Pop Quiz

Have you found yourself in any of these situations?

A. “I should learn that new (artist of choice) song…” I say as I have to leave in 20 minutes.
B. Text from a caregiver reads “client would LOVE to hear this new song from TikTok” for their session later that day.
C. You told someone you’d learn a new song they requested, and you forgot until the last minute–we’re all human!
D. All of the above (…guilty!)

I think many, if not all of us music therapists have been in some of these situations. Sometimes my best ideas come to me before I leave the house, I get texts before sessions with song requests, or I was supposed to write down a reminder and I didn’t. Can’t be just me though, right? In these situations, I try to learn a song to the best of my ability when I can. In this new blog series, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tried and true resources to learn new music both efficiently and successfully for functionality in your sessions.

Disclaimer: When bringing live music into a session, you should feel confident and prepared that you can replicate the song authentically to the best of your abilities. If you can’t, just use recorded. It will be okay!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

I think it’s safe to say that we all know the “listen to a song on repeat as long as it takes until I can look up the chords” method–and while there is nothing wrong with that, I’m a big fan of working smarter and not harder. Some of the resources that I share may be familiar to you, or they may be completely new! Given we all have different approaches to learning music, I’m going to be covering a variety of resources in upcoming blog posts. My hope is that these resources can help at least one person (student, intern, MT-BC) feel a little less overwhelmed with the task of learning new music.


For this first post, I want to talk about Chordify. Chordify is a program designed to help musicians learn music by providing accurate chords paired with a “play along” design to help you learn. It can be accessed as a website or an app on iOS/android. The site is paired with YouTube, so when you want to look up a song you can either just type in the title, or you can copy/paste a YouTube link. If it’s a popular and well-known song, you’ll find lots of results saying it’s been “chordified.” If not, you can “chordify” it yourself. With a click of a button the site will generate chords to the song you looked up within minutes, saving you the time of trying to figure out the chords by ear on your own. While there are lots of routes for finding lead sheets (I’ll talk about Ultimate Guitar and those features in a future post), I like to use this site for when I want to memorize chords. I’m a visual learner, so seeing the diagrams moving in time to the music makes my brain happy.

If you want to get the most out of this program, I recommend making an account. With a free account you can look up three songs a day and you get the basic overview of chords. In this image below, you’ll see that I’m not logged into my account. You’ll see that the only options for playback are “play” and “restart.”

If you want to use this as your go-to method of learning new songs, I would recommend the paid version. You get unlimited searches for songs each day, and access to all of the other helpful features. In the image below, I am logged into my paid account. You’ll see that the options for transposing, tempo, using a capo, etc. are active whereas you cannot use these with a basic account. You can also toggle to ukulele and piano visuals. I’ve had and used both free and paid versions before, and either option is super helpful.

BONUS: this is a great music learning tool for clients, or adapted music visuals for group music making. If you want to learn more about how to use chordify, click here.

This post is not sponsored by Chordify, but I sure wish it was for how much I use it! 😉 

Stay tuned for future blog posts in this series for more music-learning resources!

Abby P standing outside for a headshot photo

This blog was written and shared by Abby Petrey, MT-BC. Abby provides 1:1 and group music therapy support services in people’s homes, the community, Cleveland schools, and via telehealth. Abby is also our social media coordinator. Abby’s passions outside of music include reading, cuddling her cat, and spending time with friends. All images in this post are original and were created by Abby.