3 Drumming Tips For WWII Vet Clients

For the past two weeks, you may have been drumming up some spirit with older adult clients. It’s really, truly one of my favorite times of year for work. The songs from WWII are absolutely perfect for drumming. The words “drum” “drums” and “drumming” even appears in many of the songs of yesteryear.

Drumming with WWII vets

These 3 experiences seem to especially touch my clients, set the stage for reminiscence, provide opportunities for group socialization and bonding, enhance quality of life, and reduce agitation:

1) Use “Over There” as a drumming call-and-response. The facilitator sings three, the group plays three, back and forth. You can warm up the group first by doing simple call-and-response drum hits. For instance, BOOM BOOM cha cha cha (group repeats), BOOM bah DOOM bah (group repeats), BOOM bah da da da BOOM (group repeats), [rest, 2, 3] O-VER THERE (group repeats).

Do you feel the anticipation right before singing Over There? It serves as a surprise AND huge musical gratification for the song entrance.

2) Talk about the flag.  I give the BIG drum to ONE person at a time. I ask for anyone who was in the service to supply us with the drum beat. I pass around red, white, and blue scarves. Then I start a conversation in rhythm while waving the “flags” around: “What do they call the flag?” Old Glory! Stars and Stripes! Red, White, and Blue! Then I say, let’s hear it for the US flag: “You’re a grand ol’ flag, you’re a high-flying flag…”

We pass around the ONE big drum to those who served in the military, and sing each military hymn according to the player.

3) Use Glory Glory Hallelujah for reflective drumming.  I use this for Memorial Day, too. First I mention the gratitude I feel for those who have served to protect our freedom. Then I ask a question: “Would anyone like to mention a loved one who has served to protect our freedom?” We go around the circle, and dedicate Glory Glory to those loved ones.

It’s a wonderful drumming song because it’s solid, slow, and stately. You can end with humming or continue drumming until the group lets the rhythm fade away naturally.

Do you use anything special for the 4th of July with your clients?

If you’d like to REALLY dig in to DRUMMING…

Grab these 3 FREE Drumming Doodads and get inspired as Dave Holland and I whip your drumming transitions into shape!

  • They can be adapted for just about *any* population, which means you don’t have to spin in circles coming up with ideas all by yourself.
  • The Doodads are based on techniques used by world class facilitators who work with corporate team-building, older adults, early childhood, and everything in between.
  • The video and PDF are for speedy learning so you can spend your time doing what really matters in serving your clients!
  • The ideas will bring up a fresh perspective and new emotions about your work, so you can stay on top of your own health and wellness.

Grab those doodads!

Leave a comment below to let us know what you do with your clients around the Fourth of July. Be well, Kat


  1. “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean” is a great, rousing tune – & even if group members don’t know the lyrics of the verses, they will probably all jump in on the repeated phrase, “three cheers for the red, white, and blue..
    ..when borne by the red, white, and blue!” Plus you can have them raise & swirl each of those colors as they are sung out!!!

    Others – but from WWI – that may be familiar & stirring, are “Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile…” and “Marching Along Together (sharing ev’ry smile and tear…)”

    • Great ideas Edy. Edy is an amazingly creative & extremely talented music therapist. Her passion definitely shines through her music. I’ve seen it first hand working with her many years ago.

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