Self-Study – Covers the gamut of singing activities available to engage seniors with cognitive disabilities, depression and/or anxiety. Strategies can be applied to other ages and populations. 8 credits

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Self Study Class

Presenter: Sally Bonkrude M.A., MT-BC

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Course Description:

“Engaging Seniors Through Song” will cover the gamut of singing activities available to engage seniors with cognitive disabilities, depression and/or anxiety.

You will have a playlist of popular songs for Seniors from the ages of 70-100.

Fill your tool box full of ideas to transform the body, mind and spirit’s of our precious seniors.

Learn how to increase socialization and invite play into your music program for Seniors.

The main objective of this training will be to provide you with ideas for singing and accompanying activities to enhance your clients ability to express emotions, interact with others, retrieve memories and build self esteem through singing.


Here’s what people are saying:

“Very useful to have Sally’s and the participants’ resources and ideas.- I’m inspired.”

” I loved Sally’s relaxed approach to the subject. She assumed that we knew all this material and just needed to be reminded. Her examples were easy to relate to and jogged my memory for similar examples from my own experiences. Even though our music therapy clientele is quite dissimilar, there is a common thread of human behavior that runs through both.” Susan McRae P.

” I will definitely use the online resources to create new activities. Ideas of other therapists have been inspirational and have sparked my own creativity. I will be able to use the research in any presentations I may be doing for new facilities.” Heather F.

“ONE THING!!! How can I synthesize or prioritize? I think the most profound information–and useful in many ways-was the information on the biological and functional benefits of singing. I think we all know from experience in our practices how it is the real manna–but this factual, research based info seals the deal.”  Sally W.


Learning Objectives:


Discuss the latest research on why singing for seniors is important.

Describe how to know when to use what songs for seniors

Describe one way to find song resources for seniors of all ages and abilities.

Practice a new opening and closing song for seniors

Name one singing activity to express emotions

Name 2 activities and music to use when interacting with lower cognitive functioning seniors to engage them in interactive responses.

List 12 activities that can be integrated with singing

Name one singing activity to engage seniors coping with depression and/or anxiety


Part 1

30 minutes – Introductions and Overview of Training
15 minutes -Why sing? How does singing affect the body/mind according to the latest research?
15 minutes -How to make song choices
15 minutes -Song Resources for Seniors of all ages
45 minutes -Finding Lyrics, sheet music, song books, songs from the 20’s-60’s
45 minutes -12 Activities that can be integrated into singing
30 minutes -Learn ways to integrate relaxation and stress reduction into singing
60 minutes -Integrating themes and sensory stimulation with song
45 minutes -Questions and self-study assignment

Part 2
15 minutes- Overview of Day Two and Check in
1 hour -Homework assignment sharing
15 minutes -Singing activities to engage seniors with anxiety
15 minutes -Singing activities to engage seniors with depression
15 minutes-Singing with Lower Cognitive Functioning Seniors
15 minutes -Singing and Alzheimer’s
15 minutes -More Resources for working with seniors
15 minutes -Hospice and Music Therapy
15 minutes -In review
30 minutes-Wrap up, Questions, Sharing

CBMT Domain Areas:

IIA. Provide music therapy experiences to address client’s:

  • (q) executive functions
  • (u) group cohesion and/or feeling of group membership
  • (aa) musical and other creative responses
  • (AC) nonverbal expression
  • (bd) wellness
  • (ax) spontaneous communication/interactions

cbmtlogo.pngEngaging Seniors Through Song is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) for 8 CMTEs-Continuing Music Therapy Education credits. The Spiegel Academy, CBMT Approved Provider #P-106, maintains responsibility for program quality and adherence to CBMT policies and criteria.




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