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?

Friday Fave: Erfurt Music Resource

I’m assuming that since you’re here at Listen & Learn, you are probably interested in music therapy, music education, or just music in general.  If that is the case, then you’ll definitely want to stop by the Erfurt Music Resource, a new website created by my friend and fellow music therapist, Michelle Erfurt.  Read as Michelle describes it in her own words:

“The idea of creating an online resource for music related products, services, and information came from a conversation I had with Raymond Day, adaptive instrument maker and long time music therapy supporter. I had published a music songbook for Rachel Rambach and really needed to show it off at the next national American Music Therapy Association conference. I wanted a table in the exhibit hall but was looking for someone else to share the rental cost in order to be as fiscally responsible as possible. I had heard about Raymond Day from my days volunteering with the AMTA membership committee and gave him a call. Turns out that he wanted to sell his products at conference but wasn’t able to physically be there. So we worked out a deal…and together we were able to spread the word about our products.”

“There are many people out there just like Raymond, Rachel and myself. Individuals with products, services and information that would be of interest to music therapists, music educators, parents, and more. But we need help connecting our great products with all of you out there. So, that’s exactly what we have done. The Erfurt Music Resource: A collection of individuals working to promote our items together.”

This site truly is a comprehensive collection; you’ll find other music therapy bloggers like me, video lessons, e-books, and lots more.  It’s nice to be part of a community that is growing so quickly and receiving such a great response.

Giveaway: SleepPhones

Many of my favorite blogs offer periodic giveaways to their loyal readers, and I am so excited to be following in their footsteps!  I couldn’t have asked for a better freebie: the SleepPhones System by AcousticSheep.

SleepPhones are soft, comfortable headphones that are housed in a machine-washable fleece headband, perfect for wearing at night as you sleep (hence their name).  They can be plugged into an iPod, CD player, radio or any other audio device with a regular headphone jack.  Some of you might remember that I posted my own review of the SleepPhones (complete with personal pics!) after trying them out for myself last fall.  I’ve been using them for months now; I just plug my SleepPhones into my iPod, tuck it underneath my pillow, and drift off to my favorite sleepy-time music.

Several readers wrote to me after my SleepPhones post to tell me they were purchasing their own pair.  Now YOU have the chance to win a pair (valued at $54.95) just by leaving a comment at the end of this post by Sunday, 8 pm CT. [Note: Your comment must include an email address to be eligible to win, either through your Google ID or typed into your comment entry.]  I’ll use random.org to select a winner, who will be announced on Monday, February 22nd.  Good luck!

P.S. If you don’t win, you can still save on SleepPhones!  AcousticSheep has generously offered a $5 discount to my lovely readers.  Just use the coupon code “LALM5” when you place your order.

Taming the Tidal Wave

2010 has been a very good year so far, as far as my work is concerned.  Maybe even a little too good!  What I mean is that since January, I have been inundated with exciting opportunities, new projects, and the addition of several students to my private practice/studio.  While those are all very positive things, and I am extremely grateful for them, I’ve been just a little stressed!  Understandable, right?  Juggling so many responsibilities sometimes feels like I’m surfing a tidal wave, just barely staying above water.

So here’s the question: how do you get off that tidal wave and back to solid ground?  As a parent, teacher, therapist, or pretty much anyone else with a life and responsibilities, you’ve probably found yourself faced with that very question.  I want to share a few of the things that have helped me through this most current wave of stress.

  1. Get organized. I’ve learned that if I don’t take control of the things that stress me out, they just swirl around in my head and cause even more stress.  David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity was almost life-changing, in that it taught me new but simple ways to organize my life and work to cut out a lot of that free-floating stress.
  2. Identify the next step, then take it. I know all too well that looking at the “big picture” of a project can be really scary.  Instead, I break the project down into tasks that can be completed and marked off the list.  That way, I can see my progress as the project moves toward completion.
  3. Reward yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; something as simple as a lunch break could serve as your reward for finishing a task on your to-do list.  Last summer when I was working on music for the Model Me Kids: Faces & Emotions DVD, I would sit down at my desk around 6:00 am to begin.  Each song took several hours to write, record, and edit, so every time I completed one, I allowed myself to spend some time unwinding (usually with a snack while watching television or taking my dog for a walk).  I looked forward to that downtime, which gave me extra motivation to complete my work.
  4. Regain your confidence. This is especially important when you are facing new challenges and unchartered water.  I have taken on several new roles this year, and at the beginning, I questioned whether I could really handle each of them.  Constantly questioning my abilities was really stressing me out, until I realized something: I wouldn’t have these roles unless I was capable of them.  Others put their trust in me, so why shouldn’t I trust myself?
  5. Imagine the outcome. With each project and task that you undertake, you most likely have an end goal in mind.    Picture your life once you have completed each one; how you will feel, what you will do with the extra time.  Sometimes that is all the motivation I need to get through a particularly difficult item on my list!

Now I am off to apply some of these very techniques as I tackle the rest of my day.  Here’s to a productive, stress-free and enjoyable afternoon.  (Oh, and if you have any items to add to the list, please share them in the comments section!)

Body Cross, Apple Sauce

“Crossing the midline” is a term you hear quite often as a parent, and if you are a therapist or teacher, it is often a goal for many of your students or clients. This action refers to any movement that requires one side of the body to cross over the center line of the body.

Kimberly Sena Moore wrote a fantastic post on her blog, Music Therapy Maven, about the importance of crossing the midline and how this skill affects a child’s abilities in many other areas of function.  I highly recommend reading it to learn more about this subject.

As a music therapist, this goal is very common amongst my students, which is why I wrote a song meant to target such movements.  Some of the motor skills included in the song are more difficult than others, but I wanted it to be as comprehensive as possible so that students can work towards successfully achieving all of the movements in the song.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Movin to the beat,
You can do it sittin’ down,
Or up on your feet.
Body cross, apple sauce,
Do as I say,
Move, move your body
This way.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Here we go,
Make your left hand touch
Your right elbow.
Bring your hand across, to
Your other elbow, you see,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Here we go,
Make your right hand touch
Your left elbow.
Bring your arm across, to
Your other elbow, you see,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Here we go,
Make your left knee touch
Your right elbow.
Bring your arm across,
So it can touch your other knee,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Here we go,
Make your right knee touch
Your left elbow.
Bring your arm across,
So it can touch your other knee,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
If you please,
Make your left hand
Give your right shoulder a squeeze.
Bring your arm across, to
Your other shoulder, you see.
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
If you please,
Make your right hand
Give your left shoulder a squeeze.
Bring your arm across, to
Your other shoulder, you see.
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Your pardon I beg,
Give a little kick across
With your left leg.
Kick your leg across the other,
To the right, you see,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Body cross, apple sauce,
Your pardon I beg,
Give a little kick across
With your right leg.
Kick your leg across the other,
To the left, you see,
Move, move, movin’ your body.

Do you have any other strategies for targeting this important skill?  If you can think of any additional “across the midline” movements I’ve left out, please share so that I can add to the song.

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