Break the Session Plan Monotony!

Happy New Year! It’s usually around this time of year that we do what we can to set ourselves up for success. And, setting yourself up for success in the New Year is a favorite topic for us at Music Therapy Ed.

Today, we’re shouting out Emily Sutin, music therapist in Pennsylvania. Her biggest challenge is coming up with NEW intervention ideas. I have a feeling that you’ve been in her shoes.

Have you ever found yourself in a session plan rut? Are you ever afraid of being seen as “that sing-along lady?” We’ve got four resources to help you break the session plan monotony. Click play for the goods…

Link to Meredith Hamons’ Musically Engaged Seniors:
Websites mentioned: and

Do you have more ideas for Emily? How can we, as a community, help Emily get unstuck? Leave your ideas below in a comment.

Be well, feel good, and keep rockin’ music therapy,

Julie Palmieri, Community Manager

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  1. Hugs to you Kat for the recommendation! By the way, I still use many of the ideas from your site and your DVD. (I hope it is re-released so others can get in on the goods.)

    Meredith and Rachelle are AMAZING resources. Meredith’s presentation at AMTA 2013 was wonderful! If this book is half as good as the presentation, it is worth its weight in gold.Rachelle Norman’s detailed resources on songs have been the base for many of my sessions. Go diving into the ideas she shares!

    Emily – if there is something specific you feel you need, let me know. Responding to a request in upcoming blogs or newsletters is something I am happy to do when I can.

  2. Wow, there are lots of oceans flowing today! Thank you for mentioning my site, especially alongside JoAnn’s and your fabulous blogs. I hadn’t seen Meredith’s book before, and I’m very excited to check it out!

    P.S. My group sessions this week are going to focus on healthy habits, especially since we’re in cold and flu season and experiencing COLD weather. “Button Up Your Overcoat” is on the list, as well as my favorite song from the Squirrel Nut Zippers:

  3. Great job again Kat!

    Kat is a wealth of information and congrats to Rachelle and JoAnn for all your hard work and sharing with our community!
    I’d encourage Emily to also be very creative a tune goes a long way. You can often just change the words to a familiar tune or even have the groups or individuals make up their own words to a tune.
    One of the stroke recovery adults groups I ran made their own theme song to “Easter Parade”. It was quite adorable, engaging, fun and I didn’t have to do half the work! ha
    Keep it up Emily and stay creative:)!
    Happy New Year everyone

  4. One of my most successful tool for planning the year’s sessions at my adult day care venues is using the alphabet. The structure of the sessions includes exercise to music ; discussions about the music; relationships with the music: singing songs chosen by the group etc…. but all of the above will be related to the letter of the day. This has elicited some marvelously creative responses and allows everyone an opportunity to be involved at his/her functioning level. It has given clients and therapist and day care staff opportunities to learn about and relate to each other e.g Letter C. We sang and moved to ‘If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a Cake …..’ a client proudly responded “I do that”(turns out she was a legitimate ‘cake boss’ in her life and group joined in with names of cakes they enjoy and proceeded to name cakes beginning with ‘C’..cream,coconut.. and of course discussion ensued re favourite cakes etc … -Staff went with it and set up a cake making class for future.
    All manner of interesting info and opportunities for learning and growing for both staff and clients arise and having the alphabet structure the whole thing helps trigger creativity filled with variety and the unusual, especially when you get to X Y Z…;-) Throughout the year one can go from A to Z or Z to A . or pick out a letter from a hat for the next session – which also allows staff to involve the letter and co-ordinate activities for the week/month etc….choices are endless.Guaranteed to get the ‘gray matter’ moving—mine included. Happy New Year!

  5. Great resources! I use all of them frequently!
    Here are a couple more I have recently discovered:
    Creative Forecasting Magazine
    Involving Senior Citizens in Group Music Therapy by Joseph Pinson
    The Joy of Music in Maturity by Joan Shaw
    Roses in December: Music Sessions with Older Adults by Beckie Karras
    MusicWorx Toolboxes: Group Interventions for various adult populations

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