Singable Story: Miss Mary Mack

Miss Mary Mack - Children's Book

Hand clapping games were all the rage on the playground when I was growing up.  “Miss Mary Mack” was one of the first I ever learned, so when I came across this book on Amazon, I couldn’t pass it up.  I’m glad I didn’t, because Miss Mary Mack ranks right up there with Down by the Station, Going on a Bear Hunt, and Goodnight Sweet Butterflies as one of my favorite singable stories.

There are a few ingredients that make for a good children’s book in an educational setting.  Repetition, alliteration, and rhyme are key, and Miss Mary Mack is chock full of all three.  I found a fun little groove in Garageband to serve as accompaniment for the melody:

I know this isn’t the traditional “Miss Mary Mack” tune, but I found it to be a little more melodic (especially important since it’s sung over and over again) than the hand clapping version. No matter how you sing it, this is a great story for kids whether you’re targeting specific learning objectives or just reading it for fun.

Today at Listen & Learn Plus!

New at Listen & Learn Plus!

I incorporate visual aides into many of the activities I lead in both music therapy and music classes.  My most valuable and frequently used visual aides are ones that I actually created myself: schedule cards.  I have over 200 that I use not only for pictorial student schedules, but also for any activity during which a student might benefit from visual stimuli. 

Today at L&L Plus, I provide a step-by-step tutorial for making your own schedule cards, as well as a downloadable template (the one I use) to get you started.  This helpful info is now available to all members…learn about becoming one today!

Members, click here to access this post.

Friday Fave: A Fabulous First Week of School

Hope Learning Center

Fabulous, yes…but also extremely busy! So far, my 4th year at The Hope Institute is proving to be full of adventures. Classes have only been in session for five days, and we’re already planning a big student performance, several speaking engagements where I’ll be representing Hope, and the brand new music therapy internship program is well underway.

An entire summer has passed since I’ve seen my students, and it has been so much fun to see the growth and progression that has taken place in the last three months.  I love walking into a classroom and having so many smiling faces anxiously waiting new songs and music therapy activities.

How did your first week go?  A lovely balance of chaos and excitement?  Yep, same here.  As much as I’ve enjoyed these past five days, I am certainly ready for the weekend :)  I need some time to recharge my batteries and prepare for another week, especially since my private practice reopens for the fall session on Monday.

Add 30+ students to an already hectic school week, and what do you get?  One very worn out music therapist.  But trust me, I’m not complaining — in fact, I can’t wait.  Bring it on!

Adventures in Music Therapy Internships

I still remember the feeling in my stomach as I headed to St. Louis to begin my internship with Midwest Music Therapy Services.  That same mix of nerves and excitement came rushing back today as I embarked on a new adventure: becoming a music therapy internship supervisor.

After months of coordinating, contract writing, and preparation, The Hope Institute is now a university-affiliated internship site for music therapy students at Illinois State University.  Getting to this point was a journey in itself, but now is when the fun really begins.

I’ll be writing about my internship experiences (both as intern and supervisor) frequently over the next nine months, and I’d love to hear about yours, too.  A few questions to consider:

  • What were your greatest challenges?
  • What do you wish you had learned more about during your own internship?
  • What were the most useful aspects?
  • What were your greatest successes or breakthroughs?

It would be interesting to hear the perspective of current interns, long-time professionals, and internship supervisors alike.  I’m going to be answering each of these questions individually, but in the meantime, please share your own thoughts in the comments!

Music Therapy Round Table: Podcast Episode 7

Happy Monday, everyone! If you’re like me, you probably need an extra dose of inspiration and motivation at the beginning of a new work week. In that case, I have the perfect thing: a brand-new episode of the Music Therapy Round Table podcast!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Round Table, it is comprised of myself and two other music therapists, Kimberly Sena Moore and Michelle Erfurt. Each month, we choose a topic related to music therapy and then share our thoughts and opinions for other music therapists (and anyone else who might be interested) to hear.

Episode 7 is available today by visiting the Music Therapy Round Table, or you can find us on iTunes.  This month we’re talking about how we keep up and improve our music skills, and we also share some input from our listeners, which they provided via Twitter and Facebook.  Lots of interesting and innovative ideas — the three of us were so inspired that by the end of the episode, we were ready to go play or sing!

Our podcast is the perfect lunch date, workout partner, and companion for commuting.  So go check it out, and hopefully it will inspire you just as much as it did us.

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