“Woo-oo-oo-ohh,” “Woo-oo-oo-ohh.”

I constantly have this running through my head after I listen to “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.

It’s catchy and it repeats over and over in the song…so I find it running over and over through my head!

Today’s blog post is the first of a series on how to AMP UP your teen music therapy sessions.

Sometimes it can feel like we do the same thing over and over, right? Or that it’s hard to find musical experiences that are of interest to our teen clients.

So for the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of my favorite musical experiences to use with the teens with whom I work. These teens have diagnoses of autism, learning delay, and behavior disorder.

But, even if you don’t work with those particular populations, I’m sure you’ll be able to adapt the ideas to fit the needs of your groups.

“Best Day of My Life” by American Authors is the kind of pop song I’m always on the lookout for!

It’s catchy, repetitive, there’s call and response, it’s easy to play on guitar, and most importantly my teen clients know and love it.

I use this song as a springboard for a song discussion. Here’s how it goes:

1) First, introduce the song and set up lyrics on a wipe off board.

2) Next, sing through the song, encouraging the group to sing along.

3) Then, ask each group member to take some time to think about the best day of their life so far. When was it? What did they do? Why was it the best day of their life? Once they’ve come up with some answers, I pass out paper, markers and pens. I encourage them to draw about that day or write down words that are associated with that day (such as “concert,” “Green Day,” “guitars,” etc.) I adapt this based on the level of each group member.

4) After they’ve taken some time to get their ideas down on paper, we go around the group and anyone who would like to share about the best day of their life is encouraged to do so. I ask follow up questions and we go around the group until each teen who would like to share has had the chance.

5) Finally, we end the musical experience by singing through the song again.

As I mentioned, this intervention was designed for my groups with teens on the autism spectrum and with learning delays. It can be modified and made to me more challenging or more simple based on the needs of your group.

If you haven’t heard this song yet, be sure to go look it up on YouTube. If “Woo-oo-oo-ohh” is stuck in your head for the rest of the day, I apologize!

Be sure to stick around in the coming weeks where I’ll be sharing some more interventions – some musical games and some movement experiences.

If you need some more creative ideas and inspiration NOW, check out Tuneful Teens or the Rap Pack for Teens! We even have combo packs available at a discounted rate. Check them out here:

TT & RP Combo