Thursday, July 6, 2017

Using Music in Large and Small Group Counseling

There are many reasons to use music in school counseling. Music lights up the brain and playing music is even more powerful. Music can evoke powerful emotions. Music can be healing

Music can improve listening and concentration skills (there is good research to show playing classical music can help build concentration skills). Music helps students remember key concepts being taught. The Committee for Children recognized this and incorporates songs for each of the main units in Second Step. Our younger students love “The Problem Solving Song.” Singing the four steps helps put them into long term memory.

There are many great artist that produce powerful songs for young children. My favorite is Red Grammar. At my former school we taught the whole school his song "teaching Peace" and sang it during our annual peace walk through the neighborhood. He has many songs that can facilitate teaching social emotional learning. If you don't know his work I strongly encourage you to check out his site

My new favorite is Emily Arrow I really like that most of her songs have a direct link to children's literature, many books that I already use with groups or in the classroom. There are also some good Disney songs you might want to use although I usually try to avoid promoting commercial characters but the kids love "You've Got a Friend in Me."

There are also some good music videos with lyrics under Character sites like Respect Song Video - Classroom Mix Version Responsibility song Respect Rap only are a few of the ones I have used.

For students in grades 2-5 there are many popular songs that can be used as a hook for a lesson are incorporated more fully. My lessons are taught around themes so most of these songs go along with one of my monthly themes like goal setting, assertiveness,bullying, emotions, empathy, compassion, diversity, kindness or friendship. You have to be very careful to read all the lyrics first to see if they are acceptable to your learning community. I frequently introduce the song by reading the lyrics as a poem. Then I often have the students chant the words in rhythm or even clap while reading them. Sometimes vocabulary or phrases need to be clarified. After they know and understand the words then I play it or them. I always put the lyrics on the Smartboard so they can sing along if they are comfortable (sometime we dance, clap, or even use rhythm sticks). I frequently ask the students to reflect on the song with questions such as, "Does the song remind you of something in your own life?"

Goals and Optimism:
The Best Day of My Life by American Authors (lyrics and singing)
The Climb by Miley Cyrus (lyrics and singing)
Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Judy Garland (lyrics and singing)
Firework by Katy Perry (lyrics and singing) Review lyrics carefully
Hurricane by The Vamps (lyrics and singing)

Assertiveness and Self-Esteem:
Roar by Katy Perry (lyrics and singing)
Hero by Mariah Carey (lyrics and singing) Review lyrics carefully
Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield (lyrics and singing)

Mean by Taylor Swift (suggest stopping after first 3 versus)
True Colors (lyrics music video)

Diversity and Self-Esteem:
Cool Kids by Echosmith (lyrics and singing)
Ebony and Ivory by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder (lyrics and singing)

Happy by Pharrell Williams (lyrics and singing)

Kind-hearted Hand by Peter Seltzer  (lyrics and singing)

Stand By Me by Ben E. King (lyrics and singing)
Count on Me by Bruno Mars (lyrics and singing)

New Comers Welcome
Home by Phillip Phillips (lyrics and singing)

Feel free to leave a Comment if you have others you have used successfully in a group or classroom.

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