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Music Therapy CMTE & Other Courses:
Groove-Based Ukulele, CMTE

Course Overview: Self-Study - 30 CMTE Credits

‘LearnPlay’ popular music on the ukulele with authentic-sounding, varied accompaniments to meet clients' interests and abilities with Dr. Len McCarthy

Learn groove-based songs and improvisatory techniques suitable for children to older adults with special needs, developmental delays, and/or cognitive/physical impairments (e.g., autism, aphasia, stroke, dementia). The course will be of interest to both novice and intermediate players who desire to acquire techniques and repertoire they can implement immediately with their clients to further enhance therapists’ musicianship, ability to respond to the unique musical needs of clients, and develop music therapy interventions to address a variety of clinical needs. 

Grooves are the rhythmic/harmonic cyclic patterns and their variations that characterize popular and folk music. Music therapists such as Kenneth Bruscia, Kenneth Aigen and Michael Thaut have emphasized the importance of groove-based music in music therapy. From the very first lesson, this course will show you how to create and develop a variety of ukulele grooves - using a diverse repertoire of songs and improvisatory techniques. 

Read what recent graduates say about the course.

Learner Objectives Chart

1) To learn 30 Chords in 7 keys, and  a variety of repertoire (36 songs).    III. A. Implementation 5. To achieve therapeutic goals 
a. apply a variety of scales, modes, and harmonic progressions.
c. apply the elements of music (e.g., melody, harmony, rhythm).
f. employ functional skills with ukulele
2) To implement stylistic groove -based accompaniments,  rhythms and improvisatory techniques  using popular repertoire in a variety of song styles presented including: popular repertoire in a variety of 20th and 21st century styles, e.g., pop, rock, blues, jazz, Latin, reggae, country, folk, Gospel.   III. A. Implementation 5. To achieve therapeutic goals 
a. apply a variety of scales, modes, and harmonic progressions. 
d. arrange, transpose, or adapt music.
i. utilize a varied music repertoire (e.g., blues, pop, metal, hip-hop) from a variety of cultures and eras.
3) Build a variety of repertoire suitable for children through adults that is most applicable to the current and future work of the student.   III. A. Implementation 5. To achieve therapeutic goals 
k. utilize music to communicate with client.
4) Develop potential music therapy interventions using the ukulele to strengthen physical, cognitive and developmental challenges with client populations from childhood to older adult.   II. D. Treatment Planning 6. Establish client goals and objectives
Consider client’s age, culture, language, music
background, and preferences when designing
music therapy experiences.
10. Design experiences to generalize goals and objectives
across settings, people, subjects, behaviors, or time.
11. Select appropriate musical elements, repertoire, instruments and equipment consistent with treatment needs.
5)  Identify a minimum of 2 ways to continue growing in the area implementing the ukulele in clinical settings.   V. A. Professional Development
3. Participate in continuing education
6. Expand musicianship, leadership skills, and therapeutic effectiveness.

Accessing the Course Materials

All video lessons will be available to participants on a private YouTube channel and the songsheet PDFs, assignment forms and other documents will be shared in a Google Drive. Once a participant registers for the course they will be granted access to the private YouTube channel and Google Drive by means of their email address. Course videos and PDFs are strictly for the use of enrolled CBMT & course participants, and not to be sold, distributed, copied or shared in any form. Performance of the songs in this course is only permissible in private therapeutic settings, and not authorized for public settings.


Summary: * There are 8 assignments part of this course.
Establishing appropriate playing technique is intertwined with success in musical fluency. With that in mind, students will submit 6 recordings of themselves playing, and 2 written assignments. Students can progress at their own pace, but the course must be completed within one year of registration. The first assignment needs to be submitted within the first six months, and the remainder need to be submitted by the end of the eleventh month.  Please  take note, the quickest that the course can possibly be completed is 2 1/2 to 3 months, and most participants take 6-8 months, so please ensure you are aware of this if you need to earn CBMT credits by a certain date.

 Click here to view the assignment details.

Note re: Recording  A simple video from a Smartphone of the student’s instrument and hands will allow for optimal instructor feedback about student’s progress and any technical advice. An audio-only recording will also be accepted, but may reduce the options for the instructor to identify and resolve some challenges that a student might be experiencing.


  • Fee $250 USD for Professionals & $200 USD for Students, Retired Music Therapy Professionals, Other Interested Students
  • Registration is ongoing so participants can start the course when it is the right time for themselves. Students must complete the course within 12 months of registration, or will need to re-register to earn the CMTE credits.


    *Students who want to register please contact Amy directly.

  • Scholarships Available. Click here to submit your application
  • Certificate
    Upon completion of the course and assignments, participants will receive a certificate stating they have earned 30 CMTE credits.
  • Cancellation and Refund Policy
    Students may request a full refund minus a $10 USD administration fee within 15 days of ordering the course, provided they have not accessed the course materials. Once a student has accessed any of the course materials there is no refund. 
  • Statement of Relationship
    'LearnPlay’ popular music on the ukulele with authentic-sounding, varied accompaniments to meet clients' interests and abilities is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) for 30 Continuing Music Therapy Education credits. The [CBMT Approved Provider Notes By Amy, P-104] maintains responsibility for program quality and adherence to CBMT policies and criteria.