One of my favorite ways to engage my music therapy students is through children’s books. I have a sizable collection of what I call “singable stories” – books with words that translate nicely into sung lyrics. Singable stories, along with the pictures that illustrate them, provide a wonderful opportunity to address goals such as identifying colors, objects, numbers, sight words, and answering “wh” questions.
A book that I find myself pulling off the shelf again and again is Down by the Station by Will Hillenbrand. The pictures are colorfully captivating, and the song is familiar to most children.
I’ve found that if I set the story to a cool beat, my students are even more apt to listen and participate. This acoustic bass line (available in Garageband) does the trick nicely.
Another book I enjoy, and find effective in addressing the previously stated goals, is Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. Again, the story is familiar, and like the first book, there is quite a bit of onomatopoeia (words that imitate the sounds they represent).
This book is new to my collection, and as I sat down to record it the other day, I realized that I could use the very same bass line as accompaniment!
When I want to jazz up my singable stories a little bit during a music therapy session, I actually play the accompanying bass line on my ipod as my student(s) and I explore the book. I make the track much longer than the length of the book, allowing for questions and conversation as we go through it. You are more than welcome to download it (for free) and use it in your own music therapy, classroom or home setting.
For those of you who have Garageband, this is “Cool Upright Bass 18” in the Loops section. You can adjust the tempo, key, and length to suit your needs. And of course, there are many more loops and beats to explore…I could (and sometimes do) spend hours playing around with them!