Going Back to School in 2020

Going Back to School in 2020 | Listen & Learn Music

In 2020, school looks different than it ever has before. For some kids, it means logging into a Zoom call. For some kids, it means homeschooling. And for some kids, it means venturing back into the classroom. My own children fall into that last category.


3 Back-To-School Songs for Your Musical Toolbox

Here in New England, there are single digit days left until back-to-school time. The kiddos’ backpacks are packed, first day of school outfits have been chosen, and every teacher I know is buzzing like a bee, making sure their classrooms are ready for that first day.

As a music therapist, that means lots of scheduling and preparing for the new year and the fall season! Personally, I’ve always felt like the school year is a fresh start, so I’ve taken it upon myself every fall to learn new repertoire, create new visuals, and refresh my musical tool kit.


“Back to School” Roundup

Back to School Roundup

I’m not sure how it happened, but yet another summer has slipped away and a new school year has begun. My Facebook newsfeed is full of back-to-school photos (which I love, just to be clear…as long as I don’t have to think about my child going off to school anytime soon!) and we’re gearing up for our fall session at Music Therapy Connections.

For most kiddos, the transition into the school year can be challenging: they have to get up early, establish a routine, work hard all day, and spend lots of time making social interactions (which is much harder for some children than others).

Knowing that many of my own students are facing those challenges inspired me to put together a little roundup of all the songs I’ve written on these topics. So without further ado, here are a few of my musical tools for making the back-to-school transition a success.

One of the most common complaints I’ve been hearing from my students is that now they have to get up “sooooo early!”. That alarm clock can be a rude awakening (literally) after a whole summer of sleeping in, which is where this song comes in super handy.

I wrote this song specifically for younger kiddos who are off to school for the very first time, and aren’t sure what to expect. It can be scary and overwhelming, which is why I broke it down in this song.

Not only do children learn to play nicely at school, but they also must learn how to work together in both small and large groups. This can be a foreign concept to some, especially the younger set, and it can seem foreign after doing their own thing all summer long.

My adaptation of the pop song “Call Me Maybe” is all about making friends, which for some children is the hardest aspect of going to school. I know it was for me, since I was on the shy side. This song is a reminder that making new friends can be fun.

Just as wake-up times get earlier at the start of the school year, so do bedtimes. I always dreaded that part of the new school year as a child, since my parents were pretty lax during the summer months. I sing this song to my son as part of our own bedtime routine.

This entire album is a good resource for getting back into the swing of things. My Clothes and My Shoes, That Yellow Bus, Making Friends, Cleanup Time, Time to Say Goodbye — all apply to the average school day.

What songs would you add to this “back to school” roundup? I’m betting most of you have tips for easing into the school year routine, whether as a parent, music therapist, teacher, or anyone else with little ones in their lives. Sharing is caring!

Working Together

Working Together

When I’m in need of new song topic ideas, my go-to person is my mother-in-law. She teaches in a special education classroom and incorporates music (mostly mine!) into as many lesson plans as possible.

Since I’m in the middle of a huge project — I’ll share the details soon — my brain has been a little fried, so this was a week where I needed Libby’s help. I called her up and asked her what kind of song she could use in her classroom right now, and she wasted no time sharing her suggestions.

One such suggestion was a song about working together on different classroom tasks throughout the day, so I took that idea and ran with it. Oh, and the melody may have been a teensy bit inspired by the song I sang with my church choir over the weekend (I told you my brain was fried!).

I wanted to keep writing additional verses for this song, but reminded myself that all of you wonderful music therapists, educators and parents will adapt the song for your kiddos as needed! I always consider my recording to be just a jumping off point.

Off to School!

Off to School

It’s that time again: most of my students are off to school today! So in honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to give one of my older songs a bit of a facelift.

I wrote “Off to School” way back in 2009, and you can read the original blog post here. It’s been a staple at this time of year ever since, and I figured that because I get so much use out of it, many of you probably can too.

Feelings are mixed amongst my students about returning to school. While many of them are excited to see their friends again, some are struggling with academic and social anxiety. These feelings are completely normal, and will hopefully dissipate over the first few days and weeks.

While my kiddos are off to school today, I’m enjoying another beautiful day in Italy! Make sure to stop my by personal blog for a daily recap (with photos) of my travels.