According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of empathy is: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner.
I decided to explore this concept with a group of adolescents I work with in Miami. The inspiration for this idea came from The Mosaic Project, an incredible organization that works to promote a peaceful future by uniting young children of diverse backgrounds and exploring the concepts of empathy and tolerance.
They have an excellent collection of songs that I listen to in my car all the time :) AND use during my music therapy sessions. My favorites? “It’s All Right to Cry,” “Don’t Laugh at Me,” and “We Are the Mosaic.” But who am I kidding, they’re all fantastic and lend themselves to concepts that we frequently address with our clients.
Since social emotional skills are one of the main goal areas I target with this teen group, I used “The Empathy Song” as a springboard for lyric analysis and discussion.
Want to know the procedure and questions I use during the music therapy session to facilitate this discussion?
Then check out this resource ~ Tuneful Teens 2: MORE Creative Ideas for Engaging Adolescents in Music Therapy. In it, I share MANY MORE ideas similar to this one, as well as activity templates and sheet music!