M With A Closed Mouth

Music Therapy speech song for special needs individuals.
Goal: Client will produce the /m/ sound given a verbal model or independently.
Domain: Speech

There are many great pop songs with repeated phonemes that can help make practicing speech fun: B-B-B-Bennie and the Jets, P-P-P-Poker Face, Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes, etc. M With A Closed Mouth is a piggyback (parody) of the song MMM MMM MMM MMM by the Crash Test Dummies. Lyrics were rewritten to emphasize the closed mouth, the key was changed for easier singing, and more repetitions of the targeted sound were added.

Developmentally, most children master vowel sounds first and then proceed to bilabial consonants: B, P, and M. The child this song was created for is nonverbal – meaning not that he is silent, he is able to make some sounds, but his primary mode of communication is not speaking. Due to a combination of physical and cognitive issues, he also has an aversion to opening his mouth. Because if this, it was decided that /m/ (with a closed mouth) would be the best sound to begin practicing purposeful imitation.

Most kids are fascinated by computers and enjoy playing with GarageBand. Recording with a microphone and hearing back the results of that recording can be very motivating for many children. (A sample of the client’s voice is included in the accompanying video.)

The original recording used the target client’s name. This was later revised to have a more universal appeal. Now there are three choruses: first for boys (lower octave), second for girls (higher octave), and third for all (both octaves together). Realistically most young boys will probably be singing the higher octave – but the intention was to provide the opportunity for some competition in a mixed-gender speech group.

The M With A Closed Mouth recording provides a verbal model for the client to imitate. After becoming more proficient and familiar with the song, the fill-in-the-blank version removes the verbal model, giving the client the opportunity to produce the /m/ sound independently.

Download includes:

  • M With A Closed Mouth [mp3 audio file]
  • M With A Closed Mouth (fill-in-the-blank) [mp3 audio file]
  • M With A Closed Mouth – Lyrics [PDF]
  • M With A Closed Mouth – Lyrics & Chords [PDF]