All of Me – John Legend

Chords | Lyrics

Why I chose this song:

Theis song can be easily looked over for a multitude of reasons.  Firstly, it’s one of many love songs.  It has an easy progression–whether you’re worried about functional guitar skills or if you’re thinking about theory.  The form repeats itself and is intuitive. . . I could go on, but I think you caught my drift.

I will say that although the song has a lot in common with most songs that you hear pumped through the radio, it has some notable aspects.  First, I will ask you to either click the video or the lyric link above to listen or read through the words.

You’ve read it?  Good.

The overwhelming message of this song, as you will have read/heard is, “I love all of you, and you love all of me.”  It’s a message of acceptance, which is something that will always be valid and necessary in todays world.  Note how the song uses words and phrases that are technically negative such as, “smart mouth,” “perfect imperfections,” and “even when I lose, (I’m winning,).”  These negative terms are affirmed by the singer in every case, “Because all of me, loves all of you.”

Oh, and just a note: You may want to bookmark this song and come back to it in a month for Valentine’s Day. . . 😉

Population Ideas:

This song does not contain explicit content, but I would still hesitate to use the original version with young clients due to some phrasing that is used.  There are many other better, age appropriate, romantic music options out there for kids and adolescents.

I would use “All of Me,” with teens, adults and older adults over a spectrum of populations: School, hospice, hospital, medical, nursing home, etc.

Clinical Usage:

In the past, I had used a PECs board for many purposes with clients.  One of the first things I would do (if I still used PECs as often as I had), would be to prepare for Valentine’s week by learning this piece now, and make a PEC for it to place on a “music choice” board.  Clients would then choose songs off the board and we will play them while we meet goals relating to range of motion, gross/fine motor function, and whole body engagement.

But backtracking a bit: Something to be aware of when using this piece in session: There are some lines in the song that you may have to be careful with for clients who are survivors of abuse, or who have low boundaries, or unrealistic expectations for romantic reciprocation.  Most notably, “You’re my end and my beginning,” as we know, in a healthy relationship, there is more to your life than just the other person.  Similarly, “The world is beating you down, I’m around through every mood.”  You may want to preface or end in a dialogue with clients about healthy boundaries, and ways to provide positive emotional support.

I think that this song would lend itself well to be used in a lyric discussion.  It opens many doors about love, support, acceptance, and affirmation.  Be sure to prepare yourself for the lyric discussion.  There are many ways of doing this, my favorite is to create a spider graph on the back of my copy of the lyrics.  Pick out a few different themes, and conversation starters for when clients lose steam on discussing the song.  I always look at a lyric discussion like unpacking a suitcase.  The song is the suitcase, but you want to help your clients unpack all of the thoughts and emotions inside.

An option that is always available is to use this song as a base for song writing.  This is an easy way to use song writing in session in a low-stress way.  Rather than having to compose an entire song, you can keep the refrain, scrap the verses, or you can scrap all the words entirely, or you could just pull out a few words for clients to fill in on their own.  This provides clients with an opportunity to express themselves.

The Challenge!

“All of Me” was a song that was a hit in 2014, and I think everyone knows a little bit of the song.  Here is my challenge to you!  Click on the tab above, open up the YouTube link, and play along a few times.  Soon enough you’ll have it memorized!  Play it for your mom.  Play it for your dog.  Play it for your girl/boyfriend on Valentine’s Day.  Or, maybe just play it for yourself.  Because you are worth love, too.

All the best,

+bb

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