Music Therapy Session Ideas
Music Therapy Session Ideas
E-Books

Tune In To Teens: Creative Ideas for Connection & Music Therapy Session Planning – Check out our brand NEW e-course designed for music therapists who work with teens and want to provide sessions that truly rock! The course is jam packed with fresh new session ideas, sheet music, MP3s, session videos & demo videos. Check it out!

Grab a FREE download for your teen sessions (Rap Track MP3 + PDF of the Friendship Rap) by clicking here.

Jazz Up Your Adapted Lessons With This Technique 

The Costume Rap {for tweens & teens} – Learn a simple rap to facilitate verbal & nonverbal communication skills during Halloween (MP3 available!).

Session Planning with “Stitches” – See how I use “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes therapeutically to address attention-based goals.

AMP UP Your Teen Sessions (Part 1): Best Day of My Life – See how I use the song by American Authors to facilitate a song discussion.

AMP UP Your Teen Sessions (Part 2): The ABCs of Music – A musical game I use as an ice breaker or warm activity at the start of a session.

AMP UP Your Teen Sessions (Part 3): Movement Combos – Read how I use hip hop and rap beats to facilitate movement experiences.

Performing Bruno Mars & Will.I.Am – See pictures from the tweens and teens of Friendship Circle Miami, performing for their families at the Morning of Talent.

Rap Lyrics That Are Going To Move You – Read the powerful rap lyrics that were written by one of my teen clients with autism.

How Do I Use Phil Phillips & Taylor Swift Songs Therapeutically With Teens? – Click to find out!

Being Brave with Your Teen Groups – Using Sara Bareilles to facilitate a thought provoking song discussion.

Are You Looking for More Pop Songs to Use in Your Teen Sessions? – Check out the resource I have available to help you!

Empowering Teens Through Rhythm & The Cups Song – Give teens the opportunity to feel empowered by being the group leader in this rhythm activity.

Rapping About Friendship – Here’s  simple way to incorporate positive rapping into your teen group sessions.

Rap Pack for Teens – Want to find out how to use raps therapeutically for teens with autism & other special needs? Check out the Rap Pack {E-Book + mp3s}! Click to listen to sample mp3s with looped beats for rapping.

Drumming By Number – This intervention idea works on improvisation, imitation, AND sequencing!

Shake, Rattle & Roll – An instrument jam activity for teens.

“Cause This is Thriller!” Halloween Session Ideas for Teens – Halloween musical song story with instruments AND creative movement to MJ’s Thriller. My teen group loved these interventions.

Musical Games ~Musical BINGO – This game is fun, while also working on auditory perception and listening skills.

The Empathy Song – The Mosaic Project is a beautiful project intent on spreading peace and love through music. “The Empathy Song” is fantastic tool to begin a discussion and lyric analysis on the topic of empathy.

Guess the Weather – Practice those listening and attention skills to see what weather is being sung about in each song.

Musical Games ~ Valentine’s Day BINGO – One of the most popular games with my teen groups! It can be adapted for any holiday!

Musical Games ~ Musical Hangman – Another musical game hit!

Put a Little Love in Your Heart – Valentine’s Day songwriting. Feel the love.

More LOVE-ly Ideas for Valentine’s Day – Check out this Valentine’s Day session plan that will engage your entire group.

Here’s How Tuneful Teens is Working for YOU – One Tuneful Teens reader shares the song her group wrote for Mother’s Day (the lyrics are incredible).

Here’s How Tuneful Teens is Working for You ~ 2 – One Tuneful Teens reader shares her twist on the musical quiz game in the E-Book.

St. Paddy’s Day Session Ideas – Learn how I play a game I created called ‘Irish…or Not Irish?’, find out how I facilitate ‘playing a rainbow’, and see how I incorporate “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” into this holiday-themed session.

MORE St. Paddy’s Day Session Ideas – Irish jig anyone? Play the game “Where is the leprechaun?” and end with a poem and relaxation to one of my favorite Irish tunes.

What’s the Most Versatile Instrument in My Bag? – Read this post to find out. You may want to purchase one too!

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 1 – Watch this video to see a demonstration of Musical Sensory Orientation Training (MSOT). I’ll be using my clarinet to work on localization skills. 

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 2 – Watch a demonstration of some Auditory Perception Training (APT) exercises using the guiro, chimes and triangle.

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 3 – Watch this video demonstration of a Musical Attention Control Training (MACT) experience. You’ll see how I use two different color scarves, an original song, and my uke to address sustained attention and a bit of alternating attention.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 1 – Watch this video to see how I combine music + movement to help my client practice identifying shapes.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 2 – Watch this video to see how I allow my client to jump and move to music while we practice identifying – AT words.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 3 – Check out some of my original movement songs that will get your kiddos up and moving during your session.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 4 – Watch this video to see how I use my clarinet to cue movement around the room.

Addressing Academic Concepts with Kids – This post is a round up of videos and songs where you can learn how to target specific academic concepts in your music therapy sessions.

It’s Beach Theme Time – Learn about some of my favorite beach-themed session ideas, including how to incorporate seashells and ocean animal songs to work on therapeutic goals.

Need More Beach Theme Ideas? – Check out my favorite books to incorporate, and see how I use the beach ball, suntan lotion and bubbles to work on therapeutic goals.

New Book ‘n Songs to Add to Your Collection – Here are some fantastic singable stories you can use in your sessions.

Tips On Using Book ‘n Songs in Your Music Therapy Sessions

Intimidated by Using Improv as a Music Therapy Intervention? Try this.

Autism + Special Needs CMTE Course Now Available – It’s here! It’s here! Continuing Ed course on music therapy, autism, and other special needs (jam-packed with songs, videos, and sheet music you won’t find anywhere else on my site!)

Musical Hide & Seek – This intervention idea facilitates sibling interaction, while also working on nonverbal communication and auditory discrimination.

You Can Use a Maraca for That? – Find out how I use a maraca in a non-traditional way to work on attention and impulse control.

Fun With File Folder Games – Learn how you can create fun, visually appealing file folder games for your sessions with preschool and school age children.

Auditory Perception Training with Animal Sounds – Unique instrument sounds with corresponding movements can enhance and refine auditory perception skills.

Get Ready to Sing Your Heart Out! – Check out my entire collection of original songs for kids.

We Are Spiders – An original move & groove song for Halloween. Sheet music + mp3 available!

Variations on ‘Let’s Make Some Music’ – See how I take one original song and vary it in multiple ways to meet a variety of goals.

Graduation Day – Click to see the lyrics of the song the children wrote for their Graduation performance.

My Favorite Movement Song for Babies – Listen and purchase the sheet music & mp3 for use in your own sessions.

Four Key Components To My Music Therapy Sessions With Babies – Do you incorporate these things in your sessions with babies?

You Can Use the Clarinet For That? – Here are some creative ways I use my primary instrument in my sessions with toddlers.

New Book ‘n Songs To Add To Your Collection – Jane Cabrera has an excellent series of books that incorporate and expand on popular songs.

Dos Manitas, Diez Deditos – Learn one of my favorite Spanish fingerplay songs. I share the lyrics, movements, and ideas for how to give this song a Latin feel with your musical accompaniment.

Ten Little Fingers – Book ‘n Song for babies and toddlers.

Feet, Feet – A fun & catchy song to teach body parts. Sheet music + mp3 available!

Rainbow Streamers – My favorite colorful prop to use during my sessions with babies and toddlers.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 1) – Watch video to see how I use the therapy ball during my session to provide proprioceptive and vestibular input.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 2) – Watch video to see how I incorporate the book “Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” and paint brushes into music therapy to provide tactile stimulation.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 3) – See how I use the gathering drum to provide vestibular input – this video might make you dizzy!

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 4) – This video shows how I use the trampoline to provide proprioceptive input to children with autism during my sessions.

Part 1 – Effective Ways to Improve Your Practice with Children with ASD

Part 2 – Effective Ways to Improve Your Practice with Children with ASD

Presume Competence. Always. – Reflections on a powerful letter penned by a teen with ASD.

To Make Eye Contact or To Not Make Eye Contact – This is one of my favorite topics when it comes to working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

Where to Find the Most Current Research on ASD & Music Therapy – I love staying up to date on the latest music therapy and autism research. Click to learn my go-to resource in this area.

Music, Joint Attention & Autism – Read about my master’s research study and my findings as they relate to music and children with autism.

Connecting Music Therapy & Autism – Read the article I wrote for specialneeds.com for Autism Awareness Month. I incorporated some of the research cited in my master’s thesis, and provided a description of some music therapy goals and interventions for children with autism.

Breaking Free From My Session Plan Obsession: Part 1

Breaking Free From My Session Plan Obsession: Part 2

Temple Grandin Lecture: Different Kinds of Minds – Read about my takeaways from the lecture I attended given by Dr. Temple Grandin.

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 1 – Watch this video to see a demonstration of Musical Sensory Orientation Training (MSOT). I’ll be using my clarinet to work on localization skills. 

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 2 – Watch a demonstration of some Auditory Perception Training (APT) exercises using the guiro, chimes and triangle.

Music Therapy + Cognition Part 3 – Watch this video demonstration of a Musical Attention Control Training (MACT) experience. You’ll see how I use two different color scarves, an original song, and my uke to address sustained attention and a bit of alternating attention.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 1 – Watch this video to see how I combine music + movement to help my client practice identifying shapes.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 2 – Watch this video to see how I allow my client to jump and move to music while we practice identifying – AT words.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 3 – Check out some of my original movement songs that will get your kiddos up and moving during your session.

Movin’ & Groovin’ in Music Therapy ~ Part 4 – Watch this video to see how I use my clarinet to cue movement around the room.

Cupcakes + Music + Math = A Winning Combination – See how music therapy can address math goals from the IEP.

Book ‘n Song: “Nightsong” – Watch this video and listen to the musical score I composed to match what was happening in the book – Reading Rainbow style.

Book ‘n Song: “Big Pumpkin” – Watch this video and listen to the musical score I composed to mimic what was happening in the story, “Big Pumpkin.”

Playing a Rainbow: Color-Coded Notation for Xylophone – See how color-coded notation can facilitate xylophone playing.

Presenting…UCP Star Singers! – Watch this video of the children singing at the UCP Share & Care Fundraising Luncheon: “Hey, Ho, Hi” and “My Body, Mi Cuerpo.”

Graduation is Approaching – Watch this video of one of our star singers singing the graduation song he wrote with his class, “It’s Always More Fun.”

“How Are You?” ~ A Song About Feelings – This video showcases a song about feelings for kids.

Fa, la, la, la, la!! – Watch this video of the children caroling around UCP to spread Christmas cheer!

Bringing the Outside Inside for Music Therapy – Watch and see how you can use items from the outdoors in your music therapy sessions. Pod guiros and pod shakers anyone?

What is Your Name? Woah! – Rhythmic drumming can prompt speaking of complete sentences. Watch and see!

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 1) – Watch video to see how I use the therapy ball during my session to provide proprioceptive and vestibular input.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 2) – Watch video to see how I incorporate the book “Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” and paint brushes into music therapy to provide tactile stimulation.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 3) – See how I use the gathering drum to provide vestibular input – this video might make you dizzy!

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 4) – This video shows how I use the trampoline to provide proprioceptive input to children with autism during my sessions.

Session Fave #1 – Watch this video to see my first session fave. I use it in my sessions to make things run more smoothly and to work on verbal identification of pictures.

Session Fave #2 – Watch this video to see my second session fave. I use it to enhance the quality of the musical presentation in my sessions.

Session Fave #3 – Watch this video that showcases my third session fave. You’ll find out what it is and see a video of me co-treating with an occupational therapist.

Music Therapy + Cognition – Watch this video to see a demonstration of Musical Sensory Orientation Training (MSOT). I’ll be using my clarinet to work on localization skills. 

Sense-ational Ideas for Your Music Therapy Sessions – Be inspired with some fresh sensory ideas!

Beautiful Colors – Listen to this original song used to facilitate visual tracking goals for clients with severe & profound intellectual disability. {Sheet music + mp3 available!}

So Many Scents – Ideas for incorporating scents into your music therapy sessions to provide olfactory stimulation.

Springtime Sounds – Instruments that sound like animals can be used to provide auditory stimulation and prompt localization.

Roll the Cabasa – The cabasa is a unique instrument that provides auditory and tactile stimulation.

Wind, Wind – An original song to facilitate tactile stimulation using scarves. Have a listen!

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 1) – Watch video to see how I use the therapy ball during my session to provide proprioceptive and vestibular input.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 2) – Watch video to see how I incorporate the book “Ain’t Gonna Paint No More” and paint brushes into music therapy to provide tactile stimulation.

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 3) – See how I use the gathering drum to provide vestibular input – this video might make you dizzy!

Sensational Ideas for Working with Children with Autism (Part 4) – This video shows how I use the trampoline to provide proprioceptive input to children with autism during my sessions.

Halloween is Coming…Are You Ready for Some Sensory Ideas?  – Flying ghosts, light up lanterns & pumpkins with cobwebs…read this post to see how I incorporate these items into my sensory-based Halloween sessions.

I Like to Go to the Beach ~  A Multisensory Experience – Mangoes to provide olfactory and gustatory stimulation? Sun tan lotion to provide tactile and olfactory stimulation? Yes please! Find out how music ties it all together.

A “Sensational” Holiday Session Plan – Check out this resource where you’ll find a holiday music therapy session that will provide you with creative, developmentally appropriate ideas that incorporate all five senses. You’ll see how I incorporate pine branches, mittens, jingle bells, Christmas lights, ice packs, and apple cinnamon scents into this session (and much more!)

 

Session ideas in this tab are in order from January –> December

I’m Dreaming of a Winter That’s Not Warm. In this blog post I share some winter-themed session ideas. It’s snowflakes and snowmen galore, plus a singable story that you already know the tune to!

Put a Little Love in Your Heart – Valentine’s Day songwriting. Feel the love.

More LOVE-ly Ideas for Valentine’s Day – Check out this Valentine’s Day session plan that will engage your entire group.

St. Paddy’s Day Session Ideas – Learn how I play a game I created called ‘Irish…or Not Irish?’, find out how I facilitate ‘playing a rainbow’, and see how I incorporate “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World” into this holiday-themed session.

MORE St. Paddy’s Day Session Ideas – Irish jig anyone? Play the game “Where is the leprechaun?” and end with a poem and relaxation to one of my favorite Irish tunes.

Springtime Sounds – Instruments that sound like animals can be used to provide auditory stimulation and prompt localization.

Little Red Riding Hood ~ The Musical – Read how I put together a spring musical that included original songs, costumes, and lines to learn.

Little Red Riding Hood Performance – See pictures from the actual performance – the costumes were great!

Graduation is Approaching – Watch this video of one of our star singers singing the graduation song he wrote with his class, “It’s Always More Fun.”

Graduation Day – Click to see the lyrics of the song the children wrote for their Graduation performance.

I Like to Go to the Beach ~  A Multisensory Experience – Mangoes to provide olfactory and gustatory stimulation? Sun tan lotion to provide tactile and olfactory stimulation? Yes please! Find out how music ties it all together.

Presenting…UCP Star Singers! – Watch this video of the children singing at the UCP Share & Care Fundraising Luncheon: “Hey, Ho, Hi” and “My Body, Mi Cuerpo.”

It’s Fall Ya’ll: Apples, Apples Everywhere – Here I share my apple themed session ideas for September sessions.

The Costume Rap {for tweens & teens} – Learn a simple rap to facilitate verbal & nonverbal communication skills during Halloween (MP3 available!).

It’s Fall Ya’ll: Halloween Theme – In this post I share my spooky Halloween themed session ideas.

It’s Fall Ya’ll: Halloween Books & Ideas – Here you’ll find even more Halloween session ideas and how I incorporate books into my themed sessions.

The Making of Our Halloween Musical ~ Part 1 – The children created everything for this Halloween musical: they wrote the story, helped design costumes, designed background scenery, AND created tickets and signs.

The Making of Our Halloween Musical ~ Part 2 – The children practiced….and practiced…and practiced. Listen to the original songs we wrote for the musical, too!

Showtime! Our Halloween Musical Debut – Look at pictures from the performance day – the children were STARS.

Halloween is Coming…Are You Ready for Some Sensory Ideas?  – Flying ghosts, light up lanterns & pumpkins with cobwebs…read this post to see how I incorporate these items into my sensory-based Halloween sessions.

“Cause This is Thriller!” Halloween Session Ideas for Teens – Halloween musical song story with instruments AND creative movement to MJ’s Thriller. My teen group loved these interventions.

We Are Spiders – An original move & groove song for Halloween. Sheet music + mp3 available!

Book ‘n Song: “Nightsong” – Watch this video and listen to the musical score I composed to match what was happening in the book – Reading Rainbow style.

Book ‘n Song: “Big Pumpkin” – Watch this video and listen to the musical score I composed to mimic what was happening in the story, “Big Pumpkin.”

It’s Fall Ya’ll: Turkeys, Turkeys Everywhere – Here I share Thanksgiving & turkey-themed session ideas.

Get Your Turkey Groove On – Here is one of my favorite Thanksgiving songs for kids…make sure you listen till the part where I gobble!

A “Sensational” Holiday Session Plan – Learn how you can access a holiday music therapy session plan that will provide you with creative, developmentally appropriate ideas that incorporate all five senses.

“I Am Santa” {VIDEO + Free Sheet Music!} – Need a new simple Santa song to use in your holiday sessions? Check this one out by watching the video.

Fa, la, la, la, la!! – Watch this video of the children caroling around UCP to spread Christmas cheer!

UCP Holiday Spectacular 2011 – Our 2011 holiday show included everything from a hand bell choir performance to a Chinese New Year song with a gong solo.

UCP Holiday Spectacular 2012 – Our 2012 holiday show included a presentation of the Nutcracker, a performance of “Carol of the Bells” on tone chimes, and a festive holiday sing-a-long.

Session Faves #1 – Watch this video to see my first session fave. I use it in my sessions to make things run more smoothly and to work on verbal identification of pictures.

Session Faves #2 – Watch this video to see my second session fave. I use it to enhance the quality of the musical presentation in my sessions.

Session Fave #3 – Watch this video that showcases my third session fave. You’ll find out what it is and see a video of me co-treating with an occupational therapist.

Seven Ways to Enhance Your Songwriting Skills – Do you write original songs? Read this article to improve your songwriting today.

Why Music Works in Therapy – Why is music an effective medium for therapy? Read this article to find out.

Temple Grandin Lecture: Different Kinds of Minds – Read to find out the “take aways” from Temple Grandin’s lecture on autism.

The Journal of Music Therapy Arrived! – Click to find out all the details of my master’s thesis being published in the Journal of Music Therapy…exciting!