Friday Fave: Tuneful Teens

When I first started out as a new music therapist, the population that intimidated me the post was the tween and teen crowd. I felt very comfortable working with children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, but it took me awhile to feel just as comfortable with the older students.

Even today, it takes more effort to plan a music therapy session for teens than it does for my younger kiddos. They can be just a little harder to engage, not to mention they don’t always think my interventions and activities are “cool” enough!

That’s why I was so excited when my friend and fellow music therapist Amy Kalas launched her e-book, Tuneful Teens: Creative Ideas for Engaging Adolescents in Music Therapy. It is chock full of intervention ideas, song ideas, sheet music, and templates for a variety of activities that are appropriate and engaging¬†for teens.

The book is divided into categories (musical games, instrument jams, social skills, songwriting, move and groove, relaxation) and Amy provides everything you need — step by step procedures, templates, sheet music, etc. — to implement the interventions in your music therapy sessions.

I highly recommend Amy’s book, and also want to give her a shout-out for celebrating the first year of her wonderful blog, Wholesome Harmonies. It has grown leaps and bounds since last year, and I’m excited to watch it continue to do so!

Find Your Name

Find Your Name Sign

Like so many others, this song was written specifically for one of my music therapy students. She is working on identifying her name from a field of several others, so now we sing Find Your Name at the beginning of each music therapy session.

The visual I use is pictured above, and was super easy to make. I just printed a simple sign I made using Pages, slipped it into a page protector, and then attached Velcro dots to the front and back where you see the name cards. There are also Velcro dots on the other side of each card.

I made several cards so that I can switch them out each week, which makes finding her name just a little bit more challenging for my student. The simple song is short and lets her know exactly what is expected of her.

I have started using this song with quite a few of my other students as well, though for some, a field of 4 is a little too overwhelming. But that’s an easy fix — I just remove 1 or 2 cards as needed, and will gradually increase the field as they start to recognize their names more easily.

What songs, visuals, and other resources do you use to help your students pick their names out of a crowd?

Friday Fave: Third Floor Music Festival

Third Floor Music Festival

Can I tell how you excited I am about tonight? The Third Floor Music Festival is an event being put on by our local arts center here in Springfield, and I’m thrilled to be included in the lineup.

10 of Springfield’s most talented musical acts will be performing at the festival, and frankly, I’m still a little stunned (in a good way) that Rachel & Matt is one of them. After all, Matt and I have only been playing together for a little over 8 months, and we don’t have the name recognition the other acts do just yet. But we’re working on it, and hopefully playing in the festival tonight will help with that!

Each act plays for 30 minutes, with the exception of the headlining band, who will play for 90 minutes. Matt and I have chosen 8 of our original songs to showcase during our set, and have been practicing every night this week to get them down solid. 3 of those songs are less than a month old and have not yet been performed live.

For those of you Springfield friends reading this, we’ll take the stage at around 7:15 pm and would LOVE to see you there! The buzz has been going strong and we’re hoping for a huge turnout. It’s going to be a fun night…doesn’t get much better than 7 solid hours of live music performed by local musicians!

They Are the People Who Watched Us Grow

Happy Father's Day

I hope you all had a lovely Father’s Day, whether you were celebrating your own dad, other dads in your life, or YOURSELF! Yesterday I shared a special video tribute that I made with the help of Listen & Learn readers and my students’ families, so be sure to check that out if you didn’t already.

The song that accompanies the video is this week’s original Listen & Learn song, and even though Father’s Day has passed, I want to share it with you so that you’re prepared when it rolls around again next June! One my friends who is a dad said over the weekend, “every day is Father’s Day!” — so really, I guess the song is applicable all year long ;)

And if we’re celebrating Father’s Day all year long, we’d better do the same with Mother’s Day, right?! Of course, I have a song for that too.

When it comes to family love and appreciation, a song I really do use almost on a daily basis with my students is Love, Love, Love (My Family). Every day is a good day to tell your family how much you love them!

A Video Tribute to Dads Everywhere

I can’t tell you how much fun I had collecting the photos for this video. After putting out a request to my newsletter subscribers and families in my studio, I received tons of emails not only containing photos, but also the stories behind them. The same thing happened last month when I created my Mother’s Day tribute — I’m thinking this needs to become a yearly tradition!

I’m lucky to have 3 “dads” to celebrate on this day: my dad, Alan (who you saw in the last picture of the video, dancing with me at my wedding), my stepdad, Joe (also pictured earlier in the video with myself and two stepsisters), and my father-in-law, Steve (who was looking dapper in a tux with my husband and brother-in-law on my wedding day).

I’ve gotten a chance to spend time with all 3 of them this weekend, and am looking forward to even more Father’s Day fun today :) I hope you have the chance to do the same…and if you’re a father yourself, enjoy your special day!

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