Music Therapy Activities Wiki

Sing well-known, repetitive songs before then substituting individualized words or phrases, i.e., "This little _______ of mine, I'm gonna let it shine," or "I'm gonna _________________, down by the riverside!"


Word Substitution Songwriting comprises many possible activities to serve low to high levels of cognitive functioning, or to address various goals/objectives. The simplest variation may be called MadLib Songwriting. MadLibs prompt single word responses. This example provides very basic prompts, although you could say, "an adjective" instead of "describing word" to develop academic skills.

Coal MadLib.jpg

Well, I was born a farmer's daughter

In a mountain on a hill in Oklahoma

We were flying free but we had animals,

That's the one thing daddy made sure of

He fed and watered to make a poor man's dollar.

My daddy runs around 24/7 in the Vanleer coal mine

All day long in the field a-hoin' corn

Mommie rocked the craddle at night, and read the Shoe Dog by th coal-oil light

And ever'thing would start all over come break of morn'.

Fill-In-The-Blank Songwriting allows more creativity and self-expression by filling in small or large phrases. This method also encourages awareness of the phrases place within the context of the song.

Coal FIB.jpg


Fill-In-The-Blank Songwriting utilizes the same approach but directs the creative process towards the patient's own life and experiences. Rather than just completing the song in a coherent way, cuing responses helps make the project more individualized and meaningful.

Coal Cued.jpg

Finally, Piggyback Songwriting utilizes only a song's melody and accompaniment to rewrite all of the lyrics.

Coal Piggyback.jpg



Further Reading[]


James E. Riley, MM, MT-BC