Looking for music resources for children?

You’re in the right place. I know first-hand how overwhelming it can be, constantly searching for and creating new music materials for your work with children. When I became a board-certified music therapist in 2007, I felt completely lost as I got started planning my sessions and classes. That’s why I started writing my own music therapy songs — my other options were extremely limited. I began sharing them in the hopes that it would help other people like me, and that’s how Listen & Learn Music came to be.

Ready to expand your collection of music therapy songs?

Over the last ten years, I’ve written and shared over 200 songs. My music has been used in music therapy sessions, classrooms, and homes all over the world. As an actively practicing music therapist and early childhood music leader, I’m constantly writing new songs for my own students and clients, so it would be nearly impossible to run out of material to share here :) More than 300 members have joined Listen & Learn Plus, my VIP membership which provides total access to the entire collection. I invite you to take a look around, and hope that this site becomes a valuable resource for you, too!

Time to explore!

There’s a LOT to see here, so I hope you’ll bookmark Listen & Learn Music and come back often. Better yet, subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a thing, and join my email list (you get an entire free album just for signing up!) for fresh materials, discounts, and news. Last but not least, please consider getting the most out of Listen & Learn Music by becoming a VIP member. If you have any questions about anything you see here, use the contact button at the top to get in touch. Enjoy!

10 Years of MT-BC

10 Years of MT-BC

July 2007 was a good month. I got engaged to my now-husband, and then just a few days later, passed the board certification exam to become an official board-certified music therapist. This photo was taken the following month — the earliest one I have in a work setting with those four letters (MT-BC) behind my name.

These past 10 years have been full of learning, growing, and stretching myself in ways I never though possible. I thought it would be fun to take a little trip down memory lane, highlighting my music therapy journey from the beginning to where I am now.

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8 Songs for Rhythm Sticks

Rhythm Sticks Songs for Children

Rhythm sticks are a go-to instrument in our music therapy sessions and classes. They’re not colorful and interesting-looking like some of our other instruments, but they are super versatile and can address so many important skills.

Another benefit of rhythm sticks is that they’re inexpensive, so we always have enough on hand to that everyone can play at the same time, no matter how big our group. We buy these in bulk.

Since we use our rhythm sticks so often, I’m constantly writing new songs specifically for them. It’s been awhile since I shared a song round-up, so here are 8 of my favorite stick tunes for working with children.

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The 5 Second Rule

The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Recently I was having a FaceTime conversation with my friend Jocelyn, when she mentioned this audiobook to which she had been listening. “It’s called The 5 Second Rule,” she said, which immediately brought to mind the rule that dropped food is acceptable for consumption as long as you pick it up within 5 seconds. #momlife

But then Jocelyn went on to explain the basic premise of the book: that you can get yourself to take action on any task by counting backwards from 5. I liked the concept, but I was confused as to how it warranted an entire book. Despite my skepticism, I used one of my Audible credits to download the audiobook version, and stated listening after we hung up the phone.

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“Since When Are You an Introvert?”

Introvert | Listen & Learn Music

It was my dad, of all people, who asked me this question just the other day.

“But how can you be an introvert? You’ve been performing in front of people your whole life. That doesn’t seem very introverted to me.”

That’s when I had to debunk the common misconception that being an introvert means being shy and uncomfortable around other people. I explained to my dad that while I have no problem getting up on a stage and singing, it’s the interaction with many people before and after that completely drains me and necessitates time alone to recharge afterwards.

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How We Maxed Out Our Summer Music Classes

Scarves in Early Childhood Music Class

When we first started offering early childhood and preschool music classes, there were 2 options: a morning class and an evening class. And before every session, I worried that we wouldn’t have enough families sign up, and we would have to cancel a class.

Thankfully that never happened, although there were plenty of sessions with small class sizes throughout those first few months. But with each session, we learned what worked (and what didn’t) when it came to filling classes. Over the last two years, we have consistently filled 5 different classes per session — a huge feat considering where we started.

Before our summer session began this week, my business partner Katey and I set specific goals for class registration numbers. We aimed high because we love a good challenge, and then we came up with a plan to meet those goals.

Katey and I had a little emoji party on Monday after I texted her that not only had we achieved those pie-in-the-sky registration numbers, but we had actually exceeded them with a waitlist for several of the classes. What the what?!

I would love to share with you our specific strategies for maxing out this session of early childhood and preschool music classes, because I know the struggle all too well.

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Sometimes Business Ownership is Dreamy

Sometimes Business Ownership is Dreamy

Most days, being a business owner is far from glamorous. The majority of my work is done from home, sitting at my desk in front of the computer, balanced out with a few hours of music therapy sessions, music classes, and meetings throughout the week.

I’m definitely not complaining; as an introvert, this was the ideal work life I envisioned for myself all those years ago when I became a full-time business owner. But every once in a while, I have those days away from my desk that remind me how rewarding and fun business ownership can be.

Today was one of those days.

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The Favorite Song Challenge

Favorite Song Challenge

Can I tell you how excited I am about this week!? We’re getting ready to host Music Therapy Connections’ annual Favorite Song Singalong, which is a free event for families with young children.

The Singalong, which will be held on both Tuesday morning and Wednesday evening, features a variety of our favorite songs (both original and traditional) that we’ve included in music classes over the last year.

One of the reasons I love this event so much is that it allows us to welcome in many new families from the community who haven’t attended our classes before. We also get to see our “regulars” — a big treat since we’ve been on break for the last month.

Add to that the opportunity to share my favorite songs, play our favorite instruments, and make music with lots of excited kiddos…well, it’s basically the recipe for an awesome time.

As I was working on the details of the event this past week, I thought, why not bring a similar concept to Listen & Learn Music? Except instead of sharing only MY favorite songs, I want to hear YOURS. Enter the Favorite Song Challenge.

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Slowing Down Summer

Slowing Down Summer - Ice Cream

Growing up, I loved summer for its perfect blend of laziness and activity. I spent my days sleeping in and hanging out with my friends at the pool, and then, once I was in high school, my evenings were filled with community theater rehearsals and low-key plans with friends.

As an adult, especially the last few years before having kids, summers were a blur. I packed them with full work schedules, gigs, vacations, and obligations to which I felt bad saying no. I barely spent any time in my summer happy place (next to a pool), and let the season slip by because I was so “busy”.

That was my experience even after having kids, as we added all kinds of new activities to the mix. I continued to say yes to work opportunities and performances, even though really, I just longed for weekends completely free of plans.

Slowing Down Summer - At the Pool

But this summer is different. I’ve spent the first half of 2017 slowly paring down commitments and work to that which most fulfills me and suits my family life, and now, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I have more white space than plans on my calendar.

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Publishing Song Adaptations

Publishing Song Adaptations | Music Therapy Songs | Listen & Learn Music

Back before I ever even considered called myself a songwriter, I made up piggyback songs. I learned this term while studying music therapy in graduate school, and quickly found out how handy they were, especially when working with children.

Piggyback songs are much easier to write than completely original songs, because there is already an existing melody. Sometimes I would change just a few words, while other times I would completely rewrite the entire lyrics; it just depended on how and with whom I planned to use the song.

As I began dipping my toe into the water of original songwriting, I used piggyback songs less and less. But I still get plenty of mileage out of them, and my students and clients love them, too.

When I shared my adaptation of “Under the Sea” recently, a colleague posed this question:

“Can you educate me a bit? How do you publish these without infringing on rights? I love adaptations and would like to know how you do it!”

This isn’t the first time I’ve received this question, and the answer is a bit complicated, so instead of replying just to her, I decided to turn it into a blog post.

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“Under the Sea” Adapted for Castanets!

Last summer as I was planning an ocean-themed music class, I thought, “what better song to adapt than a Disney classic that’s perfectly on topic?!” So I did exactly that.

The tune is (mostly) the same, but the lyrics got a little makeover so that now, “Under the Sea” can be used to facilitate castanet playing.

My new version is a bit less wordy than the original, so it works well in an early childhood or music therapy setting. You can also easily switch out “castanets” for “rhythm sticks” and keep the rest of the lyrics the same. I love a great multi-purpose song!

Under the Sea - Music Therapy Song for Castanets & Rhythm Sticks

Download the mp3, instrumental track, and chords here.

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