I feel like I use some songs over and over in music therapy sessions. Here are some of my biggest hits:
- If I Had a Hammer – I posted about this one already, and it’s definitely my number one hit. It gets smiles out of kids and adults alike, and nearly always gets requested when I’m doing singing with my adult groups.
- Yellow Submarine – It’s fun, it’s fantasy, it’s the Beatles. It has an easy chorus to sing along with, and with kids, you can even use it as a color recognition song (changing yellow to red or blue or purple, etc).
- Fire and Rain – This one’s a little deeper, but it’s a song I’ve been using for a while. You can get a lot of introspection about this. I remember using it with some kidney dialysis patients during college, and having a talk with my supervisor about the second verse (Won’t you look down upon me Jesus, you gotta help me make a stand // You just got to see me through another day // My body’s aching and my time is at hand // And I won’t make it any other way). I haven’t worked with anything as life threatening since, but it’s still a song that speaks to a lot of people.
- Take Me Home, Country Roads – Ever since college, I’ve found that this is consistently a good one for adults. It’s fun, it’s wistful, it’s a fantastic song.
- Blowin’ in the Wind – This is a good one to use when rewriting lyrics. Just insert your own questions, and poof – a whole new song.
- Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da – My association with this song is the early nineties TV series “Life Goes On.” I never watched the show, but that was where I first heard this song (that I remember). It was a show based around Down syndrome, so I guess the song has always seemed somehow appropriate for the populations I work with. It’s also pretty fun.
- I Got You (I Feel Good) – This is an extremely simple song. It’s a blues riff that talks about how you feel. This too is an easy one to rewrite – everyone just inserts how they’re feeling (I feel good / fine / sad / tired), and we come up with a rhyme (I knew that I would / Hope you don’t mind / It’s pretty bad / Hope I don’t get fired).
And there are more, these are just the first ones off the top of my head. Thanks for reading!