This is where all of my interests and skills are combined for one purpose: to make peoples’ lives better through music. Whether it’s through my original songs, serving my community through my business, or singing with my children, this is my favorite place to share my musical endeavors. Thank you for visiting, and I hope to get to know you better.
Members of Listen & Learn Plus have access to ALL of my songs, resources, and session plans. Learn more about the perks of membership, and get a free sneak peek inside.
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Even though the country is opening back up, virtual services are not going away. I believe that, especially in today’s day and age, virtual services will stay around for a long time. Not only does it limit the spread of germs, but it allows us to reach people who may otherwise not be able to receive music therapy or other musical interactions.
My last two blog posts have been heavily focused on the technology aspect of virtual services. Now, let’s take a look at what goes on within those sessions. Songs from the Listen & Learn Music collection have always played a big role in my music therapy sessions and early childhood services, but these three songs have especially shown to be successful in my virtual services.
In these uncertain times (to use one of many pandemic era buzz phrases), I find comfort in consistency. That’s why every month, I create a session plan for you to use virtually, in person, or in some cases, to file away for a later date when you are able to resume your services. I’m certainly longing for the day I can use these materials to their full potential, but in the meantime, I’m grateful for each and every music-making opportunity.
I also find comfort in writing and recording new songs, several of which make their debut in the November session plan. This is one of my favorite seasons when it comes to repertoire, and I’m excited to dig into not only this month’s plan, but the entire Thanksgiving song collection.
For the month of November, I’m incorporating bells, stretchy band, cabasa, and providing opportunities for addressing gross motor movement, body part identification, counting, Thanksgiving, and much more.
The November session plan includes 10 goal-based songs (mp3, instrumental track, lyrics/chords) along with a facilitation guide for each song, which will allow you to implement a cohesive 30-45 minute music experience. Grab it for yourself for just $10.
As many people continue to work remotely, we’ve had to get creative on how to reach the people we serve. When August came around, schools reopened for in-person, hybrid, or remote classes. This posed a new problem for those in the education setting, including related services.
One of my contract locations is a specialized school for children with autism. This school has been fully remote since March, including their summer school program. The change was huge for these students, and we wanted music therapy to still be a part of their remote learning so they could continue to work on their skills. This also provided a much needed dose of some normalcy in their lives!
It was quickly evident that music therapy sessions held live via Zoom would not be ideal for these students, as their classes were scattered amongst group homes and between those who live with their caregivers. Thus, having a recorded music therapy video sent to them each week proved to be the most effective and efficient method. So, how did I go about doing this? Let’s talk it through.
A couple years ago, I added a new feature to my Listen & Learn Plus membership: a directory of ALL the songs in the collection, including the goal domains addressed, instrument/props needed, and links to the mp3s, instrumental tracks, and lead sheets.
I created this directory in a Google spreadsheet, so it is fully searchable, and I can add to it each time I write a new song. This has been a helpful tool not only for the members, but also for myself when it comes to planning sessions and classes.
As I was making improvements to the Listen & Learn store this fall, I realized that I should create a similar resource for people browsing the song collection. While it was already possible to browse songs by category and topic, I wanted to further specify the goals of each song and make searching a little less time-consuming.
Over the summer, I was approached by the Illinois State Museum and asked to create a video that related in some way to Illinois. I knew immediately that I wanted to focus on the cardinal, which is the state bird of Illinois.
The cardinal bird has always been a favorite in my house, ever since I was a little girl. One reason my family is a fan of the cardinal is that it just happens to be the mascot of the St. Louis Cardinals — our baseball team of choice. And of course, since I grew up in Illinois, it’s always been on my radar as our state bird.
Now while the cardinal might not be your state bird (although it is in 7 U.S. states!), there’s a good chance that you see this beauty in your backyard from time to time. Maybe you’ve even heard its pretty singing, which is featured in the song I wrote for the Illinois State Museum video.
Many people have found themselves working remotely throughout the last 7 months, including music therapists and teachers. With very little notice, we had to alter our plans to be conducive to the virtual experience.
As someone who is in their early 20s, you would think that I would have an upper hand with knowledge about technology. I, unfortunately in this case, do not fit that stereotype and had to really teach myself how to make this all work for my clients and students. So, how did I do it?
I’ve found myself primarily using two applications: Zoom and iMovie. I know, it’s pretty basic, but who knew such common programs would open doors for so many virtual learning opportunities? In today’s blog post, we are going to dive a little deeper into Zoom.
There is nothing like making music with young children face-to-face, where we can interact through singing, movement, and playing instruments. Little did I know on March 4, the final week of my mid-winter class session, that the next time I would see my students, it would be through a screen.
From the end of March through July, I led virtual music classes via Zoom, and they were certainly better than no music classes at all. It was a fun challenge to figure out new ways to engage the children and make our sessions as interactive as possible. Like my fellow music therapists and educators, I learned to stretch my creativity and make the most of this medium.
Wow, what a wild ride the past half year has been! It’s been an interesting several months, and I’m so glad to be back on the blog to share what life as a music therapist has looked like during this time.
Going back to my previous posts, the last one I shared was in February: A Week in the Life of a Music Therapist. Little did I know that the world would soon be flipped upside down with a pandemic. As I’m sure many people have experienced, my typical week does not look much like it did back in February!
It’s definitely feeling like fall here in central Illinois, even before the new season has officially arrived. Typically we’re still experiencing summer weather late into September, but this past weekend was perfect for long sleeves, pumpkin patch visits, and fire pits.
Each year, I fine-tune my seasonal repertoire both by writing new songs AND retooling older ones. I’ve spent most of this month getting my fall arsenal of songs ready, and today I’m sharing a round-up of 7 autumnal favorites.
These songs address a variety of goal areas in addition to focusing on the fall season — you should know by now that most of my songs are multitaskers ;)
Now that the official end of summer is imminent, have you started pulling out all your fall faves? Since I create each session plan a month in advance, I was going through my fall songs and writing new ones way back at the beginning of August. Finally being able to put them to use is exciting!
Historically, October is a very fun time to be a music therapist. Children love singing about all things related to Halloween, which is why I keep writing songs on this topic. This year, I pulled out some oldies, gave them a makeover in the way of updated lyrics and brand-new recordings, and added them to the October session plan.