Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Drum

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Drum Album Cover

During a brainstorming session for an upcoming early childhood class, my partner Katey mentioned that she had written a song about monkey sounds. She suggested picking up some cute stuffed monkeys to use as props, which sparked the idea for this song.

I’ve been a longtime fan of the book Eight Silly Monkeys ever since adding it to my singable story collection during my internship. So I took the tune I use for that book and changed up the words, which resulted in a fun new instrument song for our younger kiddos.

Since our early childhood classes have more than five children in them, we usually up the number of monkeys in the song to reflect our class size. I took a quick video of Katey putting this song into action last night:

The monkeys are a huge hit, if you couldn’t tell from the video! We ordered them here, and we use our Remo Gathering Drum (though I think it’s time to invest in an even bigger one!).

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?

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus

Jumping for Joy

Jumping for Joy During Music Therapy

Sometimes I wonder if I’m really making a difference.  That question ran through my head just last night, in the middle of a music therapy session.  I’ve been working with this particular child since she was 4 months old; she’ll turn 4 years old in May.  She’s making big strides, but how much of that progress can be attributed to music therapy?

Towards the end of the session, I decided that we needed to get up and move a little.  I could see that she had energy to burn, and I wanted her to use it productively.  So I sang the following song, which I adapted from the wonderful Cathy Bollinger:

I’ve got a wiggle wiggle wiggle in my feet
And I wiggle wiggle wiggle to the beat
I’ve got a wiggle in my toes, a wiggle in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

I’ve got a march march march in my feet
And I march march march to the beat
I’ve got a march in my toes, a march in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

I’ve got a jump jump jump in my feet
And I jump jump jump to the beat
I’ve got a jump in my toes, a jump in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

I’ve got a tiptoe tiptoe in my feet
And I tiptoe tiptoe to the beat
I’ve got a tiptoe in my toes, a tiptoe in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

I’ve got a tap tap tap in my feet
and I tap tap tap to the beat
I’ve got a tap in my toes, a tap in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

I’ve got a hop hop hop in my feet
And I hop hop hop to the beat
I’ve got a hop in my toes, a hop in my knees
And when the music stops everyone freeze!

My student’s big sister was participating in the session, so both girls danced, jumped and marched (and played the nearby tubano drum, which wasn’t part of the song but added a nice beat!) while I sang and modeled the movement.

After the song ended, my student motioned for her mom to bring my music stand over to our rug. (For some reason, my little ones really enjoy standing in front of it while they sing.) As I strummed my guitar and sang the goodbye song, she sang right along with me, pronouncing the words as best as she could.

After she had taken “goodbye” off of the schedule and chased after her sister into the hallway, her mom turned to me — and that’s when I realized she had tears in her eyes.

She told me that today was the first time she’d ever seen her daughter jump, which surprised me immensely, considering she’d made it look so effortless. She also told me that the way she sang the goodbye song was leaps and bounds above her usual level of word pronunciation, not to mention the length of time for which she sang. And then she told me that it was all because of music therapy.

So much for those doubtful thoughts I’d been experiencing just minutes earlier. If my next student hadn’t already been waiting for me in the next room, I might have run outside and jumped for joy myself!

8 Hit Early Childhood Music Class Songs of This Year

Using a Parachute in Early Childhood Music Class

I’ve never written, recorded, and facilitated as many early childhood songs in my entire life as I have over the past 10 months. Last August we kicked off a new season of Listen & Learn for Little Ones, music classes for children ages 0-3, at my teaching studio and private practice, Music Therapy Connections. 8 class sessions later, we are winding down and getting ready to take a much-needed break before we do it all over again.

I’ve been looking back at our song collections from this year’s classes as I start to plan for next year, and I thought it would be fun to share some of the biggest hits of the 2016-2017 season.

Many of the songs we include in our early childhood curriculum are designed to fall into multiple categories, from instrument play, to cognitive skills, to movement, etc. We only have 45 minutes out of the entire week to work with our kiddos, so we want to make sure to cover as much ground as possible without overwhelming them with dozens of tunes.

I chose one song from each of our 8 sessions, which I think are a nice representation of the range of concepts we address in class. To listen to each song and read more about it, just click the link or cover art.

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We’re Gonna Wave

We're Gonna Wave Album Cover

I’m really lucky that my colleague Katey is crafty, because when it comes to anything involving sewing, I certainly am not. She volunteered to make ribbon streamers for the most recent session of our early childhood classes, and I did my part by coming up with a song for them.

This is a simple song with a repetitive, familiar melody, because the focus is on movement and following directions. Each verse features a different way to manipulate the streamers, and it is so much fun to see our kiddos get creative with their interpretation of each. They also help come up with additional movements.

The streamers that Katey created are perfect for the 0-3 crowd, because they are attached to loose fabric-covered elastics that can be worn around the children’s wrists. While the older kids like to see how many they can pile on to each arm, the tiny ones can participate without having to actually grasp and hold onto the streamers.

Here’s a photo of Katey’s creations, pictured with one of our monkey friends (which we use for this song) from class.

Colorful Ribbon Streamers for Music Class

Of course, the streamers can be substituted for fabric scarves or other props you already have on hand. I simply change the words when I use this song with scarves or ribbon rings in other settings.
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?

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus

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