Sit With Me Maybe

Sit With Me Maybe

I struggled this week to come up with a song topic. Some weeks I have so many ideas that it’s difficult to narrow them down; well, this wasn’t one of ’em. After sitting at my desk racking my brain for almost an hour, I decided to take a little Facebook break.

I’m so glad I did, because the inspiration for the song was right in front of my eyes. Someone had posted the lyrics to the immensely popular hit “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen, which just so happens to be the overwhelming favorite in my studio at the moment.

With my kiddos getting ready to go back to school in a few weeks, we have been really focused on social skills — eye contact, making friends, having conversations, etc. — and I’m very much in need of some new material on these topics. So with a little help from Carly Rae, Sit With Me Maybe came to be:

My husband LOVES the original version of this song. So after I played it for him yesterday, he immediately sent it out to all of his friends who have kids and insisted on playing it for his entire family. I wish he would react to ALL my songs that way ;)

I had a lot of fun trying to recreate the instrumentation for this song, and while it’s far from perfect, I think Carly Rae would dig it. I hope my students do, too!

Note: this song is intended for educational and therapeutic purposes only. It is not meant to parody the original “Call Me Maybe” — it is simply an adaptation geared towards addressing goals such as communication, peer interaction and social skills.

Summer Break (Let’s Shake!)

Summer Break Song

How do I know it’s almost summer break? Well that’s easy…it’s just about all my students can talk about these days! Most of them even have a countdown going, and can tell me exactly how many days are left.

I always enjoyed school, but that didn’t stop me from feeling super excited when summer break rolled around. And not much has changed; as much as I absolutely LOVE my job, I’m looking forward to having a little break before the summer session begins.

I wrote and recorded a song on this topic a couple of years ago, but wanted something a bit more original as we head into the last two weeks of the school year. Here’s what I came up with:

Most of my students have their last day of school at the end of next week, which coincides with the end of the session at my studio. Those two weeks I’ll have off will be busy ones, between my birthday, a trip to Austin, a visit from the lovely ladies of the Music Therapy Round Table, and of course, some quality pool time. Come on, summer break!

8 Songs for the School Day

Back to School Songs

Going back to school at the end of the summer is a big adjustment for most kids. I know not only from the experience of working in a school setting for 4 years, but also from talking with my students’ parents as they are in the midst of this transition right now.

The start of the school year is especially hard for kiddos who are going into kindergarten and are not used to being away from home all day. I’ve taught several brand new kindergarteners this week, and while they’ve had great things to say about school so far, their moms have filled me in on the anxiety they’ve felt.

I’ve written quite a few songs about preparing for the school day and going to school, and there’s no better time than now to share a little round-up with you. Let’s start with the beginning of the day and work our way through, shall we?

  1. My Clothes & My Shoes – Most kids who are old enough to go to school should also be able to dress themselves properly. This song was a staple in all of my classroom music therapy groups.
  2. Time to Say Goodbye – Saying goodbye to mom and dad is quite possibly the hardest part of the school day. This song also addresses saying goodbye to teachers at friends when school is over.
  3. That Yellow Bus – Riding the bus can be overwhelming at first. There’s nothing like a fun song to ease the anxiety over doing so.
  4. Off to School – I like this song because it gives a general overview of what to expect throughout the school day.
  5. The People I See – Teachers and principals are included in this tune, as well as other community people a child may or may not see during the day.
  6. Making Friends – I’ve had so many students tell me that their friends aren’t in their class this year. I tell them that it is the perfect opportunity to make some new ones!
  7. Stop, Think & Do – A good reminder to all kids. I have to thank one of my former colleagues, a classroom teacher who uses this motto on a daily basis. It’s an effective one, to be sure.
  8. Clean Up Time – I think every young child learns at least one song about cleaning up at school; why not add another option into the mix?

Whether you’re a parent, music therapist, or teacher, what has your back-to-school experience been like this week?

Back to School…But Not For Me

Back to School

For the first time in five years, I will not be returning to school tomorrow with the rest of my former colleagues at The Hope Institute. It’s a strange feeling, for sure.

People have been asking all summer how it feels to be completely self-employed, but I haven’t really been able to give a good answer yet since school has been out. However, I will be able to do so after tomorrow, because then I think it truly will feel “real” to me.

I always loved those first few weeks back: catching up with coworkers, the excitement of a fresh new start, meeting new students. Those things I will definitely miss. But having my days free to plan, write songs, and create new resources for my students before they arrive for their lessons and music therapy sessions in the afternoon? That will be the bees’ knees.

Although my fall session doesn’t begin until Monday, tomorrow kicks off a brand new chapter in my life. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

Custom Song: The Texas Pledge

Texas State Pledge Song for ChildrenDid you know that Texas state law requires all students to memorize and recite the state pledge each day at school?  Neither did I, until I received this email from Rene, a Listen & Learn reader from the Lonestar State:

What I have wanted, what my kids have requested for several years, is a song to help us learn the Texas Pledge (which is required of all students by state law). When I saw on your site that you wrote a song for the Pledge to the American Flag, I thought you’d be perfect for writing this song for our Texas pledge. The song we sing for the American pledge is quite long and we dance to this, I have added lots of motion crossing the midline, up/down, bending, leaning, etc. I know the reason my kids learned the U.S. pledge within the first two weeks of school is because we sing it!!! The Texas Pledge is short. I know you will know best because that is your gift.

Rene went on to include quite a bit more information about her students and her expectations for this custom song, and I was more than excited to get to work on it.

Rene’s students are young (Pre-K) and for many, English is their second language.  So I kept the lyrics simple but engaging, emphasizing the most important lines — the pledge, of course.  Here is what I came up with:

Stand up where you are,
Place your hand over your heart,
And look to the flag that has one star:

Honor the Texas flag,
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one state, under God,
One and indivisible.

The Texas pledge is what we say,
Each and every single day.
To show our respect for the Lonestar State,
A state so great we have to celebrate.

By waving our arms in the air, up high!
Back and forth like our flag they sway.
Now we’ll bring them down, right by our sides,
As we say the pledge today.

I also created an instrumental version without my vocals.  Rene has not only been using this song with her students since receiving it, but she has also purchased downloads to pass out to her colleagues throughout the state. If you live in Texas and have students who are still learning the pledge, hopefully this song can be helpful to you, too.

I’m already hard at work on Rene’s next custom song (she has enough ideas to keep me busy for months!). If you’re in need of a song for a specific topic, skill or concept, click here to learn more about my custom song package.