Music Activity Monday: A Justin Bieber Hello!

Happy Monday to all! I’ve seen many music therapy blogs write posts every Monday sharing some great activity ideas that they use and can be “stolen” by other MT’s for use in their own practice. I believe that there’s no such thing as too many activity ideas, so I figured I would follow suit. Without further ado, I introduce to you my very first Music Activity Monday post!

This activity is a Hello song I wrote for a resident of mine who absolutely LOVES Justin Bieber. Although I’m not a huge JB fan myself, I had so much fun writing my first rap! It’s also tons of fun to perform, because it’s not often I get to show off my mean rapping skills 🙂

Not only is this Hello song a fun way to kick off a session, it also addresses a few goals. Encouraging your client to drum and/or freestyle rap targets areas such as nonverbal cueing, creative self-expression, and following directions. The call-and-response aspect of the rap encourages expressive and receptive language areas such as impulse control and listening skills. I’m sure this can be creatively adapted in numerous ways to fit your clients needs, so unleash your inner Belieber and enjoy!

Hello Song  in the style of “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber


  • Karaoke track of “Boyfriend” by J. Biebs
  • Drum of choice
  • CD Player



Welcome to music, Ima tell you hello,
We gon’ do some stuff you ain’t never done before
Baby take a chance or you’ll never ever know
I got drums in my hands that I’d really like to beat
(begin drumming) *beat *beat *beat  for you
We’ll sing and we’ll play and dance a little too
I dunno about me but I know about you
So I’ll say hello to you in three, two…

 Hello (insert name), how are you today?
 Hey boy (or girl), let me sing to you

Hello (insert name),  How are you today?
Tell me how you’re doin, what you’ve done today

We can talk about it, anything you want

Hello (insert name), how are you today? how are you today?

Your client can use the next verse to improvise on the drum or freestyle rap about how he/she is, what he/she has done that day, ect. When the pre-chorus comes back in, you can either begin singing again or encourage your client to sing to you this time!

Have fun and keep looking for more Music Activity Mondays in your future!


Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

It’s so hard to believe that I’m almost through my first month as an intern at the Baddour Center! I have absolutely loved it so far; this is exactly where I need to be. I have spent this first month mostly observing classes and sessions, so I thought I might share with you what I have learned at this point in my internship experience.

Lesson 1: Expect the Unexpected
No two days are ever the same, which is one of the reasons I am in love with this line of work. So how am I to prepare for something I don’t even know is coming my way? Just “roll with the punches”. The great thing about music and art is its spontaneity. Allow your residents/clients the freedom to be creative. If a resident wants to come to your office and seranade you with a little George Strait, let them.

Lesson 2: Think Like a Music Therapist
Although observing doesn’t seem like much, it is an important part of a budding music therapist’s growth experience. Observation is the time an intern has to think “What would I do if I were in the therapist’s shoes? How would I handle this situation?” Also, think about why the therapist chose a particular activity or course of action. Is it to address a certain need? To correct a behavior problem? Constantly asking yourself these questions prepares you for future practice.

Lesson 3: It’s OK to Not Be Perfect
“Perfectionist” is a word many of us use to describe ourselves, especially if you are a musician. As artists, we were born with a undeniable desire to work and practice and stress and strive to remove as many flaws from our art as possibly possible. But one of the big differences in music therapy and music teaching is that perfection is not a goal. The main focus here is to ensure that the quality of life for each resident is the best it can possibly be, and sometimes that excludes “perfection”.

I have learned so much already, but I still have a loooong way to go. I am very excited to continue this journey and see how much more I can grow in this experience. This has been an exciting whirlwind of a month, and I am looking forward to the next five months at the Baddour Center!

So what are some lessons you’ve learned in your music therapy internship? Have any tips as an intern director or professional? I would love to hear your thoughts with a comment!

A Little About the Baddour Center and Music Therapy

Although many of you who read my blog posts may already be established music therapy professionals, interns, or students, a lot of you may have no idea what music therapy or the Baddour Center is. It seems that no matter where I go or who I speak with, when I say ” I’m a music therapy intern at the Baddour Center”, the response is either a blank stare followed by ” Oh….neat!”, or “What is music therapy? What is the Baddour Center?” So in this post, I will answer a few questions that I get often in hopes that you will know a little more about my internship and future profession.

1. What is music therapy?

For some reason, I am temporarily stumped when asked this question, even though it’s the question I get asked the most! The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as ” the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” It is a valid healthcare profession, and there’s TONS of scientific studies proving its effectiveness (exciting, right!?). When asked this question, I usually say something along the lines of “although it sounds like I teach music, I help others reach non-musical goals using a variety of musical methods.” I usually follow that with an example, such as using the Hokey Pokey to teach the difference between left and right. There is a need for music therapy in all kinds of populations, from children with communication disorders to senior citizens in a nursing home. The wonderful thing about music therapy is its adaptability.

2. What is The Baddour Center?

The Baddour Center is a residential community for adults with a diagnosis of mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. It is private (meaning NO government funding) and non-profit, serving more than 150 adults from all over the country. The residents have opportunities to work, participate in various community activities (my department), and receive services that help each individual reach his/her fullest and brightest potential. The Baddour Center is “committed to giving men and women the opportunity for lives of dignity, joy and hope. Through the dedication and support of family and friends, residents accomplish goals, enjoy lifelong friendships, and realize their greatest potential in every area of life.”

3. What will you be doing at The Baddour Center?

As the music therapy intern, I will have many opportunities to utilize the performing and creative arts to help the residents reach their goals of personal growth. I will get to choreograph dance routines, help with art projects, lead group games and activities, work with Baddour’s travelling choir The Miracles, help with the Spring play, and eventually have a full caseload of residents for individual music therapy sessions. The Baddour Center employs the Person Centered Planning approach, which means that each individual’s goals, strengths, and needs are put as Priority #1. What this means for the Music Therapy department at TBC is that we see what the residents want for themselves, then use music to help them achieve their goals. Music therapy is not forced, nor is it trying to “fix” an individual’s weakness. It is looking at what he/she is good at, then giving him/her the opportunity to grow and shine!

4. What is an intellectual disability?

“Intellectual disability” is the term formally known as “mentally retarted”. As society has changed, so must the term for the developmental disability. Persons with intellectual disabilities have a lower than average I.Q. score and difficulties with adaptive behavior skills. This can be a result of birth defects, environmental factors, mutation in certain genes, and other contributing factors. The diagnoses are mild, moderate, severe, and profound based on I.Q. and abilities to adapt behaviorally.The Baddour Center is for persons with a diagnosis of mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Some diagnoses represented at TBC are Down syndrome, William’s syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Autism, and other developmental disabilities.

5. How long will you be at TBC? What are your plans after?

I will be at Baddour until the end of June. AMTA requires that all music therapy students undergo a six-month clinical internship upon graduation. I will graduate from William Carey in August 2013, probably take a month or so to prepare for the board exam, pass the CBMT exam (hopefully!), then become Katelyn Farris, MT-BC. Grad school is definitely in my future, but I am not sure exactly when and where. I would love to get at least a year of experience as a practicing music therapist before I decide what field of graduate music therapy I want to pursue.

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. Please feel free to ask me anything at If you would like more information on The Baddour Center, music therapy or becoming a music therapist, feel free to ask or visit or