Valentine Theme in Music Therapy

Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity for us to introduce a variety of music for groups and individuals of all ages and ability levels. Our primary purpose in music therapy, of course, reaches FAR beyond teaching theme-related songs, but popular events such as Valentine’s Day do provide opportunities to use music to capture the attention of participants and to connect with even the most reluctant, resistant, or withdrawn individuals. Here are just a few music experiences that have proven popular in my music therapy sessions over the years.

FAVORITE LOVE SONGS

This seems obvious, but sometimes we forget to teach people to play their own favorites. And sometimes we assume individuals only like songs specific to their generation or culture. Ask individuals in music therapy about their favorite love song, then teach them to sing it and/or play it on their preferred instrument, adapting the song to fit their musical skill level.

POSTMAN

Young children love putting on a postman’s hat and letter bag to deliver valentines. Put an addressed envelope for each person in the bag, then let the designated postman deliver one valentine or deliver all the valentines before putting them all back into the bag for another postman to deliver. The lyrics go like this:

Look who is coming down the walk.
Please Mr. Postman (or Miss Postlady) won’t you stop.
(child knows on wall or table) With a “knock, knock, knock”
(postman asks) “Is anybody home?”
(whole group replies) “Yes, Please come in!”
(postman says) “I have a valentine for Betsey”

LOVE SOMEBODY

Love somebody? Yes, I do. C E G G – D E F
Love somebody? Yes, I do. C E G G – F E D
Love somebody? Yes, I do. C E G G – D E F
Love somebody, but I won’t say who. E E D D C C C

The 5-tone melody, 2-chord harmonization, and repetitive lyrics of “Love Somebody” allow individuals with limited abilities to be active in the music making. The melody and chords can be letter-cued or written on a staff for playing on piano, bells, lead guitar, or other melodic instrument. Non-verbal individuals can sign either the question “Love somebody?” or the answer “Yes, I do!” in the first three lines of the song. The question and answer can also be played by small groups or by an individual on two different percussion instruments or other contrasting instruments, an ensemble that requires musicians to pay attention and play on cue. The music therapist can encourage individuals to talk about people they love – family, friends, and others – and can change to lyrics to focus on favorite foods, activities, or other topics that allow people to talk about their preferences.

I LOVE THE MOUNTAINS

This classic campfire favorite encourages people to join in a lively music ensemble with others. The piano and guitar riff is C, Am, F, G. People can play single bells, keyboard, or other melodic instrument at the beginning of each lyric line, then drums/percussion come in on the word “boom” during the second part of the song. The song can be repeated numerous times with improvised lyrics  encouraging people to fill in the blank with their favorite food, place, activity, or person.

C – I love the mountains
D – I love the rolling hills
E – I love the flowers
F – I love the daffodils
G – I love the fireside
A – I love the lights down low
Boom-de-ah-dah, Boom-de-ah-dah, Boom-de-ah-dah, Boom.