The Digit Dance

Memorizing a string of numbers can be challenging, but it is absolutely necessary for each and every child to know his/her home phone number. And what is the best way to learn? Why, with a song, of course! “Digit Dance” makes this task a little more fun…I used a made-up phone number for the first half of the song, so just replace that with the child’s number when you put this tune to use.

I have a little boogie that I do,
When I share my phone number with you.
There are seven numbers that you need to know,
So I’ll say them nice and slow:
_ _ _-_ _ _ _

Do the digit dance, do the digit dance,
_ _ _-_ _ _ _
Do the digit dance, do the digit dance,
_ _ _-_ _ _ _

Memorize your number and don’t forget,
Not to share it with the people you just met.
You can tell it to your teacher or friend,
Now I’ll say it once again:
_ _ _-_ _ _ _

Do the digit dance, do the digit dance,
_ _ _-_ _ _ _
Do the digit dance, do the digit dance,
_ _ _-_ _ _ _

A great way to adapt this song is to use sign language when listing the phone number. That way, non-hearing students can still benefit, and everyone can work on signing skills at the same time. You could also play a game using this song, where you take turns pointing to a student, and that student fills in his/her own phone number.

Office Space

Good morning! I’m back from my trip to San Diego, which was amazing in every way. The weather was perfect – sunny and in the 70s every day – and the city definitely lived up to its reputation. We had a great time hitting up all of the tourist destinations, but I think my favorite aspect of the trip was just enjoying the resort, where we hung out at the beautiful beach and spent more time by the pool than I care to admit :) I have to say, it was really difficult to leave such a wonderful place and come back to Illinois, where it was cold and pouring down rain when we arrived, but it’s home. I’m glad to be back and blogging again!

And that brings me to today’s subject: my new office and studio, from which I write most of my songs and do my blogging. Beginning in June, I will be teaching all lessons and providing music therapy here, which will be a nice change after going to my students’ homes for the past two years. As my practice has grown, it’s been hard to keep up with all that driving; I’m sure many of you know that feeling! Now on with the tour.

My office/studio is located right off of the front hall, which is convenient in that my students don’t have to go traipsing through the house to find it. The nearby living room will serve as a waiting area for families.

Here is the bookcase that houses the many music books and binders I’ve accumulated over the years, as well as books and other resources I use on a regular basis. My guitar hangs out there when it’s not in the trunk of my car, along with a small keyboard for the little ones and a MIDI keyboard I use for recording.

This keyboard is mainly for my own use, though I may move it into the hallway and allow students to practice on it before their lessons. Above the keyboard, I plan to create a bulletin board featuring my students’ pictures and studio news.

My desk, where I spend a ridiculous amount of time when I’m not at school or with students. Normally you’d find a cup of coffee or a Diet Mountain Dew next to my computer, but I tidied up for the purposes of this photo tour ;)

The top frame contains an awesome picture my parents gave me as a gift – a little girl version of Dorothy and Toto, looking out the window at the characters from The Wizard of Oz. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time. Below is a framed copy of my undergraduate senior recital program, and a picture of my mom and I taken right after the recital. Yes, I am a giant compared to her.

My undergraduate diploma from Rollins College is on the left, though it’s hard to tell considering the entire thing is in Latin. Good thing I studied the language for four years in high school so I can read it! At the top right is my master’s degree diploma from Illinois State University, and underneath it is my Certification Board of Music Therapy certificate.

My childhood piano, which you can read all about here. I love the picture above it – I can pretend I am looking out the window, admiring my oceanfront view. Ha!

I wasn’t so crazy about the idea of storing all my musical instruments and music therapy supplies in plain view, so I bought this chest of drawers, which matches my bookcase and desk. For now, it stores almost everything, though I’m sure it won’t take long to run out of room.

The framed picture above the chest is actually a puzzle I put together a couple years ago and has been hanging out in storage. I love Mary Engelbreit, and I find this quote really inspiring. I hope my students do, too!

Here is a more comprehensive view of the room, taken from the doorway. It’s a fairly big room for an office, which is lucky for me since I have a couple good-sized groups I need to accomodate.

Another view from the back wall. I wish the day had been sunnier so that there was more light in the room.

A close-up of the awesome rug I found at Target. After weeks of searching online, I stumbled upon exactly what I’d been looking for: something cheerful and kid-friendly, tying all of the colors in the room together.

I still have some orgaizing to do in these drawers, but have a look. Lollipop drums, maracas, visual aides, picture cards…

…tambourines, bells, shakers, rhythm sticks…

…harmonicas, kazoos, a bag of stuffed animals, star tambourine…

…animal clackers, ipod/speaker bag, boom box. Everything else is in the trunk of my car, so I’ll have to find homes for it once I cease my tour as traveling music therapist.

So there you have it – a sneak peek at my second most frequented place in the world (the first being my tiny, office…at school). For those of you who work or teach from home, any other suggestions to make the room complete? I am always searching for new ideas, so yours are welcome!

California, Here I Come!

In just a few hours, my husband and I are taking off for a much-needed vacation in San Diego, where hopefully the weather will be warm and the sun will be shining. (Basically the polar opposite of central Illinois, where it is overcast and cold.) We have plans to explore the city, tour the San Diego Zoo, meet up with friends in L.A. for a Dodgers game, and enjoy our stay at the Hotel Del Coronado. Can you tell I’m excited?

Before I left, I wanted to stop by and say hello, as well as post some additional lyrics to the April Song, written by fellow music therapist Kim Gilbert. Here they are:

April 11th is Easter Day
The Easter Bunny came to hop and play
Hiding eggs and candy too
Yummy treats for me and you.

Birds will sing their happy songs
Robins and bluebirds chirp along
Cardinals and chickadees
Singing songs of Spring.

Cute, right!? To listen to the orginial version of the April Song, click here.

I’ll be returning late Sunday night, so make sure to come back on Monday for a photographic tour of my brand-new home office/studio. I can’t wait to see what you think!

Picking Favorites

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at how fiercely my students become attached to certain books, songs, and activities, but it never ceases to amaze me that they can be just as amused today with “Eight Silly Monkeys” as they were 18 months ago.

One of my students in particular is very attached to that book, along with “Down by the Station”. Every week, I pull out new books in the hopes that he will move on, but it just hasn’t happened yet. He will happily listen to the new book, even participate and answer my questions, but when it’s over, he will without fail walk over to my bookshelf and pull out the two old standbys. He will flip through the pages, hum the melody to himself, even answer the questions he remembers me asking about the book. Then he’ll close the first one and move on to the second book, doing the same.

I’ve considered my options: 1) remove the books from the shelf, 2) stop him when he goes to take them off the shelf, or 3) continue to let him do what he’s been doing. For now, I’m sticking with option 3 because he is not resitant to the new books, and his skimming through the old ones only adds about three minutes total to the session. He completes every task I present to him, and his behavior is almost always impeccable during individual music therapy.

So what would you do?

Happy Easter!

I hope you all are enjoying your Easter Sunday. Mine started with a beautiful church service, which included a great sermon and lots of music. On the way home, my mom and I were discussing how Easter celebrations have changed over the years, now that my brother and I are adults and we have no other children in our family.

No more Easter baskets, chocolate bunnies, or egg hunts, though hopefully that will change once Zach and I have kids of our own…far, far down the road! Until then, I’m content with church and a delicious meal :)

Speaking of delicious meals, I better get going! But I just wanted to stop by and wish you all a happy Easter, and leave you with this cute little tune about Easter eggs.

I take an egg
All shiny white
And then I dip
It out of sight.
I leave it there
Within the cup
Then after a minute
I pick it up.

And oh!
It’s a lovely
Shade of green!
The prettiest Easter egg
I’ve ever seen.


And oh!
It’s a lovely
Shade of blue!
What a perfect color
For me and you!


And oh!
It’s a lovely
Shade of pink!
The best Easter Egg
of all, I think!

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