Clatter Clatter Clackity Clack

Rhythm sticks are one of those instruments I find myself including in music therapy sessions over and over again, because they can be used to address so many different skills.

For that same reason, they have been a staple in my early childhood music classes throughout the years. And since I use them so often, it should come as no surprise that I have written and adapted LOTS of songs exclusively for rhythm sticks.

My most recent sticks-inspired song is actually a chant (although it could easily be set to a melody, which I may decide to do in the future). It’s short and to the point — the idea is to have children listen to a rhythm I play, and then play that rhythm back.

Just as I did in the recording, I keep my rhythms very brief and uncomplicated since the children I’m working with are very young. But I could also envision using this chant with older students, making the rhythms more difficult. Another idea would be to ask students to take turns being the “leader” and come up with their own rhythms for everyone else to repeat.

Do you rock the rhythm sticks, too? Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some more songs I use to accompany all that clacking and tapping…see you then!

P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?

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Team Blue!

Baby Rambach is all boy! We were a little nervous that we’d have an uncooperative baby on our hands at yesterday’s ultrasound, but the “money shot” was the very first our tech got when she turned on the screen. Lucky us :)

We did have a chance to see our baby’s non-revealing parts, and everything checked out perfectly! He’s growing right on target and weighs in at a whopping 14 ounces. So tiny.

However, we did NOT find out right then and there…instead, we had her put it in an envelope so that we could have a cake made for the big gender reveal dinner last night.

Needless to say, we were thrilled first and foremost to have a healthy baby, and secondly, to be expecting a BOY! I didn’t have too strong of a preference either way (although I did admit on Thursday that I was kinda hoping for a boy) but Zach was really, really, really wishing for a son. His wish came true, and now we are working on choosing a name.

We have a couple ideas brewing, but nothing is set in stone just yet. We haven’t decided whether we will make it public before June, or wait until the birth to share his name. I really don’t like keeping secrets — especially BIG ones — so waiting an entire five months isn’t very likely.

We have more big news to share, but I’ll save it for a different day. Stay tuned!

Friday Fave: BOY or GIRL?

Boy or Girl?

Okay, so this post is a little more personal than usual, but this is my most frequently asked question both personally AND professionally as of late. Everywhere I go, people — my students, their parents, fellow therapists, perfect strangers — want to know: are you having a boy or a girl?

The answer is inside of that envelope, and even I don’t know what it says yet! The only people who know are the sonographer who did my ultrasound this morning and the person who is decorating the cake for our big reveal tonight. In just a few short hours, we’ll know whether to buy pink or blue!

The most IMPORTANT news is that the baby looked perfectly healthy and is developing beautifully, according to my doctor. My husband and I were so thankful to hear that and to get another look at our little Junebug, who is now at the halfway point to being born. Only 20 weeks to go!

If you want to keep up with my pregnancy (and growing baby bump pics!) on a regular basis, check out our family blog,

You, Me & Music Therapy

In the music therapy world, January is social media advocacy month. During this time, music therapists all over the country use social media (blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and so on) to advocate for our field, share our stories, and spread the word about music therapy. The theme this year is CONNECT — which immediately inspired the song in the video above.

It is, without a doubt, through my connection with my clients that I best advocate for music therapy. By providing them with the best services I possibly can, I’m able to improve their lives and therefore, the lives of their loved ones and caretakers. They (the family members, teachers, health professionals, and other team members) become my biggest advocates because they have seen the power of music therapy first hand. It’s amazing how many people can be educated about music therapy because of a single client.

I connect with my clients mainly through the music I write specifically for them based on their interests, needs and goals. Sometimes, though, we write songs together…or my clients write their own songs with just a little guidance from me.

Each of those songs has a specific purpose, and so does the song in the video, which I adapted from one of my current favorites, “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers. It’s a shout-out/love letter/thank you note/ode to my clients — because they are the reason I advocate for music therapy. They are the reason I have the best job on earth.

Want to read more about social media advocacy month, along with blog posts from other music therapists spreading the good word? Check out this page, put together by Kimberly Sena Moore, who does such wonderful work organizing this month-long event every year. And to learn more about music therapy, visit the American Music Therapy Association.

Week 19

My baby bump might not be very big yet, but this week sure is! First of all, I hit a really exciting milestone on Wednesday the 16th — I felt the baby’s first movements! They really did feel like little kernels of popcorn popping, though they have gotten more noticeable as the week has gone on.

This week’s other big news…we find out whether it’s a GIRL or BOY on Friday! It’s pretty amazing to think that in just 5 days, we’ll know whether to go crazy buying pink or blue. I can’t wait to start picking things out for the nursery, especially after going through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog yesterday.

Non-baby related: Zach and I have been on the hunt for a new car this month to replace my little 2-door sports car, which I’ve been driving for almost 9 years now. It’s been very good to me, but I’m ready for something bigger and safer. So far we’ve ruled out several small SUVs, and now have our eyes on the Honda CR-V.

I’m not too particular when it comes to cars…I’ll just be glad when the whole buying process is over. Spending an entire Saturday at a dealership listening to Zach negotiate with salesmen is not my idea of a good time!