Have you struggled to come up with cool and engaging virtual ideas for your school-age and teens clients?

I know I have.

The other day, I just kind of sat and stared at a blank Word document. I wondered – what can I do that is novel and interesting for them?

I always come back to the music. What music do my clients and students like, and how can I use that in a way that’s therapeutic?

That can certainly be a challenge, though, given that many songs my clients are into have lyrics and content that are not appropriate for our therapy sessions (no judgement though, on what they listen to on their own personal time).

I always refer back the list of their preferred artists and bands that I created during our initial assessment sessions.

I wanted to share with you today one way I use that list to create a therapeutic music experience called Pop Song Move & Grooves.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Choose a client preferred song and pull up a clean version, if needed.
  2. Create movement patterns or a movement sequence to go along with the song. One pattern for the verses, a different pattern for the chorus.

Here are a few examples of pop songs and movement patterns that have worked well with my clients and students this past year:

“Summer Vibe” (Pegato Remix) by Walk Off The Earth
Verses: pat pat clap rest / Chorus: clap clap snap rest

“Savage Love” (clean version) by Jason Derulo
Verses: pat snap / Chorus: clap clap clap rest rest

“Bang!” (clean version) by AJR
Verses: pat clap pat clap / Chorus: pat pat pat rest

“Dynamite” by BLS
Verses: pat pat clap rest / Chorus: clap clap snap rest

“Jalebi Baby” by Tesher & Jason Derulo
Verses: clap clap clap rest /Chorus: pat pat snap rest

(Notice how all the movements are with the top half of the body – welcome to virtual music therapy!)

To see my students jump up with excitement when they hear a song by their favorite singer is absolutely PRICELESS.

The cool part is that we are using their favorite songs to work on many different skills: sustained and alternating attention, as we alternate movements between verse chorus; auditory perception skills; and sequencing. Direction following, nonverbal communication, the list goes on.

Try this musical experience out this week with your students’ favorite songs and let me know how it goes!