For Flag Day I chose to try something new with my groups involving flags from around the world. It was a pleasant surprise to see how much each individual enjoyed this new twist on Flag Day and how eager they all were to learn something new.
Each song that we did during the session was tied into a particular country and prior to beginning each activity my clients were shown the flag of that country and were invited to take a guess as to which country it was from. This idea originally came from one of my co-workers who used in a geriatric session, but I wanted to see what my groups would do with it.
They loved it! For those consumers who need more challenging cognitive tasks they were fully engaged in guessing which country each flag belonged to and learning a little more about these countries. Several consumers who are difficult to engage enjoyed looking at each flag and many made positive comments about the colors or the design of the flag. For those consumers who primarily participate in active music making, a combination of new and familiar interventions allowed them to participate throughout the session with their peers. Many of the group members were amazed at how many songs they know are from other countries and they were equally impressed when we learned a new song in another language.
Looking back on my sessions this week I feel that the thing that I was most impressed with was how eager my clients all were to learn. Many of them reveled in learning something new about a different country or sharing what they knew with the group. One even drew the German flag on his hand and asked that I guess what country it was from (that wasn’t even a country that we had talked about.) In total we did music from six different countries (United Kingdom, Scotland, Nigeria, France, USA and Australia) though there were several other ideas that I had to cut out-perhaps next year we will get to Germany, Italy, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil…
For me this session has been a great reminder that no matter what their age, my clients enjoy learning. New knowledge is something that many of them seek out and that can be provided in each music therapy session. Go ahead and try something new!