Ever feel your falling into a session planning rut as you use the same songs and interventions week after week?

Ever want to add something new but feel it will disrupt the predictability for the seniors in your group?

I’ll admit it. In my 25+ years working in senior living communities, I’ve had times of feeling in a rut.

Ruts happen for many reasons.

  • Certain songs are in our shared repertoire. We know them. Experience has shown the person or group knows them.
  • A client repeatedly requests a song.
  • We use songs for relaxation, movements, etc. – valid reasons for repetition.
  • We don’t have tons of time to find and to add to our repertoire.
  • We question whether a song will be known or will work for the intended purpose.
  • We have multiple groups across a week.
  • We’re afraid of upsetting the individual or group by changing things.

Ruts aren’t always bad.

It means we need to take a little time to assess our session planning and song selections.

Assessing our rut

Our song selection really needs to be based on the needs of the client answering questions including:

  • What goals are we trying to meet?
  • How does the song support the goal?
  • Is novelty needed?
    • Is the person or group tiring from the song repetition?
    • Am I tired of using this song the same way over and over?
  • Would introducing a new song allow the person to share something new about them or to learn something new?

Sometimes we can get out of the rut by changing how we use or treat a song.

  • Inserting new lyrics.
  • Changing the style of delivery. Move to it. Add instrumental play. Add some pauses.

Adding a new song can open a portal to memories not yet tapped in your sessions. Often the biggest challenge is deciding what new song to learn and share. Let’s be honest – we don’t have unlimited time for locating and preparing new materials.

So how do you decide when “new” is needed?

How do you add new and keep continuity?

How do you make time for finding and learning the “new” song?

Where can you find songs and interventions that have a higher chance of succeeding?

There are some great resources out there.

Some are free to access. They cost you time.

Some are available for purchase. They also cost time to read.

  • “Music Therapy and Geriatric Populations” can be purchased through AMTA or Amazon.
  • “Musically Engaged Seniors” by Meredith Hamons, MT-BC is a wonderful new resource available from many outlets.

In the next installment, I’ll share my thoughts determining what to learn and share.

Until then, I hope you’ll take a moment to sit and sip your favorite drink while exploring some music just for yourself that has nothing to do with session planning. It will fresh you (a little) for sharing those songs.