Why This Song?
This song was a song that I enjoyed listening to over the summer with my windows down, my hair whipping in the breeze as I drove from place to place. . . Some personal disclosure, This summer I spent a LOT of time in my car driving between cities, good friends, and family members. And so I have associated a lot of that excitement, adrenaline, and movement that occurred for me this summer with this song.
It’s a “toe-tapper,” as someone from the roaring twenties may say. But it definitely makes me want to stomp, clap, and sing along!
That strong steady beat that prevails in this song could provide a good solid foundation for use towards goals of steady gait with stroke or CP. The song could also be used with youth to elderly. Although I think lyrically it would not be understood by youth. Elderly, of course, you should use client preferred music when possible, but if you are looking to introduce new material, this song has some interesting themes that could be examined.
I will caution you all that there are some troubling lyrics that you should really prepare for if you use the song with at-risk populations or even with young adults. Lines like, “Everything that kills me makes me feel alive,” “Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.” These lines could be interesting to explore and dialogue about—but be aware of your client’s place in treatment, or where they are that particular day. Always be cautious to make sure your client is leaving the session in a safe space.
There is always the typical usage of a song in music therapy: Lyric discussion, song writing, etc. We have touched on those methods heavily in the past few weeks. Today I want to go into more depth on one way to use this piece clinically. This intervention will address goals relating to: attention to task, following directions, turn taking, self-expression, and impulse control.
This intervention would involve re-writing the bridge, “Take that money. . . Lessons I’ve learned,” and change the words. If you modify the words appropriately to your goals and setting, this has the potential to be changed and easily modified for you and what you are working on with your clients.
What “new lyrics” came to mind for me are, “Look at Johnny / watch him play / He’s playin’ that drum / hear him play!” Then leave 8 beats for “Johnny” to solo on his drum. You could keep a steady beat on the drum for him, stomp, or just count out the beats aloud to mark the passing of time. The opportunity to solo would be a space for Johnny to express himself musically within the session.
After the opportunity to “solo,” The therapist would sing the chorus, “Lately I’ve been. . . counting stars,” and change the lyrics to transition to the next client if you are in a group, or perhaps to yourself if it is an individual client. I came up with, “Today we are playin’ our drums / we play them loud, and we play them soft! / But right now, right now we’re gonna listen, / take a break from playin’ / And we’ll be, we’ll be hearin’ Johnny’s drum!”
There is space for the client to have an opportunity to play in between solos. This provides clients with structured time to make music with their peers, rather than being stuck waiting for a chance to play their instrument again. By providing clear lyric directions, this will set expectations and structure for clients, which will encourage them to keep their attention to task. Of course, you should explain the directions and what you expect from the clients before jumping into the intervention, so that they know what to expect and have greater opportunities to be successful.
Huh. I think that I addressed that above? 😉 Efficiency is a personal goal for this year.
Wishing you all the best as January comes to a close! Please comment any thoughts or suggestions that you have for us as to what we did well this month, and what we should work on for next month. This is a community that we are so proud of and happy to be building! And as with any community, we love to hear from you all too.
Please join the conversation, and take on the challenge!