The Ballad of Kitty

The Ballad of Kitty

I’m pretty darn excited about this song. I mentioned last week that I get lots of my ideas from my mother-in-law, who is a special education teacher; well, the other person I can always count on for unique and creative song topics is Rene, who is an elementary teacher and frequent custom song customer.

Her latest commission might very well be my favorite so far. Rene’s classroom adopts a bat every year from Bat World Sanctuary in Mineral Wells, Texas. The bat they adopted this year, Mr. Kitty, has an interesting story — one that she thought would make for a great song.

Rene will also be using this song to work on other state educational standards such as listening and retelling, identifying problem/solution, characters, retelling a story in sequence, decoding words, word families, and short vowel sounds. She and I think alike in that way…we strive to get as much use out of a song as possible :)

There was one more request from Rene: that I use the melody from one of her favorite childhood songs, “Senor Don Gato”. I was unfamiliar with this tune, but quickly learned it and used it as a template for writing my lyrics. I haven’t been able to get the tune out of my head since recording my version, which you can hear below:

And this might be a stretch, but “The Ballad of Miss Kitty” is even a little Halloween-ish…right? After all, it’s about a cat and a bat. But if you like your Halloween songs a little more orange, spooky, and pumpkin-y, you can check out the rest of my collection here. Happy (haunted) listening!

Penguin Party

Peguin Party Album CoverAre you ready for the most info-packed song about penguins you’ve ever heard in your life? Okay, so I probably didn’t have much competition when I wrote this, but I do have to admit I’m pretty proud of the amount of penguin facts I managed to include — and they rhyme, no less!

You might be wondering: why penguins? The answer: why NOT?! Actually, this was written as a custom music therapy song for Rene, a 1st grade teacher who is teaching a unit on penguins this winter. Thanks to the fact sheet Rene sent along with her custom song order, I was able to wrap up the most pertinent information into a fun tune that I hope her students will not only learn from, but also enjoy.

And since I figured who doesn’t love penguins, I decided to go ahead and share “Penguin Party” with all of you, too. It’s a little long, but it’s catchy! And educational!

Writing custom songs is one of my favorite things to do, because I get to tackle subject matter that I otherwise might not even think to write about. And now I’m off to ponder next week’s song topic…hmm…this one is going to be hard to top!

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.

Mammals In the Water (A Custom Song)

First came The Texas Pledge song, then Help Me, Rhombus, followed by A-Z (What You Mean to Me).  My #1 customer when it comes to custom songs is Rene, and she was back this month in need of a song that combined info about water mammals with specific speech sounds.  Thus, “Mammals in the Water” came to be.

Rene chose to highlight manatees, narwhals, walruses, and seals in this particular song, and I had a lot of fun doing the research necessary to write the verses about each creature.  The rhyming was a little tricky, but both Rene and I are happy with the results…and hopefully her pre-kindergarten students will be, too!

Ooh, mammals – they’re everywhere.
You and I are mammals, we have hair and breathe air.
So are lots of animals you’d find at the zoo,
And even some that live in the water, too!

They live in the water and they swim so slow,
They’re gray in color and eat plants, you know.
Manatees are gentle even though they’re really big,
With their flippers and their tail and snout (like a pig).
Mah, mah, mah.


They travel through the sea; their long tusk leads the way,
They eat fish and shrimp and squid all day.
Narwhals are a special kind of whale,
They swim in groups and their bodies are pale.
Nah, nah, nah.


They live in the Arctic, on the ice so cold,
But their blubber on their body keeps them warm, I’m told.
Walruses have whiskers and tusks so long,
Their bodies are brown and huge and strong.
Wah, wah, wah.


They live both on land and in the sea,
And their whiskers help them find lots of fish to eat.
Seals can be black, or gray, or brown,
And they make a funny grunting sound.
Sah, sah, sah.

Ooh, mammals – they’re everywhere.
Just like us, these animals have hair and breathe air.
But they don’t live in a house or at the zoo,
Mammals live in the water, too!

Custom Song: Help Me, Rhombus!


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.


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.


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.


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.