St. Paddy’s Day Session Ideas


St. Paddy’s Day is almost here!

I am very excited – I always love having a holiday that I can use as a theme to base my sessions around. What could be more creatively stimulating than a holiday filled with leprechauns, rainbows, and shamrocks?

Today I’m going to share some ideas I have for my upcoming St. Paddy’s Day sessions for my tween and teen groups. Everything I do (whether based around a theme/holiday or not) is ALWAYS goal oriented. With that, I’ve included some of the skills and goal areas I’m targeting in each activity.

Opening Questions
I begin with some opening questions to orient the group to the theme for that day:
What holiday is coming up?
What color do people wear on this day?
What things are associated with St. Patrick’s Day? (ie. pot of gold, leprechauns, rainbows, etc.)

Irish…or Not?
Here’s a game I came up with to introduce the group to Irish music and work on auditory and attention perception skills: Pass out a large, laminated shamrock to each group member (or you can have them work together in teams!) Tell the group that you’ll be playing a variety of pieces…some are Irish and some are not. When they hear a song that sounds Irish, they should hold up their shamrock high above their head. Begin playing a variety of songs that sound very different from one another: a country piece, a jazz piece, an Irish piece, a salsa piece, etc. Remind the group to hold up their shamrock when they hear an Irish piece. Afterwards, discuss the qualities of the music that make it “sound Irish,” such as 3/4 or 6/8 meter, the use of grace notes, and the sound of the fiddle. (The final step can be moved to the beginning of the session if the group is not as familiar with the sound of Irish music).

Playing  a Rainbow
Pass out one colored instrument to each group member (ie. Boomwhacker, hand bell, tone chime, or other instrument that comes in a rainbow colored set). Using color coded notation for “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” cue each member of the group to play their instrument when they see their color. You can cue individual notes to create a melody line or you can cue in chord groups to create the chords of the song (and you sing over top). If the group plays the melody, see if they can guess what song they are playing. (Think “Name That Tune!”)

This is an effective way to work on a number of skills at once: sustained and selective attention, impulse control, and gross and fine motor skills.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World”
Pass out rainbow colored scarves or streamers to each group member. Instruct them to wave their scarf or streamer up in the air in the shape of a rainbow as you sing. Sing and play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” on ukulele and invite the group to sing along. Here we are working on gross and fine motor skills through use of scarves and streamers.

I have some more ideas that I’ll be sharing next week as well, so stay tuned!!

If you liked this post and found it useful, please share it on the web! Leave a comment below and let us know – what St. Paddy’s Day ideas are YOU incorporating into your sessions?

And if you want even more creative ideas to jazz up your music therapy sessions, you need to check out Tuneful Teens 2: MORE Creative Ideas for Engaging Adolescents in Music Therapy:


Tuneful Teens 2











Image courtesy of lamnee / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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