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A FILM EARWORM: Listening with the Heart

Updated: Aug 9, 2022

Inspired by Gina Pandiani's MAP presentation August 17, on Facilitating Spirituality through the Arts, History, and Nature, I created a film-based activity that addresses many elders' interest in film and music and that touches the heart.

Topic Title

A FILMEARWORM: Heart-Based Listening.

Activity Design

Sally Gelardin/EdD

Purpose/Learning Objectives

(a) Define "FILMEARWORM"

(b) Listen to variations of an inspirational, spiritual film's music theme.

(c) Choose the interpretation of the film's theme. song/musical piece that most appeals to you and explain why.

Target Population

Individuals of a variety of abilities, ages, stages, backgrounds, and preferences. This may be an intergenerational activity if the music is appropriate.

Brief Description of Activity

Like telling a story, there are different ways to play, sing, or conduct an inspirational, spiritual film's theme song/musical score. We can sharpen our listening and other brain skills and deepen our spirituality by finding music that connects with our heart, no matter what our spiritual belief system is.

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 “FILMEARWORM” (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.

Sample Variations of an Inspirational, Spiritual Film's Musical Theme (such as in the documentary, Spielberg).

This activity is voluntarily donated by MAP to Marin Activity Professionals for web posting as a free public resource. Thanks to Gina Pandiani, for introducing the value of arts-based spirituality, and 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. Thanks also 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 "FILMEARWORM" (variations of an inspirational, spiritual film's theme song). 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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