We’ve just passed the Fourth of July holiday, which calls for singing patriotic standards and playing and moving to march music in many of my music therapy groups. These songs are definitely important for my clients – to bring their attention to the holiday, to underscore the value of patriotism that is important to many of them, and to honor the veterans and veterans’ family members that are part of many of these groups. Because there are so many patriotic holidays to celebrate, though, I am always looking for new and fresh ways to explore patriotic music. That’s why I was so excited to read the post from Kim Thompson of Mundana Music Therapy on patriotic musical jeopardy. This was exactly the idea I needed to freshen up patriotic music with my groups.
I made several adaptations to Kim’s original idea to meet the needs of my groups. The older adult and long-term care clients I serve know a lot of patriotic songs relatively well, so I wanted to use the Jeopardy-style questions as an introduction to singing all of those songs. Here are the categories and questions I used, with my actions and instructions to the group in italics:
Name That Patriotic Tune (I’ll sing the tune on “la,” you tell me the name of the song.)
- $100 – My Country ‘Tis of Thee
- $200 – America the Beautiful
- $300 – You’re a Grand Old Flag
- $400 – Stars and Stripes Forever (I used a recording of this one)
State Songs (Tell me a song about this state.)
- $100 – Texas (“Deep in the Heart of Texas,” “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” “All My Exes Live in Texas”)
- $200 – California (“California, Here I Come,” “California Girls”)
- $300 – Tennessee (“Tennessee Waltz,” “Rocky Top”)
- $400 – Kansas (“Home on the Range” – the official state song!)
- $100 – Army (“As the Caissons Go Rolling Along”)
- $200 – Marines (“The Marines’ Hymn”)
- $300 – Navy (“Anchors Aweigh”)
- $400 – Air Force (“Wild Blue Yonder”)
I like to have maximum room for in-the-moment adaptation, so I left the dollar-amount cards blank and kept the questions on a sheet of paper. I also had several questions to substitute in according to what I know about members of the different groups I serve. For younger groups, for example, I used a recording of “God Bless the U.S.A.” for a Name That Tune song, and I had many songs available for various states so I could ask about states where participants used to live. I also wanted to build in opportunities for movement to music and instrument playing as well, so I planned for that, too. I had an idea of when movement to music and instrument playing would fit in so when the “Stars and Striped Forever” question came up, for example, I was ready to break out the drums.
As long as you feel free to make adjustments to meet the needs of the participants in your group, this game should be ready to go for the next patriotic holiday. Enjoy!