Older Adult Session Starters

Start your engines – Car Session Starter

Cars hold lots of memories for folks. First cars, the addition of seat belts, air conditioning that was more than opening windows. While many of the session starters provide details on how to use the songs, most of these are not so marked. Instead you'll find a list...

read more

Train Travel Session Starter

While train travel has changed greatly over the years, the allure of the train seems to stay for the young and those not in a rush. Given this appeal, you'll find a mix of ideas with those specific to intergenerational session marked IG and those specific to a...

read more

Piano Session Starter

Pianos are interesting instruments. The acoustic models have strings that are struck by hammers. They are played in a variety of musical styles/genres. As pianos are familiar instruments and as many people took piano lessons (or knew someone who did), they can make...

read more

Sunrise, Sunset Session Starter

Sunrise and sunset can be magical to watch. The flash of colors. The changes in shadows. The transitioning of time. Inspired by "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof, this session plan can be used as two separate topics or as a single topic. The lists are...

read more

Sun, Moon and Stars Session

The Sun, Moon and Stars are there to guide us. - Dennis Banks If you've struggled to plan a session, let the sun, moon and stars guide you into a senior living session plan (or 3). As a help, you'll find a Spotify playlist at the end of this post. Use these lists to...

read more

Whether the weather

Whether the weather is hot or cold; sunny or cloudy; windy or calm; rainy, snowy or dry, people love to talk about the weather. Here's a session starter to feed that conversation. You'll find a Spotify playlist of most of the songs at the end of this post. Weather...

read more

Gifts of the Season

Here is a special gift for you as a Session Cafe Quick Sip subscriber. Many of you have asked for a holiday program plan to be presented by senior living residents. Some have asked about a program by your intergenerational group. The theme is "Gifts of the Season". In...

read more

Adding the arts to a session

Adding the visual arts to a session requires a little preparation, but can yield a look at interests outside of music. To structure the session, divide the materials between music, dance, food, photography, and visual arts. This can be used as a single session or...

read more

Hunting and Fishing

Hunting and fishing are activities some people enjoy. While the number of songs about both are limited, there seem to be more about fishing. You'll find a Spotify playlist at the end of the post to help you with the music. Props: Variety of fishing lures (without...

read more

Work songs for Labor Day and beyond

So many songs mention jobs and work, the challenge can be selecting which ones to use. This session starter is perfect for Labor Day or any day you focus on the topic. An audio version and spotify list will be added at a later date to this post. Some familiar work...

read more

Country Western Session Starter

This country western session starter is a mix of old folk songs, music from western movies and popular songs. A touch of song history is provided. It could be paired with A Horse Themed Session to create a series. Supplies: guitar or other accompanying instrument...

read more

A 1930’s Session Starter

Within senior communities, the 1930's are transitioning from "I remember" to "my parents shared...". World events from the decade are still highlighted from time to time. Music from the 1930's lives on. High school jazz bands still play songs made popular by Glen...

read more

Picnic theme starter

A picnic can be simple or complex. It can be romantic or a friend and family event. This session plan is for senior living with optional materials to make it intergenerational (IG). Supplies: iPod/mp3 player and speaker instrument for...

read more

Fun in the Sun

Though your session may be indoors, you can still have fun in the sun. This session starter involves moves, songs to name and songs to sing. You could add boomwhackers or bells to play a chorus of "You Are My Sunshine". Supplies: beach ball or balloon, accompanying...

read more

Farm Full of Fun Session Starter

Farm Full of Fun was a theme inspired by the many farmers and farmers wives to whom I offer services. You'll find songs for movement, songs to sing and name along with discussion questions. It easily be part of a series highlighting various farm animals or farm...

read more

Horse themed session

This horse themed session is filled with folk songs, country western classics, and old popular songs.  You can use this as a stand alone session or in a series on cowboys or farming. Supplies: Ipod/mp3 player, speaker, guitar/piano, two plastic disposable...

read more

Showers of Songs Session Starter

Rain showers are tied to spring in many parts of the US. It is also a fun seasonal session to lead. Here is a starter plan for you to use. Supplies: Recordings, speaker, guitar, rainstick, shakers, ocean drum, frog rasps, thunder tube Shower and rain songs Sing some...

read more

Serve up a healthy session or three

You can serve up a health themed session or sessions from the following materials. Song are broken out as body parts, health in song and foods.   Body Part Songs Hands/Arms "Hands Up" (This would be a good song for movement.) Oh, You Beautiful Doll Put Your...

read more

Money and Riches session starter

Songs around money and riches are out there. Some are more familiar and singable than others. Here's a starter list to get your session going. Supplies: Speaker and I-pod (if using recordings), guitar, shakers or jingling instruments for all participants, drums...

read more

Spring Forth

As buds and flowers spring forth, let them inspire a session. Ideas include movement/instrument play, songs to sing and name. Supplies: Rhythm sticks for all, (canary or gobble sticks are also an option), instrument to play. Introduction Following your hello/greeting...

read more

Wearing of the Green – A St. Patrick’s Celebration

Do you wear green on St. Patrick's Day? Celebrate the day with a collection of Irish, Celtic, and Irish inspired tunes. Supplies: Recordings of movement music if needed, green plates/scarves/streamers, green shakers, green jingle bells, hand drums or paddle drums,...

read more

It’s a Colorful World

The colorful aspects of our world can be an appropriate theme many times during the year. Some of these songs are familiar to sing. Others might work for a name that tune (or name that color) portion. It is also possible to divide the colors up across multiple...

read more

40+ Songs for Valentine’s Day

There are so many wonderful ways to approach music and Valentine's Day. This is a starter list of 40+ favorites to sing. They are in no particular order.  Let your imagination run wild.  Add movement, instrument play, write the song titles on hearts to be drawn,.......

read more

A Presidential Love Session Plan

President's Day with a Valentine's twist is a change from the norm. Here is a presidential love session plan that is easy to update, change and use year after year. Supplies: Recording of Marches, speaker, guitar or other instrument to accompany singing. Looking for...

read more

Holiday Senses

All our senses can be touched during the holiday season. The smell and taste of seasonal foods, the sounds of songs and shoppers, the feel of various items and the sight of seasonal displays. Inspired by Joan Shaw's The Joy of Music in Maturity...

read more

Trees – Materials for a variety of sessions

Trees find their way into our lives in many varied ways. We may play in their shade, swing from their branches or hide in their leaves as a child. They may be the place for meeting friends or carving our names. Some have been blessed to harvest fruit, nuts or syrup...

read more

Fall: leaves and trees session materials

Fall has long been my favorite season. I love the changing colors of the leaves. Many people have memories of raking leaves and jumping into leaf piles. Here are songs related to leaves and trees to celebrate fall. [soundcloud...

read more

Fall apple session materials

Fall has long been my favorite season. The smell of hot apple cider on a cool evening is a welcome treat. They are eaten fresh, baked, placed in a pie, or smothered with caramel. So bring on the fall apple fun. [soundcloud...

read more

Cuddling Up to a Session of Songs

Touch is important in our lives. Hugs are known as healing. A dreary or cold day just might call for cuddling up to a session of songs filled with warmth. You will find a Spotify playlist of the songs at the end of this post. [soundcloud...

read more

Polkas and other Octoberfest Fun

Living in an area settled by Volga-Germans, people young and old are exposed to polkas and a lot of fun music. Here are songs to sing, move and play with in your older adult sessions. You'll find a Spotify playlist with all the songs at the end of the post....

read more

Nourishing Life: Mind, Body Spirit

This theme was inspired by the 2015 Assisted Living Week. You'll find my session plan along with many additional materials.  The following is an audio of the post.  [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/236077944?secret_token=s-E2n2i"...

read more

Words (and songs) of advice

Inspiration for session themes come from many sources. This theme on advice was inspired by recommendation from another music therapist. A resident had asked me to share a favorite song "Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait".  Once I'd found the song, I asked other music...

read more

Back to School

When children head back to school, changes happen in our lives whether or not we have children. Leading up to the school year, there are many special sales.  Over the years some aspects of school have remained constant while others have changed. Use this theme to...

read more

Story Session – Inserting songs

Story telling can include the addition of songs. Try this short story with suggested choices and songs. Once day, I was home and the doorbell rang. It was my (choice: son, daughter, best friend from high school), (create a name). Sing: “My Girl” inserting relationship...

read more

Story Session – Version 1

Storytelling comes in  both fictional and experience based varieties. In many of my sessions, a story gets shared. The challenge of this is most of my contacts in senior living communities are groups. How to deal with storytelling in eldercare group settings could be...

read more

Whole New Kind of Crazy

Hold a sing-along for April Fool's Day or any other day a laugh is needed. The main focus is an intergenerational group of school aged with seniors.   [soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/188478474?secret_token=s-UN1NQ"...

read more

That’s Amore

Sharing a taste of Italy can involve music, food, art, movies and more. Rather than breaking this down between older adults and intergenerational groups, I indicated suggested population indicated with "I/A" for intergenerational groups or any age group and "S" for...

read more

The “Eyes” Have It

June can be a great time to share an "eye" theme as month-long observances include Vision Research Month, Children's Vision Awareness, and Cataract Awareness Month. Here are some songs and discussion ideas for senior living communities. [soundcloud...

read more

Sweet Music

Every noticed how important food is to those in eldercare? Some of the conversation is about how it tastes, how much/little they are served, or how it seems all they do is eat.   Think of all the memories around food. Add to that the memories that surface around our...

read more