Singing from memory

Some songs are particularly well-suited to being sung from memory, unencumbered by lyric sheets or books.  These can be sprinkled throughout a session, to give participants a chance to look up and sing confidently to the far corners of the room! Alternatively an entirely paper-free session can be delivered.  This works particularly well for groups where many or all are living with advanced dementia. It keeps the singing session’s format clear and straightforward, focused on the music, and without long gaps as lyric sheets are given out and collected.

Songs may be well-known in their entirety, or have a very familiar chorus or refrain, in which case the facilitator sings the verses and the group joins in on the known section.  Some examples of great “memory songs” are listed below.


– As Time Goes By
– Cockles and Mussels
– Daisy Bell
– Edelweiss
– Little Liza Jane
– Moon River
– My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean
– Oh Dear, What Can The Matter Be?
– Oh, Susannah!
– Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!
– Oh, When The Saints Go Marching In
– Oh, You Beautiful Doll!
– Over The Rainbow
– Que Sera
– She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain
– Side by Side
– Singing in the Rain
– The White Cliffs of Dover
– Tulips from Amsterdam
– We’ll Meet Again
– What shall we do with the drunken sailor?
– When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
– You Are My Sunshine
– Zip-a-dee-doo-dah