Halloween Song Sale!

Halloween Album Sale

Halloween is still a week away, which gives you plenty of time to share a few spooky (and not-so-spooky) tunes with your students or even your own children.

I’ve gotten plenty of use out of my Halloween song collection throughout the month of October, and wanted to make it readily available to you — which is why it’s now on sale for $5. Take a listen to the songs below:

To take advantage of the Halloween Week discount, just click “Buy” and pay securely using PayPal or a credit card. You can bet I’ll be singing these songs like crazy over the next seven days, before it’s tune to bust out the turkey tunes!

Sunday Singalong: Purple People Eater

Every October, I’d go to each classroom at my former job brimming with excitement about the new Halloween songs I’d written for my students.

They always went over well. But inevitably, at the end of each class I’d hear, “Can we sing the ‘Purple People Eater’ song?” Mind you, it was usually (but not always) a staff member making the request.

Even so, the kids loved it just as much. Especially the movements – which I conveniently left out of my video! Ha! Luckily, they’re not too complicated: make “one eye” with your fist to your forehead, “one horn” with your thumb to your forehead and your pinkie sticking out, and then “fly” with your thumbs tucked under your armpits.

Did you dig this song as a kid, like I did? Raise your hand if you still get a kick out of it! Just don’t blame me if you have it stuck in your head all day long now :)

Friday Fave: iPhone 4S & iOS 5

iPhone 4S

Okay, so maybe I’ve blogged about my favorite Apple products a time or two. And yes, maybe I’ve even been called an Apple fangirl on occasion (hi, Dad). But really, I have my husband to blame: he has owned every single iPhone model since the day the first one came out back in 2007. He has also owned 2 MacBooks, a MacBook Pro, and an iPad.

I’m not complaining about his influence on me, though, because I love all of my Apple devices. They have changed the way I do my job, which is my excuse for writing about them on the blog as often as I do. And today I’m writing about two of the newest additions…the iPhone 4S, and the new operating system, iOS 5.

Let’s start with the new phone. I was long overdue, having used my good ol’ 3GS model for over 2 years. The 4S is much faster, brighter, and full of cool features I didn’t have before, but my FAVORITE feature is the camera. The picture is pretty amazing not just for a camera phone, but for a camera, period.

Another cool feature is Siri, the virtual “assistant” who does just about anything you ask of her, including making phone calls, sending text messages, setting alarms, creating calendar events, and so on.

iOS 5

The iPhone 4S rocks, but what really makes it is the new operating system. iOS 5 has pretty much knocked my socks off — I love the new notifications, iMessage system (I can text from my iPad now!), reminders, iCloud, and the built-in tweeting capabilities. That, coupled with the awesome new camera, are going to make me dangerous at AMTA conference next month. Look out, music therapists! ;)

One of the things that has come in very handy for my studio is the new wireless syncing ability to iTunes, for both the iPhone and iPad. I can transfer sheet music and songs to either device without plugging them in, and they just magically show up. I had fun entertaining my students (and myself) with this all week long.

I know I’m not the only one around here who is excited about the new iPhone and iOS 5. Have you used either? And are your reviews as positive as mine?

We’re Gonna Have a Good Time

We're Gonna Have a Good Time

Over the summer, I was working on speech goals with one of my music therapy students. The letter “g” was among her targeted sounds, so I came up with a little greeting song based on it.

Well the song stuck, because four months later, we’re still singing that song — and she is nailing those “g” sounds! I’ve even started using it with several other students, which prompted me to record it for the world to hear:

As you can see, the lyrics aren’t amazingly inspired, but they are easy to remember and better yet, easily adaptable. The second verse changes with every music therapy session, depending on what I have planned.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a song doesn’t have to be long, complicated, or full of genius lyrics in order to be an effective tool for learning. In fact, usually quite the opposite is true. Simple songs = good times!

6 Tips for Staying Healthy Around Kids

 8 Tips for Staying Healthy

Don’t worry; none of my tips involve wearing a face mask! This post was inspired by Linda, a fellow music therapist who sent the following question in an email yesterday:

I was wondering if you could write one day about how you stay healthy when working with so many students.  I began working with over a hundred kids this school year and have already been on antibiotics twice for upper respiratory infections and had the stomach flu.  I clean my instruments after each use with antibiotic wipes and wash my hands constantly.  Aside from wearing rubber gloves and a face mask, I’m not sure what to do.  Do you have any suggestions?

Oh boy, Linda. I have been there and done that! In fact, I spent my internship — the first time I’d been exposed to many children on a daily basis — sick as a dog. We’re talking flu, sinus infections, pink eye, bronchitis…you name it, I had it at one point during those nine months.

And since I came right out of my internship into a job at a school working with over 120 children every week, I knew I needed to come up with better methods of self-defense against all those germs. There’s no single guaranteed method for avoiding sickness when you work in such an environment, but here are a few I’ve come to swear by:

  1. Get a flu shot. This may seem like a “duh!” statement, but I wouldn’t be surprised if half the people reading this do not make a habit of getting a yearly flu shot. My former workplace provided flu shots to all of its employees, so I was always first in line to get one. This year I’m on my own, but planning to get my shot before the week is over. It can be unpleasant, but avoiding 4 days (or more) of pure misery is worth having a sore arm for a day.
  2. Emergen-C. I keep multiple boxes of this Vitamin C-packed drink mix stashed in my kitchen. Anytime I feel a cold coming on, I stir a packet into a glass of water and repeat throughout the next couple of days. It doesn’t taste amazing, but it is effective!
  3. Stock up on antibacterial gel. There are multiple pump bottles of this stuff throughout my studio — on my desk, next to my piano, in my instrument closet — because I dive for it anytime I see a student touch his or her nose or mouth. I also try to make a habit of having students rub their hands down before touching the piano or any other instrument.
  4. Cold-Eeze. This falls into the same category of Emergen-C as a necessity, especially during cold and flu season. This is a homeopathic cold remedy containing zinc, and although it leaves a funny aftertaste, it seems to do its job.
  5. Remind parents not to bring their children for music therapy sessions or lessons when they are sick, no matter how minor the illness. I send out emails reminding parents that even coughs and runny noses qualify as reasons to keep students at home, because they can lead to more severe illnesses that spread like wildfire. You may not have this luxury in a school setting; if a child is showing symptoms, be sure to take extra precautions.
  6. If you do fall prey to germs and end up sick, stay home. Music therapists are notorious for “working through” illnesses rather than canceling or rescheduling sessions. I am guilty of facilitating music therapy sessions with full-blown laryngitis in the past, but I’ve learned never to do that again. My voice is my livelihood, and it’s just not worth the risk!

Other no-brainers like eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and not touching your mouth and nose before, during or after contact with children should be heeded as well. Now it’s your turn: help Linda and the rest of us out by providing your tips for staying healthy around kids.

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