Goodbye, 2008!

For those of you who have been checking in throughout the last week and a half, I have two words for you: I’m sorry :( I said I’d be blogging as usual, but I did not uphold that promise…it has just been a blur of activity and time spent with family and friends. Unfortunately, Listen & Learn had to suffer, but I am ready for a fresh start with the advent of 2009.

It’s hard to believe that 2008 is ending. It’s been a great year, full of BIG events. I got married, which meant inheriting a new last name, a wonderful family, and a few days later, a brand new nephew named Mason. I’ll always remember 2008 as a year of new beginnings, but I am excited to see what 2009 has to bring.

Have fun tonight, and be safe. Come by tomorrow for a brand new song that you and your kids can sing for the next 365 days. Cheers!

Ten Twinking Trees


Good morning everybody. It’s Monday, and we’re only a few days away from Christmas! It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Today is my last day of school before a two-week break, but don’t worry, I’ll still be updating my blog as usual. I have a full day of classes, a dentist appointment, and a graduation ceremony to sing, so let’s get to it. Today’s song is called “Ten Twinkling Trees” and here it is:


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Ten twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it’s not made of pine,
Let’s look at the other nine.

Nine twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it’s trunk’s not straight,
Let’s look at the other eight.

Eight twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it doesn’t point to heaven,
Let’s look at the other seven.

Seven twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for there’s too much to fix,
Let’s look at the other six.

Six twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it didn’t thrive,
Let’s look at the other five.

Five twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?

Not this one here, for it came from a store,
Let’s look at the other four.

Four twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it’s too big for me,
Let’s look at the other three.

Three twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for its branches are few,
Let’s look at the other two.

Two twinkling trees, standing strong and tall,
Which twinkling tree is the best of all?
Not this one here, for it’s brighter than the sun,
Let’s look at the other one.

One twinkling tree, standing strong and tall,
It surely must be the best of all.
With branches full, and sized just right,
I’ll take it home and trim it tonight.

My own Christmas tree is trimmed and most of my presents are wrapped and waiting beneath it, though I still have a few last-minute items to add. These next couple of days will be hectic, but I love this time of year!

Friday Fave: James Taylor at Christmas

Today is Friday! For many of you who work or teach in a school, this is probably your last day before the holiday break. If that’s you, hooray! My school has one more day in session (Monday) before a two-week break, and as much as I love it here, I have to say that the vacation will be nice.

I’ve said it many times, and I’ll say it again: I love Christmas music. And when it comes to the sounds of the season, I’m not biased at all – I will listen to anything the all-Christmas radio stations play. But of course I do have my favorites…the aforementioned Carpenters’ Christmas Portrait, Bette Midler’s Cool Yule, Christmas With the Rat Pack, and today’s featured Friday Fave, James Taylor at Christmas.

James Taylor is a music legend, and one of my very favorites any day of the year. “Your Smiling Face” makes my heart happy every time I hear it, as do most of his songs (except “Fire and Rain”, which makes me a little teary). So when I discovered his Christmas CD a couple years ago, I just had to add it to my collection. It’s soulful, jazzy, and just plain good…the kind of music that makes you want to curl up in a cozy chair in front of the fire with a big mug of hot chocolate.

My go-to track (which I included on a compilation holiday CD I made for all my students this year) is “Go Tell it On the Mountain”. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy every time I hear it, and I love the gospel choir that accompanies him. To listen to a sample of this song and all the others, go here.

That’s all, folks. Today is a double-post day, so stay tuned for another song that will be sure to get your kids talking…about Christmas!

If You Could Give a Gift This Christmas

As we inch closer and closer to Christmas break, everyone (including staff!) is getting antsy. It seems that all my students want to talk about are the holidays, which is fine with me. It gives me a perfect excuse to utilize all the great songs I’ve come across and/or written.

The kids love to tell me what they want for Christmas, and tomorrow I’ll share a song with you that encourages them do exactly that. But a week later, as I was planning their music therapy session, I had an idea. Rather than tell me about what they asked for, I wanted to hear what they would give to others if money was no issue. Here’s what I came up with:

<a href="http://listenandlearn.bandcamp.com/track/if-you-could-give-a-gift-2">If You Could Give a Gift by Listen &amp; Learn Music</a>
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If you could give a gift this Christmas,
No matter how much it cost to buy,
You could give it to your family or friend,
What would you choose, tell us who and why.

It doesn’t have to be from a store,
A gift from the heart means so much more.
You could make it yourself or do something nice.
Not all gifts have a price.

If you could give a gift this Christmas,
No matter how much it cost to buy,
You could give it to your family or friend,
What would you choose, tell us who and why.

After each chorus, I called on a student and asked him/her to choose a recipient and share what they could give to this person, and for what reason. The answers I got were all over the board, ranging from giving a fellow classmate a new video game (which made that student very happy!) to buying a new house for his/her mom or dad. My students took this exercise seriously, and it really did show another side of them.

Sometimes it’s hard for kids to remember that the holidays are about more than getting presents, but really all they need is a simple reminder.

The Other Eight Reindeer

Good Wednesday morning! I hope you’re all surviving the elements out there…mine include ice, snow, and more ice, not to mention freezing cold temperatures. ‘Tis the season for snow days, shoveling, and lots and lots of lesson cancellations :(

Today’s topic is reindeer. We all know and love Rudolph, because after all, he is the most famous reindeer of all. I sang “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” with my students last year more times than I care to count, so this year I decided to change things up a bit. The result was “The Other Eight Reindeer”, an ode to Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. This song confuses everyone upon first listen, because I purposely wrote the first line to sound like the original “Rudolph” song. Most people get a kick out of it, though!


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Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer lights the way,
Rudolph leads the pack when Santa flies his sleigh,
But Rudolph’s not the only one, he needs a little help to get the big job done,
What I’m talking about is clear: the other eight reindeer.

Next in line is Dasher, Dasher, fly away,
Now there are seven more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Dancer, Dancer, fly away,
Now there are six more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Prancer, Prancer, fly away,
Now there are five more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Vixen, Vixen, fly away,
Now there are four more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Comet, Comet, fly away,
Now there are three more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Cupid, Cupid, fly away,
Now there are two more, helping guide the sleigh.
Next in line is Donner, Donner, fly away,
Now there is one more, helping guide the sleigh.
Last in line is Blitzen, Blizten, fly away,
Now there are no more, helping guide the sleigh.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer lights the way,
Rudolph leads the pack when Santa flies his sleigh,
But Rudolph’s not the only one, he needs a little help to get this big job done,
What I’m talking about is clear: the other eight reindeer.

Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen,
Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen,
Reindeer. The other eight reindeer.
The other eight reindeer.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer needs some help.

I hope you and your students enjoy this tune just as much as we have. Oh, and it’s ok to sing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” every once in a while, too!

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