Playlist: Soul Soothers

Spotify Playlist: Soul Soothers | Listen & Learn Music

Life has felt pretty heavy lately. We’re nearing the six-month mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means it’s been almost six months since my kids were in school, I was able to do my job as it is meant to be done, we’ve been able to travel…the list goes on and on.

And now that the upcoming school year is upon us, we’re facing hard decisions that will determine what our lives will look like in the second half of this insane year. There is bad news every day, the state of our current government is terrifying, and everything is uncertain.

I’ve also been listening to Taylor Swift’s new album folklore on repeat, which — as INCREDIBLE as it is — doesn’t do much in the way of lifting my spirits. It’s a work of art, but it is a moody and contemplative work of art that has definitely elicited some tears.

All of that to say: I was in dire need of some serious self-care this weekend. That meant *finally* getting some alone time (since during the week while my husband is at work, I’m with my children for 10+ hours/day), and using the first few minutes of said alone time to create a fresh playlist.


Ukulele Giveaway!

Kala Waterman Ukulele Giveaway | Listen & Learn Music

What better way to end my favorite month of the year than by giving away one of my favorite instruments?! I’m SUPER excited to be teaming up with Kala Brand Music Co., Music Therapy Ed, Music Therapy Memes, and Music for Kiddos to give away not 1, but 4 Kala Waterman ukuleles.

The giveaway is happening over on Instagram, and the rules are simple. Head over to my latest post for the details, and then if you want 10 extra entries, simply enter your name and email address below and grab my free resource, “10 Go-To Instruments for Music Therapy” (spoiler alert: the uke is one of them!).

The giveaway ends at 12 pm ET on Tuesday, so make sure to enter ASAP! We’ll be announcing the 4 winners (one per music therapy account) on Wednesday at 12 pm ET. See you on Instagram…and I hope YOU win!

Welcome to the World, Baby

"Welcome to the World" Newborn Song & Video

I welcomed my first baby (that’s him at five days old) to the world a little shy of two years ago. Not long after he was born, I was inspired to write the song “Welcome to the World” for all of my friends and family who were having babies of their own.

I’ll be welcoming my second baby, a girl, in a mere four weeks (give or take), and I wanted to do something special not only in anticipation of her arrival, but also to celebrate those of you who have welcomed your own beautiful babies into the world.

So I invited readers to send me photos of their newborns, and many of you graciously did! I had so much fun going through the photos and setting them to music for this video. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do each time I hit play.

Four weeks seems like an eternity after an already long 9 months of pregnancy, but I’m counting down to having a sweet baby girl in my arms — especially after seeing all these beautiful photos. Thank you so much to those of you who contributed.

10 *MORE* Songs That Make Me Feel Good

10 More Songs That Make Me Feel Good

Back in the summer of 2011, I put together a list of 10 songs (current and not-so-current) that I was digging at the time. Since almost four years have passed since then, I thought it was high time that I post an updated list.

I have my students, son, and Pandora to thank for the random assortment of music that is currently helping me beat the wintertime blues:

  1. “Love is an Open Door” from Frozen – I heard this song before I ever saw the movie, because I had a couple of students request it. Now that my toddler is a little obsessed with Frozen, I hear it several times a day…and it has really grown on me.
  2. “Stockholm” by Jason Isbell – my music partner Matt and I recently added this song to our set list, and I can’t get enough of it. When it comes to songwriters, this guy is the bees’ knees. Plus, the harmony is really fun to sing.
  3. “Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson – her newest album, Lights Out, is great, especially this track. It’s an earworm I find myself singing hours after I hear the song.
  4. “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Renee & Jeremy – a throwback song covered by a children’s group. They are my favorite when it comes to recorded music (I use it for instrument play-alongs in one of my early childhood classes).
  5. “Back to the Earth” by Jason Mraz – If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then it comes as no surprise that I love Jason Mraz. This song is from his most recent album, and it’s also a favorite of one of my music therapy clients (it’s even helped us with several in-session breakthroughs).
  6. “From This Valley” by The Civil Wars – when I think about their break-up, I want to cry…but this song helps ease the pain. It’s another one Matt and I added to our set list, and I have such a blast singing it.
  7. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift – nope, still not sick of it yet. This song gets my blood pumping and my body moving every single time.
  8. “I’m Not Angry Anymore” by Paramore – one of my students is learning this on the ukulele, and I couldn’t help but smile when we listened to it for the first time. Short, sweet and totally fun.
  9. “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran – I don’t listen to the radio often, but I’m glad I caught this song on one of those rare occasions a few weeks back. Not sure if it’s his voice, the lyrics or both that completely got me hooked on it.
  10. “The Clean Up Song” from Barney – please forgive me for this one. They play it at Funshop (a mommy & me play class), and it quickly became Parker’s go-to song. I have to admit that it gets the job done…he starts cleaning up every time I sing it, and better yet, he sings along.

I could probably keep going, but I’ll stop here for now. And maybe I won’t wait another four years to post an updated list ;) What songs are making YOU feel good right now? Share ’em in the comments!

Can’t Hold It Back Anymore

No Mo' "Let It Go"

It just doesn’t seem right to be singing about frozen fractals when it’s 80 degrees out. But that didn’t stop the melodious strains of “Let It Go” from flowing out of my fingertips today…multiple times.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the movie Frozen and just about every song in it. I am thrilled that so many of my students love these songs, too; we’ve enjoyed singing/playing/piggybacking them for the last six months. But I know it’s time to move on when Parker’s babysitters (who are within earshot of my studio) ask how in the world I’m not tired of Frozen music yet.

I’m a firm believer in repetition, and I don’t tire of songs very easily. I’m happy to ride the wave of whatever music is most popular with my students at the moment. We’ve been through phases where all we did was Wicked, Adelle, Les Miserables, “Happy” — really, I could go on and on with this list. Frozen, however, will go down in the record books as THE longest phase yet.

I’m really proud of my students for our work with these songs in both music therapy and lessons, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t relieved that I’ll have a break from them (the songs, not my students!) when the spring session ends in a little over a week. Especially “Let It Go”. The one that haunts my dreams at night.