“When I’m gone, when I’m go-ne. You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone. You’re gonna miss me by my walk, you’re gonna miss me by my talk. You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone.”

That song has been stuck in my head more than a time or two the past few months!

If you don’t recognize the lyrics, it’s the Cups Song (You’re Gonna Miss Me) by Anna Kendrick.

Not only is the song catchy, but so is the rhythmic pattern that goes along with it.

Because of the popularity of the song, I thought it would be perfect to incorporate into my teen music therapy sessions. My thoughts were that the rhythmic pattern would be a great way to work on sustained and selective attention (two main goal areas for my groups of teens with special needs).

Here’s how I incorporated the song into my sessions:

1) I began by playing and singing “Cups” while encouraging the teens in the group to sing along.

2) Next, I taught them a modified version of the rhythmic pattern:

pat pat clap clap // pat pat clap (rest) // pat pat clap clap // pat pat clap (rest)

That pattern would repeat throughout the song.

3) Then, I assigned one group member to be the leader. They came to the front of the room and led the group in that pattern, repeating it over and over.

4) Once the pattern had been established, I encouraged the group to continue as I sang the song over top. This is where they had the opportunity to work on selective attention, as they had to focus on their rhythmic pattern even when I was singing along with them.

5) After singing through the song one time, I chose another group member to be the leader and lead the group in sustaining the rhythmic pattern. This continued until everyone who wanted to be the leader had a chance. Being the leader allowed the teens the opportunity to feel empowered as they stood in front of the group and facilitated the movement pattern. I could see in their faces how proud they were when everyone successfully followed them throughout the song!

If you’d like even MORE creative session ideas to incorporate into your teen music therapy sessions, you need to check out the Rap Pack for Teens! It includes an E-Book with ideas for using raps in your music therapy sessions PLUS 12 mp3s with looped beats. Check it all out here:

Rap Pack for Teens