Lyric Convergence is the therapeutic songwriting process, a movement from broad discussion to specific words or lyrics. Fill-in-the-Blank/Madlib Songwriting

Take pre-existing lyrics and substitute select words such that “What a Wonderful World,” as an example, would be given to the low-functioning or more chronic patient in the form, “I see_______ of _______, _______ of _______.” The patient’s suggestion of a single word is successful engagement in the songwriting activity (Silverman, 2010).

Strutzel, Michelle. (May 11, 2010). Singin’, Why I Got the Blues. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Strutzel, Michelle. (October 1, 2010). Friday Five! 5 + 1 MadLib songs. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from songs.html

Lyric Replacement/Piggybacking

Use the same melody and chords of pre-existing patient-preferred songs, but change all of the words. Similarly, use the easy, flexible, and predictable 12-bar blues pattern to accompany patient/group-composed lyrics (Silverman, 2010).

Strutzel, Michelle. (June 25, 2010). Friday Five: singing traditional hymns versus gospel. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from five-singing-traditional-hymns.html

Strutzel, Michelle. (July 22, 2010). Group Songwriting. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Strutzel, Michelle. (November 11, 2010). Digestion song to the tune of “I’m Yours.” [Web log comment]. Retrieved from song-to-tune-of-im-yours.html

Cut & Paste Songwriting

List quotes to a hand-out from existing songs that may offer words where patients could find none to help facilitate dialogue. Patients then individually select 10-15 quotes, cut the phrases out, arrange them in some meaningful order, and paste them in perhaps some creative way. Encourage group members to read or show their finished product and share their reasoning, intentions, creative process, reflections, or related thoughts.

Strutzel, Michelle. (August 19, 2010). Cut & Paste Songwriting Activity. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from activity.html

Free Composition

Free composition is best used over multiple sessions to choose which chords come next, to chose if the melody is going up or down, etc; these songs are wholly created by the group as guided by the therapist. These can be psychoeducational songs about coping skills, change, medications, life after discharge, therapy, supports in the community, or anything you are working on. Songs can be performed for the unit and staff, especially if the group is singing or playing instruments. Songs may be written down and photocopied to give the staff and the group (Silverman, 2010).