Songwriting Experience for June

Earlier this week, I posted a song spotlight on the song “June is Bustin’ Out All Over,” and with that, I left you a little teaser about its potential for songwriting. As promised, here is a songwriting experience based on this song.

With the elders I serve, songwriting seems to work best with a familiar melody and anchor phrases that they can sing every time, even if they don’t remember the new words (or, for that matter, the original ones!) Even better is when the anchor phrases underscore the theme or idea that is the focus of the session. That means with this song, I want to keep these words:

June is bustin’ out all over

…..(here’s where the new lines will go)…..

Because it’s June! June, June, June.

Just because it’s June! June! June!

I can guess that many of my clients will be able to sing these words. So, what should we fill in the middle? I want to ask about things that happen in the month of June. For some clients, that is the only prompt they need – they can fill in new lines without any help from me. (Some potential ideas: “the kids are glad to be out of school,” “we can be outside and stay warm”)

For other clients, though, a few more words are needed to get started. Here are the prompts I am using:

June is bustin’ out all over

All over (where?)                                                                                                   

We see (sights of summer)                                                                                 

We hear (sounds of summer)                                                                             

We want to (do what?)                                                                                         

Because it’s June! etc.

To simplify even further, you could do one verse of “we see,” one for “we hear,” and one for “we want.” Then, to wrap up the experience, sing the verses you created together as a group, and type up a nice copy for clients to keep if they so desire.

So, how’s that for a simple songwriting intervention? One more tip: unless your clients insist, don’t get too hung up on making lines rhyme or fit the original syllable pattern exactly – the song will sound pretty good however you fit the words in (and music therapists have a special talent for making words fit a musical phrase!)

Have fun with your June songwriting! (Because it’s June! June! June! June!) I’d love for you to share the clever lyrics you come up with – just post them in the comment section below.

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