Although many music therapists and teachers have gone back to facilitating in-person sessions, I am still 100% virtual.

I have to say, I am enjoying the additional tools and technology at my disposal.

One of the tools I am loving and frequently using in my sessions with school-age and teen clients is video.

In addition to live music making, singing, musical games, and composing on GarageBand, I also incorporate music videos for visual support, and to add a layer of creativity that will engage my clients.

Here’s how I do that –

Musical I Spy/I Hear: I’ll introduce my clients to a new genre of music and teach them about the instruments that typically play that style of music. Then, I’ll pull up a music video and we play Musical I Spy/I Hear. I invite my clients to call out when they see (or hear) the instruments we’re looking for.

This Fall I did a bluegrass version. I pulled up a video of a bluegrass band playing and clients identified the fiddle, upright bass, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and even the jug! The Fourth of July version of this game, along with visuals (and lots of other goodies!), is part of the Summer Music Therapy Session Planning Pack.

Visual Support: I’ve also been using music videos to offer an added visual support that takes an experience beyond “just” music listening (even though that can be extremely beneficial and effective). During my summer sessions, I’ll facilitate a Hawaiian-themed music and art experience. My clients will listen to traditional Hawaiian music and draw to the music.

The music I pull up is a video on YouTube of a relaxing beach scene. This visual gives my clients some inspiration and ideas of what to draw. (More details on this experience are part of the Elevate Email Idea Subscription).

As a way for my clients to relax and wind down at the end of our current winter-themed sessions, I’ll play a video of “Wintersong” by Ingrid Michaelson and Sara Bareilles. (The song is awesome – check it out if you haven’t heard it yet!) Along with the song, I show visuals of winter scenes and snow. I use these as added visual support to jump start a discussion about our favorite memories of snow and winter.

If you’d like to use these visuals during your own Winter-themed sessions, you can grab them for free right here:

Music Video & Song Discussion: I’ve often facilitated song discussion experiences, where I’ll choose a song about a topic that’s relevant to my clients, we sing the song, and then discuss it. (You can find creative ideas for how to do this in the Tuneful Teens 2 E-Book and in the Elevate Email Idea Subscription).

Once I shifted to virtual sessions, I started incorporating music videos and using those to lead into a discussion about the music, the video, or both. For example, with the holidays approaching, I found a truly awesome YouTube video of the song “Christmas/Sarajevo 12/24” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra paired with a holiday light show. We watched the video together (and I watched my clients’ faces in awe!) Afterward, we had a discussion about our favorite memories of decorating our houses for the holidays and driving around to see the lights on other houses.

“That’s Christmas To Me” by the Pentatonix is another great song that I’ve been showing during my holiday-themed sessions. The music video shows home videos of the singers when they were children. I use this song and video to facilitate a discussion about our favorite childhood Christmas memories.

Behind the Scenes Look: Finally, I’ve used videos to give a behind the scenes look into the making of a music video. In August, I facilitated a musical experience with a group of teens with autism, that used “High Hopes” by Panic! At The Disco. We sang the song and had a discussion about our high hopes for the new school year.

Then, I showed them a behind the scenes video of how the music video was created. (If you haven’t seen it yet, the lead singer walks up a sky scraper!) It rounded out the session nicely and was something that captured their attention and truly interested them.

To close out, I’d love to hear if and how you’re using music videos therapeutically in your sessions – either in-person or virtually. Leave a comment below!

And for more information on the Elevate Email Idea Subscription, click here: