Music to spark a better life for older adults and preschoolers

Archive for the ‘Theme’ Category

Secrets of Creating Inspired Themes

Secret

Image by val.pearl via Flickr

In this post I am sharing some of my secrets for creating and using inspired themes.  It is my hope they are helpful in kick starting a session, a week, a month, or a year for you. They are easy to apply ideas for the home, school, and long-term care settings. So here we go!

Where do you find inspiration for a theme?

You can find it everywhere. Really, I do: books I read, calendars, resource books, dreams, ideas from clients, local events. The secret is to capture them on paper, in a file, in a voice memo. Just capture them otherwise they tend to disappear from your thoughts.

What sources can be used to kick-start ideas?

  • If the idea is triggered by a local annual event, often there are resources from this event to get you started.
  • Many on-line holiday and special event calendars have links to starter sources.
  • When it is free-floating ideas from my thoughts, clients, or dreams I often use Google as a starter point. Look into the suggested search terms that may pop up in your search

How to I build on an idea that doesn’t come with ready-made ties?

Ask questions about the theme to pull it into other events. For example, how I use a camping theme to create a cohesive week of events at an assisted living facility? The topic itself becomes something for reminiscing. Think of the images that relate to the topic. The equipment on might use can become the decorations and the physical objects that might help with the reminiscing. When you think of camping, it might help you think of smells  (pine tree, smoke, Mosquito repellent), tastes (hot dogs, smores, trail mix), movements (cutting wood, hiking, boating, horseback riding), sounds (insects at night, bird calls, wolves, songs around the campfire, and touch (rough cord, bark from trees, iron skillet, fabrics from tents). All these things can help you spread the theme into events: topics for Jeopardy, words to unscramble, movements for exercise, foods for cooking, songs to sing, just to name a few.

Hope this has helped. Recipients of the July 23, 2011 SPARKS newsletter received this and more! Join today by clicking here. Then you will be able to access this themed information in the archives.

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A Breeze of Songs

Wind Energy

While Chicago may be the windy city, it is rare to not have wind in Kansas. The first time I moved to Florida from Kansas, an older neighbor came rushing out the door while I was hanging close on the line one day. He informed me there were gale force winds (25mph) and it was dangerous to put my close out. I let him know it was a breezy day where i came from.

The Sternberg Museum in Hays recently held a wind fair. That got me thinking about wind songs. Here are a few for older adults. I would use most in a “Name That Tune” way with the (*) to be sung.

A big thank you to Green Book of Songs for their help.

Family in Song

A large family having fun by the water.

Image via Wikipedia

My family is important to me. I love my husband & daughter. My dad, siblings, their spouses/significant others, their kids all fill my thoughts. Then there are my many aunts, uncles and cousins. These are special people to me. And, I hope they know that.

I know from conversations with older adults and with young children, families are important to them, too.  With that in mind, here are  few family songs you could use to create a family themed music event.

  • Daddy Sang Bass
  • We are Family
  • I want a Girl
  • Take My Hand My Son
  • Que Sera, Sera
  • Daddy Little Girl
  • Cats in the Cradle
  • Sunrise, Sunset

If you like these, be sure you are receiving my SPARKS newsletter. When you do, you’ll be able to access my July 9th Family Reunion theme for even more ideas.

Camping Theme Resources

If you received my newsletter, be sure and check out Canoeing in Preschool. And check out this camping resource by 2 Teaching Mommies.

Those who receive my SPARKS newsletter received the following ideas and more!

Camp Songs:

Children

  • Do Your Ears Hang Low
  • Boa Constrictor
  • The Littlest Worm
  • Little Bunny Foo Foo

Older Adults

  • Picking Flowers in the Rain
  • Tenting Tonight
  • Trail of the Lonesome Pine
  • Dip, Dip & Swing

Intergenerational

  • Oh, We’re from Camp (insert the facility name, family name, etc.)
  • Camp Granada
  • Marching to Victoria
  • If You’re Happy & You Know It

Books:

Children’s Story Books

  • Camp Granada: Sing-Along Camp Songs by FranÃ
  • How to Catch a Fish by John Frank and Peter Sylvada
  • I Took a Walk by Henry Cole
  • On the Way to the Beach by Henry Cole
  • Wish You Were Here by Martina Selway
  • Camping in Green (Know Your Colors) by Christianne C. Jones and Todd Ouren

If you would like to receive the rest of the information, sign  up for my SPARKS newsletter. You will be able to access the rest of these camping ideas from June 2011 from the archives.

Planning Made Easy with Themes

Pattern 02

Whether it is for a month, a week, a day, a session, I love building off a theme. It doesn’t matter if I am planning for a preschool music group, older adult music therapy session, or an intergenerational session, I love using a theme.  Why use a theme? Here are the top four reasons .

Themes provide structure to the session.  They help me determine sensory items to bring, songs on the topic, sound clips, pictures, questions.

Themes challenge me to try new things. Often themes push me out of my comfort area. Leading a session for older adults to expose them to different cultures, different countries makes me learn new information, new music, to think out of the box. I love asking for their ideas, too. Putting them in charge gives them purpose.

Themes make it easy to incorporate others materials. While I maintain my general format for groups, using a theme gives me an excuse to share something new with the members of the group. I use various tools/methods of presenting to make the most impact for that group. This was especially true when I worked full-time in Activities. I could find movies, word games, books, famous people, food, art work all on themes. It meant everyone could gain exposure to the theme by participating in their favorite activities.

Themes make planning easy. It means gathering a set of materials for use on that day, week, or month. I feel I get more bang for my buck if I purchase something I can use several times. Now that I provide services to a variety of clients (older adults and preschoolers) I can still find ways to connect many of the  materials. My aim with using a theme is to create continuity for myself and my clients. Themes have guided who I invited for guest presentations. I could go to one website and use the material in multiple ways.

I hope these ideas on themes have helped create some interest in the topic. My July 23, 2011 issue of SPARKSwill be dedicated to this topic. It will be filled with some of my favorite resources and lots of help for others wanting to try planning their own themes. Also, you can click to hear my conversation with Janice Harris, MT-BC on this topic!

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A 4th of July Sing-along

140th US Flag Day poster. 1777-1917. The birth...

Image via Wikipedia

In addition to playing in the Hays City Band on the grounds of Fort Hays on the 4th, I will be leading a sing-along at Sterling House of Hays. We will be singing several familiar songs about places around the United States. Here’s some of my list for our singing celebration.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July. If you are celebrating with song, please share your thoughts of what to add in the comments below.

Here are other sing-along ideas:

Marriage in Song

There seem to be a number of weddings occurring around town. I noticed June 27th is “Decide to be married Day”.  So here are some songs about marriage older adults might enjoy:

If you work with a different age group, I recommend checking The Green Book of Songs. The subject search of songs is a great tool well worth the few dollars.

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