Oral Motor Exercises

Music Therapy oral motor songs for special needs individuals.
Goal: Client will perform contrary pairs of oral motor movements.
Domains: Speech, Motor

Oral motor exercises are designed to develop and strengthen the articulators needed for proper speech. Two opposite movements (or positions) are contained in each song. Following the initial sung instructions (which may be accompanied by a visual model from the therapist) each movement is performed and its position held for 4 seconds, a total of 4 times. The second half of the song switches to double-time: each position held for 2 seconds, for an additional 4 repetitions. After the correct positions have been achieved, the focus turns to accurate and efficient movement between the contrasting positions.

Eight oral motor exercise songs are included, along with an additional instrumental track to target other oral movements of your choosing. The songs include:

1. Breathe In, Breathe Out

Without breath, there is no speech. However, many clients struggle with the difference between exhaling and vocalizing.
See: Voice Or Breath

2. Lips Together, Lips Apart

The lips being important for bilabial sounds (B & P), labiodental sounds (V & F), as well as M

3. Teeth Together, Teeth Apart

The teeth are used to produce labiodental sounds (V & F) and interdental sounds (voiced and voiceless TH)

4. Tongue In, Tongue Out


5. Tongue Left, Tongue Right


6. Tongue Down, Tongue Up

The tongue is the most important speech articulator: out for L, in for K, up for N, down when not needed, etc.
Left, Right, Up, and Down can be demonstrated within the mouth for a closer approximation of actual speech positions
or outside of the mouth for greater stretching or when an exaggerated visual model is needed.

7. Cheeks In, Cheeks Out

Cheeks Out to practice restricting airflow (the reason why consonants are consonants and not vowels)
Most clearly demonstrated through plosives, especially bilabial stops (B & P)

8. Pucker Lips, Blow A Kiss

Puckering helpful for both consonant sounds CH and vowel sounds OO.

I use these recordings in sessions with clients who need continuous visual modeling throughout the songs. A common speech therapy technique is to use a mirror so the client can see themselves. I like to go high-tech (if you have a Mac, you can too) and use Photo Booth with the client and myself in the picture. If it’s not too overstimulating or distracting for your student, you may also make use of some silly Photo Booth effects.

Download includes:

  • Oral Motor Exercise 1 (Breathe In, Breathe Out) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 2 (Lips Together, Lips Apart) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 3 (Teeth Together, Teeth Apart) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 4 (Tongue In, Tongue Out) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 5 (Tongue Left, Tongue Right) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 6 (Tongue Down, Tongue Up) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 7 (Cheeks In, Cheeks Out) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 8 (Pucker Lips, Blow A Kiss) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercise 9 (instrumental) [mp3 audio file]
  • Oral Motor Exercises 1 through 8 – Lyrics [PDF]
  • Oral Motor Exercises 1 through 8 – Lyrics & Chords [PDF]


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