If you have been a music therapist for five minutes you have probably done a Rain/Stormy Weather session. For some reason it is just kind of a standard. In South Carolina this morning, it is finally dreary enough to celebrate “April Showers.”
I know you probably know most of this drill but here is the outline I am using
- Group Singing/Warm Up: “You are My Sunshine” and “My Girl”
- Movement to Music Upper Body: “April Showers” with rain associated dance moves
- (open umbrella, rain fingers, drip drip, put on rain coat, shake of the rain)
- Movement to Music Lower Body: “Singin’ in the Rain” tap dance
- Rhythm Game: Rain noises on different instruments (Pitter patter, splish splash, drip….drip)
- *or the classic create a rainstorm with instruments which I like to end with the sun coming up
- Lyric Analysis: “It is Well”
- Closing Song: “Look for the Silver Lining”
If you are not familiar with “April Showers” by Bing Crosby, add a little joy to your rainy day by listening to it right now. I feel like you can never go wrong with Bing anyway but that’s just a personal preference.
Likewise, I absolutely love the movie Singin’ in the Rain. I have done entire sessions of just songs from that movie and will probably do it again soon. The iconic Gene Kelly tap dance is one that in my experience the residents know and love. I have show little clips of it before to jog their memories before starting. I like to keep to 4 or five basic “tap steps” to repeat throughout the song. I have even taken jingle bells and attached them to their shoes with a rubberband for a more authentic tap experience. Maybe one day I’ll have twelve sets of foot tambourines…
For the rhythm game I either chain or layer patterns associated with rain noises listed above. But of course there is always the classic create a rainstorm from instruments. When doing this, I like to start it slowly, build into a thunderous storm, trail off again into the quiet, and end with a sort of sunshine/rainbow effect by integrating scarves and a sweet melody on the bells to indicate the storm has passed and all is at peace again. For the melody I steal the theme from August Rush of C D G E.
During “It is Well,” I like to use this illustration/worksheet to discuss what life looks like as “peace like a river” and “sorrows like sea billows roll.” We compare and contrast then come to the resolution that in both circumstances we can and will say “it is well with my soul.”
I like to pick fun at these standard sessions a little bit, but they are standards for a reason. There’s a lot of musical fun to be had, the music is well-known/diverse, and the concrete message of hope through storms is an encouragement for us all.