Time to Sing Hello: Sneak Peek #2

Now that there are only 10 days remaining until the release of Time to Sing Hello, I’m more anxious than ever to share it with you.  First came the cover art and “My Clothes and Shoes” (admittedlly, my favorite track); today’s preview includes the actual CD art and the final song on the album.

“Time to Say Goodbye” was written for children who struggle with separation anxiety and need the constant reminder that goodbyes don’t have to be stressful.  So many of my students fall into this category, especially those with autism spectrum disorders.  The song is mellow and calming, which I think provides the perfect ending to an album made up mostly of upbeat tunes.

I began accepting preorders for hard copies of the CD yesterday, and have been overwhelmed with the response thus far! I guess many of you agree with me that although digital downloads are incredibly convenient, there’s just something about receiving a pretty, full-color album in the mail (shipping is free) along with extra goodies (from yours truly). More about all of that here.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’m really excited for July 10 to arrive!  And possibly even more excited for July 11, the day of my CD Release Party (including an interactive performance especially for children and reception).   Your family is invited; if you live in the central Illinois area and would like to come, RSVP right here on Facebook.

Set to Music: The Pledge of Allegiance

As the Fourth of July approaches, I’m probably not the only one with patriotic themes on the brain.  Songs like “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “America the Beautiful” are being sung and taught to children all over the country this week, and I know that my own students are hard at work learning the Pledge of Allegiance.

In fact, the occupational therapist at my school emailed me a couple of weeks ago, asking if I had any songs or resources for teaching the Pledge.  I didn’t at the time…but I do now!

I came up with a simple rhythmic line, and that serves as my foundation for the chant and song I created to teach the Pledge of Allegiance.  Listen below as I speak it in rhythm, and then download (for free) the rhythmic line for your own use.

I pledge allegiance, to the flag
Of the United States of America.
And to the republic for which it stands,
One nation, under God, indivisible,
With liberty and justice for all.

Next, I came up with a super simple melody on top of the rhythmic line, which I orchestrated with trumpets. Here is my sung version:

And here is the same track, only without my vocals. You can download (again, for free) the instrumental track for yourself:

When I was in elementary school, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance was part of our classroom’s morning routine. Nowadays, most schools don’t do this, but there are other times at which a child might need to know it. It doesn’t hurt to learn, especially when it’s done through music!

Sunday Singalong: I See a Girl Named…

Out of all the songs I’ve written, “Everybody Has a Name” might just be the one I use most often. As I mentioned in the video, the idea came from a teacher…and it seems that the really good ones almost always do! The look of pride on a child’s face after spelling his or her own name is priceless, but getting to that point is half the fun.

And isn’t that the case with so many things in life? I think that so often, people focus on the end result that they don’t take pleasure in the process. I’ve been guilty of this on numerous occasions, but I’m making a conscious effort to enjoy every small milestone, every flower along the path, every long car ride to state board meetings (as I did just yesterday, thanks to Audible and iTrip), and so on.

But I digress.  Getting back to the topic at hand, “Everybody Has a Name” is one of those universal songs I’ll probably be using in the school and early childhood setting until the day I retire my guitar.  There is a long list of songs I can hardly stand to sing and play anymore, but this isn’t on that list (well, yet).  What about you?  Do you have go-to songs that never get old?

You’re Invited!

These invitations went out in the mail last week, so if you live in the Springfield area, there’s a chance you’ve already received yours. But if not, consider yourself invited to my Time to Sing Hello CD Release Party!  Here are the details:

CD Release Performance & Reception
Sunday, July 11 @ 2:00 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church
533 South Walnut Street

I’ll be performing songs from the album as an interactive experience for the children (and adults!) in attendance, followed by a cake-and-punch reception.  It should be a fun afternoon, and a chance for all the wonderful people in my life to gather in one place and celebrate.

If you’re in my neck of the woods, I hope you’ll bring your family.  To RSVP, send me an email and be sure to include a head count.  Oh, and this is a completely casual affair, in case you were wondering.  Let’s kick back and have a great time!

In the Swimming Pool

From the time I started elementary school until I graduated high school, most of my summer days were spent at the neighborhood pool. My friends and I would ride our bikes there as soon as it opened, and we’d usually stay until our parents made us come home late in the afternoon. And if there is anything I remember from those carefree days, it is my mother’s daily reminders to “wear sunscreen and reapply” as I walked out the door.

Of course, wearing sunscreen is just one of the many important rules associated with swimming. I was sure to include that, among others, in my newest song on this topic. “In the Swimming Pool” was inspired by my fun memories, as well as my students, who come through the door in swimsuit cover-ups and wet hair for their music lessons all summer long.

In the summertime, when the weather is hot,
You can usually find me at my favorite spot.
I’ll be splashing around and staying cool,
In the swimming pool.

Doggypaddlin’ from end to end.
Playin’ Marco Polo with my best friend.
Backstroke, freestyle, butterfly,
Swim, swim, swimming by.


Wearin’ my goggles, now I can see,
Underneath the water so clearly.
Backstroke, freestyle, butterfly,
Swim, swim, swimming by.


Listen up and follow each and every rule,
Like walk, don’t run, by the swimming pool.
Wear lots of sunscreen and reapply.
Don’t wanna get burned by the sun in the sky.


I know that for many children, swimming can be scary at first. It can take quite a bit of coaxing to get a hesitant child into the pool; I kept this song light-hearted and upbeat to reflect for such children that swimming is actually fun!

Do you have any go-to tunes about water activities for summer? I’m thinking this might make a fun series…I just might have to come up with songs about sprinklers, water parks, and boating to round it out. Any other ideas?