"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent."
In grad school I took a class in Creative Counseling Techniques, where we briefly covered art therapy, play therapy, and music therapy, amongst others. I have found that elementary students not only benefit from, but also enjoy these approaches. Looking to incorporate pieces of music therapy specifically, I am constantly keeping an "ear" out for new, age-appropriate, and motivational songs to use in my work as a school counselor. These songs can be used within individual counseling, group counseling, and classroom lessons. They can even be played at certain times of the day in order to boost morale. :)
I have one third grader who loves music, and with whom I share many favorite pieces. During one meeting together, I printed out the lyrics to a song that he is constantly singing/humming and we read
through them together. The student then selected certain words/phrases that stuck out to him and we spent some time talking about them in relation to things in his life. The same could be done in a group or classroom setting!
Another activity that requires a bit more abstract thinking, but could work with an older student, is developing a sort of "Life Soundtrack". Here, students can list a number of songs that have meaning to them, or remind them of certain parts of their journey. School Counselor Blog has a very helpful post on this activity here.
Below are 10 of my current go-to songs when working with students.
Click the song title to view a YouTube version of the song.
1. "Brave" by Sara Bareilles
2. "Count On Me" by Bruno Mars
3. "Invisible" by Hunter Hayes (see video below)
4. "Who I'd Be" by Shrek the Musical
5. "What I Am" by Will.i.am
6. "Belly Breathe" by Common & Colbie Caillat
7. "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield
8. "Unique" by Lenka
9. "This is the New Year" by A Great Big World
10."Who Says" by Selena Gomez
"Invisible" by Hunter Hayes performed at the 2014 Grammy Awards.
*Comment below or post on Twitter if there are songs you would add to the playlist or other ways you incorporate music into your work as a professional school counselor :)