Music Making and Songwriting Strategies


MusicWorx Toolbox: Music Making and Songwriting Strategies, Second Edition focuses on techniques for creating, writing, and analyzing music in a variety of ways. This resource adapts to an array of populations for group or individual work. Use the sessions as they are, then experiment with instrumentation or genre selections to fit specific goals—an engaging process for both therapist and client.

All MusicWorx Toolbox Self-Study Courses are approved by the CBMT for 15 Continuing Music Therapy Education ( CMTE ) credits. MusicWorx Inc., #P-097, maintains responsibility for program quality and adherence to CBMT policies and criteria.

Links to downloadable content are included in your emailed receipt or found in your account!  Read More On CMTE Course Credits >

Please note that PDF copies are formatted for 8.5 x 11 and can be printed; however, they are not formatted for e-readers such as Kindle and Nook. The prices below for spiral-bound copies do not reflect shipping & handling.

SKU CMTE-008 Category

What’s Inside This Toolbox

  • 89 single-sided pages
  • 14 detailed session plans
  • more than 30 handout examples
  • lists of articles, at-home exercises, and songs
  • digital form download (included with CMTEs)

Strategies and Techniques for Music Making

  • Session 1: Drumming, Community, and Team Building
  • Session 2: Expression Through Drumming
  • Session 3: I Can Play What? Marimbas, Slit Drums, and Bells
  • Session 4: Leadership, Followership, and Community
  • Session 5: Body Awareness
  • Session 6: Herding Cats, Pushing Donkeys, and Pulling Elephants
  • Session 7: Connection and Communication

Strategies and Techniques for Songwriting and Lyric Analysis

  • Session 1: Masked, Unmasked Making
  • Session 2: How to Take Control of the Music in Your Life
  • Session 3: By Way of Sorrow
  • Session 4: Imagine
  • Session 5: It’s Been a While
  • Session 6: Story of Life
  • Session 7: Angel

Learning Objectives

References to items on the Board Certification Domains are based on the Practice Analysis Study of 2019. Those registered for Music Making and Songwriting Strategies will develop or improve their abilities to help others express themselves through active music-making, writing songs, and by analyzing lyrics. Participants will learn these skills for group settings and individual work.

Music Making and Songwriting Strategies addresses these specific competencies in the current Board Certification Domains:

Learning Objective 1
2020 Domains:
III. A. 5 (l)

Write ten process–oriented questions for lyric analysis.
III. Treatment Implementation and Documentation

Learning Objective 2
2020 Domains:
III. A. 5 (m)

Create at least three fill–in–the–blank–style songwriting strategies to be used with patients.
III. Treatment Implementation and Documentation

Learning Objective 3
2020 Domains:
II. B. 12-13 | III. A. 2 (a-ggg)

List three common goals correlating with active music.
II. Referral, Assessment, Interpretation of Assessment and Treatment Planning
III. Treatment Implementation and Documentation

Learning Objective 4
2020 Domains:
III. A. 5. (l-m)

Describe how both songwriting and lyric analysis are used as forms of self–expression.
III. Treatment Implementation and Documentation

Barbara Reuer, Phd, LPMT, MT-BC

Career Highlights
  • Music Therapist–Board Certified
  • Neurologic Music Therapist
  • Founder and CEO of MusicWorx Inc., San Diego, CA
  • Founder and CEO of Resounding Joy Inc., San Diego, CA
  • 2008 Recipient of AMTA Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Pain Management Award
  • 2008 Recipient of The Southern California Cancer Pain Initiative Pain Management Award


Music Interventions Proven by 40 Years’ Clinical Practice

Dr. Reuer is the founder and CEO of MusicWorx Inc., an international clinical training program for music therapy interns as well as provider of workshops and seminars covering wellness, community-building, and stress management, for healthcare professionals, educators, and corporate clients. Dr. Reuer’s vast experience includes more than 40 years of clinical practice in public schools, older-adult facilities, hospices, medical and psychiatric hospitals, corrections facilities, substance abuse and eating disorders programs, and health spas and course instruction at the community college and university level.

Dr. Reuer has served as President of the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT). She was the year 2000 recipient of the Professional Practice Award from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) for significant contribution to the practice of music therapy. And in 2008, Dr. Reuer received a Lifetime Achievement Award from AMTA.

Dr. Reuer has authored and co-authored several books and articles. Print media feature articles and numerous prestigious publications frequently quote her. She has appeared in several televised interview formats at local, national, and international levels, including the Lifetime Network television series New Attitudes.

Dr. Reuer also is the CEO of Resounding Joy, Inc., a California 501(c)(3) corporation that uses therapeutic and recreational music programs to improve the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being of individuals and communities.  Resounding Joy has provided music therapy and recreational music services to more than 85,000 children and adults in the greater San Diego region since 2004. Resounding Joy board-certified staff music therapists and volunteers deliver services through four major programs that target four distinct underserved populations:

  • This was one of the best self-directed study courses I've taken in Music Therapy. It is often a challenge to find trainings that are so readily adaptable to incarcerated mentally ill clients. Thank you for the thought and effort put into the materials. The lyric analysis worksheets are the most valuable. I would use most of the samples provided and the ones I generated as a result of the exercises. I do a lot of group coverage for other MTs. It is nice to walk into a group of new clients and have a worksheet in hand that I am confident to use. I know the clients appreciate it as well.

    Amelia H. Gagliano, MM, MT-BC - June 2024
  • The information was well-rounded and gave many different examples for both sections. The examples of the "fill-in-the-blanks" and songwriting were very helpful.

    Katherine Nagy, MT-BC - May 2023
  • The information that was most useful to my practice from this CMTE opportunity was the songwriting strategies section. Most of the Music Therapy interventions that I lead relate to lyric discussions and songwriting, so I am always looking for new styles to present these activities. The Fill-in-the-Blank and Word Bank songwriting interventions have been very beneficial to my patients with many of them telling me how they continue to use them on their own time as they transition from inpatient to outpatient therapy!

    Robert Dietrich, MT-BC - November 2023
  • So many creative and varied ideas for interventions. It's pretty great!

    Elizabeth Lenz, MT-BC - January 2022
  • Thanks Barb! It was fun taking one of your courses! At my age, I enjoy courses that help me learn/develop ideas that I can use in my weekly sessions!!

    Cindy Lu Edgerton, MM, MT-BC - January 2020
  • Great course! Thorough and well-organized. Practical ideas for incorporating song writing and lyric analysis activities into sessions.

    Michael Timmons, MT-BC - October 2019
  • I really enjoyed this MusicWorx Toolbox. A lot of songwriting session plans and activities that can be adapted to any population. I encourage anyone who needs CMTE's at an affordable price to take any one of these toolbox courses. This is the 5th one that I have taken.

    Richard Cross, MAT, MT-BC - September 2018
  • Thanks very much for getting the certificates back to me so quickly! I appreciate it. Now I'm ready to re-certify—what a relief! I'm sure you know how expensive almost all of the other courses are out there—whether home study or not. The affordability of your courses are a huge blessing to people like me! Yours are fun to take. So hopefully you will make a few more before I begin thinking about re-certification again. Thank you so much!

    Roxanne Simmons, MT–BC - June 2011
  • I’m enjoying your MusicWorx Toolbox books! They come in so handy when you need an idea at the last minute!

    Shawn - February 2009