{List}en & Learn

I’m a list-maker.  I usually have at least two or three lists going at once: on my phone (I love the app “A Check List” for the iPhone), in my planner, and on a piece of notepad paper.  Not to mention the stacks of lists I’ve made containing ideas and future plans that have their own place on my desk.  Saturday is my designated day for tackling those various lists, but I thought I’d make one more before I get to work on them!

1. SleepPhones Giveaway winner Joann wrote to say, “The SleepPhones arrived in Friday’s mail. I used them last night. They are amazingly comfortable and the sound quality is pretty good. Thank you so much.”

2. My Facebook page is hoppin’ lately!  Hard to believe there are almost 700 fans…are you one of them?

3. This YouTube video has gone viral, and it’s easy to see why.  Who can resist an adorable elderly couple showing off their mad skills on the piano?

4. The Laurie Berkner Band’s blog is a new addition to my blogroll, and definitely worth a visit.  I love getting a peek behind-the-scenes of one of my biggest inspirations!

5. Read the Feed!  The easiest way to keep up with Listen & Learn is to subscribe to my RSS feed.  I subscribe to all my favorite blogs, and then read them all in one place via Google Reader.

I think that’s it for now.  My husband and I are finally tearing ourselves away from our Saturday Lost marathon (thanks, Netflix streaming!) so that we can attend to our respective to-do lists.  See you tomorrow for this week’s Sunday Singalong video!

Friday Fave: The Magic of iMovie

I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but it’s true: this Friday Fave is devoted to yet another piece of Apple technology.  Again, let me remind you that I am in no way compensated for my frequent Apple/Mac related posts; I just really, really love their products :)

iMovie is a part of the iLife package that comes with every Mac, and I recently upgraded to iLife ’09.  Up until then, I had used only the most basic features of iMovie to create the occasional YouTube video, but I have since discovered many more of the cool things this program can do.  Experimenting with music tracks, still photos, transitions and titles has been way too much fun….it can almost get a little addictive!

I spent some time this week creating a video about my songbook, incorporating many of those aforementioned iMovie features.  It’s definitely not perfect, but I’m still learning. Take a look:

What do you think? I had a blast making this video, from taking the photos, to recording the music, to even the tedious editing process. Now I just have to come up with excuses to create more like it…any ideas?

Slow and In Control

My students are movers and shakers, in every sense of the phrase. Walk into any classroom and you’ll see that for yourself, trust me! While this can definitely be a positive thing when it comes time to do some sort of physical activity, it can also be a distraction during structured physical tasks (like carrying a big stack of books!) and other non-physical activities in either a closed or public environment.

I think every child needs a reminder to be “slow and in control” every once in a while, which is why I was so glad when I received a custom-written song request using that very phrase.  The actions that I list in the verses are very general and apply to everyday life at home and school, but feel free to replace them with actions that are specific to your student or child.

In most everything you do,
Take a breath and think it through,
Be slow and in control.
Rushing and hurrying is for the birds,
So remember these four little words,
Slow and in control.

When you’re drawing a picture,
Be slow and in control.
When you’re cutting with scissors,
Be slow and in control.

When you’re carrying something,
Be slow and in control.
When you’re pouring a drink,
Be slow and in control.

When you’re out in public,
Be slow and in control.
When you’re with your friends,
Be slow and in control.

When you’re doing your work,
Be slow and in control.
When you’re cleaning up,
Be slow and in control.

I’m already thinking up different ways to use this song: it could be sung before a task as a way to prepare the child, or even during it, turning the verses into a “slow and controlled” step-by-step guide.  How might you use this song, and what actions would you add with your little ones in mind?

Who is Green in Color and 150 Feet Tall?

Why, Lovely Lady Liberty, of course!  When one of my consult clients requested a custom song about the Statue of Liberty for her daughter, I jumped at the chance.  Having just returned from New York City, I felt inspired by this famous landmark and couldn’t wait to pen a song about the it.  My plan was to create something that was both fun and informational, and to be honest, writing this song proved to be quite a challenge.  There were so many facts to include, yet so few opportunities for rhymes!  But I think it turned out pretty well…what about you?

In 1886, on an autumn day,
People traveled from all the way
In France, to the U.S. to show
Their friendship, they gave what we all know (as)

The Statue of Liberty
This lovely lady came to be
A famous sight, recognized by all,
Green in color, and standing tall.
Green in color, and standing tall.

150 feet high she stands,
On a pedestal, looking over all the lands.
She holds a torch, a tabula, too,
And wears a stola, and sandals, and a crown, it’s true.


She lives on a island in New York, off the coast,
When people visit, she’s a gracious host.
They can go inside, way up to her crown,
And enjoy the view, looking all around.


She’s a universal symbol, for our country,
Of freedom and democracy.
A National Monument, admirable,
She represents the U.S. as a whole.


What other national landmarks and monuments would make great song topics?  Now that I’ve tackled the Statue of Liberty, I think I’m ready for another challenge.  Amanda Ellis of More With Music guessed that today’s song would be about Abraham Lincoln, and I think she’s on to something…after all, I do live in the Land of Lincoln!

SleepPhones, Superiors & Songs…Oh My!

First things first: it’s time to announce the winner of the SleepPhones Giveaway!  (I used random.org to select a random number from the list of comments.)  That lucky person….drum roll, please…is musicsparks!  Congratulations to you, and a big thank you to the rest of you for entering.  Don’t forget, you can receive $5 off your own pair of SleepPhones by using the coupon code “LALM5” when you order online. Stay tuned for upcoming giveaways, and as always, your regular visits to my humble home in the blogosphere are much appreciated!

Item number two on the agenda will be short and sweet, I promise.  I just have to take a few sentences to brag about my extremely talented piano students, all of whom scored “SUPERIOR” ratings at our local National Federation Junior Festival.  It was my first year as a member of the federation, so this was their first time participating.  It’s not easy to get up and play in front of judges and an audience, but my students looked and sounded like pros (as reflected by their high scores).  It was a proud weekend for this piano teacher!

Item number three is just a reassurance that yes, there ARE new songs coming your way this week!  I’ve had a lot of news and special items to share this past week, but I’m ready to get back to what this blog is really all about.  Tomorrow’s tune is about a VERY tall American icon who lives on the East Coast.  Any guesses?