This song wins the “triple threat” award — it manages to combine instrument play, movement, and gradual increase in tempo — with bonus points for being super simple and repetitive. One of those tunes I whipped up on the fly and yet is incredibly handy to have in my toolbox.
What I like most about this song is that you as the music therapist/teacher/facilitator can choose your own dance steps and rhythms depending on the child or group with whom you’re working. Or, you can let your kiddos choose their own (which is what I usually do!). There really is nothing more entertaining than watching a room full of preschoolers make up dance moves while playing rhythm sticks at the same time.
I didn’t include an instrumental version since the tempo increase would make it difficult to record over or sing along to. A lot of times, I sing this a capella anyway and use the rhythm created with our “dancing” and stick-playing as accompaniment. Sometimes I’ll even use a metronome to add a visual and extra audio component to the tempo change. Fun stuff!
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There’s a certain song that I look forward to pulling out every single year. Some years, I have the willpower to wait until April; this was not one of those years. I caved in March and reintroduced my students to “Good Green Earth” by James K.
I call this my go-to song for April because it’s the month during which Earth Day falls, and I originally learned this song for an Earth Day school assembly. It doesn’t spread the “reduce, reuse, recycle” message — but it DOES touch on many of the earth’s cycles (the clock, days of the week, months of the year, and seasons). These are all important concepts that are included in many of my students’ learning objectives.
Interestingly, the YouTube video I recorded of this song has been viewed more than almost all of my other videos, so I’m not the only fan! I talk more about how I use this song in sessions below:
I’ve written my own songs (many, in fact) on the topics of telling time, days of the week, months of the year, and the seasons, but I love how James K has combined all of the above into a catchy, singable tune that just screams for corresponding motions.
I sing this song with toddlers who are learning to imitate those motor skills, and they enjoy it just as much as preschoolers and older elementary kiddos who are working hard to learn all the information presented through the lyrics. (However, they probably don’t enjoy it quite as much as I do. I really, really love this song!)
This weekend, I snuck away for a little lunch and shopping date with my mom. Of course I had to check in on my little guy while I was gone, and my husband sent several photos — all of Parker playing with my instruments.
“When the cat’s away, the mice will play” was the caption that popped into my head immediately. Just look at that face; he knows exactly what he’s getting away with!
I wasn’t the least bit surprised when Zach told me that all Parker wanted to do was play my instruments, considering he makes a beeline for my studio first thing every morning. I usually let him explore (completely supervised) for a little while, and then redirect him to the living room full of his toys and more age-appropriate instruments. As much as I love that he is obsessed with my guitar, I’d rather him stick to his toy guitar for a few more years ;)
For more mama moments and Parker updates (including an abundance of adorable photos and videos), check out my family blog, www.therambachs.com.
I met Amy Benton at Illinois State University, where we were both music therapy students. I was always impressed with her talent as a guitarist and songwriter, not to mention her lovely personality. I was thrilled to find out she had moved to Springfield, and it was so nice reconnecting with her over coffee this past summer.
I couldn’t be happier to share that Amy is now offering guitar lessons and currently taking new students of all ages. Here’s a little more about her.
Amy grew up in Taylorville, IL. She took guitar lessons, volunteered playing music at local nursing homes, performed in the community, started a music program for kids at the park district, and taught guitar lessons. After completing an internship at a school for autism, she graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor in Music in music therapy. She moved to Tennessee to pursue songwriting and performing. She got board-certified, started a music and movement program for preschoolers at a YMCA in Tennessee, and worked as a music therapist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Amy has had several songs recorded by independent artists, an album produced by Pat Flynn, and opened for many national acts. She now resides in Springfield, IL, where she started “6 Strings \ 6 Weeks” (a program for adults who always have wanted to play the guitar) through Springfield Area Arts Council, teaches guitar lessons, and performs regionally.
Any student would be lucky to have Amy as a guitar instructor. If you live in the Springfield area and are seeking lessons, please contact me via email.