You’ve Hit Your Songwriting Stride When…

…you’re in the middle of a session with a student, and out of your mouth (and guitar) comes a complete song about playing the tambourine, perfect rhymes and all. I realized when Ryan reached “instruments” on his schedule that I hadn’t planned a song to sing while he played, preferably one that worked on directions (up and down) and speed (slow and fast). Well I guess I didn’t need to, because my magical music therapy powers did it for me on the spot :)

I actually liked the song so much that I’m going to put it in writing as soon as I finish up this post. I’ve written quite a few songs this week in preparation for March, many of which I’m excited about sharing with you all in the coming days. Stay tuned!

What to Wear, What to Wear

It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but one of the hardest parts of my day is picking out an outfit to wear. I always second guess myself…did I just wear this? Is this too spring-ish? Does this shirt even fit? This daily dilemma got me to thinking: it’s probably a little overwhelming for kids when they first start dressing themselves. Now granted, they probably don’t have the same concerns as us grown-ups (i.e. matching, obeying the rules of the season), but if I had to guess, I’d say it’s a bit of a challenge.

That line of thinking inspired me to write this song, which covers several aspects of getting dressed. And next month, I’m going to use it as a precursor to the weather song, since our outfits are usually determined by the weather. Take a listen:

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There are a few things that I need to know,
Before I get dressed today.
What’s the weather like?
Am I going to school?
Or just outside to play?

Because the people I see, and the places I go,
And whether there is sun or rain or snow,
All matter when I choose,
My clothes and my shoes.

Girls can wear a dress or skirt,
However, boys cannot,
We can all wear pants and even shorts,
Depending if it’s cold or it’s hot.


Next I’ll choose a shirt to wear,
Short-sleeved, or long,
Or maybe a sweater if it’s wintertime,
‘Cause in the summer that would be wrong.


Last but least comes shoes and socks,
Or sandals if it’s warm,
Sneakers if I’m playing outside,
Or boots if there is a storm.


I kept it simple, but I think it is effective. I’ve even found myself humming this tune a couple times this past week while standing in my closet, clueless as usual. Someday this will become an easy task…I hope!

Off To School Today

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Time for school! No shortened week this time around, but next Monday is Casmir Pulaski Day…which means another day off :) Until then, let’s talk about the song I have for you today. It is all about going to school – when we go, how we get there, who we see, and what we do.

There are a lot of kids out there who sometimes dread the very thought, but many times the anxiety they have beforehand is much worse than the actual experience. I know this firsthand, because I was one of those kids. I remember coming up with all sorts of excuses for why I couldn’t go to school, even as early as kindergarten. The funny thing is that I actually enjoyed school and did well once I was there. I grew out of this eventually, as do most kids.

I thought a fun, upbeat song about school might help ease that anxiety, and maybe even provide the child with reasons to look forward to it.

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I’m off to school today,
I’m gonna listen, learn and play.
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you see,
It’s off to school for me.

You can bring a lunch from home, or buy it at school,
Don’t forget your bookbag, whatever you do.
You can get there in a school bus, or ride in a car,
You can walk if the school is not too far.


You can learn about science, math, and reading too,
Music, art, and gym class, there’s so much to do.
And when it’s time to go home, when the day is done,
Tell your teacher “thank you” for all of the fun.


Well I’m off to prepare for my school day. I have a long to-do list, including new songs to prepare with March quickly approaching. Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday Fave: Blue Snowball Microphone

TGIF! This week flew by, and trust me, I don’t say that very often. I guess it didn’t hurt that Monday was a holiday :) Nonetheless, it’s Friday and you know what that means – it’s time for Friday Faves!

I’m often asked what type of equipment I use to record my songs. Since I record so frequently, I needed a home set-up that was simple yet produced good, quality sound. My first step was purchasing a Macbook, which I did back in the summer of 2007. This has by far been a great investment, as I can use it to record, edit, and burn CDs among many other things. GarageBand is the audio program I use, and I am a huge fan. Not only does it have all the capabilities I need, but it is completely user-friendly. I love the drop-and-drag features, and its seamless integration with iTunes. But I couldn’t do much without this beauty right here:

The Blue Snowball Microphone is awesome. It doesn’t take up much space, and all I have to do is plug it into the USB port of my computer and it’s ready to go. No installation, no software. There are three settings to choose from, depending on what type of recording you’re doing and the space in which you’re doing it. I actually have my husband to thank for this discovery, as it was a Christmas gift last year. You can get one for yourself here.

All this talk about recording is making me want to do just that, but it will have to wait. I have a full day of music therapy ahead of me, and lots of work to be done. Have a great Friday!

Under, Over, In and Out

Ahh, prepositions. They are something we all learn at one point or another, and as educators, we have the responsibility of making sure our students understand them. There are so many, but I chose just four of the most commonly used prepositions to include in this particular song.

Something important to remember about teaching prepositions: words can only go so far. You really need some sort of visual aide to demonstrate each word and its meaning. One idea is to use a stuffed animal or a student’s favorite object, and then place that object under or over a table or chair, in and out of a bin, etc. That way the student has a visual reference to associate with each preposition. I structured my song so that there is a time to demonstrate each word after singing about it. See what you think:

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Under, over, in and out,
Is what we’re gonna sing about.
So please listen carefully,
And you will learn along with me.

Under is a word that means below,
Like the fish swim under water, this we know.
Now I’ll show you just exactly what I mean, you see,
So keep your eyes on me. (demonstrate under)


Over is a word that means above or across,
Like a bridge over the lake or the ball over we toss.
Now I’ll show you just exactly what I mean, you see,
So keep your eyes on me. (demonstrate over)


In is a word that means to enter,
Like you’ve come inside or walked into the center.
Now I’ll show you just exactly what I mean, you see,
So keep your eyes on me. (demonstrate in)


Out is a word that means away,
Like you’re out of school and went outside to play.
Now I’ll show you just exactly what I mean, you see,
So keep your eyes on me. (demonstrate out)


This is one activity where you can get creative and really cater to the interests and learning styles of your students. What are some other ways of teaching these prepositions (and others)? What has worked for you in the past, and what hasn’t?

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