Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

by Rachel on February 8, 2016

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Album Cover

As much as I love writing new songs for my music therapy sessions and classes, I think it’s equally important to share familiar songs my clients, students, and their families can sing right away.

Sometimes I like to put my own spin on traditional repertoire, but in this case, I kept the recording very straightforward and simple: just the melody and ukulele accompaniment. Depending on the setting, I’ll add sign language or simple movements, though many times we’ll sing this as a cooldown at the end of a session or class.

Everybody who uses music with children should have a solid catalog of familiar tunes, and I’ve found this one to be the most often requested (including by my son, who has been asking for the “Twinkle Twinkle book” every night at bedtime lately).

I’ll continue sharing more of the familiar songs I’ve recorded — sprinkled in with lots of originals, of course. What are your favorite songs to pull out when you want to get everyone singing along?

Members of Listen & Learn Plus! have access to this recording in our shared Dropbox folder. Membership includes just about everything else in my resource library and collection — come over and join us!

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Our Mid-Winter Session is Coming Up!

by Rachel on February 5, 2016

Music Therapy Connections Classes

We are so excited about the next round of classes, which begins in less than two weeks. Not only are we offering our usual classes, but we have added several new ones: an introduction to guitar and social skills classes for two different age groups.

Continue reading…


The Toolbox Song

by Rachel on February 2, 2016

The Toolbox Song Album Cover

One of my favorite things about kids is the way they use their imagination. For many, it seems to come so naturally; give my son a cardboard box, and suddenly it’s a “haunted house” (we now have 3 of them crowding his playroom).

But other children need just a little extra help when it comes to imaginative play, and the song I’m sharing today is designed to offer that. The Toolbox Song is meant to be accompanied by rhythm sticks, except those sticks are transformed into a variety of tools during each verse.

I show my students how to use each “tool” throughout the course of the song, but I also give them the opportunity to come up with other tools and use their rhythm sticks as such. It’s fun to watch their creativity at work, especially once they realize there is no wrong way to do it.

This song seems to have made an impression on my son: as he “builds” that aforementioned “haunted house” with the tools in his little toy toolbox, he sings it loud and clear :)

Members of Listen & Learn Plus! have access to this song, which also includes the lyrics/chords and instrumental track. Membership includes just about everything else in my resource library and collection — come over and join us!

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus


Five Swirling Snowflakes

by Rachel on January 26, 2016

Five Swirling Snowflakes Album Cover

My little students should be experts at counting to 5 by now, because we have included a song for that goal in every single one of our early childhood music classes since August. So far we’ve counted apples, pumpkins, and trees.

This session we’re counting snowflakes, and of course we have our visuals (laminated snowflake cutouts) to accompany the song. Our kiddos love gathering around and pointing to each snowflake as we count, and then they ALL want to help take one away at the end of each verse. It’s times like this that I’m happy to have my intern, Alisabeth, by my side managing the chaos ;)

We have another counting song in the works for our next session, which begins in mid-February. At the end of the summer, it will be so neat to have an entire collection. In the meantime, if you want a colorful and musical resource for counting to 10, check out this resource I put together a few years ago.

Members of Listen & Learn Plus! have access to this song, which also includes the lyrics/chords and instrumental track. Membership includes just about everything else in my resource library and collection — come over and join us!

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus


{L&L for Leaders} Asking for Feedback

January 20, 2016

Last week we did something we’ve never done before: we sent an email to all of our class participants asking for their feedback in the form of a short survey. The results have been eye-opening (in a good way). I’ll admit, it’s a little scary reaching out and asking people for their honest and anonymous […]

2016 Stays for 366 Days

January 19, 2016

It’s okay, you can admit it: you’ve been waiting with bated breath for this song, right?! :) January is more than halfway over, but better late than never. I actually had the song written two weeks ago, but my voice is just now getting back to normal after my never-ending bronchitis. “2016” is the 9th […]

5 Productivity Apps I Use Every Day

January 14, 2016

I hate to admit it, but my phone is my lifeline. I rely on it for communicating with my family and colleagues throughout the day, managing my calendar, consulting my to-do list, completing business tasks, and so much more. I know I’m not alone here, which is why I want to share 5 of the […]

Cabasa Bossa Nova

January 12, 2016

The cabasa is one of those instruments I use all the time, in both my music therapy sessions and classes. Its tactile qualities make it interesting and fun for kids to play, and doing so is great for working on those fine motor skills. This is only the second dedicated cabasa song I’ve written (here’s […]

Making CONNECTIONS Every Day

January 10, 2016

I used to be self-conscious of the fact that my company offers other services in addition to music therapy. As much as I loved providing typical and adapted lessons as well as early childhood classes, I wondered if that somehow made Music Therapy Connections less than other music therapy practices. But it didn’t take long […]

{L&L for Leaders} Out of Reach from Little Hands

January 9, 2016

One of the biggest frustrations we faced during early childhood classes at our previous location was the placement of our instruments and equipment. We were constantly redirecting our students away from the guitar, which sat in a floor stand when we weren’t using it, and trying to keep little hands out of the drawers of […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 48

January 3, 2016

It’s hard to believe almost an entire year has gone by since launching this podcast. I have loved getting the opportunity to interview 48 amazing guests and learning so much about parenthood and music therapy along the way. But in accordance with my motto for 2016, I’m taking some time off from the podcast before […]

Three Words for 2016

January 2, 2016

Happy New Year! Another year has flashed before my eyes, as they all seem to do. I’ve been looking forward to sitting down and writing about my thoughts on 2016, but first I want to reflect on 2015. At the start of what has proved to be the craziest year of my life thus far, […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 47

December 15, 2015

I met Gretchen Chardos Benner a couple years ago when we sat down for coffee at the AMTA national conference in Jacksonville, Florida. We talked about private practice, having kids, and life in general — we had a lot in common! Gretchen gave me great advice back then, as she was a few years into […]

Five Tall Trees

December 7, 2015

I’ve been on a seasonal counting kick these last few months, which you know full well if you’ve been in a music therapy session or early childhood class at Music Therapy Connections this fall. In September we counted apples, in October we counted pumpkins, and right now we’re counting trees. In keeping with the theme, […]

{Guitars & Granola Bars} Episode 46

December 5, 2015

This week’s podcast guest didn’t start out as a music therapy major — or even a music major — in college. She actually began her undergraduate career as an engineering student, but eventually made the switch once she discovered music therapy. Her math, science and engineering courses would later come in very handy, as you’ll […]

It’s Time for Little Jingles!

December 2, 2015

Last December, we offered our very first holiday-themed music class at Music Therapy Connections and it was a such a blast. I mean, what’s better than singing about reindeer and clicking reindeer hooves (a.k.a. castanets) with a bunch of kids?! So of course we brought back Little Jingles this year, and we have a completely […]

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