Sunday Singalong: Left & Right

This song is an oldie, but honestly, it might be one of my favorite Listen & Learn originals. I like the melody, and I also like that it explains the concept in a relatively easy-to-understand manner.

I debated including a picture-in-picture view of the actions as I sing them, but decided it would probably be confusing since my left is the opposite of your left. When I sing this song with my students, I turn around so that our left and right are the same.

Do you have any go-to songs or methods for teaching the concept of left and right?

Custom Song: Counting With Tally Marks

Tally Mark Song

I’ll tell you what…I’m getting quite a bit of mileage out of the “Banana Boat Song” around here lately. Over the summer, I recorded a fruit shakers version for one of my music therapy students, and today I have a custom song based on it.

This particular song is all about tally marks — what they are, and how to count with them. Rene, who wins the award for most custom songs ever purchased (thanks Rene!), gave me a list of key terms to include in the song, several of which are tally mark, vertical, diagonal, equals, sum, groups, and add. I managed to fit each of the terms into the lyrics, as well as some practice counting by fives.

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Each little tally mark equals one
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Count by five and we get the sum

Counting with tally marks, adding up some numbers
4 vertical and 1 diagonal lines
Counting with tally marks, adding up some numbers
One set of tally marks equals five

One, two, three, four, vertical lines
One diagonal line makes five
One, two, three, four, vertical lines
One diagonal line makes five

Day, me say day-ay-ay-o
Each little tally mark equals one
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Count by five and we get the sum

Counting with tally marks, adding up some numbers
Now add up all the groups of five
Counting with tally marks, adding up some numbers
Here we go, sing this counting jive

Five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five
Thirty, thirty-five, add ‘em up.
Forty, forty-five, fifty, fifty-five
Sixty, sixty-five, add ‘em up.

Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Each little tally mark equals one
Day-o, day-ay-ay-o
Count by five and we get the sum

One of the things I love most about being a music therapist is never knowing what kind of subject matter I’ll be asked to address next. I’m always up for a good challenge! If you’re in need of a song for a specific topic, skill or concept, click here to learn more about my custom song package.

Custom Song: Help Me, Rhombus!

beach-boys-help-me-rhonda

I’ve written songs on many unique and interesting topics, but when I received a request for a custom song about a certain parallelogram, I knew I was in for a bit of a challenge.  At the suggestion of my clever customer, I turned to the Beach Boys for help.

rhombus

I also turned to the knowledge I gained in my 9th grade geometry class (thanks, Mr. Nuding!) — I now admit that I was wrong when I said I’d never need to know that stuff as an adult :)  Shapes can be fun…whether you’re just learning the basics or venturing into more exotic territory as we are today.

I wanna sing about a shape
That I can’t get outta my head.
It has four sides, yes four, that’s what I said.
Rhombus, you’re one of a kind,
So tell me would you mind,
Oh could you, help me Rhombus,
Help me learn what you are.

Help me Rhombus, help help me, Rhombus. (5x)
Help me Rhombus, yea, I wanna learn what you are.

Well a rhombus and a diamond,
They look the very same.
One single shape that goes by two different names.
We use the word Rhombus at school,
Diamond is a nickname that’s cool,
Oh could you, help me Rhombus,
Help me learn what you are.

CHORUS

A rhombus has 4 pointy angles that connect its sides.
Just like a kite, in the air up high it flies.
Rhombus, I can illustrate,
Your shape, and I’d appreciate,
If you could, help me Rhombus,
Help me learn who you are.

CHORUS

This song was written for pre-kindergarteners, but I think the recognizable melody and peppy beat will appeal to older students as well. The key to teaching just about any concept is to make it enjoyable, as I have learned and been reminded time after time.

The Right-Left Song for Shakers

right-left-shakers-song

I heard the original version of “The Right-Left Song” for the first time last fall when Kimberly Sena Moore presented it at AMTA National Conference. Kimberly has a great video of this song, which was actually written by another music therapist named Michelle Hardy.

I’ve used it many times as Kimberly demonstrates in her video — it’s wonderful for kiddos who need to work on crossing the midline — but I decided to change it up recently when I was in need of a new shakin’ song.

We’re going right and left,
And right and left,
We’re shaking, we shake.
We’re going right and left,
And right and left,
We’re shaking we shake.

(Repeat, getting faster each time.)

The real challenge is making sure to shake in the right direction as the tempo of the song increases!  I’ve enjoyed using this song so much that I may have to adapt it for other instruments, too.  I love being inspired by other music therapists — thanks Kimberly and Michelle :)

Let’s Count: Hold Up 10 Fingers

boy-counting-to-ten

After four years of actively writing songs for children, I’ve lost count of the songs I’ve written about counting (no pun intended, hehe). It’s definitely not for lack of other song topics; it’s just that counting is a skill that every child needs to learn, whether it is through signing or speaking.

My latest counting song employs the use of our fingers. Not only does this give the child something visual and concrete to represent each number, but it also involves fine motor coordination and imitation – two more important areas of development.

Hold up one finger,
Hold up just one,
And wave it around
‘Cause we’re almost done.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up one finger,
Hold up just one,
And wave it around
‘Cause we’re almost done.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up two fingers,
Yes, hold up two,
I had a wonderful
Time with you.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up three fingers,
Yes, hold up three,
Now join right in
And sing with me.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up four fingers,
Yes, hold up four,
Wiggle and wiggle
And wiggle some more.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up five fingers,
Yes, hold up five,
Fly up to the sky,
Then take a dive.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up six fingers,
Yes, hold up six,
And tap them like
They’re rhythm sticks.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up seven fingers,
Yes, hold up seven,
Down on the ground,
Now up to heaven.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up eight fingers,
Yes, hold up eight,
Close them up
Just like a gate.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up nine fingers,
Yes, hold up nine,
Climbing up
A great big vine.
La la la la, la la la la.

Hold up ten fingers,
Yes, hold up ten,
And wave goodbye
To all your friends.
La la la la, la la la la.

Before and after singing the song, I invite the children to verbally and manually (with our hands) count to 10. I added lots of movement to this song so that it’s not just about counting. I also designed it as a cool-down song, meant to be sung near the end of the class, music therapy session, or what have you.

Like I mentioned at the beginning this post, I’ve written lots of counting songs. But it’s not all Listen & Learn, all the time, around here. I want to know: what are your favorite songs for teaching kids to count? Which have worked best for your own students and children? Let’s see how many we can round up!

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