November Sponsor Shout-Outs!

It’s time once again to give you the run-down of all of the wonderful Listen & Learn sponsors. I’m extremely proud to feature all of the following resources here on the blog — please take a few minutes to check them out below:

Mundana Music Therapy

I was thrilled to run into the owners of Mundana Music Therapy earlier this month at AMTA conference in Atlanta! Kimberly Thompson and Megan Resig are the fabulous music therapists who run this private practice in Portland, OR and manage the popular blog by the same name. Check out their Wellness Wednesday column, join them on Facebook, and follow Kimberly and Megan on Twitter.

If you would like to get your young children started on piano lessons, you can start teaching them at home, even if you have no music training. All you need is a keyboard or piano and You Can Make Music at the Keyboard, Young Beginner Book I.  Leslie Denning, better known as Miss Leslie, is a piano teacher and early childhood music education specialist, who has put together a package that makes it easy to teach piano at home. Through colors, audio, and video, you and your child will learn to recognize the keys on the piano, notes on the staff, and rhythmic and melodic patterns. There are many fun activities to reinforce the feeling of steady beat, musical direction, and high and low. This method is written for children from 3 to 7 and may also be used with children who have learning disabilities. To find out more, go to Preschool Piano with Miss Leslie.

Opus Music Education offers a searchable database of music teachers in California and affordable private music lessons in virtually every instrument. Every first music lesson is always free. Opus also offers Opus Music Worksheets, a database of high quality, free printable music education resources, including free music theory worksheets, free music flashcards, free music business forms, and many other free music learning resources for music teachers, music students, and parents.

Online Piano Chords

OnlinePianist has launched a very attractive Christmas deal:

6 Premium months FREE when buying a yearly package
3 Premium months FREE when buying a six months
1.5 Premium months FREE when buying a three months

In addition, they also allow their users to buy a unique gift card if they want to buy it for someone else for Christmas. Find all of the details here!

Theta Music Trainer will hold their second annual Winter Competition on January 11, 2012. The competition is open to all and free to enter. Amazon gift certificates will be awarded to the Top 5 finishers. For more info on the competition, click here.

Music Therapy Tunes

Margie La Bella, a music therapist and educator, manages Music Therapy Tunes will soon be posting several Channukah and Christmas videos with chords, lyrics, and benefits.  She is also preparing a monthly newsletter that will include free mp3s of the songs on her videos and her sampler CD. Lastly, Margie is looking for new activities to post on her lessons page and would be happy to trade a music therapy activity (all ages) for a song of the sender’s choice (music be a music therapist or SMT.) from one of her CDs. You can send activities to

Make Me Musical

Make Me Musical Make Me Musical is a blog and practical resource site created by Susan Seale. Susan advocates a “whole brain—whole heart—whole child” perspective on working with children. She is accustomed to sharing this developmental perspective via live workshops, private teacher-coaching sessions, curriculum publications and speaking engagements. Make Me Musical blog posts are filled with songs, games, child-friendly orchestrations and process-planning. Be sure to sign up for Susan’s free monthly newsletter while you’re there!


Have you heard about the Soundbeam? This seriously cool system detects the distance, direction and velocity of body movements in a defined space, and translates these body gestures into control signals for creating electronic music or manipulating multimedia. It’s being used in special education, music therapy, the music classroom, museums, and science centers…and you can learn all about it at the website of our wonderful sponsor, SoundTree.

Involve Me Music Shout-Out

Involve Me Music: Solutions for Music Educators provides a blog, individual and group consultation services (live and via phone and skype), workshops and presentations. Board-certified music therapist Jennifer Sokira offers a down-to-earth and practical perspective, with the intention of helping music teachers develop relationships with their special education students, allowing them to better participate in, enjoy, and benefit from music education. Be sure to sign up for the free Involve Me Music newsletter.

More With Music

More With Music is a song resource website where parents, teachers, and therapists can find songs to help teach the students in their lives. Amanda Ellis manages More With Music and works as a full-time music therapist in a public school setting with students ages 5-22.  Her recent blog posts have been focused on Movin’ Around the World.  Each Monday, Amanda posts a song about one of the 7 continents.  There are only 3 more continents to go, so be sure to stop by soon! Songs posted on More with Music can be purchased online for 99 cents each and song sheets (complete with guitar chords and lyrics), are free by request. Do you need a song to help teach a skill or accomplish a specific goal?  Amanda also takes requests and can write songs for specific goals and skills by request.  It all starts with an email to

Stefanie Anderson Eckert, MM, MT-BC is the owner of A-Z Music Therapy Services, which provides services to individuals with disabilities in San Antonio and South Central Texas. Stefanie works in many different settings, including schools for children with autism and assisted living facilities. Her website offers additional resources and contact information for individuals interested in her services.

Music Therapy Maven Shout-Out

Kimberly Sena Moore, the Music Therapy Maven also co-manages Music Therapy Pro while simultaneously pursuing her doctorate at UMKC. Join Kimberly’s newsletter to keep up with the latest music therapy happenings, musings, and much more! Be sure also to like her Facebook page, Neurosong Music Therapy Services.

Rhythm Ring

Rhythm Ring rocks! If you haven’t picked up your own Rhythm Ring yet (they are only $5 each!) then you need to drop everything and get one. I love mine, and use it all the time with my students, at gigs, and even in my “Sunday Singalong” videos. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and announcements.

Joyfull Cup

Joyfull Cup has an exciting new focus! Fundraising! Do you own a non-profit, or do your kids have to fundraise for their extra curricular activities? Why not raise some money and be able to offer a healthy alternative to cookie dough or wrapping paper? This fundraising opportunity will be selling healthy coffee! I bet almost everyone you know drinks coffee, why not offer them a healthy alternative? If you are interested in more information, please contact Stephanie Shehan at

Music Therapy Tween

The Music Therapy Tween recently got a face lift! Check out the new look and see what Michelle Erfurt, the tween herself, is up to. Also, be sure to take a look at Michelle’s specialty: Boom Totes! These boomwacker bags were a huge hit at the national music therapy conference earlier in the month, and are selling like hotcakes. Order yours today.

Interested in becoming a Listen & Learn sponsor?

You can get the full scoop on sponsorship, including all the perks, right here. Sign up now and get your first shout-out in December!

Making Musical Gifts with Students

Musical Gift Ideas

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I know what I’ll be hearing about from my students throughout the next couple of weeks: the next major holiday! Whether they celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah, giving and receiving gifts is an important topic for almost all of them.

I do like to give my students a small gift before the holiday break, but I’ll save that for another post. Today I’m going to tell you about the gifts I’ve helped my students make to give to their families. I know you’ll be shocked to hear that they all involve music.

  • CD containing recordings of current repertoire. This is the least labor-intensive gift, because my students (primarily those who take voice lessons) are already recording their current songs, anyway. I normally save those recordings to the students’ flash drives, but it’s super simple to create a playlist of them in iTunes and burn it to a CD. If the student is planning to give it as a gift, I’ll create a customized CD label using DiscLabel — I highly recommend this downloadable software for Mac users; for PC, I like Memorex’s exPressit Label Design Studio.
  • Holiday songs or album. Let me qualify this by pointing out that as much as I love holiday music, not all of my students do; working on holiday songs is always optional. I do have many who choose to record 1-2 such songs for their families. Learning, practicing and recording an entire album (for my students, that’s 5-8 songs) of holiday songs is a huge undertaking, so only a few students have gone this route. They sure are proud of their hard work once that final product is in hand, and can’t wait to present it to their families.
  • Video recording. For some of my students, especially those who receive music therapy, a video is the better option. Many of them already love to make and watch videos of themselves, so this is a fun way to let their families see their progress and new skills. (Of course, I always make sure to have full written permission before making such videos.) As far as sharing those videos go, there are two different routes I take. One is to save the video to a USB flash drive, and the other is to upload it to my Vimeo Plus account, where only those with the link can view it.

I have over 50 students, and not all of them are interested in creating musical gifts for their families. But for those who are, doing so is a fun and productive way to spend our December lessons. Do you help your students create gifts? And if so, please share the details!

Cyber Monday Music Sale!

Cyber Monday Music Sale

While I’m not a fan of Black Friday, I must admit that I love Cyber Monday (its online counterpart). You’ve no doubt seen sales and deals popping up all over the internet, and Listen & Learn Music is no exception.

Starting now through Friday, all of my digital downloads are 50% off. That includes individual songs and entire albums. All you have to do is enter the code yay50 at checkout (you can pay using a credit card or PayPal).

Cyber Monday Music Sale (Albums)

These are only just a few of the albums up for grabs — there are almost 40 to choose from. I’ve written songs on just about every topic, so now is the time to stock up. Remember, the code is yay50 and here’s the link. Happy shopping!

Sunday Singalong: A She & Him Cover

This was a super busy week for me! Between getting back on track after my trip to Atlanta, the holiday, and two big performances, I barely had time to breathe — let alone record a “Sunday Singalong” video :(

But as I was downloading some video from last night’s gig, I had an idea: since I have mentioned the band She & Him several times here on the blog (and turned several readers into fans!), why not post a cover of one of their songs as today’s video? So that is exactly what I’m doing:

Call me lazy, but it’s better than no video at all…right? :) Next week I’ll go all out with more traditional Listen & Learn fare, and that’s a promise!

Friday Fave: Not-So-Black Friday

Not-So-Black Friday

Last year, my friend Katie and I ventured out at 4 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving to participate in the absolute chaos that is Black Friday. I do have to admit that we had fun, and I did score some great deals on items for my studio, but I am not sad to have missed out this year.

Instead, I slept in and then went to the Festival of Trees with my dad. This afternoon I’m going to eat some leftovers, work on a song with my mom, and maybe even start getting out the Christmas decorations (we’re putting up the tree tomorrow).

My poor husband has been outside stringing up lights all day, which might be even worse than fighting the Black Friday crowds. What about you? Did you brave the mania and take advantage of the sales?

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