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Playlist of the Week: Sunshine Songs

​​I don't know about you, but I am loving the beautiful, sunny weather we are having here in Toronto! This time of the year, I find a lot of music therapy sessions being moved from client's basements to their backyards and facilities activity rooms to their balconies! Being outdoors adds a new element to sessions and often brings awareness to different sounds included in the overall session such as bird chirping, the wind blowing, children playing outside. If you're a music therapist looking for some repertoire inspiration this summer, here are some songs about sun/sunshine. You can find a songwriting intervention at the bottom that can be adapted for many goals and populations.

1. Sunshine on My Shoulders - John Denver

Lyric: Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy

Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely

Sunshine almost always makes me high

2. You Are My Sunshine - Jimmie Davis

Lyric: You are my sunshine, my only sunshine

you make me happy when skies are grey.

You'll never know dear, how much I love you.

Please, don't take my sunshine away.

3. Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me - Elton John

Lyric: Don't let the sun go down on me

Although I search myself, it's always someone else I see

I'd just allow a fragment of your life to wander free

But losing everything is like the sun going down on me

4. Walking on Sunshine - Katrina & the Waves

Lyric: I'm walking on sunshine (Wow!)

I'm walking on sunshine (Wow!)

I'm walking on sunshine (Wow!)

And don't it feel good

5. The House of the Rising Sun - The Animals

Lyric: There is a house in New Orleans

They call the rising sun

And its been the ruins of many a poor boy

And God I know Im one

6. I'll Follow the Sun - The Beatles

Lyric: One day, you'll look

To see I've gone

But tomorrow may rain, so

I'll follow the sun

One day, you'll know

I was the one

But tomorrow may rain, so

I'll follow the sun

7. Soak up the Sun - Sheryl Crow

Lyric: I'm gonna soak up the sun I'm gonna tell everyone To lighten up (I'm gonna tell 'em that) I've got no one to blame

8. Island in the Sun - Weezer

Lyric: On an island in the sun

We'll be playing and having fun

And it makes me feel so fine

I can't control my brain

9. Sunshine of Your Love - Cream

Lyric: I've been waiting so long

To be where I'm going

In the sunshine of your love

10. You Are the Sunshine of My Life - Stevie Wonder

Lyric: You are the sunshine of my life

That's why I'll always be around,

You are the apple of my eye,

Forever you'll stay in my heart

11. The Warmth of the Sunshine - The Beach Boys

Lyric: What good is the dawn

That grows into day

The sunset at night

Or living this way

For I have the warmth of the sun(warmth of the sun)

Within me at night(within me at night)

12. Ain't No Sunshine - Bill Withers

Lyric: Ain't no sunshine when she's gone

It's not warm when she's away

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone

And she's always gone too long

Anytime she goes away

13. That Lucky Old Sun - Louis Armstrong

Lyric: Up in the mornin' Out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around heaven all day

14. Sun is Shining - Bob Marley & The Wailers

Lyric: Sun is shining, the weather is sweet

Make you want to move your dancing feet

To the rescue, here I am

Want you to know, y'all, where I stand

15. Sittin' in the Sun - Sam Cooke

Lyric: Sittin' in the sun counting my money

Fanned by my summer-breeze

Sweeter than the honey is counting my money

Those greenbacks on the trees

16. Sunrise Sunset - Fiddler on the Roof

Lyric: Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset!

Swiftly fly the years,

One season following another,

Laden with happiness and tears...

17. Keep on the Sunny Side - The Carter Family

Lyric: Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side Keep on the sunny side of life It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way If we keep on the sunny side of life

18. Brighter than the Sun - Colbie Callait

Lyric: Oh, this is how it starts, lightning strikes the heart

It goes off like a gun, brighter than the sun

Oh, we could be the stars, falling from the sky

Shining how we want, brighter than the sun

19. Sun it Rises - Fleet Foxes

Lyric: The sun rises, over my headIn the morning, when I

Hold me dear, into the nigh

tSun it will rise soon in the falling

20. The Sunny Side of the Street - Frank Sinatra

Lyric: Grab your coat

Grab your hat, baby

Leave your worries on the doorstep

Just direct your feet

On the sunny side of the street

Songwriting Intervention

Here Come the Sun - The Beatles

This is a great song to use for changing lyrics during songwriting interventions with clients of all age groups. For the purpose of this example, let's imagine using this with a group of children who are non-verbal and use picture boards as communication tools during sessions. The music therapist may have a variety of summer activities displayed on the picture board and have each child in the group make their choice by pointing at their picture of choice. The MT could then replace the verse lyrics of the song with the selected activity, and then return to the chorus 'Here Comes the Sun'.


instead of

'Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter'

, 'Joshua, plays with his siblings in the pool'

This can be adapted to add actions, instrument playing, and so much more!

Enjoy theses songs and enjoy the sunshine!

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