When leading any type of music therapy session or music class, I always make sure that my clients and students aren’t all hyped up when they leave me. Music is a favorite activity for many of my kiddos, so they are usually excited when they walk in the door, but when they walk out, my goal is for them to be calm, cool, and collected.
Making sure children are in the “green zone” when they are finished with music is important for lots of reasons. Transitions are a lot easier when children are calm, because they are in a regulated state. On top of that, teachers, parents and caregivers will be forever grateful to you when their child walks away from music as cool as a cucumber.
In this blog post, I’ve highlighted a few of my favorite cool-down songs. Some of the goals addressed include:
- Increase tactile awareness
- Improve turn-taking skills
- Increase directional awareness
- Improve gross and fine motor skills
“Cabasa Bossa Nova” is my go-to relaxation song. The sensory input of the cabasa paired with the soothing melody of the song is instantly calming for everyone, including staff and caregivers. It is a fan favorite with my groups and is a song I will never get sick of.
I demonstrate to my clients and students how I like to roll the cabasa on my arm, legs, feet, and hands, which provides gentle but impactful sensory input. I like that each child can choose what kind of input he or she would like, and if a child needs to take a break from the sensation, they can do that, thanks to the flexible and supportive nature of music.
“See the Scarf” is another song featuring a soothing melody. It almost has a meditative quality, which makes it so conducive to relaxation. Similarly to “Cabasa Bossa Nova”, I model ways that the scarf can be used, and employ specific lyrics to guide the participants through the calming song.
Scarves are such useful tools for visual and tactile stimulation. They can be used to demonstrate breathing techniques or to practice visual tracking on top of the traditional uses for scarves. These props can be very exciting to children, but they can also be very soothing. Song choice matters so much, and when it comes to cooling down in music, “See the Scarf” is the way to go!
“Motion in the Ocean” is more of a peppy song, and can be lots of high energy fun, but by slowing the tempo down and signing the song in a legato fashion, this song can also serve as a lullaby.
In the past, I’ve used “Motion in the Ocean” as an impulse control intervention, where children hear storms or gentle waves and move accordingly. But when using the song at the end of a music therapy session or music class, I stick to gentle waves. Those gentle waves usually result in bringing children to the verge of sleep, which can be a very nice way to complete an otherwise exciting music session.
These three songs are staple “closers” at the end of my music therapy sessions and music classes. Having a solid set of cool-down songs has been a lifesaver for me, and creates a more successful environment for my clients and students, which is the most important part!
Tell me in the comments: What are your favorite cool-down songs for winding down your music therapy sessions or 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 these songs as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.