How do you find upbeat graduation songs? It’s the time of year when closing ceremonies are happening: graduation, flying up, end of year, and last day of camp. I like to end camp with a demonstration for the campers’ friends and family.
A closing ceremony shows the work the children have done and the products of learning. It can help give the camp a focus for teaching and practice during the camp. I like to take pictures throughout, and then put on an inspirational slide show with music for arrival and ending of the ceremony. Upbeat graduation songs that are “clean” for children make a great accompaniment to the photos.
As you plan a camp or any other activities with children, it’s important to remember that children have basic needs: physiological, safety, belonging, and esteem. Their growth needs include cognitive and self-actualization. (For more, research Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
I suggest making a multimedia presentation by choosing photos from each day of the camp to try to represent all the memorable moments. (Some of my most popular pics were counselors and campers sound asleep on the field trip bus!) Then go through the photos and make sure all the children are represented. You can get fancy and make them into a video, or put them in presentation software. I just made a folder with copies of the photos in Photos and ran them from there.
To choose the music, I recommend a mix of songs the children will be familiar with and some for the parents. I like to include Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ because it always makes the adults smile. Think about the ages of the parents and grandparents and what their inspirational songs might be. For the children, you have Top 40 for pop, country, urban, rock, Latino, World, and more. You need to check out TV channels Disney, Nickelodeon, and even Freeform to see what kind of music the children might be listening to.
You can search in the iTunes store under Children’s Music. You can find clean versions of pop songs there, songs from popular movies, and a Tween Pop section. Use movies and TV shows for inspiration, but also world events. I found very inspirational songs from the Olympic ceremonies and the World Cup. Of course, you can find legal music downloads on the site of your choice.
Here’s a Top 15 from my “camp songs” playlist:
- Who I’m Gonna Be, Coco Jones
- Elevate, Big Time Rush
- Exceptional, China Anne McClain
- Let the River Run, Carly Simon
- All for One, High School Musical
- Watch Me, Bella Thorne and Zendaya
- This is Me, Camp Rock
- You Gotta Be, Des’ree
- Shining Star, Earth, Wind, & Fire
- Let it Grow, Ester Dean (from The Lorac)
- Firework, Katy Perry
- Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
- Make it Shine, Victoria Justice
- It’s My Turn Now, Keke Palmer
- Unwritten, Natasha Bedingfield
Make sure you have photo releases from all the children in your presentation. (See more about camp forms here.) I played my legally purchased music through my music software and did not copy it into the presentation.
Under the Fair Use provision of the US Copyright Law, up to 10 percent of a musical work can be reproduced, up to a maximum of 30 seconds, for a multimedia presentation. The presentation must have an educational purpose. I am often asked, can’t you burn DVDs or put the presentation on the Web so that all the kids can have it? And the answer is no, if you are including whole songs. This is why smart educators try to use royalty-free music, such as some of the bits in Garage Band or search for Creative Commons.
Disclaimer: I do not have legal expertise, so be sure to check forms with your legal counsel. All information provided on this site is for entertainment and education purposes only. Using any information from thecasabouquet.com is at your own risk.
Resource links for upbeat graduation songs
- Camp songs from Ultimate Camp Resource
- 20 Best Graduation Songs from Rolling Stone
- End of the Year Songs from Fun A Day
- Teachers should know copyright from wrong from Edutopia
- Legal music for videos from Creative Commons
Let’s talk story
What’s your favorite way to find upbeat music for graduation songs for camp and closing ceremonies? What software and apps do you use? Questions? Contact me at lisa[at]thecasabouquet[dot]com.
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