By Bree Beynon, MT-BC, NMT

Happy New Year!  I hope you enjoyed your holidays and are easing back into reality.  This post is a long one; you may want to bookmark this or print it out for your materials.  Either way, I hope it is helpful as you plan out your sessions!

1. Happy New Year!
a. Music – “Auld Lang Syne”, “What Are You Doing New Year’s?”
b. Activity/Discussion – Setting realistic New Year’s Resolutions.  “What will make this year a happy and healthy one for you?”
c. Validation – Share music related to resolutions.
2. Looking to the Future: Making a Time Capsule (to be opened in 100 years)
a. Music – familiar songs from 100+ years ago, “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” “East Side West Side” “Row Your Boat”
b. Activity/Discussion – What would you preserve for 100 years? Music, fashion, inventions, entertainment?
c. Validation – Share music related to discussion.
3. Let’s Take a Trip!
a. Music – familiar, travel related songs, “New York, New York”, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco”, “Chicago”, “Guantanamera”, “Jamaican Farewell”
b. Activity/Discussion – Have participants choose a travel related song out of a “travel bag” one at a time. Discuss how you would get from place to place: car, bike, plane?
4. Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.
a. Music – Theme of peace and equality, “If I Had a Hammer”, “Let There Be Peace on Earth”, “This Land is Your Land”.
b. Activity/Discussion – Share facts about the civil rights movement including excerpts from the “I Have a Dream” speech.
5. Golden Age of Broadway
a. Music – Songs from musicals in from the 20’s-60’s.
b. Discussion – Trivia including famous actors, singers, movie musicals and composers from that era.
c. Sensory Stim – Share images of costumes and theaters from that era.
6. Valentine’s Day!
a. Music – Familiar love songs
b. Sensory Stim – Ask each participant to select a brightly colored heart containing titles of familiar love songs.
c. Discussion – Ask participants, “Who would you send this song to?”
7. President’s Day
a. Music – Patriotic songs
b. Sensory Stim – Pass out brightly colored scarves to participants and lead them in simple movements to the rhythm of “Grand Ol Flag”. Show large pictures of different coins and ask participants to guess the President.
c. Discussion – Share quotes from Lincoln and Washington and ask participants to guess, “Who said this?”
8. A Night at the Oscars – Classic Hollywood
a. Music – Songs from familiar classic films, “Over the Rainbow”, “As Time Goes By”, “Somewhere My Love”, “Singing in the Rain”
b. Sensory Stim – Share large pictures of classic Hollywood movie posters.
c. Discussion – Share trivia about famous classic Hollywood movies.
9. Welcoming Spring
a. Music – Springtime songs, “Singing in the Rain”, “Red Red Robin”, “Bibylbe Built for Two”, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”
b. Sensory Stim – Pass out one active of colorful handbells, practice a scale and I, IV V chords. Work up to playing a simple spring song.
c. Discussion – Ask participants what comes to mind when they hear the words “March” and “Spring”.
10. Celebrating Spring
a. Music – Springtime songs
b. Sensory Stim – Use pre-cut pieces of paper containing Spring-related song titles to create an image of a flower. Ask participants to select the pieces of paper one at a time (a leaf, the stem, a petal) and share the corresponding song as you build the image together.
11. St. Patrick’s Day
a. Music – Irish songs
b. Sensory Stim – Pass out brightly colored scarves and lead participants through movements while listening to a familiar Irish Jig.
c. Discussion – Ask participants to listen to instruments in the jig, “What do you hear?”. Share large images (like a leprechaun or pot of gold) and trivia and stories about St. Patrick’s Day between songs.
12. Exploring Rhythms
a. Music – songs from various rhythmic styles: Latin, Caribbean, Jazz and Blues
b. Sensory Stim – Provide drums and instruments from various cultures (Latin, African, Native American). Provide background information and instruct clients on how to play them. Lead clients in playing various rhythmic patterns.
13. Jazz Appreciation
a. Music – familiar Jazz songs, “In the Mood”, “Fly Me to the Moon”, “The Way You Look Tonight.”
b. Activity/Discussion – Lead group through instrumental and vocal improvisation (scat) in various Jazz styles. Share history of Jazz music and artists.

Next up in Q2: Blues Appreciation, Earth Day and Getting to Know You!