Orange Pumpkin, Orange Pumpkin

Orange Pumpkin Halloween Children's Song

I wish I could take credit for the adapted Halloween song and activity I’m sharing with you today, but alas, I cannot. The mother of one of my students directed me to a pin via Pinterest, which led me here.

Orange Pumpkin Halloween Children's Song

It’s a Halloween version of Eric Carle’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, which we have sung in music therapy sessions many times to the tune of the “Pinwheel” theme song. The adapted words and accompanying printable pictures are available at First Grade al a Carte.

I put together my own little visual to accompany the song, which I sing to the same “Pinwheel” tune. If you’re not familiar with it, check out my recording of “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” to hear it. It’s very simple and repeats throughout the entire song.

Click here to download my visual.

5 days left to make use of all the great Halloween songs and activities — including this one — that I’ve written and/or collected throughout the years. Any favorites you’d like to share?

Halloween Song Round-Up

Listen & Learn Children's Songs for Halloween

With Halloween just a week away, I’ve been getting lots of use out of my own collection of songs on this topic AND looking around the web for some new inspiration. Since you’re probably doing the same, I thought I would share the tunes I’ve written and/or adapted to sing at Halloween time.

Black cats are the iconic Halloween animals, and this particular black cat has the starring role in my echo song, which I wrote with the objective of repeating after me and singing with me.

This song takes you through the trick-or-treating process step by step, including how to do so safely and politely.

I love singing this song every year and updating it with the latest “cool” costumes. The original version was written a few years back, so some of the costumes mentioned in the songs might be considered “vintage” now ;)

Candy is the best part of Halloween, right?! So of course there I have a song specifically dedicated to the goodies.

Anytime I can sing about colors in association to a holiday, I take full advantage of the opportunity. Halloween is perfect for that, since orange and black are THE colors.

A sweet little tune about two pumpkin pals in a patch. You’ll have to listen to the song to hear the full story and how it turns out for good ‘ol Patrick and Polly.

This is one of the first Halloween songs I ever wrote. It’s an overview of Halloween and the things we see around us at this time of year, set in a minor key to match the tone of the big day.

Far and away, the most frequently sung and requested Halloween song in my repertoire. It’s a great one for working on body part recognition and identification.

Next week I’ll share a fun Halloween song and activity that one of my students’ moms actually found on Pinterest and passed along to me. In the meantime, I hope these songs provide some spooky inspiration as we enter the final countdown to Halloween day!

Sundays at Church Mice are Twice as Nice

Early Childhood Class | Springfield, IL

The fall session of Church Mice, the early childhood music class I’ve been leading since way back when I was in grad school, ended last week. I’m always a little bummed when it’s over, because it is a big highlight of my week. I love that it’s super casual — anyone can drop in and it’s totally free, no registration required.

Church Mice

The class is designed for children ages 0-4, though we always have older siblings joining in. That makes for an interesting but super fun dynamic! I love watching the tiny kiddos interact with the big kids, and vice versa.

Early Childhood Music Class | Springfield, IL

We play lots of instruments in both structured and non-structured ways. I think it’s so important to give little ones the opportunity to be creative with their music-making. I get some good ideas from them, in all honesty.

Early Childhood Music Class | Springfield, IL

Some of the kids in the group stay close to their grown-up, while others would much rather jump into the middle of the circle. Many children will hang back for the first few weeks, and then by the last week, will be front and center getting into the action.

Early Childhood Class | Springfield, IL

My mom brings my little boy, Parker, to class each week. He loves my guitar and would much rather be playing it as opposed to any of the other instruments I offer him (naturally).

Early Childhood Music Class | Springfield, IL

A huge thank you to Matt Larison, an extremely talented photographer here in Springfield, who so beautifully captured these moments at last week’s class.

A Day in the Life of a Music Therapist {2014 Ed.}

Day in the Life of a Music Therapist

Almost four years ago, I wrote about a day in my life as a music therapist, and it has since become one of my most-read posts. But a LOT has changed since then: at the time, I was employed full-time at The Hope Institute and working with private clients on a part-time basis. I thought it would be interesting to compare a day in the life back then to my current role as owner of a full-time private practice and mom to a young child.

I will preface this by telling you that no two days are exactly the same for me; every day of the week looks different from the others. Some days are spent primarily with my son Parker until I head to my office/studio to see students and clients, while others are packed with various work-related activities from start to finish.

Day in the Life of a Music Therapist

Tuesdays are more action-packed than most other days of the week, which I designed intentionally at the start of the fall when creating my schedule. On Mondays I ease into the week and gear up for the following day; Wednesdays and Thursdays are work-heavy but not as demanding as Tuesdays, and Fridays are my lightest. So without further ado, here is a “typical” Tuesday in my life.

5:30 am: My husband’s alarm goes off. He heads to the gym, while I hit the shower. This is my chance to get ready for the day before Parker wakes up and needs my full attention until I leave for work. While I’m doing my hair and makeup, I usually listen to a podcast episode or audiobook on my iPhone.

7:00 am: Give or take 30 minutes, Parker wakes up around this time every day. He is usually content to jabber in his crib for a little while before he gets antsy, at which point I go get him. After diaper duty and a quick morning reading session (the kid loves books), we head into the kitchen for breakfast. Many days, my husband will come home between the gym and work to feed Parker and play with him for a bit so I can finished getting ready and get my work stuff together.

8:00 am: Playtime with Parker. Sometimes we go downstairs to his playroom, while other days we bum around the living room or watch an episode of Sesame Street. This is the most quality time I’ll have with Parker all day, so I usually just follow his lead and let him choose our activities.

Playtime with Parker

9:00 am: Parker’s sitter arrives. I give him kisses and hugs and then head out the door.

9:10 am: I arrive at work (love my 5 minute commute!) and start setting up for my early childhood music class. I love this time, because it’s super quiet since I’m the only one there and I can get my head in the game before families start to arrive.

9:30 am: For the next 45 minutes, I sing and play with a room full of babies and toddlers and their caregivers. This is definitely one of the highlights of my work week.

Early Childhood Music Class

10:30 am: If I don’t have any pressing projects happening, I head home and relieve the sitter for lunch while Parker takes his morning nap. During this time, I usually do my practicing/planning for the afternoon, eat lunch, and work on administrative tasks.

12:00 pm: Parker wakes up from his nap, so I spend a few minutes with him until his sitter returns. At that point, I head back to my home office and dive into my daily to-do list, which usually includes bigger projects like songwriting, recording, podcast editing, etc.

2:15 pm: Off to work. My first student doesn’t arrive until 3, but I like to run through songs, set up for other students/clients, and return emails if I have a few spare minutes.

3:00 pm: From now until 7 pm, I see students and clients back to back. It’s an intense 4 hours, but it always flies by because my work is so varied. In any given day, I teach voice, guitar, piano, and provide music therapy.

7:15 pm: I meet my husband and son at home. He relieves our sitter at 6 and has dinner with Parker, and then we do bath and bedtime together. Eventually I hope to wrap up work earlier so that I can have dinner with my family, but for now, this arrangement works.

8:00 pm: Finally time to relax, but my work is not done yet! My husband and I usually watch an episode or two of a show on Netflix while I complete and send out my lesson and session notes for that day. If Zach has a late soccer game and I’m feeling particularly productive (which in all honestly doesn’t happen often at this hour) I’ll write a blog post, work on a song, or other creative project.

Working after hours

10:00 pm: I try to be in bed around this time every night, though realistically it’s closer to 11.

My day-to-day schedule has most definitely changed over the years — notice that I no longer hit the gym every morning at 5 am? (I’m lucky to make it there 3 times a week nowadays.) I’m sure if I were to write an updated post in another 4 years, it would not resemble this one. But that’s what life is all about, right? Always growing, constantly evolving.


Holding Parker

Ever since Parker learned the meaning of the word, it’s been his go-to. When I come to his crib in the morning, when he sees any familiar person, when he wants to sit in his high chair, when he doesn’t feel like standing…you get the point.

The past few weeks have been particularly exhausting, so of course, Parker has been more needy than usual. Some days I feel like I barely set him down, because if I do, he starts crying. Then he’ll give me those puppy dog eyes, hold out his arms, and say in his cute little voice, “Up?”.

Yeah, he’s got me wrapped around his tiny finger.

I’m pretty sure this recent clinginess has something to do with the two teeth Parker is cutting, and I will gladly take extra snuggles (and bigger biceps) over lost sleep.

Parker's growing up

Speaking of “up”, that is exactly how Parker is growing. 16 months as of last week. His personality has blossomed so much over the last couple of months, and he is much fun to be with. He has the best sense of humor — he is figuring out how he can make us laugh and becoming quite the ham.

Parker in his chair

I’m working more hours during the week this year, so the time that I have with Parker is more valuable than ever. Which is exactly why I give in every time I hear that little “up”, even if it means wearing him in the Ergo while I vacuum the entire house. And sometimes, if I’m really lucky, I get extra snuggles as a reward for indulging him.

Snuggles with Parker

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