have a whole lot of experience playing both the role of music class teacher and mom at the same time.

In Episode 67 of the Guitars & Granola Bars podcast, we talk all about having our own kids attend our music classes: the benefits, the drawbacks, the funny and memorable moments. This episode is a fun one whether or not you’ve played these dual roles yourself!


Friday Fave: Italy, Spain and Home Again

You’ve probably noticed that aside from my weekly song posts, the blog has been pretty quiet over the past couple of weeks. I don’t like to go without posting for long, but this time I had a good excuse: I was on vacation in Italy and Spain!

My husband and I had the time of our lives traveling through Rome, Florence, Venice and Barcelona. And while initially I had planned on keeping a daily journal, it turned out we were way too busy for that.

I’ve only been home for a few days, but I’m finally starting to get over my post-vacation blues and back into the swing of things. I’m looking forward to having a productive Labor Day weekend, followed by the beginning of the fall session here at the studio on Tuesday.

This summer was a blur of hard work (from both myself and my students!) and fun; a European vacation was the perfect ending to my favorite season. How are you spending the final weekend of summer as we know it?

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