Black Cat

During a recent music therapy session, a student’s mom mentioned that her daughter does well with “echo” songs (she used the “Mahna Mahna” song as an example, and even played a video of my student singing it with her sister).

I did some googling to find a few echo songs we could use in our sessions, and came across “The Other Day I Met a Bear” — that old camp song just about everyone knows. But after taking a look at the lyrics, I wasn’t crazy about them and decided to use the song as a basis for my own echo song.

Since Halloween is just around the corner, I traded a bear for a black cat and went from there. It’s a short, simple song with basic lyrics and an easy-to-sing melody: perfect for addressing the objectives of repeating after me and singing with me.

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!

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

With Halloween a mere two weeks away, I couldn’t resist writing a new song to add to my already quite full bag o’ spooky day tricks. While it is definitely NOT my most favorite day of the year, all the imagery related to Halloween makes it very easy to write about. Not to mention that many of my kiddos are big fans!

Trick or Treat is all about — no surprises here — trick or treating. The verses detail how it’s done, including the basic rules (only go to houses with porch lights on, don’t eat unwrapped candy, etc.) while the chorus emphasizes the fun of this yearly ritual.

Since the lyrics aren’t necessarily spooky, I Halloween’d it up a bit by going into a minor key for the chorus. Ya know, just to give it that extra kick. Very rarely do I write entire songs in minor keys, but I take advantage of my opportunities to do so.

You can check out the rest of my Halloween song collection here. What spooky (or not-so-spooky) songs will you be dusting the cobwebs off of to use throughout the next two weeks?

Halloween Video-Palooza

Halloween Music Videos

Happy Halloween! It’s a brisk but beautiful October day where I live — perfect trick-or-treating weather, for sure. I had a chance to see lots of cute kiddos in their costumes over the weekend, and can’t wait for all the Facebook pics to start appearing on my news feed this evening.

I’ve written lots of Halloween posts throughout the years here at Listen & Learn, and also made quite a few videos featuring Halloween tunes. So I thought a fun way to celebrate would be to round up all those videos and share them with you right here.

My adaptation of a Hap Palmer classic!

One of my (surprisingly) most-watched videos ever.

Just one of the many ways I’ve adapted this great Cathy Bollinger tune.

A recent video of one of my oldest songs. Still a fave :)

I sang this song over the weekend with some kids in extremely creative costumes.

Ukulele + classic tune = Happy Halloween!

Did you make it through all the videos? If so, WOW! (And my apologies for the morning distraction.) Whatever your plans may be for this Halloween day, I hope it is a spook-tacular one. See you back here in November!

Friday Fave: Sensory-Friendly Trick-or-Treating

Sensory-Friendly Trick-or-Treating

Earlier this month, I was lamenting how much I would miss seeing my former students all dressed up for Halloween. I was also feeling a little bummed over not being able to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters, because I’d be providing music therapy and lessons on the evening of Halloween.

However, I’m feeling much better now — because I’ll get my costume and trick-or-treating fix this Saturday. I was asked by a new therapy clinic here in Springfield to provide music activities at their open house, which means I’ll get to put all my Halloween songs to even more use.

The event sounds like a lot of fun, and is a great opportunity for little ones who aren’t as well suited to traditional trick-or-treating. The treats are gluten free/casein free, and the atmosphere will be much more friendly than spooky.

I’m off to brush up on my Halloween repertoire and choose what to wear…do I go with a costume, or just a Halloween-themed shirt? Decisions, decisions!

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