Last week I shared a simple and creative way you can earn free CMTE credits: by writing original songs.

Turns out that there are  plenty of other great reasons why writing original songs is beneficial…not just for you but for your clients as well!

Here are the top three reasons why I’m a original song ambassador…and why I think you should be too if you work with kids with special needs:

1) As music therapists, we want to set ourselves apart from what other professionals can provide. Many teachers and therapists can easily sing pre-existing songs like “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” or “Twinkle Twinkle  Little Star.” You don’t need any musical training or much musical skill to use those songs effectively with children. However, as music therapists, we have the skills and expertise to create original songs that are client-specific and goal-driven.

2) We also have the ability to use musical elements in very specific ways to help our clients meet their goals. Here are a few examples:

  • Meter: We can write a song in 6/8 to facilitate rocking as a way to provide proprioceptive and vestibular input for our client.
  • Tempo: Do you ever notice how some recorded songs are just too fast to sing along with? We can slow down the tempo of a song to ensure the child can hear each word clearly and easily sing along.
  • Form: We can repeat target speech sounds or vocabulary words within a song to ensure the child has multiple opportunities to practice those target sounds. Or, we can repeat a cue for a specific behavior (like marching or jumping) to ensure the client has sufficient opportunities to practice those movements.

3) Composing our own songs helps ensure we’re starting with the goal first (rather than starting with an existing song and creating a goal around that). Here’s the process: Start with the client’s goal. Then, see how you can compose a song with specific musical elements (lyrics, meter, tempo, rhythm) that will help your client meet that goal.

Sound difficult? Next week I’ll share some tips on how to compose songs that are catchy, engaging AND effective.


Image courtesy of nuchylee at