I find that when working with older adults, they love to play games. Bingo of course is always a hit among residents and so are board games and card games. In my music therapy sessions, I always try to keep things interesting and fun for the residents that I work with, so I came up with the idea of Musical Jeopardy. The great thing about using musical games in music therapy sessions, is that residents or clients don’t realize they are in a therapy session working on specific goals. They just think they are having a great time and it doesn’t feel like work!
For Musical Jeopardy, I designed a power point template. The template makes it very easy to be able to change the answers/questions for each game I play. Some of the categories I use are, “Name the Artist,” “Name that Tune,” “Patriotic Songs,” “Name that Movie,” and “Name the Instrument.” I also like to switch things up and use recorded music as well as live music. I display the power point slide show on a large projector screen so everyone can clearly see it. Here is an example of the template I created:
For “Name that Movie” I may play the recording of a song and then residents have to guess the Movie. For the category of “Finish the Lyric” I always sing the beginning of a popular lyrical phrase while using guitar or piano and the residents/team has to sing it back. In the category of “Name the Artist” I’ll play a particular song such as “Hound Dog,” and then the residents have to guess the artist, which would be Elvis Presley. I also find that “Patriotic Songs” is a great category because most older adults know many patriotic songs and some may also be veterans. For one answer I may play a recording of a song such as “Stars and Stripes Forever” and for another I may sing the song live like “God Bless America.”
Musical Jeopardy is played just like the game show Jeopardy on TV. I put everyone into teams and each team takes a turn choosing a category. The residents then have to work together to come up with an answer and this is a great way to work on
social skills and communication skills among residents. I always try to make the game challenging for working on memory recall and cognitive skills, but it is also very important to make sure the game is a successful experience for everyone. As a music therapist, it is always important to be able to assess each individual’s strengths and weaknesses so that you can modify and adapt the session as needed.
I also always have some sort of prize for every participant, such as candy or dollar store items. In my music therapy groups, everyone wins.
Have you ever used musical games for older adults? What are some music therapy games you like to do in your sessions?!