Friday Fave: The Most Caring Radio Station

Last November, I had the amazing opportunity of participating in 103.7 WDBR’s annual radiothon, which benefits The St. Johns Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network.  I wrote and recorded two songs based on the stories of parents and children whose lives were saved by these organizations, and the songs were played on-air throughout the weekend.  Needless to say, it was a huge thrill.

The radiothon raised over $90,000 last year, and now they have opportunity to go into 2010’s radiothon with a $50,000 head start. Foresters™ is partnering with Children’s Miracle Network to find North America’s Most Caring Radio Station, and WDBR is in the running!  They are currently in 16th place, so they have until February 5 to take the lead.  The great news is that you can help, and it only takes a minute.

Just go to the contest website and click the “Vote Now” button.  You’ll be asked to register your email address, and then you’re ready to vote.  Search by city and state (Springfield, IL) and then cast your votes for:

103.7 Today’s Hit Music

Bookmark that page so you can go back and vote each day (make sure to use up all 10 votes per day).  I’ve been listening to WDBR for as long as I can remember, and I may be a little biased, but I know for sure that not only do they deserve this title, but so do the children who will reap the benefits of the reward.  For more information about WBDR, click here.  And go vote!

Do the Clock Rock!

My students and I have been rocking out all month to this song (which can be found on the pages of my Listen & Learn Songbook, by the way!) and this blog post is definitely past due. Telling time is another one of those skills that every child must learn, and I have come across (and put into use) a fair share of songs meant to teach just that.

The song I wrote is about as simple as it gets. It’s a stepping stone to the more complicated aspects of reading the clock, which I’ll get to in my next tick-tock tune :) For now, we focus on the numbers and use simple choreography (arm motions mimicking the hands of the clock) to show how they are situated. By now, the classroom staff at The Hope Institute are experts at it!

Doo-doot, doo, do the clock rock,
Rockin’ all day and night,
Doo-doot, doo, do the clock rock.
Round and round, with all our might.

Start at the top, that’s twelve AM.
One, two, three, four, five,
Six at the bottom,
Seven, eight, nine, ten,
Eleven and then,
We’ve made it back to twelve again!


Start at the top, that’s twelve PM.
One, two, three, four, five,
Six at the bottom,
Seven, eight, nine, ten,
Eleven and then,
We’ve made it back to twelve again!


Many of the classrooms at my school have those plastic or cardboard clocks with movable arms, which come in very handy when we sing this song.  The rest of the time, I draw my own clocks, or just use hand motions – my students LOVE doing the “Clock Rock” dance – to emphasize the information presented in this song.  The more fun you make it, the more effective a teaching tool it will be!

Sunday Singalong: Brand New

I had every intention of recording a new video for this week’s edition of Sunday Singalong, and then life got in the way.  I spent most of last week/the weekend working on an upcoming project (to be announced at a later date!) and preparing for a new Church Mice session, which began today.  Throw in a hospital visit with our friends’ new baby and too many loads of laundry to count, and I’m exhausted!  An understatement, really.

Now that I’ve gotten all of my excuses out in the open, we can move on to tonight’s video.  It’s an oldie (July 2009) and a bit of a departure from the usual Listen & Learn fare.  This song falls under the OTHER category of music (geared more towards you than your child) I write, which you can hear more of here.

You can download the album Brand New for free, by the way :) If you have a song request or suggestion for next week’s Sunday Singalong, let me know!

Friday Fave: Music Therapy in Arizona

You may be wondering why I’m featuring music therapy in Arizona today, when I live clear across the country in Illinois.  Well here’s the thing: one of the main reasons I write this blog is because my readers (YOU!) continue to provide such positive feedback and support.  It is the very least I can do to give that back to you, and that’s what today’s Friday Fave is all about.

One reader in particular is a music therapist like me, originally from Illinois, who is currently doing all that she can to advocate for music therapy in her state of Arizona.  Like many other states, Alison and her colleagues are faced with incredible budget cuts that would deprive them of a sustainable income.  Alison explained the situation in an email to me, and this is what she had to say:

Arizona has fallen on hard times as most states have but they are constantly targetting music therapy. In February of last year the state tried to give music therapists a pay cut of 55% which is not a sustainable income. Sadly we would all make more money giving piano lessons at that rate. Other therapies were given a ten percent cut and as I recall AMTA sued the state for discriminatory cuts and managed to get us an equal 10 percent cut. On Monday Arizona state legislators are voting on more budget cuts which would cut music therapy down 50% again if passed according to DDD’s proposed budget cuts plan. We are having a push here to educate all of our legislators as well as workers at the Department of Developmental Disabilities. We have been fighting an uphill battle in Arizona for almost a year now but seeing results in our clients is well worth it.

Alison wrote back a few days later with this unfortunate news:

We found out Friday night that the cuts passed and music therapy has been cut by 50% and other therapies 10%. It is very sad. I have many higher functioning clients with autism who become upset and cry when I tell them I am going out of town next week but will see them in two weeks. I can’t imagine how they will feel when I tell them that this will be the last time they will see me.

We were asked last week to collect some data from our clients; how many clients were funded by the state, how many had speech/communication goals, how many received speech therapy, and how many received no other therapies. My clients have been the most grateful and appreciative of any I have had the pleasure of working with. Some were on waiting lists for music therapy up to 7 years and finally started receiving it once I moved here. I have 35 clients that I see in home on a 1:1 basis and of those 20 have a speech related goal, 21 do not receive speech therapy, and 15 do not receive any other therapies. It’s so unfair to the kids. Many of the therapists are going to try to do private pay but I know that isn’t a viable option for most of my families. I just hate to see these kids left without any services. My youngest clients are the ones who do receive Speech and OT but I know they will be dropped once they require after school hours as most of my after school hour kids do not receive these therapies.

We are fighting right now for recognition as a therapy and not just as habilitation with a music component (which is what the state of AZ has us listed as). So any letters from music therapists across the country could help us with this.

This is such an awful situation not only for music therapists, but also for the clients who will most likely have their services terminated due to these budget cuts.  Alison is not the first person I’ve talked to who is effected by the cuts, and sadly, she won’t be the last.  As she wrote above, you can  help by writing a letter in support of music therapy recognition in her state, no matter where you live.  You can even use the letter she wrote as a template:

Alison’s Letter

You can email me with your letters in support of music therapy recognition in Arizona, and I will make sure they get into the right hands.  Or, you can contact Alison directly.

The music therapy community is small in comparison with other fields, which is why it is so important to support one another.  You, as a reader, support music therapy just by visiting Listen & Learn Music, and for that I thank you!

Put the Scarf on Your…

Put the Scarf On Your...Album Cover
One of the go-to items in my “bag of tricks” is the scarf.  I have a whole rainbow of them (which you can find here) in the bottom drawer of my studio’s supply chest, and my students usually raid it before our music therapy session is through.  I love incorporating scarf activities into my session plans because they are so versatile and fun.  Just a few of the goal areas I can target include colors, gross and fine motor skills, imitation, following directions, and, in the case of today’s subject, body parts.

Many times, I will get out the scarves and let my students move freely to preferred music as positive reinforcement.  In fact, I used this technique last night with a little girl who needs extra incentive to follow the given schedule, and it worked quite nicely!  We finished all of the items on the schedule, and then had a lovely time dancing with scarves to “You Are the Music in Me” from High School Musical 2.

But I also like to use the scarves in structured activities, which is the reason I came up with the song below.  It  combines movement and body part identification, and you could easily replace the scarf with an instrument, like a shaker or tambourine.

Put the scarf on your head, like this.
Put the scarf on your head, like that.
Put the scarf on your head,
Whether it’s purple, blue or red.
Oh, put the scarf on your head.

Put the scarf on your shoulder, like this.
Put the scarf on your shoulder, like that.
Put the scarf on your shoulder,
Well, at least it’s not a boulder.
Oh, put the scarf on your shoulder.

Put the scarf on your arm, like this.
Put the scarf on your arm, like that.
Put the scarf on your arm,
‘Cause what’s the harm?
Oh, put the scarf on your arm.

Put the scarf on your lap, like this.
Put the scarf on your lap, like that.
Put the scarf on your lap,
It’s such a snap.
Oh, put the scarf on your lap.

Put the scarf on your knee, like this.
Put the scarf on your knee, like that.
Put the scarf on your knee,
That’s where it ought to be.
Oh, put the scarf on your knee.

Put the scarf on your toes, like this.
Put the scarf on your toes, like that.
Put the scarf on your toes,
Yes, this is where it goes.
Oh, put the scarf on your toes.

This song works its way from head to toe, though you could mix up the order of verses any way you want, or even better, write your own verses to add extra body parts. You could also turn this into an object identification activity by instructing the student to put the scarf on different items in the room. How else might you modify this song?

P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?

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