Why am I such a big fan of folk songs, especially for people living with dementia and the senior communities where they live?
There are lots of reasons why I think folk songs are important. But there is one reason that has surprised me. It might surprise you too.
Let me explain.
Folk songs are the quickest way to engage all your staff.
Amanda works in housekeeping. She is passing through the living room where we are gathered to sing. I see her singing along on a line or two as she walks by. The residents see her too.
Angie, the hospice nurse, is in the back working on charts. I see her lips moving to a familiar song. The residents sitting near her see it too.
The cook comes in to the room to check on timing for a meal. He pauses to sing a chorus or two with us. The residents applaud his efforts.
The quiet CNA standing behind the med cart calls out “elephant” for Old McDonald and then proceeds to do a very effective elephant trumpet. We all laugh and everyone feels like they are part of the group.
It’s almost as if folk songs catch people off guard and they can’t help but sing along.
Why? Because childhood memories click in and people suddenly feel comfortable singing. Younger staff members may not know the standards from the 40s or 50s that elders often love. But they probably sang at least a few folk songs at home or at school or at camp.
Why is this important?
It’s pretty simple really. Your staff members like to feel competent too. Folk songs can blur the lines between care partners and care recipients, creating community and connection through simple songs.
And now, drum roll… Here’s the news. I just released a new CD. And it’s folk songs!
Sing Along with Mary Sue: Folk Song Favorites for Young and Old is now available!
This collection harkens back to a time when families gathered together on the front porch or around the fireplace to sing. I made it because I love these songs and because I’ve learned that the folks I sing with love them too.
Just push play and the sing along begins.
This CD is organized for you into a sing along that is suitable for individuals or for groups large or small, of any age. You don’t have to figure out what song to play next. Just start the CD (or your digital download) and away you go. The sing along starts with Hail, Hail the Gang’s All Here and wraps up with Goodbye Ladies. Among the 19 songs you’ll find Old McDonald, I’ve Been Working on the Railroad, Polly Wolly Doodle, She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain and many more.
You can see the complete song list and purchase it as a CD or as a digital download on my website. The arrangements are simple and the vocals clear and easy to follow. My voice, two acoustic guitars and a string bass.
Even better! There’s a songbook to go with it.
You can also purchase a printable PDF of a songbook to go with it. And then you can make as many copies as you need. (Note: The CD and download are also available on Amazon and the download is available on iTunes. The songbook is only available on my website.)
So let’s sing folk songs together! Drop me a line and let me know what your favorites are. I’d love to hear from you.