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20 Songs to Sing in Music Therapy with Older Adults

A woman with a guitar in her lap is holding a chord and strumming while smiling to show music therapy songs for elderly

Music therapy is a potent tool that brings joy, comfort, and numerous health benefits to older adults. It establishes a unique connection with them, significantly improving their quality of life. Whether it's a journey down memory lane or simply enjoying the present moment, music therapy can be transformative.

In this article, we've curated a playlist of 20 songs specifically tailored for music therapy sessions with older adults. Before delving into the playlist, let's explore the profound benefits of music therapy and why these songs have been carefully selected.

The Benefits of Music Therapy for Older Adults

  1. Emotional Expression: Music provides a safe space for older adults to express their emotions, reducing loneliness and depression.

  2. Cognitive Stimulation: Listening to music can enhance memory recall and cognitive function, potentially slowing down cognitive decline.

  3. Improved Mood: Familiar tunes and musical activities can swiftly uplift mood and overall well-being.

  4. Stress Reduction: Music has the remarkable ability to alleviate tension and anxiety, fostering relaxation and calm.

  5. Social Interaction: Group music therapy sessions foster social connections and a sense of belonging, easing feelings of isolation.

  6. Enhanced Communication: For seniors with communication challenges, music serves as a bridge, enabling them to express their needs and feelings.

  7. Physical Benefits: Music encourages physical activity and coordination, promoting movement, whether it's through dancing or rhythmic tapping.

Why These Songs Were Selected

These songs were thoughtfully chosen for their timeless qualities, nostalgic melodies, and emotional resonance. Drawing from various genres and eras ensures that a wide range of older adults can enjoy the music. Not only do these songs have captivating melodies, but they also evoke memories, encourage engagement, and foster a sense of community among older adults.

An older woman is holding hands with an older man. She is smiling and seems to be dancing to show music therapy songs for elderly

20 Songs to Sing in Music Therapy with Older Adults

1. "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

2. "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland

3. "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King

4. "You Are My Sunshine" by Johnny Cash

5. "Moon River" by Andy Williams

6. "Imagine" by John Lennon

7. "Unchained Melody" by The Righteous Brothers

8. "My Way" by Frank Sinatra

9. "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers

10. "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley

11. "Blue Skies" by Ella Fitzgerald

12. "What the World Needs Now Is Love" by Jackie DeShannon

13. "Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles

14. "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

15. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel

16. "Let It Be" by The Beatles

17. "Yesterday" by The Beatles

18. "What's Going On" by Marvin Gaye

19. "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

20. "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra

Consider incorporating music therapy into the lives of the older adults you care for, whether you're a caregiver, family member, or a professional in the field of aging. Music possesses the remarkable power to transform and uplift, and by sharing these songs, you can make a meaningful difference in their lives. To learn more, book a discovery call at and explore the possibilities of enriching the lives of older adults through music therapy.

Written by Steffi Ching.

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