Sunday Singalong: Little Fishes

It’s true, I am wearing my swimsuit underneath my clothes and not one stitch of makeup, but I had a window of opportunity (read: absent puppy and hubby) in which to record this video, and I took advantage of it!

If you haven’t checked out the music of Genevieve Jereb, you really should.  I just love her Australian accent, and the songs are so much fun – not to mention, purposeful.  I use “Little Fishes” all the time, and this song can go on for literally 10 minutes in a big group.

As I mentioned, using pictures to stimulate participation is a great way for kids who need a little extra help.  You could either hold them up yourself and have the students name the creature that is pictured, or have each child hold a picture, and name the creature (or point to the student) so that he or she holds up the picture when it’s his or her turn.  You could even use this as an art project opportunity, and have the students create the pictures themselves.

Friday Fave: The 7 Link Challenge

Earlier this week, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger (an awesome resource for anyone who blogs) posed a challenge: publish a list of 7 links to posts that you and others have written that respond to 7 specific categories.

  1. Your first post
  2. A post you enjoyed writing the most
  3. A post which had a great discussion
  4. A post on someone else’s blog that you wish you’d written
  5. Your most helpful post
  6. A post with a title that you are proud of
  7. A post that you wish more people had read

Since I started Listen & Learn back in September of 2008 (almost two years ago!) and have written over 450 posts, choosing just 7 will indeed be a challenge.  But I always enjoy going back and reading through the archives, so this should be a fun project!

1. First post:  An Introduction
Luckily, this one was easy :)  I posted my first blog entry on September 4, 2008, not knowing exactly what I was doing or having a clear goal.  I’ve learned a lot since then!

2. Post I enjoyed writing the most:  The Best Birthday Gift Ever
This post came exactly one year later, on Listen & Learn’s first birthday.  That was the day I reached my Kickstarter fundraising goal of $2,000, which I later used to record my first studio album.  Needless to say, I had a huge smile on my face as I typed each and every word.

3. Post which had a great discussion:
Halloween Song Topic Contest
Last fall, I asked my readers to suggest topics for a new Halloween-themed song.  They came up with some extremely creative ideas, which they shared not only in the blog comments, but also via email, Facebook, and Twitter.  The winning topics inspired the songs Patrick & Polly Pumpkin, All the Candy I’ll Eat, and Costumes on Parade.

4. Post on someone else’s blog I wish I’d written:
Black Eyed Peas + Boomwhackers
My friend and fellow music therapist Kat Fulton is an amazing percussionist, and in her blog post, she shared a video she created for her boomwhackers-only version of “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.  The song and video were simply awesome, and although I wish I’d come up with them and the corresponding post, I’ll leave the heavy duty percussion to Kat!

5. Most helpful post: Safety Comes First
From time to time, a reader emails me with a request for a song on a specific subject.  Although I can’t honor each and every request because of my busy schedule, I sure do try!  This particular song post stemmed from one of those email readers, and not only did it fulfill her need, but quite a few others were able to benefit from it, as well.  (Okay, I had to include a runner-up: 1 Cool Bass Line = 2 Singable Stories.)

6. Post with a title I’m proud of:
Publicity, Performance, and Praise, Oh My!
You know while trying to answer this one?  That I am not very creative when it comes to writing blog post titles.  Usually, I’ll use the title of the song I’m posting or keep it short and to the point.  The title of the post I chose was inspired, of course, by The Wizard of Oz (one of my favorite movies of all time).

7. Post I wish more people had read: Taming the Tidal Wave
This particular post doesn’t necessarily fit in with my regular subject matter, which is probably why it didn’t receive much feedback.  I wrote it last winter, when I was juggling too much on my plate and feeling completely stressed.  I know that other music therapists, and everyone else, for that matter, have been in similar situations, and the strategies I listed might just be as helpful to them as they were to me.

Listen & Learn has definitely grown up a lot since that first post I linked to in #1, and I have a feeling that if I were to do the same challenge a year from now, I would have new links to share for almost every category.  I would love to see some of my fellow blogger friends follow suit…how ’bout it?

D-O-G, My D-O-G

That’s my D-O-G, Sadie, but believe it or not, she actually wasn’t the inspiration for this song!  Just yesterday during my last group music therapy session at The Autism Program, one of my students asked me if I had a dog.  I saw this as an opportunity to start a conversation, so I used an adaptation of Cathy Bollinger’s song “I Like Movies, So Do You” (replacing movies with pets) to encourage my students to discuss their own pets or favorite types of animals.

Almost every student in the group had a dog, so I asked questions like “What is your dog’s name?” and “What kind of dog do you have?” and so on.  Most could answer the first one, but some of the other questions were a bit trickier for them.  So I came up with this song, which has these questions and more built right in.

D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.
I take her for walks, we run and play,
She’s by my side, every single day.
D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.

People ask me questions, like
“What’s your dog’s name?”
And this is what I say: __________
They also want to know:
“What kind of dog do you have?”
So I answer in this way: __________

D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.
I give her water, food, and toys,
When she barks, she makes so much noise.
D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.

People ask me questions, like
“How old is your dog?”
And this is what I say: __________
They also want to know:
“Can I pet your dog?”
So I answer in this way: __________

D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.
I teach her tricks like how to shake,
We take her swimming in the lake,
D – O – G, my D – O – G,
My dog’s a part of my family.

Notice that I fill in the answers to each question using Sadie as an example.  But if this is a song that might be useful for your child or student, let me know and I will send you two versions: one with the answers left blank, and one with answers pertaining to your specific dog (just make sure you provide those answers in your email).

I think I almost have to write the song “My C-A-T” so that I don’t leave out all the cat owners who are reading this right now!  Look for that one soon :)

Release Party Recap

I work with students of all ages and abilities both in my studio and at school, so to have many of them gathered in one place, all participating and having fun, was a joy to see. The CD Release Party was a huge success, based on the feedback I’ve received from parents as well as my own assessment – I know I had a great time!

Many of the children came right up to the front of the room, where they sang and danced along with me. A few opted to sit in the audience with their moms and dads, which was just fine, too!

We managed to get a good number of kids into this group shot, though let me tell you, it was a challenge :) I just love this picture, especially the little waves a few of the kids are giving.

Nathaniel is a piano student of mine, and he marched right up to me afterwards to ask for a picture. His little sister, also named Rachel, was at home napping, but their mom has reported that she is a big fan of the CD.

My father-in-law (an avid photographer) took these pictures and many more, all of which can be found here.  Funny enough, he can be seen in action during almost all of the videos from the performance, along with my husband, who was also taking pictures.  I’ll have more videos up on my YouTube channel soon, but here’s one to give you a taste:

Sunday Singalong: CD Release Edition

Today is a big day! I’m throwing a CD release party this afternoon, because what better way to celebrate than surrounded by my friends, family, coworkers, and students? I’m kicking off the celebration with an interactive performance of the songs from the album, followed by refreshments and merriment. And of course, I’ll have plenty of CDs and download cards on hand.

But I couldn’t let the party preparations get in the way of creating this week’s “Sunday Singalong” video! I actually recorded this on Friday morning, before the chaos began…and thank goodness I did. Watch as I talk a little about the CD and then do an acoustic version of “The Feelings in My Heart”.

My husband is going to record the live performance this afternoon, so look for new videos this week. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in the “happiness” and “excitement” with me. Oh, and don’t forget to visit Time to Sing Hello and download the album!

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