Friday Fave: Sticky Productivity

online-sticky-notes

My favorite method of staying organized and on top of my life is making lists.  But sometimes it’s just so much more convenient to scribble a note on a sticky pad and stick it somewhere I know I’ll see it later…like on my computer.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that my computer screen at work looked nearly identical to the one pictured above, with just a little more visible screen space, until I discovered the online resource I’m going to share with you today.

Lino It provides a virtual blank canvas to which you stick post-it type notes — simple as that.  You can color code the notes, like I do for different areas of my life:

online sticky notes 2

That’s a snapshot of part of my current to-do canvas.  When I complete a task, I simply click the little checkmark and the sticky is “peeled” off.  It’s much more satisfying to see a sticky disappear than it is to cross an item off of a paper list :)  I set Lino It as my homepage so that each time I open my browser, the first thing I see is my to-do canvas.  Let me tell you…it is quite effective!

Another cool thing about Lino It?  Not only can you post sticky notes, but you can also post pictures, videos, and documents right to your canvas.  I have another canvas that I use as an inspiration board; I post my goals, pictures that motivate me, and anything else that boosts my happiness level just by glancing at it.  I look at my inspiration board throughout the day and add new items all the time.

This “Friday Fave” isn’t music-related, but hey, everyone needs to stay organized!  Have you tried Lino It or another online tool to boost your productivity?

Peanuts Pumpkin Carols

peanuts-pumpkin-carols

I have a Halloween tradition with one of my classrooms at school, and that is singing Peanuts Pumpkin Carols the week leading up to the big day.  What are Peanuts Pumpkin Carols, you ask?  They are a group of cleverly penned Halloween songs set to the tune of traditional Christmas carols.

So “Deck the Halls” becomes “Deck the Patch”, “Silver Bells” becomes “Pumpkin Bells”, “The 12 Days of Christmas” becomes “The 12 Days of Halloween” and so on.  The teacher of that classroom found these songs online, and you can get them for yourself right here.

I absolutely LOVE Christmas music, but I usually try to hold off until November 1st to start listening to it.  Preparing and singing these pumpkin carols is an excuse to start dusting off the familiar melodies I’ll soon be singing and listening to throughout the holiday season :)

In addition to the Peanuts Pumpkin Carols, you can check out my own original Listen & Learn Halloween songs.

Custom Song: The Texas Pledge

Texas State Pledge Song for ChildrenDid you know that Texas state law requires all students to memorize and recite the state pledge each day at school?  Neither did I, until I received this email from Rene, a Listen & Learn reader from the Lonestar State:

What I have wanted, what my kids have requested for several years, is a song to help us learn the Texas Pledge (which is required of all students by state law). When I saw on your site that you wrote a song for the Pledge to the American Flag, I thought you’d be perfect for writing this song for our Texas pledge. The song we sing for the American pledge is quite long and we dance to this, I have added lots of motion crossing the midline, up/down, bending, leaning, etc. I know the reason my kids learned the U.S. pledge within the first two weeks of school is because we sing it!!! The Texas Pledge is short. I know you will know best because that is your gift.

Rene went on to include quite a bit more information about her students and her expectations for this custom song, and I was more than excited to get to work on it.

Rene’s students are young (Pre-K) and for many, English is their second language.  So I kept the lyrics simple but engaging, emphasizing the most important lines — the pledge, of course.  Here is what I came up with:

Stand up where you are,
Place your hand over your heart,
And look to the flag that has one star:

Honor the Texas flag,
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one state, under God,
One and indivisible.

The Texas pledge is what we say,
Each and every single day.
To show our respect for the Lonestar State,
A state so great we have to celebrate.

By waving our arms in the air, up high!
Back and forth like our flag they sway.
Now we’ll bring them down, right by our sides,
As we say the pledge today.

I also created an instrumental version without my vocals.  Rene has not only been using this song with her students since receiving it, but she has also purchased downloads to pass out to her colleagues throughout the state. If you live in Texas and have students who are still learning the pledge, hopefully this song can be helpful to you, too.

I’m already hard at work on Rene’s next custom song (she has enough ideas to keep me busy for months!). If you’re in need of a song for a specific topic, skill or concept, click here to learn more about my custom song package.

500th Post!

500 PostsI opened up WordPress this morning with the intention of posting a brand new custom song when I realized that I’ve hit the big 5-0-0.  That’s right: 500 posts in just a little over two years.  Holy smokes!

Here are a few more numbers to share with you.  Since Listen & Learn began in September of 2008, there are:

  • 500 blog posts
  • 621 comments
  • 163 original songs
  • 85 categories
  • 29 albums

Not to mention the countless emails I’ve received, friends I’ve made, opportunities I’ve had, and joy I’ve felt — just by keeping up this blog.  Thanks so much for being a part of that.  It’s fun to think ahead and wonder what I’ll be up to in my life when I hit 1,000 :)  But for now, I’ve got songs to write, music therapy sessions to facilitate, and more posts up my sleeve.

Oh, and that custom song I was planning to post this morning?  It will be here this afternoon…come back and check it out!

Sunday Singalong: Vocal Rest Edition

My plans for a brand-new “Sunday Singalong” video were thwarted by this icky cold I’ve been fighting for a week, and I am not happy about it.  I haven’t been doing any singing this weekend, but I have been busy writing…including my first guest post at Kids Sing Studio!

Kids Sing Studio Lisa Casciola, MT-BC, is the owner of Kids Sing Studio in St. Louis, Missouri, where she has over 50 students.  Impressive, right!?  Lisa was one of my supervisors during my internship with Midwest Music Therapy Services, and I learned so much from her not only about music therapy, but also about running a private studio.  I was thrilled when she invited me to be a guest blogger.  My post, Young Musicians and the Importance of Self-Confidence, tells a funny story that happened during one of my college auditions and the lessons I learned from it.

So in lieu of a video today, go check out my guest post on Lisa’s blog.  I’ll be back next week with a new video next Sunday — just as long as my vocal rest pays off and I kick this cough!

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