Video: The 3 Neurotransmitters

by Kimberly on March 18, 2010 · 8 comments

Last fall, you heard The Neurodevelopment Song. In January, it was Watch and Learn: The Mirror Neuron Song. Today, I bring you the third song in this (yet-to-be-named) series: The 3 Neurotransmitters.

As therapists, we literally re-wire the brains of our clients. That type of re-wiring happens because of certain chemicals in our brain, called neurotransmitters.

The three neurotransmitters mentioned in this song (norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and dopamine) are used when “therapy” happens. That is, they’re used in the process of helping our clients learn new skills. These brain chemicals are released when we grab their attention, hold it by making the task interesting, introduce novelty to the task, and making it motivating.

(The lighting isn’t great on this video, but I’ll dedicate the light-blue tinge to my husband’s basketball team, the top-seeded UK Wildcats!!!)

P.S. I am very excited to announce that I’m one of the newest bloggers for Psychology Today! I published my first article earlier this week–From Beyonce to Sousa: The Power of a Beat. Thank you for everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging to me this week!!!

UPDATE: Per a reader’s request, here are the lyrics to “The 3 Neurotransmitters”

The Three Neurotransmitter
by Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, NMT-F, MT-BC

1) The brain undergoes tremendous change
In the first 3 years of life
After this you’re pretty much set
(Which is why you want to start out right)
But our brains reorganize and change
It’s called neuroplasticity
This works due to certain chemicals
Namely these three…

2) Our brain, it changes
Because of neurotransmitters
They help reorganize and change
Our brain’s parameters
There’s norepinephrine
And acetylcholine
Also dopamine
The 3 neurotransmitters

3) The Alerting Network
Tells us to pay attention
Uses norepinephrine
To drive new connections
Starting in the locus coeruleus
It alerts us to the stimulus
Use novelty, key for each of us
To release norepinephrine

4)    The Orienting Network
Starts in the basal forebrain
Enhances our focus
With acetylcholine
Uses arousal and reward
Don’t let the work be a chore
Make it motivating, interesting, don’t be a bore
To release acetylcholine

5)    The Executive Network
Is like a “save” button
Uses dopamine
Which rewards and punishes
If you want to retain new information
It helps to have some motivation
Keep reinforcing the situation
To release the dopamine.

6)    So know you know about
And how you can use them
To change brain parameters
They help us pay attention
To focus our intentions
And respond to motivation
The three neurotransmitters


{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel March 22, 2010 at 9:00 am

Your article in psychology today was fantastic!!! I forwarded to many friends (who I continually educate)
Song is great- is there any way to get lyrics written out? Or is this already here and I missed it? Thanks!

Kimberly March 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Ahhhh…problem remedied!

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT March 23, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Hi Kimberly,

How glad I am that I stopped by your blog to take a closer look! And what a wonderful thing I stumbled upon in this song about neurotransmitters! What a clever gal you are. I look forward to learning more – I’m on a mission to educate myself in the language of neuroscience and how to apply it to therapy myself.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT
The Toolbox at
.-= Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT´s last blog ..Relationship Advice: My Girlfriend is Depressed =-.

Kimberly March 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

Thank you, Lisa! You are very kind. I’m giving a presentation at our regional music therapy conference next month titled “Functional Neuroscience for the Practicing Clinician.” These songs should come in handy. 😉 ~Kimberly

Adelaide Dupont April 8, 2010 at 11:51 pm

I knew about norphrenime and dopamine, but not this one: acetylcholine.

Have a great presentation.
.-= Adelaide Dupont´s last blog ..Running sheet for Key Concepts and Development: prelim and first draft, with pics and sounds! =-.

Kimberly April 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

Thank you, Adelaide, for all your support and comments! ~Kimberly

sitephy December 19, 2010 at 10:39 pm

“I look forward to learning more – I’m on a mission to educate myself in the language of neuroscience and how to apply it to therapy myself.”
Where else can I read about this?

Kimberly December 31, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Isn’t it fascinating!?! I would start by Googling “neurotransmitters.” I did that and the first page of links seemed interesting to me. Good luck! ~Kimberly

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