Festive Fun: 5 Tips to Integrate Holiday Music into Sessions

The familiar melodies of holiday music are filling the air, and speech therapists can use many of these songs and carols to create engaging and effective sessions. Music has a unique way of capturing attention and enhancing communication skills. Here are five tips for speech therapists to harmonize progress by incorporating seasonal music into their school settings:

  1. Lyrically Loaded: Select songs with clear and repetitive lyrics that align with your speech therapy goals. Focus on specific speech sounds, vocabulary, or language concepts found in the lyrics. Encourage students to sing or speak along with music, emphasizing targeted sounds or words. The rhythm and repetition in music provide a platform for speech practice while making the learning experience enjoyable.
  2. Memory Games: Turn traditional memory games into musical fun! Use a whiteboard or create custom Christmas-themed flashcards with words or images related to your speech therapy objectives. Pair the cards with snippets of Christmas songs. As students match the cards, play the corresponding song section. This not only engages auditory memory but also reinforces speech and language concepts through association with music.
  3. Rhythm and Rhyme: Explore rhyming words and patterns through Christmas songs. Identify songs that feature rhyming words, and use them to introduce or reinforce phonemic awareness. Create activities where students fill in missing rhyming words or generate their own rhymes. The rhythmic quality of music enhances phonological and prosodic skills.
  4. Instrumental Interaction: Incorporate creative activities into your sessions to add a hands-on element. Draw out scenes from famous songs and focus on directions, or if possible, use adapted instruments to play along. This multisensory approach not only engages auditory skills but also provides a kinesthetic experience that can benefit motor planning and coordination. It's a dynamic way to integrate music and speech therapy objectives.
  5. Expressive Emotion: Use Christmas songs to explore and discuss emotions. Analyze the lyrics to identify the emotions expressed in the music. Encourage students to express their own feelings related to the songs, fostering emotional intelligence and social communication. This approach adds a layer of depth to speech therapy sessions, allowing students to connect language with the emotions present in music.

By incorporating holiday music and songs into speech therapy sessions, therapists can transform learning into a harmonious experience. These tips not only capitalize on the seasonal cheer but also leverage the power of music to enhance speech and language development.