One of my new favorite ways to plan music therapy sessions is by centering it around a theme. This is especially fun when it relates to a holiday! I have had a ton of fun looking up and adapting music therapy Thanksgiving ideas, and I wanted to share a couple of them with all of you!
One visual that I found for Thanksgiving is this turkey with feathers visual! I love this one because it can be adapted to fit a huge range of interventions! Here is a photo of the visual. I found it on “Speech Therapy Fun”, which is a website where you can sign up to receive free freebies! Here is the link to the website: https://www.speechtherapyfun.com/
I adapted this to fit the many needs of my music therapy clients. Here are some ideas for how you could use this visual, or how you could create your own to fit your needs!
- Session Order: Use the visual to order your session plans, while giving clients choice and control over what happens next. To do this, have each feather color corresponds to a specific music therapy intervention that you want to do during the session. By the end of the session, optimally, each client in a group setting would get the opportunity to pick a feather, which is then added to the turkey. For example, the red feather could correspond to a drumming intervention, brown to a sing-a-long, etc.
- Working on Colors: There are SO many ideas and examples for how you could work on colors using the turkey and feathers. For example, you could have the client work on naming the colors by singing a song prompting the client to find a specific color and add it to the turkey:
“Can you find the Red feather, red feather, red feather
Can you find the red feather and put it on the turkey!”
I made up my own tune for this-anything you come up with will work! This is a simple activity, that also requires the client to work on their attention while waiting to hear the next color! This could be adapted to fit a wide range of clients’ needs and goals.
- Color Bells: One way to work on cognitive skills such as focus and attention, as well as making choices, learning colors, or an array of other skills could be to use the feathers to write a song with desk bells. The client or therapist would arrange the feathers (Velcro feathers on) to the turkey, and then the client would play through the song as the colors are arranged from left to right. The client could then rearrange the feathers to be any combination, making this a great intervention with endless possibilities!
- Working on Social Skills & Asking Questions: For this activity, you could have a corresponding Thanksgiving (or whatever you wanted!) themed question. The client could choose one feather, and then would get the chance to ask or be asked the question. This gives the client a great opportunity to work on asking questions, using follow up questions, and practicing how to engage with those around them, especially during Thanksgiving time!
Example Thanksgiving Questions:
What are your favorite Thanksgiving Foods?
Does your family eat pie on Thanksgiving? What kind?
What are you thankful for this year?
Lastly, There are some great songs to use for Thanksgiving time. They may be about Thanksgiving itself, the fall season, or songs that center around themes of thankfulness! Here is a list of a couple songs I plan to use in my sessions:
- What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong (Idea: Songwriting activity about things to be thankful for)
- Thanksgiving Song by Mary Chapin Carpenter
- Ida, Sweet As Apple Cider by Bing Crosby
- Autumn Leaves
- Albuquerque Turkey (to the tune of “Darling Clementine”)
- Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep Irving Berlin Winter Wonderland
- Over the River and Through the Woods
I hope this post gives you some inspiration for your own Thanksgiving session plans!