Thunder & Raindrops

Thunder and Raindrops

Last week as I was putting together the fall curriculum for Church Mice — the music and movement class for young children I’ve led for the past 6 years — I realized I was in need of some new “rhythm sticks” songs.

We play several instruments during the 45 minute class, and rhythm sticks are one of them. But nothing in my song collection was jumping out at me, so I decided to write a new one. That particular day it had been storming on and off all morning, which inspired Thunder & Raindrops.

When I introduced this song at Church Mice for the first time yesterday, I had the children practice making both thunder and raindrop sounds by playing their sticks on the floor. Thunder was loud, slow and steady, while raindrops were quick and a little softer (or as soft as three-year-olds will play).

I arranged the recording to reflect the difference in sound from thunder to raindrops, but it’s so much more fun to play in person with a big group of kids! I highly recommend giving it a try if you have the opportunity.

Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Listen & Learn Turns 4!

Four years ago today, I sat down at my computer, came up with the name Listen & Learn Music, started a blog using Google Blogger, and wrote this post. I can’t believe I actually remembered to celebrate today — it usually dawns on me a couple of weeks later — but here I am, writing the 1,044th blog post on Listen & Learn’s 4th birthday!

Just for fun, I visited the Way Back Machine and captured a screenshot of the blog when it was just one month old. Needless to say, the look has changed just a little over the past four years.

Listen & Learn in 2008

In August of 2010, I made the switch from Google Blogger to WordPress, which opened up a whole new world for Listen & Learn. Here are some other blogging highlights since September 4, 2008:

  • November 2008: I was given the opportunity to make my songs available on Songs For Teaching, one of the most popular websites for educational music.
  • June 2009: I started a membership site, Listen & Learn Plus, which now has over 100 members.
  • November 2009: A songbook made up of songs from the Listen & Learn collection, was published by my now-colleague and good friend, Michelle Erfurt.
  • July 2010: I released a studio album, Time to Sing Hello, which was funded by donations made via Kickstarter by Listen & Learn readers and supporters.
  • January 2011: In a moment of what can only be described as pure insanity, I made a New Year’s resolution to blog EVERY DAY for a year.
  • January 2012: I completed my goal of 365 blog posts in 365 days, and shared my New Year’s resolution for 2012 — to write a new Listen & Learn song each week for an entire year.

This blog has connected me with hundreds of amazing people, including other music therapists, fellow bloggers, songwriters, educators, and parents. I am inspired every day to keep writing songs not only for my students, but for the students and children of those who visit Listen & Learn. What started as a little hobby is now a full-blown business…but it doesn’t feel like work at all.

I can’t thank you enough for your encouragement, comments, tweets, “likes” and purchases over the years. I feel like this is just the beginning of what has so far been a wonderful adventure!

The Five Senses

The Five Senses

Writing this song was meant to be, as I found out upon returning from Europe last week. First, my sister-in-law asked me if I had a song about the five senses (for my nephew’s classroom) on the way home from the airport, and then I came home to an email from a reader requesting this very topic. Fate, I tell you!

I had fun writing this song, and envision it being used interactively. During the middle section, the verse just SCREAMS for the song to be paused so that students can identify what they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. You’ll understand what I mean once you take a listen:

With school in full swing for most kiddos, I’m expecting lots of requests for songs that are educational in nature. That makes my job much easier, since it takes a little more effort to come up with new and in-demand topics during the summer months.

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