The Birthday Song You Haven’t Heard (Part 2)

When it comes to ending a music class or music therapy session, I have plenty of goodbye songs from which to choose. But last year for Maggie’s birthday party, I wanted to do something a little different.

So instead of ending the music portion of her party with a goodbye song she already knew, I sang one I wrote especially for her. Thus, the “Birthday Goodbye Song” became a tradition, and I have been using it ever since.

Now it’s time for me to sing my last song.
I’m so glad you came today and sang along.
Thanks so much for joining in and listening too,
I had a wonderful time with all of you!

Music time is over but the party’s just begun,
There’s still so much to do so let’s go have more fun.
Maggie’s turning five so we’re gonna celebrate,
With presents to open and ice cream and cake.

Now it’s time for me to sing my last song.
I’m so glad you came today and sang along.
Thanks so much for joining in and listening too,
I had a wonderful time with all of you!

Short and sweet, because by the time the music portion of a birthday party comes to an end, the birthday girl or boy and guests are getting antsy in anticipation of sugar…lots and lots of sugar. And I don’t mind having a piece of cake and some ice cream, myself!

The Birthday Song You Haven’t Heard (Part 1)

Last year I had the pleasure of helping two of my favorite church mice, Maggie and Samantha, celebrate their birthdays. Not only did I lead music time at both girls’ birthday parties, but I also made them special CDs with some of their favorite songs included.

The girls’ mom has asked for birthday CDs again this year, so I decided to take it one step further. I wrote a personalized birthday song which includes both the name and age of my birthday buddy, in this case, Maggie. I combined my new words and melody with the classic “Happy Birthday” song, which resulted in this:

Doot-do-do, do-do-do
Happy birthday, Maggie!
You are turning five years old.
Celebrate yourself today,
And all the fun this year will hold.

Birthday parties, presents to open,
Cake and ice cream too.
Friends and family come together
And it’s all because of you!

CHORUS

It’s your very special day
So do what you want to do.
Laugh and smile, have a ball.
And may your birthday wish come true!

CHORUS

Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday, dear Maggie,
Happy birthday to you!

This tune starts the CD, letting the birthday girl know that it is her very own special song collection. The rest of the playlist includes both favorites recommended by her parents and other Listen & Learn songs I think she might enjoy. There is also a special birthday goodbye song at the end, which again is personalized. Come back tomorrow to hear it :)

Friday Fave: Model Me Kids

Today’s edition of “Friday Faves” is brought to you by Twitter, because that is how I discovered Model Me Kids. Little did I know that many of my students already knew all about Model Me Kids, and used their videos at home.

From their website:

Model Me Kids® is dedicated to producing high quality teaching tools for children, adolescents, and teenagers with Autism, Aspergers, PDD-NOS, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD or NLD), and developmental delays. The videos are used by parents, teachers, and therapists. They are also helpful for teaching children with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome and may be used with typically developing younger children. Model Me Kids® videos demonstrate social skills by modeling peer behavior at school, on a playdate, at a birthday party, on the playground, at a library, restaurant, and more. Real children model and narrate each skill. DVDs for ages 2-17.

Shortly after following Model Me Kids on Twitter, I received an email from Sue Klein, MMK’s founder and president. She had visited Listen & Learn and thought my songwriting style might be a good match for a video they were currently producing. I loved the idea, and immediately called her to tell her so. Creating the music for Model Me Faces & Emotions™ became one of my summer projects, and it was so much fun! But the best part was receiving my copy of the finished DVD just last week. Actually, I take that back…the VERY best part was having my students receive their copies only to discover my picture on the back cover and hear my familiar voice narrating the video :)

Model Me Kids currently offers 8 DVDs: Model Me Faces & Emotions, Time for School, Time for a Playdate, I Can Do It!, Model Me Conversation Cues, Model Me Friendship, Model Me Tips & Tricks, and Model Me Confidence. You can view samples on their website.

Teaching social skills is a huge focus for the students with whom I work, which made this collaboration truly exciting. If you work with or have children (whether they have autism, another developmental disability, or are typically developing) and want to learn more about Model Me Kids, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and their website.

So that does it for today’s Friday Fave. This week has flown by, and I am in disbelief that it is already time for another weekend. I have sheet music to edit, two presentations to prepare, articles to write, and songs to record, but somewhere between that I am going to squeeze in some time with friends. What are your weekend plans?

‘Dem Bones, ‘Dem Bones

How about a Halloween song that almost everyone knows, or at least has heard once or twice? It’s actually an old spiritual, but over the years has become a staple for this time of year. Most of my students instantly recognize this when I begin singing or playing one of the many versions that has been recorded for children.

My favorite is in the style of a barbershop quartet, and you can find it on the album Wee Sing for Halloween. What’s great about “Dry Bones” is that it doubles as a fun way to work on body part identification.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Oh see dem skeleton bones.

The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the head bone,
Oh see dem skeleton bones.

Dem bones, dem bones gonna walk around,
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around,
Dem bones, dem bones, gonna walk around,
Oh see dem skeleton bones.

The head bone connected to the neck bone,
The neck bone connected to the back bone,
The back bone connected to the thigh bone,
The thigh bone connected to the knee bone,
The knee bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the foot bone,
Oh see dem skeleton bones.

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Oh see dem skeleton bones.

I usually pass out rhythm sticks for this song, and yesterday, one of my students did the cutest, most clever thing with them. She made a “skeleton” out of an entire tub of sticks, and then pointed to each different “bone” as it was sung. Seriously, these kids never cease to amaze me.

Time to Say Goodbye

Goodbyes aren’t easy. There’s nothing fun about parting with a relative or friend, whether its for a few short days or for an extended period of time. But if saying goodbye is difficult for you, think about how it must feel for a child who has severe separation anxiety issues. Many of the children I work with must deal with this on a daily basis, and that is one of the things we can address during music therapy.

We always end our sessions with a goodbye song, and I try to stick with those that are happy and upbeat so that the transition to the next activity is hopefully a positive one. However, I wanted to address the feelings that some children associate with saying goodbye, which is why I wrote this particular song.

In the morning when I go to school,
It’s time to say goodbye.
To the people I’m leaving, like mom and dad,
It’s time to say goodbye.

Goodbye means only ’til next time,
To the people I’ll see again soon.
Sometimes goodbyes are hard for me,
So I’ll say goodbye with a tune.

In the afternoon when I go home,
It’s time to say goodbye.
To the people I’m leaving, like teacher and friends,
It’s time to say goodbye.

CHORUS (2x)

It’s important to validate the anxious or sad feeling a child may experience when he or she says goodbye, and reassure that it is only a temporary separation (except in the case of death, which is a completely different subject I will be addressing soon).

This song could be used at different transition times throughout the day; I mentioned going to school and coming home from school, but you could easily add verses about going other places or seeing off a friend or loved one for a period of time.

And now I must say goodbye to you! Wednesdays are very busy here at The Hope Institute, and my first of five group sessions begins soon. Have a wonderful day :)

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