TME Tuesday: The Return - Would You Rather TME

I've decided to bring back TME Tuesdays, mainly because I have lots of TMEs that I've written, but also because it is an easy blog post for Tuesday mornings - not much thought required. So, here we go. A new therapeutic music experience (TME) for your use. Please respect my intellectual property and cite me as the source (nothing is more low than someone taking credit for someone else's ideas), but I hope this does at least one of two things - gives you something new to do with your clients and/or sparks an idea that leads to a TME.

Would You Rather?
Therapeutic Music Experience
Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC

Purpose:   To encourage critical thinking in variety of situations; choice-making; creativity; social interactions; entrainment; receptive language; expressive language; listening skill development

Source: Original TME. © 2013 by Mary Jane Landaker, MME, MT-BC. Idea based on children’s game, Would You Rather.

Materials: Steady beat generated by either instrument, body percussion, or pre-recorded music; OPTIONAL: word strips; dry-erase board; dry-erase markers; lyric sheets; stereo; electricity source

Environment: All group members within hearing of leader. Group members may sit on chairs or on the floor to participate.


Kelly, Kelly, we’d like to know, would you rather eat a bug or eat some sand?

Eat a bug! Tell us, tell us why why you would eat a bug!

(Free chant from group member. Keep percussive stimulus going throughout the free chant time.)

Repeat the questions substituting other phrases or choices for the underlined words.

Procedure: R = Reinforcement opportunities; C = Redirection/Cue opportunities; A = Assessment
1.      C= start percussion stimulus (body percussion, instrument play, or pre-recorded CD – Ensure that the stimulus is at appropriate tempo to encourage group member interaction.
2.      A= assess whether group members are showing s/s of entrainment to the beat (e.g., rhythmic movements, copying the therapist’s pattern(s); establishing eye contact, etc.)
3.      R= use proximity or verbal cues as needed to engage group members in percussive stimuli
4.      C= If using visual aids, set them in front of group members, keeping the percussive pattern(s) going to encourage entrainment
5.      C= start chanting the words, offering a choice to one client.
6.      A= assess whether the specified group member answers verbally or uses available visual aids to answer the question
7.      R= reinforce all attempts at communication
8.      R= if needed, redirect client through repeating the prompt. Ensure that there is appropriate time for client to respond (minimum of 10 seconds)
9.      A= assess whether other group members are listening to the specified client
10.  R= reinforce group members who are displaying listening behaviors (e.g., eye contact/head orientation towards the specified client, sitting quietly, making comments about choices offered)
11.  R= redirect group members to listen to specified client through using name to direct or through a chant variation
12.  C= repeat the song, offering different clients with opportunities to answer the question
13.  Repeat steps 1-3 and 5-13 until group members have all had a turn to answer, group members start to show s/s of boredom/disentrainment/habituation, or time runs out

Therapeutic Function of Music:

Steady beat to encourage entrainment to stimulus
Variable – may be adapted to engage group members in TME and to encourage entrainment

Strophic with improvisation
Variable – may be adapted to engage group members in TME and to encourage entrainment
Variable – may be adapted to accommodate group members’ preferences
Variable – may be adapted to engage group members in TME and to encourage entrainment
Chart adapted from Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2010). A Closer Look at the Therapeutic Function of Music. Presentation at 2010 American Music Therapy Association National Conference: Cleveland, OH.

·         Ask all group members the same questions, gaining answers from each participant
·         Use visual aids to offer suggestions for choices
·         Use PECS as tools for clients to indicate choices during chant/song

  • Ask group members to be leaders, asking questions for specific peers or staff members to answer
  • Use dry erase markers and strips or lyric sheets to collect questions and answers. Compile answers into visual representation (graph or pie chart)


  1. Hooray for the return of TME Tuesdays! Have you read Deanna's MTP article related to therapeutic function of music?


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

TME Tuesday: sing about summer - Session Ideas to Celebrate Summer

May the Fourth

The Day Off