Friday Fave: Association Memberships

Professional Music Therapy Association MembershipsThis week, professional association membership has been a hot topic in the digital world among music therapists.  It all started when music therapist Kat Fulton posted a link to an article she wrote in which she listed 10 reasons why she is a member of the American Music Therapy Association.

Kimberly, Michelle and I (also known as the Music Therapy Round Table) were so inspired by Kat’s article that we decided to continue the conversation on our podcast.  So in Episode 9, we each discuss why we are members of various professional associations (both music therapy-related and otherwise) and what the benefits — and drawbacks — are.

So if you want to hear all about our thoughts on professional association memberships (among other things), head over to the MTRT and listen to Episode 9 or download it for free from iTunes. A perfect way to spend your Friday morning, in my opinion!

Speaking of Friday…what are your plans for the weekend?  While my husband is in New Orleans for a guys’ weekend, I’m going to catch up on some recording I didn’t get done this week (thanks to a nasty cold) and spend some quality time with my dog.  I’m so exciting, I know :)  Have a good one!

Get in on the Music Therapy Round Table!

MTRT-Silent-AuctionDo you listen to the Music Therapy Round Table?  It’s a free monthly podcast hosted by myself along with fellow music therapists Kimberly S. Moore and Michelle Erfurt.  While normally our communication takes place via the internet and Skype (we live in three different states), next month we’ll be coming together in person at the AMTA National Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.

Not only will we be presenting a CMTE course entitled “Music Therapy in a Web 2.0 World: Technology for Advocacy & Marketing” (CMTE Q, for those of you interested in attending!), but we have an item on the silent auction block that is up for grabs now. The winning bidder will receive a co-hosting opportunity on our podcast PLUS an hour-long coaching session with the three of us.  This item is valued at $350, and the minimum bid is $115.  Click here to read more or place a bid.

Will you be at conference this year?  If so, I’d love to meet you!  I’ll be hanging out at the Erfurt Music Resource table in the exhibit hall (come pick up a CD or songbook) and we’ll even be recording episode 10 of the podcast there.  Only a little over a month until the fun begins!

The Right-Left Song for Shakers


I heard the original version of “The Right-Left Song” for the first time last fall when Kimberly Sena Moore presented it at AMTA National Conference. Kimberly has a great video of this song, which was actually written by another music therapist named Michelle Hardy.

I’ve used it many times as Kimberly demonstrates in her video — it’s wonderful for kiddos who need to work on crossing the midline — but I decided to change it up recently when I was in need of a new shakin’ song.

We’re going right and left,
And right and left,
We’re shaking, we shake.
We’re going right and left,
And right and left,
We’re shaking we shake.

(Repeat, getting faster each time.)

The real challenge is making sure to shake in the right direction as the tempo of the song increases!  I’ve enjoyed using this song so much that I may have to adapt it for other instruments, too.  I love being inspired by other music therapists — thanks Kimberly and Michelle :)

I <3 My Readers!

I love my readers!

Last month, Listen & Learn celebrated it’s 2nd birthday.  I asked my newsletter subscribers to share with me their favorite L&L post or song, and in return, I chose 3 responses to share with you.  Valerie K., Jess K., and Kathy S. will receive a physical copy of my studio album Time to Sing Hello in return for making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :)  Thank you to everyone who emailed me notes of congrats, encouragement, and reasons why you keep coming back to Listen & Learn!

Valerie wrote:

After meeting you about a year ago at the 2009 AMTA conference, I have been amazed at your persistence and ability to do what you do. . .through your blog and music. You are definitely an inspiration for the rest of us, reminding us that our work never ends as music therapists. We all have valuable insights and information to share with others. My favorite song so far is the Shaky Fruit song!!!! I have used it multiple times over the past 2 weeks and at times adapt the words/music to go with the flow of the session, but I always keep the doot-doot part the same! I really need to learn another song…haha.

Jess wrote:

I am a recently board-certified music therapist and I have already taken to heart much of what you have written about and included in your blogs. My favorite posts of yours so far have been Is This Music Therapy Thing for Real? and Home Recording Studio Essentials. The former has been incredibly helpful for me, as a new professional working with children with disabilities. There is a big difference between being a graduate student/intern in the field and being considered a “young professional.” While I am excited for this leap into the professional realm, I am also incredibly nervous. It has certainly been a great comfort to me to read an excerpt about your journey as a music therapist and to know that you were once in the same, scared but hopeful place I am! As for your home recording studio essentials—well, I am constantly searching for ideas from people on how they record their music.

Kathy wrote:

I would have to say the posting about your recording studio was one of my favorites (there are many!). Setting up a recording studio like that has been one of my goals for over a year now and it was very helpful and empowering to see the visual images and read the descriptions. I’m actually opening my Snowball mic today and getting ready to make my first Garageband recording! An aside – every time my seven year old hears me checking e-mail and listening to your songs, she always comes running and says, “That’s my favorite singer!” She’s a big fan of Taylor Swift also so that is quite a compliment :-)

I’m a big fan of Taylor Swift, too, so I definitely take that as a huge compliment!  Thanks again for the great responses.  Oh, and if you haven’t joined my newsletter yet, you should do it now — this month’s edition is coming soon!

Sunday Singalong: ‘Dem Dry Bones

Out of all 480+ posts I’ve written, one I wrote last year titled ‘Dem Bones, ‘Dem Bones happens to be one of the most viewed pages of this entire website.  And not just around Halloween time; it’s popular all year ’round.  I’m assuming that this must be an in-demand song, which is why I decided to feature it as a “Sunday Singalong” video this week.

I figured out this version myself after using a recording of the song one day with a group of students.  I really liked how the music in the recording modulated up as the bones in the body were named, and I wanted to do something similar.  But I like to keep my guitar playing super simple when I’m working with kids, because I want the focus to be on them (not my fingers).  My method of playing this song could pretty much be used by anyone who knows 3 chords: D, A, & G (and if you want to add the key change at the end, E & B7).

Rhythm sticks are my instrument of choice if anything; but most of the time, my students are more than happy just to sing along and point out each body part, or “bone” if you will, as it is mentioned in the song.  I love to mix it up by adding other bones (like hand, elbow, arm, shoulder, etc.) and speeding up the tempo for a bit of a challenge.  Hope you can use and enjoy this song, too!

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