Fa-la-la-la-la: Christmas Songwriting With Geriatrics

Since our summer songwriting endeavor went so well (see June 13 post), I wanted to try a repeat for the holiday season.

Like last time, I wanted to start with an easy fill-in the blank songwriting exercise. This is a pretty common activity in music therapy, but in my experience these can still end up a bit of a mess. As you know, I’m a huge fan of resource sharing and absolutely love not reinventing the wheel–especially when awesome mom bloggers have some great resources to be had. So when I found these great Christmas Carol Mad Libs I was pretty thrilled. 


I’m a little bit picky when it comes to fill-in-the-blank songwriting though. I really to keep the rhyme scheme so that no matter what word the residents choose to put in the blank, it will still sound good. It is also easier to sing through this way and is much easy for residents to sing along as well! I think putting just a little more thought into these kind of exercises can really pay off! Several of the songs in the blog above do this quite well!

After our cheesy mad lib intro activity we began to brainstorm what we wanted our Christmas song to be about. When making these decisions I find it helpful to use these questions:

  • Should it be serious or silly?
  • Do you want it fast or slow?
  • Who are the characters in your song?
  • Do you want it to be more like a story or a description?
  • What are your characters doing? 

From there the questions are then based off of these answers. We then put an order to these elements and begin to “spit out lines.” When we find a line we like, we brainstorm words that rhyme with the last word of that phrase and create another using that rhyming word. It really does snowball until we have enough lines to complete the song!

Hindsight, I think I would have done another rhyming warm-up exercise before starting in on the final project. 

Here’s a little clip of what they came up with! 


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