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!

Catching Up

I’m back from the Big Apple and thoroughly ashamed to have neglected Listen & Learn for an entire week!  I honestly can’t remember the last time I went so long between posts, and I feel a bit like a failed blogger :(

The truth is, I was already behind schedule before my trip, and being away for four days didn’t help that situation very much.  I have several projects in the works, as well as new responsibilities both at school and in my private practice, which means I have a LOT of catching up to do.

But before I tackle all of that, let me fill you in on my trip to NYC.  I can pretty much sum it up in one word: amazing.  Just being there is a thrill, and we took full advantage of our short time in the city that never sleeps.  We ate lunch at Pershing Square Cafe, dinner at Basso 56, and ordered deli sandwiches from Rupert (of The Late Show with David Letterman fame).

When we weren’t eating, we were walking around the city – Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and Grand Central Station were just a few stops we made – and seeing a Broadway show!  My wonderful husband waited in line at the TKTS stand long enough to score tickets to Memphis, a new Broadway musical that definitely lived up to all the hype.  We had some of our favorite friends right there with us, including my best friend (and NYC resident) Katie and her fiance, Justin.

On Friday, we packed up our rental car and headed to New Jersey, where we took part in the wedding festivities of our friends Dustin & Kristin.  I don’t have nearly enough time to paint an accurate picture of this beautiful affair, so it’s a good thing I took almost 200 photos!  We returned home late on Sunday night, and I spent my “day off” on Monday working on an exciting project (more later…I promise!).

I have a long list of topics to share with you in the coming days and weeks, so thank you for sticking around!  The emails I received from readers while I was out of town put a big smile on my face, and were a constant reminder for me to get in gear here at Listen & Learn.  So this is me…getting into gear…and telling you to come back tomorrow for a brand-new song.  See you then!