Sometimes I really have to wrack my brain for new song topics…and other times, I find myself humming a kicked-up version of “The Alphabet Song” for which the lyrics come spilling out.
That is exactly what happened last week as I was working on a completely unrelated project, so I immediately switched gears and took advantage of this inspired moment. What emerged is an alphabet song that supplements the original with info-packed verses (plus a drum beat and kalimba to boot).
I wanted to maintain the essence of the alphabet song that everyone already knows, which is why the chorus begins with the same melody and I include the original in its entirety at the end.
Since this is an educational concept that every child needs to learn at some point, I’m all for exposing them to lots of different teaching tools (another is one of my favorite singable stories, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom).
Another reason I wrote this song? Well, this one is purely selfish; I’m just a little tired of singing the same old song I learned as a toddler. I include that old standby in my weekly early childhood music class, so perhaps soon I’ll switch to the new one for a breath of fresh air. I’m sure the parents won’t mind, either!
Writing this song was meant to be, as I found out upon returning from Europe last week. First, my sister-in-law asked me if I had a song about the five senses (for my nephew’s classroom) on the way home from the airport, and then I came home to an email from a reader requesting this very topic. Fate, I tell you!
I had fun writing this song, and envision it being used interactively. During the middle section, the verse just SCREAMS for the song to be paused so that students can identify what they see, hear, smell, taste, and touch. You’ll understand what I mean once you take a listen:
With school in full swing for most kiddos, I’m expecting lots of requests for songs that are educational in nature. That makes my job much easier, since it takes a little more effort to come up with new and in-demand topics during the summer months.
With the school year beginning in just a few weeks, I’ve had classroom topics on the brain. I know that calendar songs are part of the daily routine in many classrooms, so I’m adding one more to my long list of ’em.
Seven Days in a Week lists each day of the week several times throughout the song so that it helps children not only learn the names of each day, but also the order. The song also touches on the difference between weekdays and weekends. Take a listen:
This song can be used in conjunction with a “Today Is” kind of song (I have always used this one) or just as a standalone.
After working in a school for several years, I’ve heard MANY songs about the days of the week — and I know they can get old pretty quickly if you hear them every day. That’s why I’m all about revisiting topics I’ve already written songs for and providing lots of options. In my experience, using a different song to address a long-term goal can be just what a child needs to finally master it.
What are your favorite “days of the week” and other calendar songs?
Like so many others, this song was written specifically for one of my music therapy students. She is working on identifying her name from a field of several others, so now we sing Find Your Name at the beginning of each music therapy session.
The visual I use is pictured above, and was super easy to make. I just printed a simple sign I made using Pages, slipped it into a page protector, and then attached Velcro dots to the front and back where you see the name cards. There are also Velcro dots on the other side of each card.
I made several cards so that I can switch them out each week, which makes finding her name just a little bit more challenging for my student. The simple song is short and lets her know exactly what is expected of her.
I have started using this song with quite a few of my other students as well, though for some, a field of 4 is a little too overwhelming. But that’s an easy fix — I just remove 1 or 2 cards as needed, and will gradually increase the field as they start to recognize their names more easily.
What songs, visuals, and other resources do you use to help your students pick their names out of a crowd?
I’ve most definitely written my fair share of songs about numbers. And while it’s not my FAVORITE topic in the world, I do have a bit of a soft spot for it…after all, I was president of the math club in high school (a fact my family will never let me live down).
So when one of my Listen & Learn Plus! members came to me in need of some fresh ideas for teaching the numbers 11-19, I was game. I wrote the song Numbers With a 1 with the idea that when it’s used, the music therapist/educator/parent will have visuals of each number in order to match the name with the number. You’ll understand what I mean after listening:
I made sure to keep the tempo nice and slow, and hopefully the song is interesting enough to keep a child’s attention — especially considering the topic isn’t the most fun! Do you know any other songs for teaching the numbers 11-19?
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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