Don’t you just love “Can’t Stop the Feeling?” by Justin Timberlake.

It is so darn catchy and instantly puts me in a good mood when I hear it.

I used the song in my sessions yesterday and it was a huge hit. The clients (children in grades K-5) loved it AND it was incredibly effective in helping them meet their attention goals.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Each student was given a set of rhythmic sticks.
  2. I played the recorded version (more on that below!) of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake. During the verses (starting with “I got this feeling inside my bones”), I prompted students to play this pattern:
  3. During the chorus (starting with “Nothing I can see but you when you dance, dance, dance”), I prompted students to play this pattern:

(It helped to count “1, 2, 3, rest; 1, 2, 3, rest” as I played the second pattern to provide a verbal cue in addition to the visual cue).

This musical experience went really well! The clients were able to work on improving sustained and selective attention while being motivated by a song they love. This is similar to how I used rhythmic patterns from “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes to work on selective attention.

Now. Why did I use recorded music?

I consider myself to be an original song ambassador. But, when working with school-age and teen clients, I think there is definitely a place for recorded music in our sessions, especially when there is a clear therapeutic reason.

I used the recoded version of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” in my sessions yesterday because:

  • The musical experience required me to model patterns on rhythm sticks, so I needed both hands free to do that.
  • The back beat from the song prompted each of the different patterns and I didn’t feel I could recreate that as accurately as I would have liked to (some songs are easier that others!)

Can you use this song therapeutically with your clients this week?

Just watch out though, because it will be stuck in your head all day. (Not that that’s a bad thing!)

And, if you’re looking for more creative ways to engage your school age and teen clients, I’d love for you to check out Tune In To Teens: