Instrument ABC Videos Playlist for students. Whole alphabet with Instruments from A-Z .

Hello friends,

I compiled this you tube playlist last year for use in our school.  The videos pair each letter of the alphabet with an instrument– often several.   There are several age groups represented from the very, very young to kids to teens and adults, too.   The instruments are from all over the world and so this could compliment cultural and geography studies in any class.  For certain music therapy populations, think  “Instrument Bingo,” “Name that instrument,”or Musical “Hangman.”

This link is immensely helpful as it has the instruments in alphabetical instrument, gives a short history of each instrument and offers a sound bite as well.

Great song for a new School Year. Good for Conscience Discipline. “There’s No One Else Just like ME!” music therapy song activity for children

Goal: to improve self concept, joint participation, eye contact, body part vocabulary etc.

Source: It’s been handed down from person to person all the way down to me. Please let me know the writer so I can give credit where credit is sure due.

There’s no one else like me.


There’s no one else just like me.


There’s no one else just like me.


Like me. Like me.


There’s no one else like me. Like me. Like me.


There’s no one else like me.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  =-

Middle section:


From the top of my head to my wiggly toes.


From the back of my ears to the tip of my nose.

–  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –   –



I’m me. I’m me.   There’s no one else like me.


Like me. Like me. There’s no one else like me.

-Can follow up with Hap Palmer’s

“Oh, What a Miracle am I!”

and/or Laurie Berkner’s  “Me and My Energy.”





Top 10 Activities for May and June

Spring; I think they got the name from watching kids spring, jump, fidget, wiggle, and bounce!  In the effort to help kids express their inner exuberance, we music therapists provide lots of experiences to utilize that energy in a success-based,  positive experience.  Of course, the children might not be aware of it but we are also developing their attention span, body concept, self-expression, concept development, social skills and more!

I’ll provide as many you tube links as possible so you can hear the melodies. And please remember that any song that gives a direction can be modified where either you sing your own directives based upon the needs of  your student(s) or you can incorporate directions/movements that the student suggests.  PECs pictures can be used to interact with low-verbal kids. You can reflect (lyrically and musically) the motions of the group, if these are part of your goals.


Here are my top 10 late spring activities.

1. I’ve got the Sunshine in my hands (Lyrics can be worked to teach about seasons and related activities)

2. When the Rain Comes Down (Relaxing song beautiful for signing)

3. I love to Watch the River Flow (for following directions and vocalization of sounds)

4. The Caterpillar (for acting out the life cycle of a butterfly, and using imagination)

5. Under a Shady Tree by Laurie Berkner  (Singing and signing, acting out the lyrics, following directions)

6. Can’t sit still by Greg and Steve (energy expression, and following directions. Can be adapted in a myriad ways)

7.  Tweet Little Birdy by Margie La Bella (for acting out lyrics, repeating short sentences, vocalization, birds)

8. Inch by Inch, Row by Row (longer sentences, acting out the lyrics, taking care of our earth, growing plants…)

9.  Shake Something by Hap Palmer  (moving in specific ways reflecting a variety of concepts.)

10. One, Two, Three Wheeee  (for directions, impulse control, motor control)


Fun Birthday Song for children’s or elderly Music Therapy Group by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

This was a spontaneous, group song that happened during a group instrumental “jam.”

The teacher called out “It’s Luke’s Birthday today” while we were playing “Skinamarink” for Valentine’s day.

We suddenly joined in (WITH Luke’s permission!!) a verse of a birthday version of the old standard.  It went like this:


Skinamarinky dinky dink. Skinarmarinky duke.

G………….. Am

We love Luke.   (Rhyme likewise for other people’s names.)

Am…………….. D7……………. Am……………….. D7

Skinamarinky dinky dink. Skinarmarinky duke.


We love Luke.


We love you in the morning and in the afternoon.


Happy happy birthday underneath the moon!


Skinamarinky dinky dink. Skinarmarinky duke.


We love Luke.




“Name that Sound” easy auditory discrimination and memory activity for music therapy and education by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes.

This is great! So easy and so useful!  I got some great cloth bags from BearPawCreek and used them to store instruments.  But I had one or two extra.  I put all my instruments into a bin and used the bag to scoop one up without the children being able to see what I was doing. Then, I played the instrument with my hands inside the bag and asked the kids to tell me what they heard.  We repeated the game for several common rhythm instruments and the class loved it!  We then followed up with a group instrumental song.

Good for the following skills: auditory discrimination, auditory memory, expressive language, attention span and focus.







This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on the use of alternate

adaptive notation systems for children, adolescents, and adults who contend with

autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us. Thank you for reading.




I’ve been working on the Farm Yard / barn yard music therapy activity song for children (helps with vocalizing and vocal play.)

I asked my observation student, Anne Crean, to come up with an animal song. She said she tried to avoid “Old Mac Donald” and so adapted this song on her own. Great job “observing”, Anne!!

This song would work quite well with youngsters needing to discover and experiment with their voices and vocal abilities. Older tykes needing to associate animal sounds with animals and those needing experience in producing certain sounds (C-V, and CVCs) would also benefit from this one.

I’ve been working on the farm yard all the live long day.
D E7 A
I’ve been working on the farm yard to pass the time away.
A7 D G F#7 OR D7
Can’t you hear the cows all mooing; moo moo moo moo moooo.
G D A7 D
Can’t you hear the cows all mooing; moo moo moo moo mooo.

(Then- in place of “Dinah won’t you blow,” simply add in your own mooooosic and moo your heart out.)
Chords are:
D/D/G/G/A/A/D/D/ D/D/E/E/A7/A7/D//

Switch animals and related sounds until your group is all sung out.

TOP 10 THANKSGIVING music therapy SONGS for children (and adolescents and adults: see list at end!) by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes

Hi Everyone, Here’s my list. Working on getting all the links done – but I’ve been looking all over!  At the bottom is a great link of songs for young and older adults from Time Out New Yorker’s List

1. Thanksgiving Swing 

2. Hi-ya Ho!

3. With my Long Tail feathers –  via Sue Ribaudo on her Earth Celebration CD

4. Uncle Joe

5. Barnyard Boogie by Greg and Steve

6. Family by Laurie Berkner

7. It’s Thanksgiving by Nichole Westbrook

8. The 10 Days of Thanksgiving by Rachael Rambach

9. Turkey Time by harry kindergarten

10. Move and Freeze

Bonus Link: 20 best Thanksgiving songs














This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on Thanksgiving Songs for  children, adolescents, and adults who contend with autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us on our journey. That about covers it. Thank you for reading.


TOP 10 (plus) HALLOWEEN Songs for music therapy and music education activities for children

My top ten Halloween Activity Songs

1. The Monster Hoedown (slowed considerably) I have a video explaining how to do that.
2. On Halloween Day on Halloween Night (changing some words depending on age group)
3. It’s a Halloween Party by Frank Ledo
4. Spooky Loo
5. The Dark Dark House (sometimes I change the last word Ghost to Toast to make it less scary for little folk.)
6. Laurie Berkner’s Monster Boogie Song
7. Werewolves of London (It has a Sweet Home Alabama feel and is great for vocalization on “ooOOooo.)  Also good for the “ooOOOoos” is “Skin and Bones” at
8. Mr. Billy’s “His Name was Jack.”
9. Moving to Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King”
10. On Halloween Night by Peter Allard and Sesame Street’s Monster in the Mirror

****Bonus songs *****are my two Halloween Song videos with 6 songs total. Check out:


Lastly, here is a list of Timeout NY’s  TOP 20 Halloween Songs











This has been a blog by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes on Halloween songs for use with  children, adolescents, and adults who contend with autism, add, adhd, down’s syndrome, down syndrome, ptsd, trauma, psychiatric issues,  learning disabilities, ld, cp, and all the rest of us on our journey. That about covers us. Thank you for reading.

How to play a song by Ear aka: How to figure out the Chords by Margie La Bella of Music Therapy Tunes


This is a topic I’ve been very curious about and I’d love feedback from both trained and self-taught musicians, schooled, unschooled, classical, improv, other-taught etc

First of all, some people just have the “knack.” I started out on the clarinet at age 9 and played by ear two weeks later and was hooked.  Playing by sight is less natural and sometimes painful to me. People who can fluently do both may have it made in the shade.

Here are a few analogies that happen in my brain. I’d love to hear about yours. (No pun.)


In one way, it’s like walking. If I go into the spare bedroom, it’s a short walk and must be and is that way. The TV set is just further and to go there I have to cross a wide gap, but not as far as the garage.  It’s about mental placement.  Or it’s like sorting mail. The “A” letters go in this top pile because they just do.  The “Ms” go in the middle and they must. The “Qs” go a little further down the line.  Things have their place and they just must go there.  Spoons don’t go in the fork compartment.  Enough with that analogy.


Here’s how I approached picking out a chord progression from the radio before I took music theory.  Most songs just have patterns of chords. If a C goes to an F then a Dm, then there will probably be places where the same sequence of chords appears later in the song – –  Often over and over.  I guess my ear tried to pick out the bass notes and then used  the related chords (either major or minor); whichever the song sounded like. The Bass note is key here. The little bass decorative bass note runs are not in this mix. The louder, longer, more on (or nearest) the beat are the ones I’m talking about here. The bass line often plays the name of the chord.  A “G” chord will have a G bass note and so on.


After taking music theory and learning about I, IV,Vs and other chord progressions numerically, I saw the greater system.  This explained why Cs,F, and Gs were often together in songs just like As,Es, and Ds.  Most songs on the radio follow a 1,4,5,1 progression.  vi, VI, IV is also popular. Now, there are lots of  IV,V, vi,V in popular songs.


I’ll try to write about all those numbers later on.  But I don’t think in terms of numbers when listening to a song I want to figure out. I listen to the bass line. The introduction itself is like a little microcosm of the whole song. It usually contains both the majority of chords in the song and how they are strung together.

Once you have the intro figured out, most of the song will  be those very chords played over and over – or at least the chorus. Then you will have the sequence of verse-chords which stay pretty much the same from verse to verse.  Songs often have a “bridge” portion; that interest piquing different part after two verses that brings you back home to your beloved chorus.  Those chords may be different from the chorus or verses.


I sing along with the bass line then take it to the guitar or piano.   Those notes are usually played over and over and they often carry the (name of the ) chord. And that is your song.

Internet site song chords are often correct for the most part, but some leave a bit to be desired.  Try singing the bass notes to see if the chords are on the correct words and are based(!) on the correct note.  Fiddle around with some different related chords and that may bring the song to life for you.  Try using a chord from further on down the song.


[Shoot; that’s a whole other topic. How do you know when to even switch the chords if they are poorly placed on the screen? The new chord is often on the first beat of the measure or on the emphasized or longest word. Sometimes at the beginning of the sentence. On the word that the sound becomes different or moves. My ears just hear it. The color of the picture changes. Suddenly, there is a new shape, or texture.  One is a glass, one is a plate. Things just shift. How would YOU describe this?? Margie is curious! ]

If I’m really stumped by a chord I just find the bass note and play around with any chord containing that note.

I’d really like to hear how you all figure out melodies and chords. How do you get the job done??  What mental pictures can you sort of use to help explain your method?  Do you prefer reading or playing by ear?  And what do you use your music for/ to accomplish?

What’s your end result??  What technique do you use to improve your skills? And all that Jazz??  🙂




Submitted by Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes. com.

How to play songs by ear, playing by ear for musicians and “non-musicians” and is there such a thing, really…..

Dinosaur Dance “Walk the Dinosaur” music therapy & ed movement routine performance song for children and older children by Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes

Everybody walk the Dinosaur

-Age: preschool and up

-Goal Area:  attention, sequencing, memory, impulse control, fun, left right concepts, and left – right brain hemisphere stimulation.

-Objective: Folks will follow  the movement sequence of the dance/movment routine.

-Materials: Accompanying instrument, group, possible recording of song

-Method: Sing – demonstrate – do.  Our kids gravitated to the drumsticks playing the Boom chacka lacka. They got a kick out the words, as well. The topic is HOT with kids.  The verse’s movements are repetitive.  The chorus took time. For quite a while we just opened the door. They we spoke about all the silliness of walking a dinosaur. After that class we opened our “doors” and walked our pet dinos. Some time later, we were able to stamp on the floor as well. Some of the kids could do it, some couldn’t but it didn’t matter.  I actually had a class of  older 3’s perform this for their parents at graduation.  Old kids can jazz it up and make it more “current.”

-Adaptations: Slow the song down, adapt the motions to be more or less physical depending on your kids, your goals, and the purpose of the song.  Ours was to perform at graduation. Lots of programs have a dinosaur unit at one time or another.

-Submitted by: Margie La Bella of music therapy tunes.

-Melody and one version of routine with young children:

-Composer:Apparently, the original lyrics are not very child friendly. Luckily, Queen Latifa did her magic in “Ice Age 3” the movie. The original song was written by the band “Was, not Was” in 198

The recorded song moves quickly and has a bit of a repetitive verse.  I used some free programs (Audacity) to slow the entire song down and cut out one chorus at the end.

Here’s my video one  on how to do that.

Lyrics to Walk The Dinosaur 

Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom

Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom
Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom


(We do this song seated. You can certainly stand if you want. Our group imitated the kids in the video and played air-drums twice then gave a hip shake for the acka-lacka booms.)

It was a night like this forty million years ago
I said I’ll be your friend, I go wherever you go
I heard the sound of drums
Didn’t know they where from
Wherever i was it started to buzz
And know I’m having fun

.  .  .  .

.  .. .. ..
(For this verse, we did “rainbow claps;” by clapping with both hands on the left side of the body, arching the right hand back to the right side then bringing the left hand to meet it and so ending with clapping both hands on the right side of the body.  Then visa versa.I’ll word it nice and sanely- – clap on one side, make the rainbow and then clap on the other side. )
Everybody walk the dinosaur (Both hands on the right side like dinosaur claws.)
You can do it, do the dinosaur (Both hands on the left side like dinosaur claws.)
Put your back into it, do the dinosaur (Claws on the right.)
they’ll be shocked, do the dinosaur (Claws on the left.)


Open the door, get on the floor ( Pretend to open a door, stamp your feet 3x)
Everybody walk the dinosaur (Pretend to walk your dino like a huge dog.)
Open the door, get on the floor (Repeat…..)
Everybody walk the dinosaur


Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom….


I met you in a cave, you were painting buffalo
I said I’d be your friend, I go wherever you go
That night we split a rattlesnake and danced beneath the stars
You fell asleep, I stayed awake and watched the passing cars.

(During the second verse, we clap our hands under one leg and then the other throughout.)


Each part is done the same for each repetition. If you use the music track, there is an instrumental portion during which we made faces and postures like 4 different dinosaurs)

Open the door, get on the floor…….

Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur
Open the door, get on the floor
Everybody walk the dinosaur

Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom
Boom boom acka-lacka lacka boom
Boom boom acka-lacka boom boom