The First Song of 2012

The First Song of 2012

My purpose for starting Listen & Learn (all the way back in 2008!) was to share my educational songs for children. Since then, I’ve posted over 150 of them — but only about 20 or so in 2011. Turns out I was so busy blogging every day that I didn’t have the time to write and record as much as I would have liked.

2012 is the year I return to my original mission: to provide musical resources on a regular basis. Every Monday, you’ll find a brand new song, which will be available for purchase along with the instrumental track and lyrics/chords.

It should come as no surprise that I’m kicking off the year with a song about the year itself, just as I did in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. I’m excited about all the possibilities that 2012 holds, which I think is reflected in this fun, upbeat tune:

I’m looking forward to writing, recording, and sharing at least 51 more songs with you in 2012! If you have any topic requests, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. Here’s to a musical new year!

Sunday Singalong: Winter All Around Us

I know what you’re thinking…not another song about winter!  Trust me, I don’t like winter any more than you do, but my students (and yours as well, most likely) need to hear about and understand it as it’s happening.

As I mentioned in the video, this is an older song that I don’t use very often these days.  (Here’s my latest song about winter.)  But it’s still fun to sing, and I like that it’s so short.  It’s also a great one for use during songwriting activities — it’s easy to come up with additional verses.

Who else is counting the days until spring is here?  As the midwest prepares for yet another winter storm, I’m assuming I’m not alone in my countdown.  Stay warm, stay safe, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow.

Sunday Singalong: I’m Gonna Catch You

At school one day last week, one of my coworkers told me that she had watched every one of my videos (there are almost 50 now!) and was sharing them with all of her friends.  Before I left for the weekend, she told me she was looking forward to today’s video…and the pressure was on.

Well, not really, but I wanted to make sure this week’s video was a song she would enjoy.  That’s why I picked Laurie Berkner’s “I’m Gonna Catch You”, which my students and I have been working on throughout the month.

There’s a little guy in one of my classes who came up with full choreography, which includes spins, jumping, and some unique moves that I don’t think have names.  I actually thought for a split second about doing the choreography in the video (reminiscent of the Turkey Dinner Dance) but decided I wasn’t quite brave enough…maybe next time :)

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

January Calendar Song

Lately I’ve had quite a few readers ask about my work at The Hope Institute, a residential school for children with multiple disabilities where I’ve headed up the music therapy program for the last (almost) 4 years.

I’ll be writing about the program in more detail throughout the year, but today I thought I’d share a simple yet important song that remains a staple in many of the classrooms with which I work.

Calendar time is an essential part of the school day around here (as it is in many schools), and I incorporate calendar songs of all varieties into my music therapy sessions.  Here’s one I’ve mentioned before — spruced up a bit for the new year:

Today is ______,
Today is ______.
Today is ______, January _____.
Yesterday was ______,
Tomorrow’s ________.
But today is ______, January _____, 2011.

So when I sing this with my students this morning, the lyrics will be:

“Today is Monday, today is Monday.  Today is Monday, January 10th.  Yesterday was Sunday; tomorrow’s Tuesday.  But today is Monday, January 10th, 2011.”

Each month, I record a new version with the correct month already included.  That way, when the teachers sing this song with their students on a daily basis, they fill in the day and date themselves.

I’ve been using this song (which I came up with it on my own, though I’m positive others have done something very similar if not identical) for years now, but am always up for new ideas.  If you’ve got another daily calendar song to share, please do!

Sunday Singalong: The January Song

The months of the year have their own place in the calendar segment of my classroom music therapy sessions.  It’s always fun to begin a new month and replace the outgoing song with a fresh one…especially once spring is near!  But we’re not quite there yet, and luckily the January song is one of my favorites.

Since this is the 4th year I’ve worked with many of my students, a number of them will be able to sing along with the January song the very first time around.  Although it’s nice to have a few familiar tunes in the mix, I like to introduce quite few new songs and interventions in my monthly music therapy session plans, too.  This keeps our work challenging (not to mention keeping me on my toes, memorizing lots of new lyrics and processes).

Tomorrow is the first day back to school, so I have plenty of work to do in order to be 100% ready for my students.  Happy January!

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