Around this time of year, the holiday decorations come out, everyone is filled with cheer, and our clients and students feel it! They’re excited for snow days, gifts, holiday traditions, and all the beautiful lights.
Sometimes, that can make for chaotic music therapy sessions or classes. It can be overwhelming to see this change in our clients and students, and we may need to modify our session plans to address their needs.
When leading music therapy sessions or music classes, it is important to meet our clients where they’re at. Are they excited? Be excited! But, gradually move with them to a more calm and regulated state.
For my kiddos, it’s also important to lead more movement songs throughout the session and strategically plan when interventions will occur, so that there is never too much time without movement. This provides children with the opportunity to appropriately expel their energy and remain focused and engaged for the session.
Below are two songs that help me maintain control of my groups while embracing the excitement of the season.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
- Improve critical listening
- Increase directional awareness
- Improve fine and gross motor skills
- Increase ability to follow clearly stated directions
- Increase sustained attention
- Improve sequencing
- Improve working memory
“I Don’t Care if the Snow Comes Down” is an essential movement song for my holiday and winter sessions. The lyrics are straightforward, so my clients are able to follow along with minimal assistance. Although I typically lead this song with kiddos standing up and moving around the room, it can also be led while everyone is seated with just a simple change of some of the movements.
Another way I’ve adapted this song is that I used visual aides that have typed directives for each movement. This is great for children who are working on their reading skills, and adds an additional academic challenge. I also encourage clients and students to brainstorm different ways to move their bodies during the song.
“Polar Bear” is my go-to for calming a group or class down before the end of a session or after a high energy song. It is active and engaging, but requires focus and has movements that are regulating and provide sensory information to clients and students.
This song has two basic movements: the classic “We Will Rock You” beat, and rubbing your hands together to create the sound of the ocean. Of course, additional rhythms or movements can be added to address more specific motor goals or to appropriately challenge your clients and students. “Polar Bear” also presents opportunities to sequence verses and utilize working memory to recall facts heard in the song.
These two songs are great additions to any holiday music therapy session or music class, and help appropriately manage all of the extra excitement that children are brimming with during this special time of year.
Helping our clients and students regulate themselves allows therapists and teachers to reach their goals more effectively, and that is what it’s all about!
Tell me in the comments: what songs do you use to embrace the excitement of the holiday?
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.