It’s been awhile since I wrote about one of my favorite apps, so that is exactly what I’m doing today. Tabs is an app for both iPhone and iPad by Ultimate-Guitar.com, which is my go-to source for chords to just about any song you could ever think of.
The app itself costs $2.99, but there is also a subscription fee you must pay before accessing songs. However, the fee is nominal — I paid $5.99 for 12 months of full access to over 300,000 songs.
This is one of the most frequently used apps on my iPad, because my students and music therapy clients are always requesting songs that I don’t know off the top of my head. The app allows me to search for any song or band/artist, transpose songs to any key, look up a chord if I’m not familiar with it, and even auto-scroll the song so that my hands don’t have to leave the guitar or piano.
My favorite features are playlists and favorites. I can save songs to separate playlists for each of my students as well as keep a running list of favorites for myself, which motivates me to sit down and practice when I have a bit of downtime. I have always loved the website, but now instead of printing out sheet after sheet, I can just grab the iPad and play.
Have you tried this app yet? If so, what are your thoughts — and how do you use it? And if not, I’d love to hear your preferred method for finding chords/tabs to songs and using them in sessions or lessons.
Just recently, I was discussing with another music therapist how difficult it can be to find songs by popular artists that are appropriate for use with our students. The very next morning while working out at the gym, this song popped up on my iPod…and I have to say I was surprised to find out who was singing it.
You’ve probably heard “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars, which is a fun tune that isn’t quite kid-friendly in its original form (although my student and I rewrote some of the lyrics for this version). However, this one is — and you better believe I came home from the gym and downloaded the sheet music for it immediately.
“Count on Me” sort of reminds me of the songs on Jack Johnson’s Singalongs and Lullabyes album: equally appealing to both children and adults. I’m always on the hunt for music that falls into that category…do you have any to share with me?
Yesterday during my presentation at the Sharing a Vision conference, I may have gotten a little carried away explaining just how powerful music can be, and how much I love what I do. If the attendees walked away having learned nothing at all (which I hope is not the case!), at least they will have recognized my genuine passion for music therapy.
And today, for the second time this week, I have the opportunity to educate another person about this field and what it’s like to be a part of it. A high school senior with an interest in music therapy is coming over to talk with me today, which is exciting but scary. I always feel a great deal of pressure when I talk to students, because I want to make sure I represent my field enthusiastically yet accurately.
After all, one of the most influential factors in my decision to do so was a job shadowing experience I had with a music therapist as an undergraduate student. Her passion was apparent; I saw with my own eyes just how much she enjoyed the work she was doing and how it was benefiting her clients.
As much as music therapists are advocates for our profession in the community — to parents, educators, legislators, other kinds of therapists, and the list goes on — I also feel like I have a responsibility to help our field grow. I’ve had many students come to observe or interview me about music therapy, and each time, I hope that I’m influencing them in the same way I was by a music therapist all those years ago.
Early last spring, I was invited to present at Illinois’ statewide Sharing a Vision early childhood conference. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since, and today is the day! My presentation, Music Therapy Techniques for School, Home & Play, is set to begin in just a couple of hours.
I’ve given similar presentations at quite a few conferences in the last couple of years, yet I never grow tired of sharing my passion with others — especially people who work with children like I do.
The opportunity to educate an entire room full of people about music therapy is priceless, and the fact that I get to make music with them (yes, I am bringing my guitar and a boatload of songs!) is just icing on the cake.
It’s time once again to give you the run-down of all of the wonderful Listen & Learn sponsors. I’m extremely proud to feature all of the following resources here on the blog — please take a few minutes to check them out below:
Do you have a young child who wants to play the piano, but you can’t afford or find a piano teacher? Now you can teach your child to play the piano…even if you have no musical background! Invite Miss Leslie into your home to teach you and your child how to make music at the keyboard: click here to learn more. Miss Leslie will hold a drawing for a free copy to people who sign up for her newsletter during October at http://musicwithmissleslie.com. Also, anyone who signs up for her newsletter this month will receive a coupon for $7.00 off the price of the package.
Opus Music Education offers a searchable database of music teachers in California and affordable private music lessons in virtually every instrument. Every first music lesson is always free. Opus also offers Opus Music Worksheets, a database of high quality, free printable music education resources, including free music theory worksheets, free music flashcards, free music business forms, and many other free music learning resources for music teachers, music students, and parents.
OnlinePianist is very close to launching a new player, which will include seven new and amazing features: letter notes running simultaneously with the song, an adjustable repeat function for the hard parts of the song, manual metronome for better accuracy, segmentation of the song to verses, chorus, interlude, etc., zoom-in functionality, letter notes on the piano keys, and cool themes & layouts of the player. Click to see a preview!
Theta Music Trainer will help train your ear with fun music games, sharpen your sense of pitch and tone, unlock the hidden patterns in music, and strengthen your music theory skills. They’ve added five new music games over the summer, as well as many new features for teachers and students. It’s now easier for teachers to assign games for homework, check student progress on games and submit feedback. You can check it all out at trainer.thetamusic.com.
Margie La Bella, a music therapist and educator, manages Music Therapy Tunes and has recently been published in Imagine, the early childhood music therapy magazine (pg 68). Margie also has a free song available via Songs For Teaching. The song is called “Play and Do” and it’s on her album titled Play.
Susan Seale of Make Me Musical is sending out the September newsletter sometime this week. It is a practical monthly resource for parents and professionals who nurture children through the arts. You still have time to sign up for the latest issue. Check it out!
Have you heard about the Soundbeam? This seriously cool system detects the distance, direction and velocity of body movements in a defined space, and translates these body gestures into control signals for creating electronic music or manipulating multimedia. It’s being used in special education, music therapy, the music classroom, museums, and science centers…and you can learn all about it at the website of our wonderful sponsor, SoundTree.
Do you ever wish your school’s professional development days were geared to your needs as a music educator? Involve Me Music is accepting in-service bookings for limited openings for the winter/spring/summer of 2012. Check out more info at http://involvememusic.com/services-2/.
Music therapist and songwriting extraordinaire Amanda Ellis of More With Musichas this to report: “I am really enjoying the true heart of music therapy: reaching many students through music. Some days, it’s the most simple things like putting a smile on a student’s face, helping them to develop confidence and self esteem, and watching them reach their goals. Other days, it’s watching a student “let go” to the power of music and being brave enough to try to do a skill/activity that he/she didn’t think they would ever be able to do. I love working with students who are nonverbal and helping them learn to use their voice with voice output devices (Big Macs, GoTalks, Dynavox,etc.). I feel so appreciated when support staff tell me the students do so much more within our music therapy sessions. While I haven’t posted regularly on More with Music lately, I still remain very thankful for all my readers!”
Stefanie Anderson Eckert, MM, MT-BC is the owner of A-Z Music Therapy Services, which provides services to individuals with disabilities in San Antonio and South Central Texas. Stefanie works in many different settings, including schools for children with autism and assisted living facilities. Her website offers additional resources and contact information for individuals interested in her services.
Rhythm Ring rocks! If you haven’t picked up your own Rhythm Ring yet (they are only $5 each!) then you need to drop everything and get one. I love mine, and use it all the time with my students, at gigs, and even in my “Sunday Singalong” videos. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and announcements.
Joyfull Cup has an exciting new focus! Fundraising! Do you own a non-profit, or do your kids have to fundraise for their extra curricular activities? Why not raise some money and be able to offer a healthy alternative to cookie dough or wrapping paper? This fundraising opportunity will be selling healthy coffee! I bet almost everyone you know drinks coffee, why not offer them a healthy alternative? If you are interested in more information, please contact Stephanie Shehan at firstname.lastname@example.org.