Friday Fave: iPhone 3GS

Happy Birthday to me! I actually celebrated my 26th several weeks ago, but my husband’s gift didn’t arrive until Monday. To be honest, I haven’t been able to put it down since…but at least I’ve been putting it to good use! I thought this would be a perfect topic for Friday Faves, so read on to find out how the iPhone has become an integral part of my life as a music therapist.

1. Calendar
Until now, I’ve had your basic, run-of-the-mill flip phone that doesn’t do much besides make calls and send texts. It did have a calendar feature, but it was nowhere near as user-friendly and helpful as the iPhone’s. Keeping track of my summer schedule – music therapy appointments, lessons, meetings, deadlines, etc. – has never been easier. I can input my events via my computer (and then sync with the phone) or just the phone itself. I can also set an alarm to remind me of events either the day before or the day of.

2. Voice Memos
This is a brand new feature on the iPhone, and one that I’ve already come to rely on. As a songwriter, I’m always coming up with song ideas at the most inopportune times. Whether it was in the car, at the grocery store, or what have you, I was constantly forgetting melodies and lyrics I couldn’t record or write down in time. Not anymore! Now I just pull out my phone, sing or say my idea right into the speaker, and come back to it later.

3. Checklists
I don’t know about you, but I’m a list person. My husband is constantly teasing me about the paper lists I keep, written neatly in colored pen and then marked through with squiggle lines when each item is completed. With the checklist application on my phone, I can now keep separate lists for different areas of my life (music therapy, blogging, errands, groceries) and mark items with a check at completion. Simple, but a list-maker’s dream.

4. TweetDeck
I’ve written previously about my love for Twitter; now thanks to my iPhone, I can “tweet” on the go and keep up with what my “tweeps” are doing. TweetDeck allows me to view both of my Twitter accounts, and I can update either one right from my phone.

5. Email
This is probably the most useful aspect of my iPhone. I’m an email junkie, so having constant access is a real thrill. I can receive and send messages from all three of my accounts, and my phone is kind enough to alert me when I have a delivery to my inbox :)

I really could keep on going here, but I’d hate to bore you. The bottom line is that the iPhone allows me to stay connected, organized, and productive amidst the wonderful chaos that is my daily life. What did I ever do without it? (just kidding…kind of.)

I Heart Taylor Swift

Yes, me and every 12-18 year old girl out there. But let’s be honest: it’s hard not to. She’s talented (writes her own songs, plays the guitar, performs live) and wholesome, which are both rare in the world of popular music. Her music is fun and catchy, and it appeals to people of all ages with different tastes.

But her targeted audience just happens to be the stream of tween and teen girls that come to my studio for voice lessons each week. And when I ask them what kind of music they like and want to learn, they inevitably answer, “Taylor Swift.”

There is a school of voice instructors that frowns heavily upon teaching popular music, not to mention – gasp! – country music. I should know; every single one of my voice teachers throughout my education hailed from this school. But it is for this very reason that I never even considered enrolling there. I spent many, many years learning songs I couldn’t stand because they were songs I needed to know.

The difference between the lessons I took and the lessons I teach is that while I still insist upon teaching those need-to-know songs, I make sure to devote time in each lesson for what my students wants to sing. Tackle “Caro Mio Ben” and then we’ll take on “Popular Song of the Moment”. This has been my modus operandi since I first began teaching, and it works. My students are happy, their parents are happy, and that combined makes me ecstatic.

This month, Taylor Swift is the shining star – what almost every one of my voice students works toward at the end of her lesson. It’s artists like her who inspire these girls to pursue singing, after all.

The Heat is On

I tell you what, us Midwesterners get the worst of both winter and summer weather; we’re experiencing the latter right about now. And to think — it’s only June! Luckily, I have the perfect song for such a time:

The sun is shining down from the sky,
Today it’s hot, hot, hot!
The temperature is up real high,
Today it’s hot, hot, hot!

Hot, hot, hot out there,
Sittin’ in the shade in a nice cool chair.
Hot, hot, hot out there,
Runnin’ through the sprinkler without a care.

We’re wearing sandals, and short-sleeved shirts,
Today it’s hot, hot, hot!
Boys wearing shorts, and girls wearing skirts,
Today it’s hot, hot, hot!

Hot, hot, hot out there,
Sippin’ lemonade through a plastic straw,
Hot, hot, hot out there,
Hummin’ a tune that goes “la la la la!”

This song perfectly describes a day like today. One of my piano students is having a birthday party this afternoon featuring water balloons and slip ‘n slides…I have a feeling that after walking the dog, I’ll wish I was at that party!

Summer has Arrived

Ahhh, summer! These three months are by far my favorite of the entire year, and I start counting down the days around, oh, February. I have so many wonderful summer memories: long, lazy days at the neighborhood pool with my friends, vacations with family, my beautiful August wedding last year…just to name a few. I’ve already begun making memories for Summer 2009, even though technically, it began just yesterday!

The song I wrote for this season is happy and chill, perfectly reflecting my feelings about summer. I hope you like it! Take a listen:

Do you know the warmest season of all?
It’s not winter, spring, or fall.
It comes in June and sticks around
Until September leaves are down on the ground.

It’s summer, it’s summer,
When the sun’s hot rays brighten all of our days.
It’s summer, it’s summer,
So jump in the pool to keep yourself cool,
While you sing this summertime tune.

June, July and August days are so long,
The sprinklers are going strong.
The grass needs water and so do we
So we’re healthy and we have energy.


Playing outside can be so much fun,
Unless you get burnt by the sun.
So wear your sunscreen, protect your skin,
‘Cause if you don’t, you’ll have to stay in.


I had to include the bit about sunscreen, especially after resisting it for so many years of my childhood. Now more than ever, it’s so important for children to be protected in the sun…but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that! But back to the topic of music. I have an entire playlist on my iPod dedicated to the hottest days of the year. What are your favorite summertime tunes? Please do share!

Happy Father’s Day!

This is my dad. We spent Father’s Day watching the Cardinals game (not a whole lot has changed over the years, besides my hairstyle!) and then eating one of my dad’s specialties for dinner. Don’t worry, we offered to take him out, but he wanted my brother to have one last home-cooked meal before he and his fiancee move to South Carolina tomorrow. My dad likes to complain, but the truth is he enjoys cooking for us…even on a day devoted to him :)

I’m lucky to have amazing parents an all-around wonderful family. I got to spend lots of time with them this weekend with all the birthday, engagement, and Father’s Day festivities. It was quite the whirlwind, though, and I’m exhausted! I realized today that I forgot to post my “Summer” song on the first official day of the season, so make sure to come back for that tomorrow. Goodnight!

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