Movin’ In the Circle

Movin' In the Circle - Stretchy Band Song

For a while now, I’ve heard about and seen stretchy bands in action, but had never actually tried them. Boy, have I been missing out!

I was thrilled when Janet Stephens (owner of Bear Paw Creek, the makers of the stretchy band) and her sister Kathy Schumacher (music therapist and owner of Tuneful Teaching) reached out to be about creating a stretchy band-specific song. Of course I immediately said yes, and got to work.

Movin’ In the Circle is designed to be used in a group setting, using the stretchy band while seated on the floor. There are all kinds of movements that can be done in this manner, and the song lists just a few:

I’m already excited about the possibility of writing an entire series of stretchy band songs, because they can be used in SO many different ways. If you haven’t already, please make sure to check them out for yourself. I’ve only been using mine for a couple of weeks now, but they are already a huge hit with my students!

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kathy Schumacher

Friday Fave: Closing the Books on a BIG Year

Closing the Books on a BIG Year

Today is a pretty momentous day around here. Not only is it the last day of the spring semester for my studio, but it signifies the end of my first year of full-time private practice. The fastest and most exciting year of my life thus far, to be sure!

Just one  year ago, I was finishing up my fourth and final year at The Hope Institute and getting ready to jump into the scary world of self-employment. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was prepared to work harder than I ever had in my life to ensure that I was making the right decision and could indeed be successful.

I’ve learned so much in the past 12 months — about running a business, pushing myself to the limit, and finding balance. I’ve grown as a music therapist and studio teacher, and I’ve learned to concentrate on my strengths rather than dwell on my weaknesses.

Though I’ve missed my former students and coworkers since leaving Hope, there hasn’t been one day when I’ve regretted taking the leap. I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful families and pursue projects that I couldn’t have otherwise, and my plans are only to continue doing lots more of both.

After today’s music therapy sessions and lessons, my students and I will enjoy a 2-week break before beginning the summer session. I’m looking forward to taking some time off to relax, hang out by the pool, and have a little birthday vacation in Austin. But I also have a long work-related “to do” list just waiting to be tackled…it’s all about balance, as I’ve learned!

I want to say thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me along the way this past year. It’s been a BIG one, and I’m so grateful to have so many wonderful people who care enough to accompany me on this wonderful and wacky journey.

Riding My Bike

Riding My Bike

All winter long, I look forward to warm weather for many reasons, but mostly this one: so that I can ride my bike! And since we’ve had such a beautiful (not to mention early) spring, I’ve already put almost 600 miles on my bike since March 1st.

And though my rides are a bit longer now than they were when I was younger, riding my bike still makes me feel kinda like a kid — in a good way. However, I’m a lot better about bike safety now than I was back then, and that is what today’s song is all about.

I’m getting ready to head out on a nice long ride this morning with my dad, and you’d better believe we’ll be wearing helmets, using our signals, and putting to use all of the other safety tips mentioned in the song. Well, except for the one about riding on the sidewalk…we’re a little too old for that ;)

Friday Fave: RhymeZone

Friday Fave - RhymeZone

Today I want to share one of my most frequently used web-based resources of all time: RhymeZone. I discovered this website shortly after I started writing my own music therapy songs, and still use it every single time I write a new song.

There are probably plenty of rhyming tools out there, but I like this one for its simplicity. All you do is type a word into the box and hit the “search” button — then all of the rhyming words pop up, organized by number of syllables. Not only can you search for perfect rhymes, but other searches available are near rhymes, synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and more.

I just discovered that RhymeZone now has an app available for $2.99, which might come in handy for songwriting on the go. But since I write all of my songs on my Macbook, I’ll stick with the web version. When I write a song, I keep RhymeZone open in my browser from start to finish and probably use it at least 20 times before the lyrics are finished.

Have you used this site, or do you have another favorite rhyming tool? I’m always looking for new songwriting resources…so if you have ’em, send ’em my way!

Summer Break (Let’s Shake!)

Summer Break Song

How do I know it’s almost summer break? Well that’s easy…it’s just about all my students can talk about these days! Most of them even have a countdown going, and can tell me exactly how many days are left.

I always enjoyed school, but that didn’t stop me from feeling super excited when summer break rolled around. And not much has changed; as much as I absolutely LOVE my job, I’m looking forward to having a little break before the summer session begins.

I wrote and recorded a song on this topic a couple of years ago, but wanted something a bit more original as we head into the last two weeks of the school year. Here’s what I came up with:

Most of my students have their last day of school at the end of next week, which coincides with the end of the session at my studio. Those two weeks I’ll have off will be busy ones, between my birthday, a trip to Austin, a visit from the lovely ladies of the Music Therapy Round Table, and of course, some quality pool time. Come on, summer break!

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