Tunes I Like

It would be nearly impossible to use only my own music in my work with children; besides, I wouldn’t want to! There are so many great singers and songwriters who are producing top-notch children’s songs – it would be a waste not to take advantage of such resources. When I’m looking for fresh material, iTunes and Amazon are it for discovering what’s new and popular. Here are some of the gems I’ve discovered over the last few years.

1. Elizabeth Mitchell
Elizabeth is a fairly new discovery. She has a sweet, soothing voice and you’ll recognize many of her songs. Favorites: Three is a Magic Number, So Glad I’m Here, You Are My Sunshine

2. Genevieve Jereb
This singer/songwriter is also an occupational therapist, and her Australian accent adds such charm to her already wonderful tunes. Favorites: I Am Me, Jellybeans, A-La-La-La-La-La- La- Le-Luia

3. Greg & Steve
If you’re looking for a great movement song, these are your guys. All of their songs are fun, educational, and catchy. Favorites: Can’t Sit Still, The Number Rock, Popcorn

4. Jack Hartmann
I saw him at a conference last spring, and not only is he full of energy, but kids love his music. And there are tons of songs to choose from. Favorites: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Birthdays, Powwow

5. Jim Gill
Another great resource for movement tunes. His songs are the perfect combination of silly and smart. Favorites: Alabama Mississippi, Toe Leg Knee, Rhythm in My Fingers, My Ups and Downs

6. Laurie Berkner
She is one of the very first songwriters who really caught my eye…er, ear, and she remains my go-to source for songs I know my kids will love. Favorites: Buzz Buzz, Walk Along the River, The Story of My Feelings, Mahalo, Shakin’ Down the Sugar

7. Mr. Heath
If total silliness is what you’re looking for, Mr. Heath is your answer. My students have been singing Spring Fever through three seasons! Favorites: Doo Wocka Doo, Spring Fever, Red Means Stop

These are just a few of the many, many music makers I adore. If you’d like more suggestions, just ask!

Pitter Patter, Pitter Patter

The sun has finally taken a day off, and it’s been replaced by storm clouds and raindrops. As much as I love sunny days, I am looking forward to singing a different weather song today. “Rainy Day” hasn’t had much airtime since the spring, so it will be fun to dig it back out. Take a listen:

Pitter patter, pitter patter
Down comes the rain today
Clouds are forming in the sky,
Inside we’ll have to stay.

Thunder crashes, boom boom boom!
We see lightning too.
Don’t go outside,
Until the storm is through.

Pitter patter, pitter patter
Down comes the rain today
Clouds are forming in the sky,
Inside we’ll have to stay.

Where Are Your Manners?

Yesterday it was all about appropriate language…today we’ll continue in that vein with a song about using good manners. Children receive constant reminders to say “hello”, “please”, “thank you”, and “you’re welcome”, so after a while, they can start to tune them out. What better way to teach manners than with a song?

Manners, manners, what are they?
It’s the way you talk, act, and play.
Using friendly words and being nice
Is having good manners, take my advice.

Is crying and screaming the right thing to do?
No, that’s bad manners for me and you.
But smiling and having nice hands and feet
Is having great manners, and being sweet.

Saying please and thank you is great,
So is being patient while you wait.
Following directions and taking your turn
Is having nice manners, you will learn.

So always remember to do these things,
And you will see the smiles it brings.
Use friendly words and be polite,
And your manner will be just right!

Friendly Words

An issue that comes up frequently when working with children is the use of appropriate language. I wrote this song for a student who had a habit of saying “pee-yew, you stink!” whether the person did or not (and most of the time, luckily, it was the latter). Now we sing this song together, and afterwards, I quiz her on which phrases are appropriate and which are not. After months and months of singing this song together, she has ceased holding her nose and uttering this phrase, and “Friendly Words” is her favorite song. Go figure!

Let’s sing a little song about the words we say
To make people smile every single day.
Friendly words are what we use
So think about the words you choose.

Hi and Hello and How Are You?
Are friendly greeting words through and through
Another friendly thing that you can say
Is “You look very pretty today.”

But if you say “pee-yew, you stink”,
That’s just not so nice, don’t you think.
Gross and yuck and disgusting
Are not friendly words for you and me.

So use nice words and then you’ll see,
It’s so cool to be friendly.
So use nice words and then you’ll see,
It’s so cool to be friendly.

On the Radio

If you’re interested in learning more about my work as a music therapist, you can listen to a radio interview highlighting a session that I led at The Autism Program in Springfield. The interview was conducted for WUIS, the University of Illinois – Springfield radio station. Scroll about halfway down the page and click on the link that says Music Therapy for Autism on their website.

If you have any questions about music therapy and autism, or want to learn more, feel free to email me. I am more than willing to share my knowledge and experiences!

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