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Song Spotlight: “April Showers”

April showers...

April showers…

  • Mood: Hopeful
  • Themes: Rain, flowers, happiness
  • Tempo: Moderately slow
  • Genre/Style: 1920s popular song

As I write this, it’s yet another rainy day at the end of April. After last summer’s drought, I am glad for the rain, but I am also very ready for springtime to be here in full force. So, the song “April Showers” has been on my mind.

With music by Louis Silvers and lyrics by B.G. De Sylva, “April Showers” was first made famous by Al Jolson and has been recorded by many people since then. Here are the lyrics for the chorus:

Though April showers may come your way,
They bring the flowers that bloom in May.
So if it’s raining, have no regrets,
Because it isn’t raining rain you know, it’s raining violets.
And where you see clouds upon the hills,
You soon will see the crowds of daffodils;
So keep on looking for a blue bird and list’ning for his song,
Whenever April showers come along.

I love this song for its rich imagery and its accessibility on both concrete and abstract levels.

First, the concrete. This song mentions violets, daffodils, and even the quintessential bluebird of happiness. Even the cliched phrase, “April showers bring May flowers” provides an entree to conversation with folks with various stages of cognitive impairment. This is one of many songs I introduce in music therapy sessions to encourage participants to talk about gardening or signs of spring. It’s also helpful for directing people’s attention to the current weather conditions, not to mention the date on the calendar.

...bring May flowers

…bring May flowers

But I love the abstract level of this song, too. The overriding message of this song is that even though times may be tough now, there will be better times to come. In other words, life has its seasons, too, some which are lovelier than others. Personally, I think this is a more realistic offer of hope than the message that you should just keep smiling, even if you’re feeling bad. Here, we acknowledge the April showers of life – the clouds, the storms, the grayness – while holding out hope for and expectation of spring – the beauty, the new life, the colors and birdsong. Sometimes, focusing on the fact that dealing with challenges can bring us even greater strength may be what we need to get through a particularly difficult time.

What do you think? Do you like the “April Showers” analogy to changing life circumstances? What else do you see in this song? Please leave your comments below!

This post is part of an occasional series on special songs to share with your loved ones. For more song spotlights, click here.

2 comments… add one
  • Hi Rachel! I was thinking of using rainsticks and thunder tubes for this song with a new group of 80 year old plus clients with early to midstage dementia. However, I’ve noticed some of my groups with adults with developmental disablities have difficulty playing rainsticks. Do you find you have success with your dementia groups?

    • Hello! Some of my clients do well with rainsticks, and others need help. I don’t use them all the time for that reason, but they are nice for variety. It’s really helpful if you can have a staff person help with hand-over-hand cueing while you provide the music and overall group leadership.

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