One of my all-time favorite instruments in my music therapy arsenal is my collection of cabasas! I love them so much, and use them frequently in my music therapy sessions and music classes — probably every day.
When I pass out cabasas, people are often unsure how to use them and typically require some guidance. Because of this, the cabasa is a great instrument for children to explore, be creative, and practicing mimicking.
It’s official: I have a 6-year-old! When Parker turned 5 (remember his epic Batman birthday bash!?) it felt like he was entering the “big kid” years, and now it seems that he is firmly in that category.
After two years of hosting big backyard birthday parties, this mama was ready to keep it much more low-key. So we rented out our local gymnastics center, where Parker and 18 of his closest friends could run wild and use up all their summer energy.
As I was scrolling through Listen & Learn Music in search of a movement song, I stumbled upon “Move Your Body Along” — a true hidden gem in the L&L catalog.
I have to admit, I listen to so many songs because of my job, that sometimes I forget them. Other times, I have the best of intentions, set out to learn a song and incorporate it into my repertoire, and just never do it. THIS is one of those songs!
Although summer doesn’t officially begin for a few more days, it certainly feels like it! I’ve been putting my favorite summer-themed songs to use for the last few weeks, and will continue to do so when it comes to my July session plan.
At my private practice, we are facilitating music groups and music therapy in several summer camp sessions and other non-traditional settings, so I’m looking forward to implementing this session plan in ways that I don’t typically have the opportunity to during the school year.
Children just love books; it is a simple fact I have come to learn over the years. Whether it’s looking at the pictures, having a chance to turn the page, or snuggling in an adult’s lap, many children are highly motivated and engaged when it’s time to read a book.
I was always hesitant to incorporate books into my music therapy sessions and music classes, but I noticed that if I arrived a few minutes early or stayed a little later, many of my clients and students would ask if I would read them a book. For young children, I truly think it is a way for them to express that they want to share an experience with you and often, they are telling you that you are important to them.
For younger children and those with special needs, visually attending or engaging in a book might be hard work or just not interesting for them. When that’s the case, my solution (of course) is to sing the words of the story!
There are so many stories that are easily singable, and many even have songs or melodies written for them. Below, I’ve featured two singable stories you can find in the Listen & Learn Music catalog.
Some of the goals addressed in these songs:
Improve the transition to bedtime
Improve sequencing skills
Improve object identification
Increase sustained attention
Increase creative thinking
Improve fine motor skills
There’s no better time for a lullaby than bedtime, and the same goes for books! When you combine the two, you get “I’ll See You in the Morning”, a sweet lullaby that pairs with the books of the same title (find it here) by Mike Jolley.
When utilizing “I’ll See You in the Morning”, encourage children to look at the pages and identify what they see, fill in the blanks, or recall what they heard in the story. The singable story may also help them understand the transition from day to night, which can be confusing, and even scary for young children.
It can be hard for children, and even adults, to truly understand how big the world is. There are so many different cultures, languages, and sights to see, and “Around the World We Go” serves as a great introduction to the diversity of the world we live in! This singable story pairs with the book of the same title (find it here) by Margaret Wise Brown.
“Around the World We Go” can be utilized in many of the same ways as “I’ll See You in the Morning”, but because of the repetitive nature of this particular book, it provides the ideal opportunity to include sign language for improved fine motor skills.
“Around the World We Go” can also be used as a conversation starter with children about other people around the world. For children who are older, this could even be used as an opportunity to create their own verse for the singable story, and maybe even encourage the children to create illustrations for their verse.
All singable stories can be utilized to improve sustained focus and object identification, but it is easy to see that different singable stories can be utilized to target other goals, such as understanding the differences in the world or transitioning to bedtime. There are so many possibilities with singable stories, which makes them a priceless addition to any music therapy session or music class.
Let me know in the comments below: What singable stories do you incorporate into your music therapy sessions or classes?
You can listen to all of these songs in their entirety right here. Lyrics, chords, mp3, and instrumental track for these original songs are available for download. As is the case for all Listen & Learn Music creations, we invite you to adapt these songs as needed to best serve your students and/or clients.
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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Next month’s music therapy sessions, early childhood groups, or classroom music…planned for you in advance.
Click the image below for this free resource and song collection!