Friday Fave: Look, I’m on TV!

Music Therapy Connections on WCIA

I freely admit that I have NO SHAME whatsoever when it comes to self promotion, especially where music therapy is involved. In fact, just this week I wrote a guest post about how to attract publicity. Sometimes those efforts pay off, and you get to spread the word about your passion to a big audience like I did yesterday!

I was thrilled when Joe Barlow from WCIA’s afternoon show contacted me about doing a story on Music Therapy Connections. A few days later, he was at my studio interviewing me and then filming my early childhood music class. Joe did an amazing job putting the piece together, which you can watch here.

Thanks, Joe and WCIA! The more people who learn about music therapy, the more people can benefit from it. Someday EVERYONE will know how effective it is, but until then, I guess I will just have to keep up with the shameless promotion ;)

Fall, Fall, Fall

Fall, Fall, Fall

As of Saturday, it’s officially fall! My kitchen is stocked with pumpkin waffles and pumpkin spice Coffee Mate, there’s an “autumn leaves” scented candle burning in my office, and I’ve broken out the cold weather cycling gear…yep, summer is over. So it only made sense that this week’s new song is dedicated to the new season.

“Fall, Fall, Fall” is a peppy little number — perfect for a brisk Monday morning, right? I’m pounding the keys and working the drums in my recording, but when I use this song with my students, a simple uke or guitar strum will do just fine. After all, the focus is on the words, which are all about…you guessed it…fall ;)

It will be nice to give my older autumn anthems a little rest as I add this to my repertoire. And while it’s crazy to think that Halloween and Thanksgiving are just around the corner, I’m already getting excited about pulling out the songs that go with them (and of course, writing new ones). Happy fall, y’all!

Boom Tote, Baby!

Boom Tote Review

No lie: I used to store and transport my boomwhackers in a metal trash can. Yes, a TRASH CAN! That trash can now go back to serving its intended purpose, thanks to the Boom Tote.

I have known Michelle Erfurt to be a forward thinker and entrepreneur since the day I “met” her — after all, her inaugural email to me was an offer to publish a songbook based on the Listen & Learn song series. And in the four years since, I have also come to know her as a crafty DIY expert.

So what happens when a music therapist combines business savvy with sewing expertise? The Boom Tote, that’s what! What started out as a small project has now become an indispensable addition to the music therapy equipment I use on a daily basis, thanks to Michelle.

Boom ToteThe boom tote recently got some major upgrades. The new features make it better than ever, and in my opinion, any music therapist who uses boomwhackers (and I know there are lots of us!) should have one.

First of all, there are three fabrics to choose from. My paisley tote is so pretty, don’t you think?! But even better is that the totes are sewn in a way that makes them very strong, which is vital since they are no doubt going to be handled by little (and not always so gentle) hands.

Next, the drawstring closure keeps boomwhackers from falling out, which was always a problem with my former boom “tote” (a.k.a. trash can). I can just slip the shoulder strap over my arm and go while still carrying an armload of other instruments and materials.

My most favorite feature of the boom tote is the outside zippered pocket, which Michelle suggests you can use for Octavator caps, business cards, or keys. I almost always use it to store my keys and small wallet, since I don’t like bringing a purse with me to my groups and classes.

You can get the full run-down on the official website and Facebook page. Michelle will have plenty of boom totes on hand at AMTA national conference next month, but I suggest getting yours ASAP!

Meant To Go Together

Meant To Go Together

The title of this song is a bit misleading, because mostly it’s about things that are NOT meant to go together. In fact, Ialmost used a line from the song — “…onions on chocolate ice cream” — as the title. And while that would have no doubt piqued your curiosity, I decided it was a little too random (not to mention that I would never have found an appropriate photo for the album cover!).

I had a few goals for this song as I was writing it: 1) it needed to be silly, 2) it needed to have strong visual references, and 3) it had to have at least some educational value. The first two were a no-brainer, which you’ll see once you listen to the song, but the third didn’t come to me until I was almost finished writing the song. I’ll explain after you listen:

The first two verses are obviously made up of things that don’t go together, which provides the opportunity for kiddos to provide new words so that each line makes sense. I corrected both verses at the end of the song, but for use in an actual music therapy or classroom setting, I think it would be much more fun for students to come up with their own versions.

And of course, the entire song could be rewritten with new funny verses (either by you or kiddos). How fun would that be to see what wacky lines a group of students comes up with? I’m thinking there’s an art project just screaming to go along with this song!

Friday Fave: Autism Emotion App

Autism Emotion App

A few years back, I had the privilege of creating and recording music for Model Me Kids, a company that creates modeling videos to help children with autism learn social skills. My original songs narrate the Model Me Faces and Emotions and Model Me Going Places DVDs.

Now there’s an app based on the “Faces and Emotions” DVD for both iPhone and iPad: Autism Emotion, which you can download for free in the iTunes store. It’s a great visual teaching tool for helping children learn about different emotions through photos, text, narration, and music.

Autism App: Happy

The app includes four of the emotions featured in the DVD. Each emotion contains a photo slide show of a child experiencing a specific emotion, and you can play the song I wrote for each emotion as well.

I downloaded this app yesterday, and though I may be a little biased, I think it’s a great resource for enhancing my work on the topic of emotions. It’s free, so check it out for yourself…and if you use other apps to help your kiddos learn about emotions, please share!

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