Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry, Be Happy Album Cover

I’m a worrier by nature; always have been, always will be. So when I sang along to Bobby McFerrin’s original version of this song growing up, I’m pretty sure I was trying to convince myself to heed his advice.

I love everything about this song: the lyrics, the laid-back stye, the harmonies, and especially the way it makes me feel when I listen and sing along. Turns out it’s a crowd pleaser in just about every setting I’ve used it, including my early childhood classes, performances, and music therapy sessions.

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Clap, Clap, Clap

Clap Clap Clap Album Cover

I wrote this song a WHILE back, but it’s kind of perfect that I waited until now to share it with you. My baby girl has been attempting to clap her hands for the last couple of weeks, and then this morning in music class, she totally nailed it!

This song was written for young children to encourage them to clap their hands, which is pretty obvious when you listen to the song! The lyrics are to the point, and allow each child in the group to take his or her turn clapping.

Clapping is such a joyful skill, especially as children first master it and then practice nonstop. And Mia will surely get LOTS of practice, as her big brother loves to instruct us to clap for him after his singing and dancing performances :)

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Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Album Cover

As much as I love writing new songs for my music therapy sessions and classes, I think it’s equally important to share familiar songs my clients, students, and their families can sing right away. Sometimes I like to put my own spin on traditional repertoire, but in this case, I kept the recording very straightforward and simple: just the melody and ukulele accompaniment. Depending on the setting, I’ll add sign language or simple movements, though many times we’ll sing this as a cooldown at the end of a session or class.

Everybody who uses music with children should have a solid catalog of familiar tunes, and I’ve found this one to be the most often requested (including by my son, who has been asking for the “Twinkle Twinkle book” every night at bedtime lately). I’ll continue sharing more of the familiar songs I’ve recorded — sprinkled in with lots of originals, of course. What are your favorite songs to pull out when you want to get everyone singing along?

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2016 Stays for 366 Days

2016 Album Cover

It’s okay, you can admit it: you’ve been waiting with bated breath for this song, right?! :) January is more than halfway over, but better late than never. I actually had the song written two weeks ago, but my voice is just now getting back to normal after my never-ending bronchitis.

“2016” is the 9th — yes, you read that correctly! — song I’ve written to represent the current year in my calendar song collection. It’s my 3rd one to fall on a leap year, which gives me an excuse to change up the lyrics a bit.

I know I said I didn’t have any hard and fast resolutions for 2016, but I’m the kind of person who is very motivated by big goals…which is why I have my entire editorial calendar of new songs lined up through September.

I’m pretty excited to get into a regular blogging routine, though I’m giving myself permission to take a break from it when needed (see: my 2016 motto).

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Cabasa Bossa Nova

Cabasa Bossa Nova Album Cover

The cabasa is one of those instruments I use all the time, in both my music therapy sessions and classes. Its tactile qualities make it interesting and fun for kids to play, and doing so is great for working on those fine motor skills.

This is only the second dedicated cabasa song I’ve written (here’s the first), though I definitely see more in my future since it’s such a frequently used instrument. I will warn you, sometimes I get this song stuck in my head…and it’s reeeeally hard to get out ;)

The cabasa makes a great passing instrument, which is how we use it in our classes since we don’t have enough for every child. It’s an excellent exercise in sharing, since most kids aren’t too happy to give it up — we may need to invest in a full set of cabasas eventually.

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