5 Keys for Planning a Successful Early Childhood Music Class

5 Keys for a Successful Early Childhood Music Class

When I first started offering early childhood music classes, the planning process seemed completely daunting. I could handle the marketing, registration, and implementation just fine, but when it came time to plan a new session, I was overwhelmed with anxiety.

I doubted every decision I made when it came to choosing songs, instruments, order of activities, and so on. But with each class I put together, I learned vital lessons and began to trust my skills as a trained professional.

At this point, I’ve planned dozens of classes, most of which are a huge hit with both parents and children — thanks to these 5 principles I follow every single time.

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Life After Mice

Church Mice Music Class - Singable Story

Church Mice, that is. Way back in the fall of 2006, I was invited to take the reins of an early childhood music class at the church I attended. I was still in graduate school at the time, so I gladly accepted my very first “professional” position in the music field.

I fell in love with this class from the very beginning, and it fit in beautifully with the music therapy and teaching I was doing full-time just a few months later. Every weekend, I got to work with little kids and their families, singing songs, playing instruments, and having a great time.

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C’mon, Get Happy

Click here for your free song pack!

Between the endless grey skies, frigid air and rampant germs being passed around, this winter has me in a bit of a funk. I know I’m not alone — you’re probably just as ready for spring as I am. Music is my favorite kind of medicine, so I put together 4 songs I’ve written or adapted that make me really happy.

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Have You Looked Inside Lately?

So far, 2017 has been the year of visiting preschool and elementary classrooms. I’ve already been to two schools in the last month or so, with another two scheduled this week and next. Sharing my music with kids is pretty much my favorite thing ever, so I’m pretty okay with this trend.

It’s these visits that make me most appreciate alllllll the songs I have to choose from, because I see many of these kids every year (and sometimes even more — quite a few of them attend our early childhood and preschool music classes). I like to keep things fresh by changing up the songs I sing for their sake and mine.

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Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Songs Added to Dropbox

This past week, my kids and I got hit hard with a nasty cold bug. It came right on the heels of our return home from vacation, so 3 extra days off of work, daycare and preschool were not very welcome. BUT that’s real life for you, and we made the best of it.

Luckily my husband took the reins at home over the weekend, so I spent most of Saturday in bed resting. But I did sneak in my laptop and tackle a HUGE project that’s been on my to-do list: I finally added 60 or so songs from my back catalog that hadn’t yet made it to the Listen & Learn Plus! collection.

The songs you see in the image above are just a few of my favorites that were added. Here is a complete listing of the songs, lead sheets, and/or instrumental tracks that are now up for grabs inside of the membership:

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{Video} Bundle Up, Baby!

A few years ago, I started a video series called Sunday Singalong here on my blog. Every Sunday, I posted a new video of myself singing and talking about my songs, all of which still exist on my YouTube channel.

I really loved making those videos, and now it’s so much fun pulling up YouTube on my TV to play them for my kids :) So I made a new one this week, and I just might be hooked once again.

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Your Guide to Music Therapy Advocacy Zen

Your Guide to Music Therapy Advocacy Zen

Did you know that January is Social Media Advocacy Month for the field of music therapy? As we wrap up this first month of 2017, I’d like to share an introduction to advocacy for music therapists, provided by the Certification Board for Music Therapists.

Advocacy can help open doors, produce opportunities for growth, expand your horizons, and grow your personal and professional network.

That said, advocacy is also not without its challenges. Over the course of the past decade, music therapists have been faced with responding to misinformed, potentially damaging comments that can serve to undermine the profession and services we provide, all while striving to continue moving forward with advocacy efforts that make a positive difference. These negative exchanges can lead to feelings of frustration, anger, and stress, and serve to potentially distract us from focusing on our clients and our work.

In light of the contentiousness that seems to surround legislative and policy issues, we propose incorporating a spirit of mindfulness to advocacy efforts. Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This requires an awareness of our attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and actions; an understanding of how they impact our experiences and behaviors; and a willingness to take responsibility for our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.

To that end, we offer the following guide to assist you in your search of an advocacy zen space and ask…when have you been REACTIVE or PROACTIVE in your advocacy efforts?

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Setting Yourself Up for Success

Setting Yourself Up for Success

If you’re anything like my business partner Katey and myself, this month has been all about establishing goals, setting intentions, and making plans for 2017. Every year, we create a mantra — words to live by and guide our actions both personally and professionally. This year’s mantra is as follows:

Waste less. Share more. Live our why.

We come back to these words every time we have a decision to make, pursue a new project, or feel like we might be veering off course. It’s so important to know our “why” so that we make sure everything we do is in alignment with our values and ideals.

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A Year of Creativity

A Year of Creativity

When I was little, my favorite thing to do was write. I would come up with story after story, written and illustrated in crayon on white sheets of paper, then stapled into book form. The day my family purchased our first desktop computer, I sat down and typed a story for the first time…and I was hooked.

Some of my stories were really good, and even earned awards at state-level young author contests. I continued writing stories throughout my teenage years, and then ventured into nonfiction essays, just for fun. It’s really a shame that blogs weren’t a thing back in the late 90s.

For a long time, I thought I might become an author when I grew up. That aspiration evolved into journalism as a high school student, and I was even accepted to several prominent universities’ journalism schools. But then I got honest with myself and realized I needed to pursue music, my true love.

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New Year, New Tunes

New L&L Songs in January

I was back into the swing of classes, music therapy and lessons just 2 days into 2017, so of course I needed to bring some new songs with me. And although I have gotten away from blogging about each new song as I write and post them in the store, I am going to make a better effort — in the spirit of my word for this year — to SHARE my songs with you more regularly.

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