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An EARWORM Activity: "Goodby Yellow Brick Road"

Updated: Aug 24, 2022

Disney is working on a new documentary film featuring English musician Sir Elton John and his ballad, Goodby Yellow Brick Road, written in the early 70s by John and songwriter Bernie Taupin. The song is currently featured in a family film, Sing2. And, of course, it references the Yellow Brick Road in the 1900 Wizard of Oz book. As a grandparent, I have found that if elders want to connect with young people, it helps to find out what interests them, ....what books, music and movies appeal to the youngster/s...AND to the elder/s.

Listen to these Sample Variations of a popular song, Goodby Yellow Brick Road, currently featured in the family film Sing2 and soon to be filmed in the Disney Elton John documentary retrospective, Goodby Yellow Brick Road). Which variation do you like best and why???

Topic Title

A Film and Song EARWORM: Goodby Yellow Brick Road, 1972 to 2022

Activity Design

Sally Gelardin/EdD

Purpose/Learning Objectives

(a) Define EARWORM

(b) Listen to variations of a popular song that boomers to babies, and every age in between, can enjoy.

(c) Choose the interpretation of the song that most appeals to you and explain why.

Target Population

Individuals of a variety of abilities, ages, stages, backgrounds, and preferences. This is an intergenerational activity.

Brief Description of Activity

Like telling a story, there are different ways to play, sing, or conduct theme song/musical score. We can sharpen our listening and other brain skills by finding music that connects with our heart, no matter what our age or stage is. The song Goodby Yellow Brick Road, which came out in the 70s, is a great music and film way for boomers and youth to connect.

Technology Options

Streaming Music App, such as YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Qobuz. YouTube or Spotify, at no cost, are the easiest to use. YouTube often includes clips from the film to accompany the music, which appeals to multiple senses (both visual and auditory).

Supply/Materials Options

Devices, such as tv monitor, computer, iPAD, iPhone, and other handheld devices, to play different renditions of a musical piece.

Precautions and Adaptations

Some individuals may not be able to define “EARWORM” (familiar musical theme from a film that plays over and over again in your mind) or choose the interpretation that they like with words, but may be able to choose the interpretation that they like using their other senses, such as by dancing to the music, clapping their hands, stamping their feet, singing, and expressing their appreciation through facial and other body gestures.

Environment and Set-Up

A quiet environment without distractions is best so that the listener/s can concentrate on listening to a musical piece played or sung in different ways. This activity can be used with groups of varying sizes and with individuals one-to-one or by themselves, depending on their ability.

This activity is voluntarily donated by Marin Activity Professionals to MAP for web posting as a free public resource. Thanks to Betsy Best-Martini, Mary Anne Weeks, and Priscilla Wirth for including the outline, as a basis for this activity, in their Long Term Care for Activity Professionals, Social Services Professionals, and Recreational Therapists, Seventh Edition. Special thanks to my husband Bob Gelardin for playng for me variations of a musical piece before we go to sleep each night, and thanks to Susan Cain for emphasizing the power of "bittersweet" music in her Bittersweet book and course.

You are welcome to share with others an inspirational, spiritual "EARWORM" (variations of a song that you want to hear over and over again, that you can't get out of your ear). Include your name to be credited as the creator of your activity. Send to


Which is your favorite rendition of this theme? Why?

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