Questions? (Photo credit: Valerie Everett)

Questions are powerful. They can be great for spurring conversation, gathering details, or letting people know we are interested in them.  Questions are so powerful, books are written about them. There is much written concern how to ask  a question and determining the correct question to ask.

Questions are frequently used in my music therapy sessions. Often they are verbalized questions. (e.g. – What is that song about?)  Sometimes they are in the form or music.

How do you ask a question with music?

Improvisatory work can take a Q and A form. Music therapists, music educators, drum circle facilitator, and jazz artists may employ this approach.

There are song lyrics that ask and answer questions. A few examples are identified for children, older adults and intergenerational groups to use individually or as a collection for a group.

Children – Depending on the age and ability of the children, have them identify the questions in the following songs. You can also have the children create their own answers to the questions asked in the songs. Songs could include:

  • Oh Where, Oh Where has My Little Dog Gone?
  • Are You Sleeping?/Frere Jacques
  • Baa, Baa Black Sheep
  • Colors of the Wind (scarf dance)

Older Adults – I often use songs to set a theme for questions I want to ask. The following are songs that contain questions. Use them as conversation starters or have them share how they would have answered the question. Some of these songs can also be used to reflect on life experiences. (Would you answer the question the same way now as when you were X years old? Why or why not?) Here is a starter list of question songs.:

  • Abraham, Martin and John
  • Ain’t She Sweet
  • Tell Me Why
  • Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
  • Blowin’ In the Wind
  • Bicycle Built for Two
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
  • Am I Blue?
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Intergenerational – Some of the previously listed songs will work with intergenerational groups depending on the ages. The following are songs that are mostly conversations between a man and a woman. Many discussions about life experiences can be started with these songs. It is also a way to take turns and discussing listening skills. (Who is this song was listening? What tells you that?) :

What other ways do you create a musical Q and A ? Are there songs you would add to these lists?

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