Look Into My Eyes

Song for Making Eye Contact

One of the goals that I’m constantly targeting with many of my music therapy students is eye contact. And while there are many ways to build this into other interventions and activities, I’ve never written a song specifically for this purpose…until now.

I kept the lyrics very simple and very repetitive, with one main directive: “look into my eyes”. I also included some opportunities for movement — not only to make the song more interesting, but also to show that you can still make eye contact while moving in different ways. As with all of my songs, these verses are meant to be adapted as needed to fit your students’ abilities and specific objectives.

What are your favorite ways to work on eye contact? I would love to hear about specific songs and interventions you use, or even ways you might change up this song to get the most out of it.

Friday Fave: Brown Bear, Brown Bear

Brown Bear Singable Story

My collection of singable stories has grown considerably over the last few years, and continues to do so as I stumble upon new stories and receive suggestions from colleagues and readers. But I can credit my latest addition — and the tune that goes with it — to the parent of one of my music therapy students.

I had heard of the book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? but never thought to use it in my music therapy sessions. After our session one day, my student’s mom mentioned that her daughter loves this book and that she had discovered the perfect tune for it: the theme song to the old Nickelodeon show, Pinwheel.

Talk about a blast from the past! I remember watching that show as a very young child, and the tune came right back to me…along with the theme songs for all the other old Nickelodeon shows I was distracted by on YouTube :)

After recording the “Brown Bear” version of the song, I have to agree with my student’s mom. The tune fits this story perfectly and I can’t wait to sing it with my student this afternoon! What a fun way to work on color and animal identification (amongst other things).

Have you added any great singable stories to your collection lately? Please share your favorites — and read more about my full collection of 50+ stories here.

Marching Into Spring

Marching into Spring

Okay, okay…so spring is still several weeks away. But since it officially begins in March, I couldn’t restrain myself from writing about my second favorite season.

I first used the “march into spring” play on words in my March song, and it amused me enough to base an entire song upon it. As I started recording, I decided to let the music reflect the marching chorus and in contrast, the fun and excitement of spring.

While we’ve had an unusually mild winter here in Illinois, I’m still ready for daily bike rides, open windows, and walks in the park. What do you think: is it too early to start singing about spring?

Friday Fave: Blessed by Brenna

Blessed by Brenna

Brenna Westlake was born in December with with a rare skin condition called Harlequin Ichthyosis. Brenna’s skin lacks a certain protein which helps it form correctly, and instead it was formed as thick, white scales with ridges all over. Since her birth, Brenna has proved to be a fighter and won the hearts of my entire community.

Brenna’s mom, Courtney, has kept an almost daily blog since December, which you can find here.  In honor of Rare Disease Day on February 29th, Courtney shared a special project she’s been involved with and asked for help as the project moves into the final stage. She wrote:

When Brenna was a couple of weeks old, a friend shared on twitter about an organization called MarbleRoad, which raises awareness about rare diseases, and a “contest” they were doing called the Rare Children’s Storybook Project. The focus of the project was to compose a story involving a rare disease…and then chosen finalists would be asked to create an accompanying video.

At first, I didn’t think I had time to devote to writing a story in a matter of days. But one afternoon, I spent a few hours alone with Brenna at the hospital, and when I came home, the story just poured out of me. I wanted to write something for her and to her, so that she would know how we felt about her birth and her presence in our lives.

The winner for this project (who receives some money for medical costs and is considered for publication) is chosen based on the number of views, comments and “likes” on the video, so I would really appreciate you all taking the time to watch my video and read my story about our sweet girl!

Please take a few minutes to watch this touching video and help Brenna and her family win by liking the video here.

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