Friday Fave: Being Elmo

Being Elmo - A Puppeteer's Journey

Earlier this month, my dad told me to check out a documentary on Netflix called Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. I found his suggestion to be a bit random, but he insisted that it was quite entertaining and I would enjoy it.

So I finally watched it, and he was right — I enjoyed the documentary so much that I just had to tell you all about it, too :) It doesn’t relate specifically to music or music therapy, but it does send the same message I share with my students who have big dreams: follow your passion, work hard, and someday you’ll make them a reality.

Kevin Clash is the puppeteer who has played Elmo on Sesame Street since the early 1990s. The documentary tells us the story of his life, beginning with his early child when he first started putting on puppet shows for the children his mom babysat.

Not only did Kevin Clash do anything and everything he could to improve his skills as a puppeteer, but he went out of his comfort zone to make connections with people in the industry. That is what led him to Jim Henson, and how he started his career on Sesame Street.

I don’t mean to be so cheesy, but I really did feel incredibly inspired after watching this. We could all use a little extra inspiration from time to time…I hope you’ll take my (and my dad’s) advice to watch it, too.

I Love the Rain

I Love the Rain

Spring not only brings a change in the weather, but it also brings a change in mood. At least, that’s true for me and many of my students — like me, lately they’ve seemed just a little more smiley and excited than usual. Day after day of sunshine and warmth has been amazing!

But I also appreciate a good spring shower, which is what this week’s song is all about. There are already so many great songs I use in music therapy sessions on this topic, but I was inspired by a friend to write this one. Check it out:

A couple of good showers have snuck their way in amongst all this sunshine, and already the trees and flowers are blooming. Just the other day, their beauty caught me by surprise as I drove down my tree-lined street, and at that moment, it felt really good to be alive. Corny, yes? But like I said, spring has that affect on me!

Friday Fave: Night of Music Therapy

Night of Music Therapy

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost six years since I finished my graduate coursework in music therapy at Illinois State University. But lucky me, because I get to go back this weekend and hang out with music therapy students at their student organization’s Night of Music Therapy.

It really does seem like just yesterday that I was taking my first music therapy class and realizing I had found the perfect profession. Two years of classes and practicum experience later, I went off to St. Louis to begin my internship; nine months after that, I was suddenly in the “real world”.

That is one of the topics I’ll be covering in my presentation — making that scary transition from student/intern to professional. Finding a job, starting a private practice, making your mark on the field, and of course, a little songwriting and recording thrown in for good measure.

Because even though six years have passed since I was in those students’ shoes, I still remember exactly how it feels. I had so many questions about working as a “real world” music therapist, and that list of questions only grew as I got closer and closer to becoming one. Hopefully I can answer some of theirs tomorrow.

And the music therapy fun doesn’t stop there, because on Sunday I’m headed to Chicago for a collaborative workshop at the Old Town School of Folk Music. This is officially the last event I’ll organize as the outgoing secretary/programming chair for the Illinois Association for Music Therapy, and hopefully it will be as wonderful as last year’s workshop.

I hope you have a fun and exciting weekend in store, too. Bonus points if it involves music in any way :) Happy Friday!

Student Spotlight: Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain”

Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain"

I can pretty much predict the songs that will be the most requested by students in my studio by what is popular on the radio.

Let’s just say that this has been the year of Adele: over the summer it was “Rolling in the Deep”, in the fall it was “Someone Like You”, and the current front-runner is “Set Fire to the Rain”.

Jayla P. knocked this one out on the park in just one take (and only a few weeks of practice). Her voice just gives me chills, like so many of my students. Here’s her lovely version of Adele’s hit.

This song is appropriate for today, since the rain is on its way after several days of beautiful sunshine. In fact, rain has been on the brain this week — you’ll understand when you hear my latest original song on Monday. It is spring, after all!

Wake Up!

Wake Up! A Movement Song for Children

That’s exactly what I need to do…because after a long day that started at 4 am and included traveling by plane followed by a full schedule of lessons and music therapy, I need to find the energy to catch up on lots of work!

But the long weekend I spent in Mexico with my husband and another couple was well worth the tiredness I’m experiencing now, because my batteries are feeling recharged and I’m ready to take on the week — which just happens to be full of big projects and events.

I’m hoping this song helps charge up the batteries of my students and all of the other kiddos who will hear it. It’s meant to get them up and moving at the start of the day (and I’m thinking I’ll probably need it myself tomorrow morning).

This song is part of what promises to be an exciting collaboration, which I’ll tell you more about later :) Until then, I hope it will serve its purpose for you and your kiddos as a way to get those muscles moving and blood pumping!