“What I like” fill-in song writing music therapy activity for kids and adolescents

Age: 6-12
Goal Area: emotional expression and social skills
Name of Activity: Here’s my name and what  I like
Objective: Students will fill out a song form with their name and things they like/dislike.
Materials: Pages with song and blank spaces provided, pens, a variety of age-appropriate instruments.
Adaptations: Teacher takes down their answers and sings them if students are not able.
Method: Students fill out form, choose an instrument to accompany it with and perform their verse.
Submitted by:  Margie@musictherapytunes.com
Lyrics and Chords: Kids can rap this or jam to any popular chord progression. Examples: Em-C- D repeated.  Em-Dm repeated.  Blues progression.
   My name is ________________. I said _______________is my name.
               _______________________ is my favorite game.
               I like___________________ think____________________is bad.
               My song is _______________________ the best that I had.

“Musical Bingo” teaches music signs or instruments. Great for music education lesson plans.

Goal Area: cognitive and social
Name of Activity:  Musical sign Bingo
Objective: Clients learn about musical signs and notes. See adaptations. They play the game patiently and accept their own or someone else’s winning.
Materials: Home-made or prepared  music bingo cards and place markers.
Method: Play Musical Bingo and use a favorite song as the prize.
Adaptations: Use this format to teach rhythm instruments, or band/orch instruments!! Use to teach rhythm reading of simple patterns. Use to teach everyday environmental sounds. This is a big auditory discrimination goal! It takes some effort to prepare the sounds and cards, but it’ll be worth your while.
Submitted by: Margie labella at music therapy tunes

“Speechy Hot Potato” music & speech therapy activity

-Age: 0-5 and up
-Goal Area: Language and auditory processing
-Name of Activity: Hot Potato
-Objective: Children take turns being it: answering questions and playing the xylophone
-Materials: prepared questions appropriate for group, xylophone
-Method: Play a song meaningful to the group, and have the children pass a maraca around the circle.  When the music stops, the child holding the maraca must answer a question.  Invite the speech therapist into this process if you can.  (If the group is non-verbal, have the child follow a direction.)  That child then goes to the center of the circle and plays the xylophone while the process is repeated.  Continue until everyone has had a turn answering questions and playing the xylophone.
-Submitted by: (optional name and email)  Margie@musictherapytunes.com
Sing to any age-appropriate song.  An non-fascinating example is as follows:
Tune: Wheels on the Bus, or any other kid song. As you see the words are easy to adapt.
C                                                                    G                       C
Shake the maraca and pass it down. Pass it down. Pass it down.
Shake the maraca and pass it down.
G                         C
Until the music stops.

“River Flow” music therapy song for vocalization and oral-motor skills (great speech therapy song!)

Age: 0 to 5 and older
Goal Area: Language (expressive / oro-motor and receptive)  SEE VIDEO Page
Name of Activity: I love to watch the river flow by Laurie Berkner’s   Rocketship CD   (Check out the melody on you tube.)
Objective: Children will vocalize during the chorus and perform the directions presented during the verses.
Materials: Lyrics and children (see videos)
Method: Sing the song and encourage to vocalize during the chorus. (A toy/real mic will help.) Model the directions given through the verse.
Adaptations: (optional)  Make it an artic song and put various consonants before the vowell/s, vary the one-step direction.  (doo-dah, or boo-bah, or eee-ah depending upon the needs of the group.  
Submitted by: (optional name and email)  Margie at musictherapytunes.com
Walk Along The River  (look under the video section)
When I walk along the river (I take a step, I take a step, I take another step)
[repeat 2x: first time using a C chord, then using a D chord ]
      C            G                     D
 I love to watch the river flow 2x
… … … … 
   chorus:    G                                   D                           
       It goes ooh wah ooh wah   Ooh wah ooh wah   
    A7                                                 D
  Ooh wah ooh wah   ooh wah ooh.  (repeat one time.)
    Verse 2:  When I Jump Along the river….
    Verse 3:  When I dance along the river….

“Shadow Dancing” music therapy activity for Groundhog’s day

-Age: 6 to 12
-Goal Area: social skills (leading and following)
-Name of Activity: Shadow music.  Great for Groundhog’s day.
-Objective: Clients take turns going behind the screen and having the rest of the group imitate their movement/dancing.
-Materials: overhead projector or other light source, sheet, music of a variety of styles.
-Method: Hold the sheet perpendicular to the floor in front of the light source. Have the kids move between the sheet and the light to create shadows. Practice ways to move and make shadows. Have kids come up one or two at a time, or in small groups, or make a parade with everyone going around the sheet. Hold other objects behind the sheet and have the children name the object.
-Adaptations: “Greg and Steve” have a song called “Just like Me,”  which is great for this.  This activity is great for groundhog’s day.
Try it with short excerpts from a variety of musical styles, genres, orchestrations, and time periods. This is good for helping to establish
a relationship between what is heard and a related physical response.
Submitted by: (optional name and email)  Margie@musictherapytunes.com

“The 12 Days of Song Writing” for music therapy with children and teens

-Age:  6 to 12 and older
-Goal:  cooperation and cognitive skills
-Name of Activity:  The Twelve Days of Whatever (you’d like.)  First day of school,   Halloween, -Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, Arbor day….Vacation.
-Materials: Pen and paper, instruments to accompany each verse and represent each character.
-Method: Write it. Assign instrument parts. Have the students play when their character is mentioned.
-Draw pictures to symbolize each part of the song and each corresponding instrument.
-Submitted by: Margie la Bella of musictherapytunes.com
-Melody: the 12 days of Christmas 
Sample words: On the first day of Halloween my ghoulfriend gave to me.
1. An owl in a haunted tree.  (The instrument could be a whistle, blowing into a bottle, an ocarina….)
2. Two trick-or-treaters  (Say it in an obnoxious voice.)
3. Three scary skeletons  (play a guiro or clatterpillar)
Make up your own with your own creatures.  

“Two-Step Direction Song” music therapy lesson plan for kids

-Age:  6 to 12 and younger
-Goal Area: social skills (but also physical and language skills, too.)
-Name of Activity: Two step directions
-Objective: Clients will take turns naming ways to move and then moving in those ways- two movements per verse.
-Materials: “ Two-step directions” adapted from  “I’m gonna wash that man right out of my hair,” from South Pacific.  (You can find the melody on you tube.)
-Method: Ask two children to think of a way to move and incorporate their suggestions into the song lyrics.  Give everyone a turn.
-Adaptations: provide an entire verse for one child/motion.  Make different classifications of movements such as “how can you move your hands,” or
“Show me a slow way to move,” or “how do you move when you’re sad.”  Of course you can pick a different melody if you like. 
-Submitted by: (optional name and email) Margie La Bella of Music therapy tunes. com
An example of this would be: (providing you reflect the childrens answers.)
     (G)            C            C/B               C/A    C/G   
I’m gonna clap my   hands and  turn around.
(repeat two more times.)
          Dm                            G7
Good job Manuel and James.    End last time on chord “C.”

“Seated Dance Routine” music therapy / education activity for all kids, teens and adults

Age: 13 to 18 and everyone else (I use with pre-k but also good for the elderly)
Goal Area: Memory, attention, patterning
Name of Activity: Watson Allman’s Dance (Seated)
Objective: Clients remember and perform the step in the dance
Materials: Song Watson Allman by Sam Bush on Glamour and Grits. GREAT CD!
Method: I chant the directions until the group is familiar with them, then gradually fade them out.
Adaptations: (optional)  Have the members think of their own movements. (You’ll see the chant and the related motions below.)  The words and movement really mirror the music.   So you’ll hear what part of the words can be adjusted for your group.
I’ll underline the words that are best changed/adjusted, to try to make seem less difficult- but it’s not!
Submitted by: (optional name and email) Margie La Bella fro Music Therapy tunes.
Motions:  After the intro,  snap to the next 4 measures (counted slowly)
Part One:   feet feet feet and a clap clap clap. (repeat 2 more times.)    Then round and around and a tap tap tap.   (motions: move one foot toward you and the other foot away- repeat 2x and then clap clap clap.   Spin arms and tap knees.)
Part two is same as  part one.
Part three: Throw the baseball and hit it with a bat. (repeat 2x) Now two thumbs up what do you think of that?  ( pretend to throw a ball. Clasp hands together on one shoulder, switch shoulders, and return to the first one- like bad batting.)
Part Four: Open close. Open close,  and clap, clap, clap. Repeat 2x.  Then round and
Part Five: Twist, twist, twist and clap, clap, clap
Part 6: This is a repeat of part three
Part 7: This is a recap of part one




Mellow Good bye Song for music therapy / education

-Age: 6 to 10 and younger….
-Goal Area: closure
-Name of Activity: Goodbye song from the Bear in the Big Blue House
-Objective: Clients end session on a positive note. Reciprocal interaction. Participation and eye contact. 
-Materials: song and people
-Method: Sing and participate.
-Adaptations: You can adapt this by singing children’s names in the verses, perhaps incorporating session events also.
-Submitted by: Amanda G. Ellis, MT-BC at “morewithmusic.com”
-Lyrics,chords, solfege, melody used: Bear in the Big Blue House on youtube
F                         F/A                 Bb(or Fsus is easier)               Bb-C
Hey this was really fun, we hope ………………you liked it too.
F                                F/A                             Bb                        G-C
Seems like we’ve just begun, when suddenly we’re through.
          F            Bb                  C                        F                                Bb        C
Goodbye, goodbye good friends goodbye. ‘Cause now it’s time to go.
        F        Bb           C      Dm                             Bb                      C          F
But hey, I say, well that’s Ok, cause we’ll see you very soon I know.
vs 2: Oh when we have to go away it’s kind of sad but then
it’s nice to know it won’t be long ’till we get to see each other again.
‘Till we meet again.   (same chords as verse 1)

“Move and Freeze” concept development activity for special education lesson plans

-Age: 6-12
-Goal Area: Cognitive thinking skills
-Name of Activity: Dance and freeze (problem solving, understanding prepositions.)
-Objective: children will follow the directions given during the game.
-Materials: Music that the kids are familiar with and enjoy (not too rowdy.)
-Method: Tell the children that they are to move to the music and then freeze in the stated position when the music stops.
-Adaptations: see below
-Submitted by: Margie La Bella
-Lyrics and Chords: Up to you and the needs/preferences of your group.
Here are examples of how to get the game going:
1. When the music stops, freeze behind your chair. ( Or other spacial relations.)
2. ………………………………. put your head (foot, elbow or other body part) on your chair
3. A combo version………. put your (part) under (or other preposition) your chair.
4. Another combo ………..put one foot under your chair and the other on top.
5. Freeze like a decided upon animal or character.
6. Freeze near something yellow (or other color.)
7. Freeze near something we eat at, or sharpen our pencils with, or where we hang out backpacks… or other object-function relationship.
8. Try whatever you and/or the kids think up.