Happy June! Not only is this my favorite month of the year, but it’s also my favorite week: my birthday is in just a few days :) Even though it means I’m turning another year older, I’m still looking forward to celebrating with the people I love the most.
But first I want to celebrate with YOU! I went back and forth on the best way to do that, in between prepping for a very full summer of classes and summer camps at the studio. And then I decided to do something I’ve never done before.
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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Attending a group activity for the first time can be intimidating — not only for the child, but for the parent or caregiver as well. I speak from experience, having done this many times since becoming a mom.
It can be especially intimidating to walk into a room where everyone else knows each other and has attended the activity before. This happens time and time again in our music classes, since many of our families attend sessions on a regular basis. The adults become friendly with each other, the children get along well, and we as instructors get to know everyone.
So when a new family comes to music for the first time, there are a few things we can do to help them feel just as welcome and part of the group as everyone else.
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?
Members of Listen & Learn Plus! have access to all of the above in our shared Dropbox folder. Membership includes just about everything else in my resource library and collection — come over and join us!
Last December, we offered our very first holiday-themed music class at Music Therapy Connections and it was a such a blast. I mean, what’s better than singing about reindeer and clicking reindeer hooves (a.k.a. castanets) with a bunch of kids?!
So of course we brought back Little Jingles this year, and we have a completely full class starting tomorrow evening. This year, Katey and I kept some favorite songs and activities from last year in the rotation, and we added a few new ones as well. The session is a mix of both familiar and completely original songs with lots of opportunities for singing, dancing, and instrument playing.
Just as we’ve done with many of our other class sessions, we’ve made our Little Jingles package available at Listen & Learn for Leaders, which is a resource we created for therapists, educators and parents.
This facilitator package includes a guide with a list of instruments, materials and instructions/suggestions for each song, as well as a lyric packet for participants, chords for the facilitator, and collection of mp3s.
You can purchase it as a standalone product, or get it for free when you become a VIP member (more about that here).
We’re super excited about kicking off the month of December with our Little Jingles class, and we invite you to join us in leading it with your own students, clients, and families!