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” 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.
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” 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.
You are amazing!
Please keep in mind that not all people celebrate Christmas (the big day), and there are many songs that both represent the disparate holidays represented by Americans, as well as generic songs of joy and light.
Hi Sue! Thank you so much for your kind words, and for taking the time to read my blog!
Yes, you are absolutely right — I am half Jewish and grew up celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas, so I definitely hold space for the celebration of all holidays during this time of year. Most of my songs do not explicitly reference Christmas, but I also appreciate that many of my clients, students and readers do celebrate this particular holiday.
Thank you again for providing your insight, and I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!