Valentine’s Day is just around the bend.

With that theme in mind I’ve been incorporating lots of “love”- and friendship-themed songs into my sessions: “Love Story” by Taylor Swift, “Rhythm of Love” by the Plain White T’s and “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars.

Although I’ll be the first to admit that it’s fun to plan a themed-session, as music therapists we have to remember to always keep our clients’ therapeutic goals at the forefront of our minds.

Many of my school-age clients are working on auditory perception goals in our sessions. This means I’m engaging them in musical activities that target listening skills and direction following (skills that translate directly into the classroom setting!)

Here is one example of how I’m combining the Valentine’s theme + auditory perception goals this week.

I pass out a variety of instruments to the students (maracas, bells, rhythm sticks, etc.) I instruct them that I’m going to play the song “Rhythm of Love.” Every time they hear the word “love,” they should switch instruments with the person next to them.

This is a great way to work on:

  • listening skills
  • direction following
  • selective attention (they need to tune out distractions and focus on listening for the word “love”)
  • and, social communication skills (when they switch instruments)

This musical experience can be used with any song, at any time of the year. Just choose a word or phrase (or even musical element!) that you would like the students to listen for. Then give them the cue for what to do when they hear that word or phrase.

I love this musical experience because it’s versatile and can be tailored to the unique needs and musical preferences of our clients.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and if you need more holiday inspiration, hop on over to the Session Planning Page.