I love St. Patrick's Day. My Irish roots love the music, history, and culture of it all. For the last two weeks, I've been using an Irish theme in many of my groups, and I wanted to share what I've been doing to help get you in the festive spirit!
1. Bodhran Drumming
With my high school group, we learned a little bit about Irish music, in particular Irish drumming on the bodhran. This neat drum is played in a unique way, and we spent our time together this week learning to drum in this manner. We also discussed the difference between jigs and reels. Do you know the difference? Check out this video to learn!
2. Irish Step Dancing
My older adult groups have enjoyed learning a basic Irish step dance while seated in their chairs. We discussed the story behind why the dancers arms remain by their sides in traditional Irish dancing, which is believed to have come from the days of the British occupation of Ireland, in which traditional Irish dancing was prohibited. The dancers decided to keep their arms by their sides and only move their feet so British soldiers would not see them dancing through windows as they passed.
(Our version was just a tad bit simpler)
This fun activity promotes physical activity and social interaction, and research shows that movement activities in music therapy provide higher engagement levels than singing alone across all levels of functioning.
3. Singing Irish Folk Songs
It might be nerdy, but I listen to Irish music all year long. This week with my older adult groups, we sang a great Irish hymn, "Be Thou My Wisdom" along with "Molly Malone"
The super simple chorus for this song makes it ideal for group singing. Many of the folks in my group already knew the words, but I broke down each line to teach those who might be unfamiliar. These types of activity can encourage social interaction, relief of stress and anxiety, as well as memory recall.
Hope the music gets you in the spirit! Erin go bragh!
Music therapy can be a valuable service that can address important goals for your assisted living facility and improve the quality of life for residents. Interested in learning more? Let's chat!