“Doo-wa-ditty” summer creature song for music therapist and music education teachers by Margie La Bella of Music therapy tunes

Name: Doo-wa-ditty summer song (sea creatures)
Age: 3-7
Goal area: academics (sea creatures) language skills
Materials: Song, toy sea creatures, pictures thereof,
Method: Have each child tell you the name of a sea creature and possibly even the way they move. Incorporate the answer into the song lyrics and sing.
Adaptations: Have children pick out an instrument to represent their creature and play in turn.
Medody: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR5yhKQo3dc  at 41 seconds in
Original Author Unknown from  http://www.preschooleducation.com
Sung to: “Doo-wa diddy diddy”
C                            F                              C
 There I was just swimming in the sea
              C                                            F                   G
singing Doooo wah diddy diddy dum diddy dee
C                                          F                        C
All the sudden there’s a dolphin next to me
              C                                     F                 G
singing Dooo wah diddy diddy dum diddy dee
           C (or just scratch strings percussively)
 She swam fast  (she swam fast)
 she dove deep.  (she dove deep)
she swam –  fast dove deep
Hey this dolphin’s pretty neat!!
repeat above with the following suggestions: 
whale – breaching
shark swimming
mermaids plug nose and shimmy down
Please send in any activities or musical processes  that you use with children, adolescents or adults of all ages and abilities. These could be activities for use for kids, adolescents or adults that have autism, adhd, add, down’s / down syndrome, speech language delays, oral-motor issues, physical disabilities, mental health issues, conduct disorder, cerebral palsy and other issues that we human have to contend with.  I’m also interested in any activities for people dealing with health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, chemical dependency, other addictions, grief, cancer, pain management and any other life issue.  I have just installed a “spam” locator which means that I’ll actually get the mail as mail. Please email me at margie@musictherapytunes.com and put activity in the subject line. Give yourself (or the author/composer)  all the credit you want or remain anonymous. Thank you!! – Margie La Bella at music therapy tunes

“Can you Move with Me” A summer bug song for kids

Can you move with me (may be on Pam’s CD)
Goal area: receptive language, creative movement
Method: Therapist shows children pictures of creatures that move in different manners.
The children practice moving in the various ways and then move in ways specified via song lyrics. Stop the lyrics in mid sentence and wait for the kids to fill in the missing words. This begins to facilitate learning of the lyrics.
Adaptations: Children name creatures that fall within the different movement categories.
To give the children more time to process and respond by moving – – have the other adults echo each phrase after you.  Or try doubling each phrase ie: Can you wiggle like a worm…wiggle like a worm. Can you squiggle, can you squirm – – squiggle, can you squirm ?   Maybe do the whole thing with a drum and mark time as need be between each line. Adapt as needed.
Can you wiggle like a worm,
Can you squiggle, can you squirm?
Can you flutter, can you fly,
Like a gentle butterfly?
Can you crawl upon the ground
Like a beetle that is round?
                              B7  E
Can you move with me?


Can you flip? Can you flop? 
Can you give a little hop?
Can you slither like a snake?
Can you give a little shake?
Can you dance like a bee
who is buzzing in a tree?
Can you move with me? 
Please send in any activities or musical processes  that you use with children, adolescents or adults of all ages and abilities. These could be activities for use for kids, adolescents or adults that have autism, adhd, add, down’s / down syndrome, speech language delays, oral-motor issues, physical disabilities, mental health issues, conduct disorder, cerebral palsy and other issues that we human have to contend with.  I’m also interested in any activities for people dealing with health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, chemical dependency, other addictions, grief, cancer, pain management and any other life issue.  I have just installed a “spam” locator which means that I’ll actually get the mail as mail. Please email me at margie@musictherapytunes.com and put activity in the subject line. Give yourself (or the author/composer)  all the credit you want or remain anonymous. Thank you!! – Margie La Bella at music therapy tunes

Summer Topic Song: “A hunting / camping/ fishing /sailing / swimming we will go” by margie labella of music therapy tunes

A hunting we will go.
Goal area: academic (bugs, bug habitats and their role in nature) language and turn taking
Materials: plastic toy bugs, (real bugs in a jar and a magfifying glass) or large pictures
Method: Each child either thinks of a bug, or chooses a bug from among the manipulatives.  Discuss that particular bug and sing.
Adaptations of the song include: see below the activity
A-hunting we will go. A-hunting we will go.
We’ll catch a __ and put it in a box.
        D                A            D
And then we’ll let him go.
Another song with the exact same write up would be to the tune of “Skip to my lou.”
Sample lyrics could include
An ant crawed up the tree. (Repeat 2x) That’s what you see outside/in nature.
A grass hopper jumped up high.    (As above)
A snake slithered in the woods.,,
 A worm wiggled in the dirt.,,,,
You can certainly prompt language discussion and objects within categories with this song.
 Ask “what did you see at the ____? ”  “What did you bring with you?” “What did you wear?”  “Who did you go with?”
“Who did/brought what?” and countless other questions.
Answers that you can sing back through the lyrics include:
Daddy brought a tent.  Daddy brought a tent.  We went camping and Daddy brought a tent.
We ran after fireflies.
We got lost in the woods.
We heard a giant bear.
The crickets by the tent went chirp, chirp, chirp.
Tom will bring the juice.
Please send in any activities or musical processes  that you use with children, adolescents or adults of all ages and abilities. These could be activities for use for kids, adolescents or adults that have autism, adhd, add, down’s / down syndrome, speech language delays, oral-motor issues, physical disabilities, mental health issues, conduct disorder, cerebral palsy and other issues that we human have to contend with.  I’m also interested in any activities for people dealing with health issues, dementia, Alzheimer’s, chemical dependency, other addictions, grief, cancer, pain management and any other life issue.  I have just installed a “spam” locator which means that I’ll actually get the mail as mail. Please email me at margie@musictherapytunes.com and put activity in the subject line. Give yourself (or the author/composer)  all the credit you want or remain anonymous. Thank you!! – Margie La Bella at music therapy tunes

“Baby Bumble Bee summer song” gr8 for music and speech therapy for children

Name: Baby bumble bee
Age: 3-10
Goal Area:  Language (bi-labial production of “b”  sound.
Method: sing and do the motions. Pause before the words “baby bumblebee” and really emphasize  the “b” sound. Pace the song so that the children  have time to pronounciate.
Adaptations: ) Present the class with pictures of each verse and have them put them in the proper sequence. 2) Have each child find the correct picture in sequence and hold that picture up while the class sings. 3) Have each child in the group sing the different verses into a toy or real microphone.
Melody at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxV2bCzQ5IA
            E                                                              A  (F#M)                    B7
1. I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me.
       E                                                                  A                 B7 E
I’m bringing home my baby bumble bee.  Owch! He bit me!
(Motion here is to cup your hands in front of you like you are carrying a bee, Emphasize that this is not a smart thing to do….but just for the song you’ll allow it.)
2. I’m smushing up my baby bumble bee. Won’t my mommy be so proud of me.
I’m smushing up my babby bumble bee.  Now I gotta eat ‘im!
(Motion is to clap your hands and drag them across each other. In other words…smush them.)
3. I’m lickin’ up my baby bumblee bee…….(as before)
uh-oh: I don’t feel so well.  (Motion is to pretend to lick hands; a point that you’ll have to emphasize the pretend part thereof.)
4. I’m throwing up my baby bumble bee. …..
Whoa! What a mess.   (Do I need to explain this motion? For the faint of heart or faint of administration, you can change this to coughing up. If you have to, you can leave this out.Of course, all the kids love it!)
5.  I’m cleaning up my baby bumble bee…
I’m NOT gonna do that again.  (Motion: to wipe a make believe table with a wipee or to do a broom sweeping motion. )
6. Optional verse: I’m never gonna catch a bumble bee.
And that’s that!

WHAT IS MUSIC THERAPY?? by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

My first definition must come straight from the American Music Therapy Association itself: (see musictherapy.org)  ….. Ok,  I just finished this blog and their definition is all that’s needed. Enjoy.

What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

My translation for today: This means that music therapy is purposeful, client-specific, scientific, and supported by research and data that is used to prove and point out it’s efficacy. The real therapy occurs between two people and not between a person and an electronic listening device.  It’s all about the relationship! (The relationship, however, can involve listening and working with recorded music.)  This therapist must have attended an approved 4 year music therapy program and had many hours of observation and clinical experience. Many states want to require that music therapists obtain their master’s degree. 

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.

Music therapists work on goals that are not about music. My simple definition is that music therapy is not teaching about music. It’s teaching and reaching through the tool that is music and music making activities. Goals are about the muscles, feelings, concepts, language use, and how to get along in this world.  Too many to name here! (See below.)

After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music.

These are some of the tricks of the trade that we use. With my classes, we move in ways to show that we have understood the concepts mentioned through song lyrics, other groups might write fill-in-the-blank songs reflecting their experiences and understanding of things, they may sing out their feelings through songs they identify with, they may listen to music and engage in guided meditation followed by verbal processing of the thoughts and feelings that came up. Too many people have been through very tough times, even by ages 3 and 4.  They could also play out  those feelings through vocal and/or instrumental improvisation. There are as many possibilities as there are people and situations. 

Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives.

For example, a child with emotional difficulties might express anger by drumming or loud singing, and then be able to function with less aggression in the classroom.  A student with adhd may learn to attend to and process auditory stimuli better and pay better attention to his teacher.  A kid with autism may be able to remember story-songs about social situations that he can apply to real life social situations. A person who had a stroke may be able to walk with a regular step and rhythm after his MT session. 

Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.

Music therapy is an active, engaged, participatory activity that allows for expression through words, or not words.   DrummING, dancING, movING, singING, playING…..  Actions and verbs that show involvement.  There is motivation and commitment by both the giver and the receiver. And the best news is that giving and receiving are often a two way street.

Wow: I just looked up other definitions of music therapy and came across this page http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/music+therapy.  LOL.  Their definition of MT is so good because it goes back to the AMTA!  Full circle! 😀

Here is the entire page from the above link which was originally referenced from musictherapy.org:

Music therapy is a technique of complementary medicine that uses music prescribed in a skilled manner by trained therapists. Programs are designed to help patients overcome physical, emotional, intellectual, and social challenges. Applications range from improving the well being of geriatric patients in nursing homes to lowering the stress level and pain of women in labor. Music therapy is used in many settings, including schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, hospice, nursing homes, community centers, and sometimes even in the home.


Music can be beneficial for anyone. Although it can be used therapeutically for people who have physical, emotional, social, or cognitive deficits, even those who are healthy can use music to relax, reduce stress, improve mood, or to accompany exercise. There are no potentially harmful or toxic effects. Music therapists help their patients achieve a number of goals through music, including improvement of communication, academic strengths, attention span, and motor skills. They may also assist with behavioral therapy and pain management.

Physical effects

Brain function physically changes in response to music. The rhythm can guide the body into breathing in slower, deeper patterns that have a calming effect. Heart rate and blood pressure are also responsive to the types of music that are listened to. The speed of the heartbeat tends to speed or slow depending on the volume and speed of the auditory stimulus. Louder and faster noises tend to raise both heart rate and blood pressure; slower, softer, and more regular tones produce the opposite result. Music can also relieve muscle tension and improve motor skills. It is often used to help rebuild physical patterning skills in rehabilitation clinics. Levels of endorphins, natural pain relievers, are increased while listening to music, and levels of stress hormones are decreased. This latter effect may partially explain the ability of music to improve immune function. A 1993 study at Michigan State University showed that even 15 minutes of exposure to music could increase interleukin-1 levels, a consequence which also heightens immunity.

Mental effects

Depending on the type and style of sound, music can either sharpen mental acuity or assist in relaxation. Memory and learning can be enhanced, and this used with good results in children with learning disabilities. This effect may also be partially due to increased concentration that many people have while listening to music. Better productivity is another outcome of an improved ability to concentrate. The term “Mozart effect” was coined after a study showed that college students performed better on math problems when listening to classical music.

Emotional effects

The ability of music to influence human emotion is well known, and is used extensively by moviemakers. A variety of musical moods may be used to create feelings of calmness, tension, excitement, or romance. Lullabies have long been popular for soothing babies to sleep. Music can also be used to express emotion nonverbally, which can be a very valuable therapeutic tool in some settings.



Music has been used throughout human history to express and affect human emotion. In biblical accounts, King Saul was reportedly soothed by David’s harp music, and the ancient Greeks expressed thoughts about music having healing effects as well. Many cultures are steeped in musical traditions. It can change mood, have stimulant or sedative effects, and alter physiologic processes such as heart rate and breathing. The apparent health benefits of music to patients in Veterans Administration hospitals following World War II lead to it being studied and formalized as a complementary healing practice. Musicians were hired to continue working in the hospitals. Degrees in music therapy became available in the late 1940s, and in 1950, the first professional association of music therapists was formed in the United States. The National Association of Music Therapy merged with the American Association of Music Therapy in 1998 to become the American Music Therapy Association.


Music is used to form a relationship with the patient. The music therapist sets goals on an individual basis, depending on the reasons for treatment, and selects specific activities and exercises to help the patient progress. Objectives may include development of communication, cognitive, motor, emotional, and social skills. Some of the techniques used to achieve this are singing, listening, instrumental music, composition, creative movement, guided imagery, and other methods as appropriate. Other disciplines may be integrated as well, such as dance, art, and psychology. Patients may develop musical abilities as a result of therapy, but this is not a major concern. The primary aim is to improve the patient’s ability to function.


Learning to play an instrument is an excellent musical activity to develop motor skills in individuals with developmental delays, brain injuries, or other motor impairment. It is also an exercise in impulse control and group cooperation. Creative movement is another activity that can help to improve coordination, as well as strength, balance, and gait. Improvisation facilitates the nonverbal expression of emotion. It encourages socialization and communication about feelings as well. Singing develops articulation, rhythm, and breath control. Remembering lyrics and melody is an exercise in sequencing forstroke victims and others who may be intellectually impaired. Composition of words and music is one avenue available to assist the patient in working through fears and negative feelings. Listening is an excellent way to practice attending and remembering. It may also make the patient aware of memories and emotions that need to be acknowledged and perhaps talked about. Singing and discussion is a similar method, which is used with some patient populations to encourage dialogue. Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is a very popular technique developed by music therapist Helen Bonny. Listening to music is used as a path to invoke emotions, picture, and symbols from the patient. This is a bridge to the exploration and expression of feelings.

Music and children

The sensory stimulation and playful nature of music can help to develop a child’s ability to express emotion, communicate, and develop rhythmic movement. There is also some evidence to show that speech and language skills can be improved through the stimulation of both hemispheres of the brain. Just as with adults, appropriately selected music can decrease stress, anxiety, and pain. Music therapy in a hospital environment with those who are sick, preparing for surgery, or recovering postoperatively is appropriate and beneficial. Children can also experience improved self-esteem through musical activities that allow them to succeed.
Newborns may enjoy an even greater benefit of music. Those who are premature experience more rapid weight gain and hospital discharge than their peers who are not exposed to music. There is also anecdotal evidence of improved cognitive function.

Music and rehabilitation

Patients with brain damage from stroke, traumatic brain injury, or other neurologic conditions have been shown to exhibit significant improvement as a result of music therapy. This is theorized to be partially the result of entrainment, which is the synchronization of movement with the rhythm of the music. Consistent practice leads to gains in motor skill ability and efficiency. Cognitive processes and language skills often benefit from appropriate musical intervention.

Music and the elderly

The geriatric population can be particularly prone to anxiety and depression, particularly in nursing home residents. Chronic diseases causing pain are also not uncommon in this setting. Music is an excellent outlet to provide enjoyment, relaxation, relief from pain, and an opportunity to socialize and reminisce about music that has had special importance to the individual. It can have a striking effect on patients with Alzheimer’s disease, even sometimes allowing them to focus and become responsive for a time. Music has also been observed to decrease the agitation that is so common with this disease. One study shows that elderly people who play a musical instrument are more physically and emotionally fit as they age than their nonmusical peers are.

Music and the mentally ill

Music can be an effective tool for the mentally or emotionally ill. Autism is one disorder that has been particularly researched. Music therapy has enabled some autistic children to relate to others and have improved learning skills. Substance abuse, schizophrenia, paranoia, and disorders of personality, anxiety, and affect are all conditions that may be benefited by music therapy. In these groups, participation and social interaction are promoted through music. Reality orientation is improved. Patients are helped to develop coping skills, reduce stress, and express their feelings.

Music and hospice

Pain, anxiety, and depression are major concerns with patients who are terminally ill, whether they are in hospice or not. Music can provide some relief from pain, through release of endorphins and promotion of relaxation. It can also provide an opportunity for the patient to reminisce and talk about the fears that are associated with death and dying. Music may help regulate the rapid breathing of a patient who is anxious, and soothe the mind. The Chalice of Repose project, headquartered at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana, is one organization that attends and nurtures dying patients through the use of music, in a practice they called music-thanatology by developer Therese Schroeder-Sheker. Practitioners in this program work to relieve suffering through music prescribed for the individual patient.

Music and labor

Research has proven that mothers require less pharmaceutical pain relief during labor if they make use of music. Using music that is familiar and associated with positive imagery is the most helpful. During early labor, this will promote relaxation. Maternal movement is helpful to get the baby into a proper birthing position and dilate the cervix. Enjoying some “music to move by” can encourage the mother to stay active for as long as possible during labor. The rhythmic auditory stimulation may also prompt the body to release endorphins, which are a natural form of pain relief. Many women select different styles of music for each stage of labor, with a more intense, or faster piece feeling like a natural accompaniment to the more difficult parts of labor. Instrumental music is often preferred.


Patients making use of music therapy should not discontinue medications or therapies prescribed by other health providers without prior consultation.

Research and general acceptance

There is little disagreement among physicians that music can be of some benefit for patients, although the extent to which it can have physical effects is not as well acknowledged in the medical community. Research has shown that listening to music can decrease anxiety, pain, and recovery time. There is also good data for the specific subpopulations discussed. A therapist referral can be made through the AMTA.



American Music Therapy Association, Inc. 8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1000 Silver Spring, ML 20910. (301) 589-3300.http://www.musictherapy.org.
Chalice of Repose Project at St. Patrick Hospital. 312 East Pine Street, Missoula, MT 59802. (406) 329-2810. Fax: (406) 329-5614. 〈http://www.saintpatrick.org/chalice/〉.

Key terms

Entrainment — The patterning of body processes and movements to the rhythm of music
Physiologic — Characteristic of normal, healthy functioning




What Music Therapy is NOT! by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.

Hello reader,

In  the future I’ll try to offer an explanation of music therapy. Let me start things off by telling you what music therapy is NOT.   I’d love to hear from you about what your conversations on the topic entail. I work with young kids, so there is a lot more to say on this topic regarding other populations.  After reading this – – what do you think?

1) “Oh, so music soothes the savage beast?”  No. Heavy metal probably won’t calm a bucking horse. Bach won’t tame a hungry lion.  Carefully selected music specific for a certain effect as chosen by a trained and schooled professional may, however, lower blood pressure, heart beat, galvonic skin response and breath rate among other things . But that’s positive only if you want that response. It may also lower levels of cortisol in your saliva, perception of danger (think anxiety over medical procedures) and pain levels. And specially prepared and selected music may lower levels of anesthesia during surgery and pain medication post surgery.

2) “What about the “Mozart Effect?” Won’t music make by baby smart, immune from sickness, more social, digest it’s food better, sleep better, and require fewer diaper changes? No. What Mozart and other gentle classical music WILL do is provide a more calm and restful, relaxed atmosphere for your baby to progress  in an  environment more conducive to healthy development.  You still need to be a good parent and appropriate music for your baby is wonderful. But having it in the background does not a valedictorian make. (P.S. I guess I haven’t really written about Don Cambell’s work or the tested Mozart Effect. Sorry! I guess they both have to do with putting the brain into a real and beneficial “ready state.” )

Certain classical pieces are played at tempos that “jive” with or make the body “sinc up”  with helpful tempos. Different brain waves operate at different tempos/speeds. Your heart, breath and other functions operate best at certain tempos. There is a powerful, measurable human condition  by which we tend to sinc up and match with what is going on around us. This phenomenon is called entrainment .Definition: 1.To pull or draw along after itself.2. Chemistry To carry (suspended particles, for example) along in a current. (from the online Free Dictionary, whatever that is.)   Entrainment Plays an important role in music therapy.  This is why music can have such a positive effect on us – or negative effect. Something to possibly think about.

3) “How nice is that! You must just love it!”  It is and I do! But music is a part of our present culture and social climate that is often taken for granted. It’s everywhere. It’s like oxygen.Vital.  Imagine today’s society with no music in the grocery store, on computers, phones, movies, advertisements, TV shows, radios, radio ads, computers, plays, games, instruments, social programs, restaurants, bars  or offices. It’s so ubiquitous that we forget what it’s actually doing TO US. It is a powerful and significant force! It is just as meaningful as any other type of therapy be it physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy etc.   I love that comment because ” It is and I do” but those words open up a door for conversation about what music therapy really is on a deeper level.     🙂

4) All (fill in the blanks) Kids just automatically love and respond so well to music!  Well yes, but- what music will have what effect?  My job is to figure out which music will have a desired response. Then, some teachers tell me certain kids “don’t like” music.  Those children may have sensory systems that desire sameness and get stressed out with different sounds, or loud sounds, or soft sounds. What about high pitches and low pitches? Medium? (I wear cotton in my ears all day bc I can’t tolerate the highs any more.) What about unexpected, unpredictable noises that can happen in a music therapy class with 11 other children?  What if the way certain instruments look and play scare them? Ew, what if they don’t want to, or can’t reach out and touch an instrument? So many factors. What if the kids who Love music only want to play certain songs and never others? (Like Happy Birthday…..)  What if they space out to music and actually de-focus or get distracted by the combination of sounds. Or can’t tell one sound from another and “tune out?”  What if the music brings out the sadness of life events to a child, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

This is where the specifically trained music therapy professional with LOTS of experience and knowledge comes in. My next blog will talk about what music therapy IS and about the training of a music therapist. What do you think about this??  I’m curious.

For Music Therapy Students and Pro: About Transposition by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.

Major KEY
How to tell
no #, b
2 #
4 #
1 b
1 #
3 #
Minor Key
2 #
1 b
1 #

On Transposing: (for “non-musicians”)

I transpose a song when the key it is in is too high or low for my purposes – most often too high or low for me or my class to sing along. How do you know what key a song is in? There are at least two ways. Most often the first and last chords in a song are the same as the “key.”  You can check this by observing what the most frequently used chord is. This works best for the vast majority of songs.  Included in this chart is a column called “how to tell.” You can often identify by counting the numbers of sharps (#) or flats (b) at the very beginning of the song.  Of course, you can always use a  guitar capo to raise the sound of your music.



Simple. It’s like algebra. Ok- it’s like balancing gold on a scale. If you want the song to balance out even, just add the same thing to each side of the scale. So to go from the key of C to the key of E, just be consistent and add the same amount of half-steps to each side. OR use this chart. Change all the Cs to Es, all the Fs to As, and all the Gs to Bs or B7s (because B7 is much nicer.)  Change from one to the other, but be consistent.  That’s all there is to it. To go from Am to Em, change all the Ams to Ems, all the E’s to B7s etc.

See, not hard…just keep the balance consistent.  Notice that the I, IV, and V chords are in bold. That’s because these chords are very good friends and tend to travel through songs together as a group.

Another reason to transpose is that the chords are too tricky or uncomfortable for you to play.  You don’t see many guitar songs written in crazy keys like B, G# or Db.  Here are some more common transpositions: Again, play a song in the way that suits your particular needs or those of your group.  Not so hard, really.

BY Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes


from to optional capo fret
Bb A , C 1 to make A sound like Bb
F E, G 1 to make E sound like F
Gm Em 2 …
Fm Em 1…
Cm Am 2

Music Therapy Goodbye Song appropriate for older children by Margie La Bella

-Age: 5-10
-Goal Area: Session closure
-Objective: Students will sing along (either echoing phrases, finishing phrases, or singing complete phrases- two phrases each stanza rather than one and it’s echo.)Let it be said  that the first half of each phrases is the most appropriate, social statement to teach.   The second half is more fun and elicits kid’s  attention. 
-Method:  Sing and do (I used google image and got pictures of all the characters, as a visual aid.)
-Adaptations: See objective.
-Submitted by: Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes.
-Melody: adaptation of “I won’t grow up” from the musical “Peter Pan.”   http://youtu.be/HJ8nPYSNobg
The song can also be rapped, put into a blues form or whatever other melody you need for your age group and clientele.  
See you later, alligator.
In a while, crocodile.
Stay sweet, parakeet.
Better swish, jellyfish.
Bye-bye, butterfly.
Out the door, dinosaur.
Take care, polar bear.
Give a hug, lady bug.
Certainly add in your own desired phrases and let us know about them, too. What can your class come up with? Here’s one more phrase: Ok, more: 
Gotta go, buffalo. And another: See ya soon, sweet baboon! Also Toodaloo Kangaroo!
PS: I tried this on my preschoolers today and discovered that it also promoted the labeling of the animals, as well as the sounds that the various animals make. Got lots of growls and sound effect from some usually quiet tykes!

For Music Therapy Students: Choosing the “Right” key by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

I thought I’d write a post on choosing a key to sing in when facilitating a  music therapy experience.  This is for student music therapists and new practitioners.

One of my tricks is that I turn my guitar one full step “too low.”  I don’t think of letter names, actually, I just perceive my guitar as a step down. But, in reality, rather than EADGBE, my guitar is actually tuned to DGCFAD.  After that, I play it on capo 2.

You may think that that negates the tuning. Yes. It does BUT it lets me remove the capo if a song is too high for me to sing comfortably. Singing in a key that you sound pleasant in is significant.  And it makes the strings easier to press down on which can be a great side effect/benefit.  That’s a guitar playing trick in and of itself if you have a guitar (or fingers) that make pressing on the strings a challenge!

Secondly, use the capo. Capo 2 too low? Raise the capo and sound better in the new raised key.  Men and women find it hard to sing in each other’s keys and a capo can really remedy this issue.

Another thing to remember regarding keys is how far away the recipient’s ears are! If a song is too low for you, then you won’t be able to project so the group can hear.  If a song is too high and you are in a hospital for an individual session you might hurt that persons ear and come off as yelling to them.  Capos can help here by raising the capo and key or taking the capo off and being able to sing a whole step down.  This assumes you had tuned your guitar down a step and were utilizing the trick described above. I mean the…. adaptation.

Lastly, using the capo might make you think that pre-tuned melodic instruments would no longer be in the correct key and therefore sound bad.  Not necessarily the case. Think about this:  with the guitar in G major the pentatonic scale is g,a,b d, and e.  What if your song in G is too low to sing.  Well, if you sing the song in C major more comfortably ….your pentatonic G scale still contains g,a,c,d, and e.  These notes are all much in your C major scale! They will blend in well enough to make the key change worth while.  Any dissonant notes can function to resolve nicely in C. Not too bad in D major as well.

Transposing by hand (if ya’ll still do that kind of thing without internet help) is a lot like algebra or chemistry. Didn’t that make you feel better ????!  NOT hard: just keep adding or subtracting the same amount of steps from each side of the equation depending on if you want to go up or down.  If you’re going from the key of C to the key of D, then just add a whole step to each chord.  From G to E would be 3 half steps or 1 1/2 steps down.



Music Therapy Students Singing off Key? No way! What’s your experience? by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

[Gee, I think I ticked some people off by writing about this topic. Look, I’m not meaning to offend anyone and maybe I’ll tone this down, but this is a topic that has affected me about three times over the past twenty years as an internship supervisor. I’m not commenting on vocal quality because the heart always trumps over the natural voice.  It’s the musicianSHIP that reaches people, not the vocal quality or lack thereof, or the confidence or experience or lack of.  That can always come later. So here’s my original blog. Really, it’s not meant to offend anyone!! It’s just something I was thinking about one day. ]

Shouldn’t all music therapists automatically sing on key? Isn’t that a basic requirement, like dentists should know virtually everything about teeth? Or taxi drivers know how to drive?  Or Tax examiners know math?? But, really… isn’t singing on key —  and the auditory, perceptual and physical skills required 100% vital to doing a good job as a music therapist?  If you can’t sing on pitch you maybe shouldn’t be allowed to get to the internship level! If you need to hear the melody on piano to match the pitches, maybe music therapy isn’t for you.  A closely related field may be a better fit; a win-win. Like psychology, speech therapy, OT, special education…..

When I was in school, every music therapist major had to take a basic singing course and participate in chorus. Every music therapy student also had to major or minor in piano. It is true that some music therapy students  audition and are brilliant on various other instruments. I personally can’t figure how someone could be a great trumpet player or violinist and not hear when they are singing out of tune.

There are lots of tone qualities that a singer’s voice can embody. Some people who are not  “great” natural singers simply need to open their mouth, stand straight and breath more to“sound better.”   – – Problem solved.    How you use your voice and your musical sensitivity is maybe more important that it’s timbre or tone quality. That’s where the heart and feeling and intuition of sensitivity and musicality come in.  Raspy, breathy, thin, full,  operatic, pop, jazzy, (etc.) can each please the ear.  It’s the spirit of the voice that transmits its message.

More than fifteen years ago, I was presented with two music therapy students who really could  not sing on pitch.  One switched into psychology, which I thought was a great idea, because she had great insight into what was happening therapeutically and I don’t know about the other. She did have a point when she asked why she was allowed to get as far as she did. That really wasn’t fair to her.

I’m assuming that vocal and piano class are essential in the education of all music therapy students.  Write to me and let me know about your program and/or experience.  Have you had a student who was new to singing who learned to sing well?  A student who did not?  I’m just throwing this topic in to see what you all are thinking. Let me know. Either way.