First and Last

First and Last

I work a LOT on names with my students. Saying, spelling, and identifying their names are common goals in music therapy, and I have songs for all three. However, I didn’t yet have a song for the latest name-related goal that was recently brought to my attention: identifying and knowing the difference between first and last names.

Up until now, the focus has always been on the first name…but one student in particular has mastered this and is moving on to bigger and better things. So I came up with a no-frills song about the different parts of our names.

Although knowing her middle name is not included in the current goal, I threw it in so that when I use this song with her or another student down the road, the option to include it is there.

I’ll be using “First and Last” mostly in individual music therapy sessions, but it could easily be utilized in a group setting, as well. For more name-related songs, click here and here.

Count Your Blessings

Count Your Blessings

I really wanted to write another Thanksgiving-themed song this week, but I was feeling a bit stuck. After 4 years of churning them out effortlessly, I realized I was out of fresh ideas. But a little writer’s block never stopped me before; I was bound and determined to celebrate the holiday with one more new tune.

By Saturday, I still hadn’t come up with an idea. Later that night, I was over at my parents’ house having dinner and White Christmas (one of my favorite movies of all time) was on television. As Bing and Rosemary crooned about counting their blessings, I had a thought: what about a song that literally does just that?!

And that’s how Count Your Blessings came to be. Each verse gives an example of some of the blessings in our lives, and then comes the actual counting — by 1, 2, 5, and 10. You know I love a good multifunctional song, and this one definitely falls into that category.

I envision this song serving as a great conversation starter about the things in our lives for which we are thankful, although you could also just focus on the counting aspect. Another thought I had was having students draw pictures of their “blessings” to be counted, especially if they are just beginning to grasp the concept of counting by multiples.

As we get down to the wire, don’t forget about all the other Thanksgiving-themed tunes available to you. You can find my collection here, and there is still time to use discount code “givethanks12” to receive 20% off The 10 Days of Thanksgiving.

Family Is

Family Is

Yesterday afternoon, I returned home from a trip to Florida and realized I had a song to write, record and post here on the blog. Luckily I didn’t have to think very hard about what to write about — I had just spent 3 days with my immediate and extended family at a reunion.

After reuniting with her cousin whom she hadn’t seen in over 40 years (on Facebook of all places), my mom was able to connect with family members she’d never met or had lost touch with and decided to organize a reunion. Not only did I get to meet lots of second and third cousins, but I also had the opportunity to see my grandma, uncle, brother, and sister-in-law who all live far away.

With the holidays just around the corner, this is as good a time as any for a song about the importance of family. My students and I spend a lot of time talking about their families (and they’re always curious about mine, too); doing so within the context of a song is even better.

I hope you were able to spend some time with your family this weekend, too! Have a lovely week, and don’t forget that The 10 Days of Thanksgiving (complete with chords, mp3, instrumental, and 10 page PDF visual) is 20% off now through Thanksgiving Day when you use the discount code givethanks12.

Colors of Thanksgiving

Colors of Thanksgiving

Now that it’s officially November — which in my world signifies the start of the holiday season — I’m not wasting any time getting to work on new Thanksgiving songs. This may be one of the topics I’ve written the MOST songs about (check ’em all out here) but that certainly isn’t stopping me from adding to the collection.

Colors of Thanksgiving doesn’t need much of an introduction or explanation; I think the title pretty much tells all. This is another one of those songs where I really had to refrain from writing additional verses, because there are just so many great symbols that represent this holiday. And yes, most of those symbols are edible, but I managed to work in at least one non-edible item. Listen and find out what it is:

What colors would you add to this song that I haven’t already? The beauty is that if you use this song with your kiddos, you can add as many extra verses as you want. And to really kick it up a notch, make visuals (or have the kids make them) to go along with each verse.

P.S. Speaking of Thanksgiving songs and visuals, use the code givethanks12 upon checkout to receive 20% off my 10 Days of Thanksgiving album up until Thanksgiving Day. It’s by far my most popular Turkey Day resource!

Friday Fave: The Next Alicia Keys

The Next Alicia Keys

I can’t help but share the work of my students, because it never ceases to amaze me. You’ve heard from Jayla before (here and here), and while all of her performances are impressive, the recording I’m posting today might be the most impressive of all.

Jayla is not only a talented singer, but she also plays the guitar and writes her own songs. Over the summer, she attended a prestigious camp for songwriters in Los Angeles, and her songwriting has come such a long way in a short time. We’re working on recording some of Jayla’s original music, but in the meantime, here’s the Alicia Keys song that almost seems to be meant for her to sing.

When I played this for my mom, she could hardly believe that Jayla is only 15 years old. She has such a mature sound, something I noticed at her very first lesson. Jayla takes her music very seriously, and if she keeps it up, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear her on the radio in a few years.

Next, I’ll have to introduce you to Gabby, Jayla’s younger and also extremely talented sister. This family has some good musical genes!

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