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Singing is defined as the activation of the vocal folds by the patient, without an external instrument of any kind, in any intentionally musical way. This includes vocal fry, modal voice, falsetto, and whistle, and specifically chanting, toning, beat boxing, rapping, singing, or humming.

See also: Repertoire.


Chanting : Chant mantras, prayers, goals, names, etc., or something to address a Goal/Objective

Choir : Choirs facilitate group cohesion and can address a variety of goals in a variety of populations.

Goodbye Songs: Goodbye songs bring closure to a music therapy session.

Hello Songs: Hello songs are used to introduce an individual or group to music therapy, to make assessments, build rapport and trust, initiate interaction and participation, and establish a tone or theme of the following session.

Karaoke: Karaoke is a great way to entice the inhibited into singing and unite the group through the medium of popular song.

Music as an Information Agent: Procedural information can be set to music to enhance learning and recall, famliliarize the child with hospital staff and medical procedures, reduce anxiety, and increase cooperation.

Singalong Games: Establish structure and engage group members in singalong sessions with population-appropriate games.

Singing Instruction :  Teach vocal technique and help patients to sing preferred songs. 

Songs For Learning: Academic and social can be set to music to enhance learning and recall.

Teach a Song: Teach a new song in a preferred style. 


Vocal Improvisation : See (Adelman & Castricone, 1986) or Vocal Blues Improvisation (Treder-Wolff, 1990).



Further ReadingEdit

Tyson, Florence. (1982). Individual Singing Instruction: An Evolutionary Framework for Psychiatric Music Therapists. Music Therapy Perspectives, 1, 5-15.


James E. Riley, MT-BC

Evelyn Pinder