The Ballad of Kitty

The Ballad of Kitty

I’m pretty darn excited about this song. I mentioned last week that I get lots of my ideas from my mother-in-law, who is a special education teacher; well, the other person I can always count on for unique and creative song topics is Rene, who is an elementary teacher and frequent custom song customer.

Her latest commission might very well be my favorite so far. Rene’s classroom adopts a bat every year from Bat World Sanctuary in Mineral Wells, Texas. The bat they adopted this year, Mr. Kitty, has an interesting story — one that she thought would make for a great song.

Rene will also be using this song to work on other state educational standards such as listening and retelling, identifying problem/solution, characters, retelling a story in sequence, decoding words, word families, and short vowel sounds. She and I think alike in that way…we strive to get as much use out of a song as possible :)

There was one more request from Rene: that I use the melody from one of her favorite childhood songs, “Senor Don Gato”. I was unfamiliar with this tune, but quickly learned it and used it as a template for writing my lyrics. I haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head since recording my version, which you can hear below:

And this might be a stretch, but “The Ballad of Miss Kitty” is even a little Halloween-ish…right? After all, it’s about a cat and a bat. But if you like your Halloween songs a little more orange, spooky, and pumpkin-y, you can check out the rest of my collection here. Happy (haunted) listening!

Working Together

Working Together

When I’m in need of new song topic ideas, my go-to person is my mother-in-law. She teaches in a special education classroom and incorporates music (mostly mine!) into as many lesson plans as possible.

Since I’m in the middle of a huge project — I’ll share the details soon — my brain has been a little fried, so this was a week where I needed Libby’s help. I called her up and asked her what kind of song she could use in her classroom right now, and she wasted no time sharing her suggestions.

One such suggestion was a song about working together on different classroom tasks throughout the day, so I took that idea and ran with it. Oh, and the melody may have been a teensy bit inspired by the song I sang with my church choir over the weekend (I told you my brain was fried!).

I wanted to keep writing additional verses for this song, but reminded myself that all of you wonderful music therapists, educators and parents will adapt the song for your kiddos as needed! I always consider my recording to be just a jumping off point.

#AMTA12: Conference Recap (With Pictures)


Another national music therapy conference has come and gone! I spent the majority of last week in St. Charles, Illinois with over 1,600 music therapists, and am finally getting around to writing my yearly conference recap. And what would a recap be without plenty of photos?

The photo above of Michelle, Kimberly and I — also known as the Music Therapy Round Table — is a great representation of my conference experience, because I spent most of my time with these two gal pals (and Michelle’s husband, Ed) at our Music Therapy Pro booth.

MT Pro Booth

In addition to spreading the word about Music Therapy Pro, we encouraged people to sign up for our raffle and peddled the wares of our Music Therapy Pro sponsors. The exhibit hall is always the hub of activity during conference, so I was able to meet and talk to literally hundreds of music therapists over the course of a few days. But hands-down, my favorite conversations were those with students and professionals who utilize Listen & Learn resources.

L&L Readers

It’s one thing to read a comment or get an email, but it’s another to talk face-to-face with someone who truly values your work. I NEVER get tired of hearing, “Oh my gosh, I used your song ‘Insert Title Here’ with my clients and they loved it!” My response is always the same; that’s why I write this blog and continue to post song after song.

I did actually step outside of the exhibit hall during conference though I don’t have too many photos to prove it :) My state task force, on which I serve, hosted an advocacy breakfast on Friday morning, and I also served once again as the Great Lakes region representative for the technology committee.

On Saturday morning, I presented Your Business, Your Way: Resources and Ideas for Your Music Therapy Business with two colleagues, Melaine Pohlman (our state association president) and Meryl Brown (owner of Developing Melodies).

I also attended the 4th annual tweet-up, where I got to connect with lots of my Twitter friends, which was immediately followed by my favorite social event of every conference: the annual Music Therapy Round Table fancy dinner. Speaking of, the only thing I photographed outside of the booth was food; go figure!

AMTA12 Food

The exhibit hall closed on Saturday afternoon, but before it did we managed to fit in lots of activity. Kimberly, Michelle and I hosted a Music Therapy Pro power lunch for our members who were attending conference, and it was absolutely wonderful to connect in person with these women! We had a delicious meal and delightful conversation.

Another exciting moment was drawing the winner of our Music Therapy Pro raffle, which included over $250 worth of music therapy resources. We were SO thrilled to discover that our winner was none other than Stephanie, our Twitter friend and the genius behind The Rhythmic Mind.

Raffle winner!

One of the biggest highlights of conference was recording our first ever podcast singalong, thanks to the talents of our booth neighbor, Matt Logan. Matt is the creator of A Perfect Lullaby (I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already) along with being a board-certified music therapist and amazing musician.

He just happened to have his guitar with him, so he suggested kicking off our live podcast recording with a tune. You’ll have to listen to the episode next week to find out which song we chose, but I think this photo sums up how much fun we had with it:

MTRT Singalong

Thanks to everyone who made this conference so successful, including the American Music Therapy Association, local planning committee (woohoo, Illinois!), my always wonderful roomie Kimberly, and all of the presenters and exhibitors.

As always, I wish there had been more time to chat with friends, attend more sessions, and soak up more of the conference experience. But there’s always next year, right?

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

With Halloween a mere two weeks away, I couldn’t resist writing a new song to add to my already quite full bag o’ spooky day tricks. While it is definitely NOT my most favorite day of the year, all the imagery related to Halloween makes it very easy to write about. Not to mention that many of my kiddos are big fans!

Trick or Treat is all about — no surprises here — trick or treating. The verses detail how it’s done, including the basic rules (only go to houses with porch lights on, don’t eat unwrapped candy, etc.) while the chorus emphasizes the fun of this yearly ritual.

Since the lyrics aren’t necessarily spooky, I Halloween’d it up a bit by going into a minor key for the chorus. Ya know, just to give it that extra kick. Very rarely do I write entire songs in minor keys, but I take advantage of my opportunities to do so.

You can check out the rest of my Halloween song collection here. What spooky (or not-so-spooky) songs will you be dusting the cobwebs off of to use throughout the next two weeks?

It’s Conference Time Again!

I’ve been up and at my desk since 4:45 am doing some last-minute work, which can only mean one thing: I’m leaving for conference today! In just a few hours (plus several lessons and music therapy sessions), I’ll be headed north to St. Charles, IL for the 2012 American Music Therapy Association’s national conference.

And boy, is it a good thing conference is within driving distance this year, because my car is going to be FULLY loaded. Not only will I have a suitcase with enough clothes and shoes for 5 days, but I’m also packing up most of the materials for the Music Therapy Pro booth in the exhibition hall.

Michelle, Kimberly and I shared our plans for this year’s conference in the latest episode of the Music Therapy Round Table last week, but here’s a quick summary of what I’ll be up to:

  • Serving on the technology committee as a representative of the Great Lakes Region
  • Attending several advocacy events for the Illinois Association for Music Therapy
  • Presenting Your Business, Your Way: Resources and Ideas for YourMusic Therapy Practice on Saturday at 9:30 am with two colleagues, Meryl Brown and Melaine Pohlman.
  • Hosting the Music Therapy Pro booth in the exhibit hall with my partners in crime, Michelle Erfurt and Kimberly Sena Moore.
  • Attending “official” and “not-so-official” tweet-ups (head over to Twitter and watch #AMTA for more info).

Although I’m super excited about everything on that list, I’d have to say that my #1 priority at this year’s conference is making sure the Music Therapy Pro booth is full of awesome-ness at all times. I’ll be spending LOTS of time there talking to our members, helping new members join, and inviting people to enter our raffle. The prize is valued at over $250 and includes tons of wonderful music therapy resources and products. So if you’re at conference, make sure to stop by the booth and get it on it!

The official conference hashtag over on Twitter is #AMTA12, but my colleagues and I will also be using #MTPRO. And of course, I’ll be posting plenty of updates and photos on my Facebook page and Instagram account (@rachelrambach) for those of you who aren’t able to attend or are just curious about what’s happening.

One more thing — if you see me at conference, please come up and say hi! Over the last three years that I’ve attended, I’ve been able to connect with so many music therapists who read the blog and use Listen & Learn resources…I’m hoping to meet many more this year!

Pin It on Pinterest