This week, I have chosen Thankful For Life, a chant by Samantha Sinai, MT-BC.
Which I think first raises the question, “What is the difference between a song and a chant?” As you may guess, chants tend to be much shorter, and repetitive in their material. I find chants to be little gems that can be so useful in session. Chants are easy to teach, quick to convey a message, and can be quickly made more complex–if desired.
Full disclosure–I prompted Sam to share this song. Why? Because it’s one of my favorite chants to use in session, and it’s perfect for our theme this month! The words to this chant are as follows:
“I’m thankful for the Earth I live in,
I’m thankful for the friends I’m given,
I’m thankful for the Earth I live in:
I’m thankful for all life!”
If you have listened to the video, you will know that Samantha quickly adds a few different harmony lines and a descant. Afterwards, she abstracts the message with the periodic statement of, “So thankful for life.”
Part of the reason why I enjoy chants so much is because they are easy to use with any population. For example, this chant could be used with kids equally as with elderly, teens as well as toddlers. Additionally, it could be used with developmental disabilities, psychological disorders, corrections, mood disorders–just to name a few.
The content of the chant is grounded and positive, and could be translated to a mantra for your clients to take with them outside of the session.
This chant can be used in so many ways within the session! Applying it to our population this month, self-injury and by extension, mood disorders; this chant could be a starting point for discussion about positivity. The chant would be introduced and taught to the clients, after which, one could facilitate a discussion about aspects of the client’s life that they are thankful for, or that are positive influences. That information could then be inserted into the chant: “I’m thankful for my family, I’m thankful for the music, I’m thankful for etc.” That way the thoughts and feelings expressed in the discussion are realized in the song, providing positive reinforcement.
I challenge you to write your OWN chant this week!
How you can accomplish this goal is through brainstorming a theme (gratitude, cohesion, self-love, etc), and then writing a phrase/sentence that is entirely focused upon that theme. Then, speak the phrase/sentence to feel the syntax and the cadence of the words. While you’re speaking your words, you will probably determine the rhythm of your words. After which, you will only have to add the melody.
Extra credit goes for those who go the extra mile and create harmony lines for their chant! 🙂
If you need any inspiration for your chant, you can check out The Daughters of Harriet! They are a group of music therapists who always have a, “Chant Circle” at AMTA’s national conference each year. They have 2 CDs out of chant music that you should definitely explore.
Have a great week, everyone!