I have an amazing sister-in-law who is a pro at finding old folk songbooks at Goodwills, Estate Sales, and sometimes even in those Little Free Libraries (I love those things!) These have been my go-to resources for finding new song material as most of them span a wide range of cultures and styles.

One of these books, called “Voices of the World” by Wolfe, Krone, and Fullerton, is filled with not only awesome sheet music but also with guides for teachers to use. These guides can be really helpful when coming up with ideas on how to adapt these songs for use within your sessions. But when you simply find some stellar sheet music and want to find a way to use it in your sessions, there are a bunch of ways to break down the process. Let’s take a look at the following song:


  1. Always think about what your goals are and who this song is appropriate for
  2. VisualWould it make a great song with visuals? If so, let’s take a look
    1. Repetition of “meadow” could be a great background to start with. Whether you are using laminated paper, felt boards, or an iPad, this could be a great background. We have birds, trees, apples, wind, and roosters. These would be great added pieces to have client add onto your visual if they are working on sequencing. Also a great idea for impulse control, is having them wait to add the next item until it is sung.
    2. Lots of senses within this song and a great song to use for learning sign language for young children!
  3. Sensory: This song lends itself pretty well to a multi-sensory intervention. If you have questions on those, take a look at this other example I wrote about. This song even talks about I hear, I see, I feel so what could pair well with those things in this song? (Hint: They don’t have to be all instruments!) There are too many ways that you could set this up, so I’ll leave that to you. Here are some of the sensory ideas:
    1. Thrush (bird): An app with bird sounds, recorder, flute-like instrument
    2. Fruit Tree: Dried Bark, Dried Leaves, Sticks, etc.
    3. Wind: wind chimes or a fan (especially since the song says we “feel” the wind)
    4. Apples: Apple candle, apple scent, red balls to “drop”
    5. Roosters: DIY Chicken Sound Cup (also a great intervention with older kids!), apps with rooster sounds.
  4. Social: This can have a lot of possibilities to work on social skills such as turn-taking, following directions, listening to others, and impulse control. A few ideas:
    1. Print out pictures for each of the following: meadow, thrush, tree, wind, rooster, and apples. In a group, each child gets to be one of the elements of the song. An instrument is given to them, according to the sounds listed above, and they “accompany” the music with you. Each child has a picture to help them visually, and I like to point to the picture when it is their turn.
    2. As a songwriting experience, you can elaborate this first intervention by having children work together to re-write parts of the song. For example:”In the ____________ near the ______________, I hear____________________”

These are just a few of the ways to look at a song and examine its’ potential for a music therapy intervention. I hope this inspires you to take a look at some other songs, old or new, and think of different ways to adapt them to your clients goals!




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