So Glad I’m Here

So Glad I'm Here Greeting Song

No matter how many original songs I write, there will always be a few covers that stay in my rotation solely because I love them so much. One of those is a sweet little tune I’ve used as a greeting in my early childhood music classes many times.

“So Glad I’m Here” is a simple, repetitive song by Elizabeth Mitchell, whose children’s albums are perfection. I love that her music is upbeat and happy without being cheesy; it sounds like spring to me. I recorded a quick version of this song recently (listen below), though you should check out the real deal for yourself.

The thought occurred to share this song with you after a student’s mom asked for some greeting song recommendations that are appropriate for children of all ages. I have to be careful about the songs I choose for many of my groups, because not only is there a pretty wide age span already, but then I have to count on the fact that there will be older siblings participating as well.

This is one of those songs that anyone can appreciate, and it can be easily adapted to fit any setting. That is what I strive for in my own songwriting, so it’s great to have inspirational gems like this that keep my creative juices flowing.

Rewriting Rodgers & Hammerstein

My Favorite Things Songwriting Activity

My local community theater held auditions for The Sound of Music this month, and I had several students try out. That meant lots and lots of “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things” — though I didn’t mind at all, since it’s one of my favorite musicals. (A bit of trivia: I played Louisa von Trapp at that same community theater 15 years ago).

Needless to say, I’ve had these songs on the brain, and they spilled over from my lessons into music therapy session planning. I incorporated the children’s book version of “My Favorite Things” into one of my student’s sessions, which then led into a songwriting activity.

I asked my student to name her “favorites” in several different categories, which was a great way to target skills like answering questions, expressive language, and conversational skills. Then I took her responses and wrote a special version of the song just for her. I can’t wait to share it with my student at her session tomorrow!

Today at Listen & Learn Plus, I’m sharing a simple template for recording your students’ favorite things, as well as the finished version of the song I wrote (including the easy chords I use to play it) along with the mp3 and instrumental track.

Our Team is Growing!

Hiring Music Instructors in Springfield, ILIt’s time, friends. My private practice and teaching studio, which I started without really meaning to, has come a long way in 7 years. What began as just a few private clients and students has grown into a full-time job, providing enough additional business for a second music therapist and a very long waiting list.

In addition to providing music therapy services, we also teach both regular and adapted piano/voice/guitar lessons. I receive several referrals for new students every week, and frankly, I’m tired of having to break the bad news that there are no openings!

So after pow-wowing with Katey Kratz, who joined the Music Therapy Connections team back in 2012, we decided that the next step is to bring a dedicated music instructor on board. That way we can take on new music students while leaving room in our own schedules to provide more music therapy.

This position will begin with part-time hours, though there is certainly an opportunity for growth. Aside from the basic requirements (a bachelor’s degree and at least two years of teaching experience), some important qualities we’re looking for in applicants include: enthusiasm for working with children, a vast array of musical interests, and willingness to travel to student’s homes in and around the Springfield, IL area. If you fit this description, I hope you’ll consider applying. Or if you know someone who does, pass it on.

There are some other exciting changes coming up for my private practice, and I can’t wait to share them with you just as I have right here over the past five years. Your support and encouragement mean the world to me!

Where Did My Tiny Baby Go?

Weeks 36-38

I spend my days chasing after a crawling, standing, wannabe-walking baby boy who is becoming less and less of a baby every week. The bigger he gets, the more I try to savor his infancy while it lasts.

Things like wearing him in the Ergo when we go out, holding him in my arms just a little longer while he naps before putting him in the crib, even enjoying (rather than complaining about) our 3 am nursing sessions — because all of that will be over too soon. Sniff, tear, hiccup.

My Big Boy

Some of Parker’s favorite big boy things to do these days: pulling ALL the books off his bookshelf, crawling at the speed of light, sitting in the front part of the cart at Target, and trying out new finger foods (he still refuses to be spoon-fed).

He is such a happy, curious, and expressive baby. His personality has really emerged this past month, and it has been so much fun to discover what makes him laugh and smile the most. Everyone who meets Parker and spends time with him comments on what a good boy he is, and they are right. There’s a reason I call him my angel doll :)

My Funny Valentine

Baby's First Valentine's Day

Zach and I have never been big on Valentine’s Day, so I wasn’t expecting any sappy gifts this year. But he totally surprised me with something WAY better than chocolate or flowers: adorable Valentine’s photos of Parker. I found them waiting for me on his dresser, which completely made my day.

SHOCKINGLY, we got another snowstorm that day, which meant we were housebound (the theme of Winter ’14). Later on in the afternoon, I saw a few students whose parents were willing to brave the terrible weather, and then we celebrated Valentine’s Day with my mother-in-law, who had brought some gifts over.

Baby's First Valentine's Day

We went over to my parents’ house for a Valentine’s dinner, and then were back home and in bed by 9 pm. Just another wild night for us crazy kids ;) It’s hard to believe that there are just a couple holidays left before Parker turns 1, which means we are almost out of “firsts”.

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