Targeting speech goals with a little help from a gorilla named Matilda

We love using music to target speech goals!


One of our longtime favorite songs for targeting an open vowel sound is the song "Matilda the Gorilla" By Mary Rice Hopkins. We love using this song to target the open vowel sound "ah" (and sometimes both "ooh" and "ah") because the entire repetitive chorus is entirely ooh's and ah's! The "ah" happens to fall at the perfect place for encouraging and musically prompting speech production of this open vowel. The chorus provides a fun and engaging way for children to practice this sound many times throughout the song. The predictability and repetitive nature of the chorus lends itself to many successful moments for students.


In this song we did make a couple adaptations for use with our students. The original song, linked here sings the "ooh ahh" section quickly and alternates between the two sounds with greater frequency. To increase our student's success in singing long vowel sound we lengthened these sounds and slowed it down a bit. You can hear our adaptation here where you'll also see the sign language we've added to encourage motor imitation and bilateral coordination. We've created visuals for this song using pictures from Shutterstock and we've made this visual set available for purchase in our online shop, here .


Lastly, in the original version of the song, Matilda ends up in the circus. We couldn't bear to send her to the circus and have made a slight change to the lyrics so that Matilda ends up in the jungle with her family at the end of the song. We've linked our adapted lyrics with chords below:

Matilda the Gorilla adapted lyrics and c
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Download • 2.22MB

We hope you enjoy singing this song with the children you support! We sure have!


          603-988-4291

          Mmiller@rhythmandstrings.com

Music therapy services in Southern Maine and New Hampshire

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