I vividly remember the first time I led a music therapy session with a group of teen clients.

I remember thinking it would be easy to build group cohesion among 30 adolescents that didn’t know each other, and that we’d be songwriting and rapping in no time.

Well, that wasn’t exactly the case.

It took some very special steps to “break the ice” among the teens and build cohesion so they could work together towards their therapeutic goals.

Over the past 15 years that I’ve been working with adolescents, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to do this.

Here are a few ideas for how to break the ice when working with a new group of school-age or teen clients:

Musical Games – LOTS of musical games. There is no better way to allow teens to connect with each other, communicate, and get to know each other than a game of Musical Jeopardy or Musical Pictionary.

The Icebreaker Rap – This is a rap song I wrote that teaches teens how to actually break the ice (and exactly what they can say) when they meet someone new or are in a new group situation. It’s concrete AND catchy.

Musical Preferences Game – Another great way to allow teens to connect with and get to know each other is to talk about their favorite music. Imagine thinking you’re the only one who likes Michael Bolton, only to find out that the girl on the other side of the circle is a huge fan too (#nojudgementzone)! Or, learning that another group member went to the same Luke Bryan concert you went to last summer. Finding shared musical preferences is a fantastic way to build connections between your clients.

Start with low demand musical experiences – Asking your clients to write a rap song and perform it on the first day might not go over so well. Consider starting off with “low demand” musical experiences where no one person has to be in the spotlight. Think group instrumental activities, group singing, and musical games where teens can work together as a group.

In Tune In To Teens, the E-Course I created for music therapists and educators, I go MUCH more in depth on ways to break the ice, build rapport, and work on group cohesion with your teen clients.

The exciting news is that enrollment for Tune In To Teens will be opening up soon (in August 2020)!

In Chapter 1 alone you’ll learn:

  • How to find connection points – with regard to the music they like, the TV they watch, and what they are “into”- to build rapport
  • Exactly where to go on the web to find out the things your teen clients are into
  • How to find music that your clients actually like and listen to
  • A multitude of ways to empower teens by giving them choices
  • The best musical games for working on social communication skills and group cohesion
  • Creative ways to learn the musical preferences of your clients (some you may not have even thought of!)
  • And finally, in the Pro Package, you’ll learn The Icebreaker Rap, which comes with the lyric sheet + MP3

In addition to these ideas, the E-Course is also JAM PACKED with creative intervention ideas, new songs, session planning inspiration, and strategies for success when working with teens with autism and other special needs. Course participants have access to sheet music, looped hip hop beats, original song MP3s, session videos, and creativity worksheets that can be downloaded and saved.

Participants can receive between 5 – 15 pre-approved CMTE credits (depending on which package you choose) and have access to a VIP forum with personalized instructor support (win-win right?!)

Enrollment for the E-Course is currently closed, but will be opening up in August 2020. I am so thrilled!

Join the waitlist by entering your name and email below, so you don’t miss when the doors for enrollment are open (and close again).

When you join the waitlist, you’ll hear about special discounts and promotions, and how you can access free bonus material. Plus, you’ll get this freebie right away: Yo’ Guide To Rapping With Confidence. A step-by-step procedure for how to create meaningful raps with your teen clients and students.

Be sure to stay tuned…

Over the next few weeks on the blog, I’ll be highlighting some of the special features of Tune In To Teens that make it stand out from other continuing education courses.

Catch up on past course highlight posts here, here, and here.

More than 100 music therapists, educators, and professionals have taken the E-Course and successfully put the ideas into use in their sessions and classrooms.

Julia Sullivan, MT-BC calls it a “lifesaver course!” She says “I am working with high school and post-grad students for the first time. I struggled to make relevant, age-appropriate activities, and your course was the first thing I turned to. I’m having an easier time now and I thank you for the great information!”

When she completed the course, Michele Burns, MT-BC said “I feel ready to conquer my sessions!”

If you’re interested in learning more about the E-Course, be sure to hop on the wait list now!