Your Musical Child

Your Musical Child Webinar

It’s not often that I’m listed in the same sentence as Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Charity Kahn, Music Together, and many other household names in the field of children’s music and education. So I’m taking this opportunity to shout from the rooftops about this free speaker series, for which that IS the case.

I’m assuming that since you’re reading this, you understand the importance of music, and that learning and music go hand in hand. It is also known that the biggest predictor of long­term life success and happiness is not “IQ” but actually “EQ” — emotional intelligence. So what does music have to do with emotional intelligence?

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I Have a Balloon Ball

I Have a Balloon Ball Album Cover

I’m pretty sure I’ve reached “fangirl” status when it comes to Bear Paw Creek‘s movement props. This is the 4th song I’ve written specifically for one of their products, because they are SO perfect for my early childhood music classes.

I’m just now getting around to using the balloon ball in my upcoming session, so I’m really excited to see how my little ones will react to it. I think it will be right up their alley — a bright, lightweight “ball” (the balloon inside gives creates its round form) they can toss and roll to each other.

Just like all of Bear Paw Creek’s products, it’s made (in the U.S.) of colorful, high-quality material. My other favorites include stretchy bands, connect-a-bands, and bean bags.

I wanted to make sure this song and activity is as social as it is fun, so I’ll have each kiddo takes turns rolling or tossing the balloon ball to another member of the circle. There are already lots of other ideas floating around in my head for how to incorporate it, but this is a good jumping off point. I can’t wait to put the balloon ball and this song to use in my classes this week!

P.S. Did you know that you can receive a DOWNLOAD of each new Listen & Learn release (including mp3, lyrics/chords, and instrumental track when available) emailed directly to your inbox?

That — PLUS access to the blog archive containing over 150 other songs, lead sheets, visual aides, and valuable resources. Learn more about becoming a Listen & Learn Plus! member.

Say Something (Loudly & Quietly)

Say Something Album Cover

I sat down a few months ago to write a song targeting the goal of appropriate voice volume for one of my music therapy clients. As I brainstormed, the song “Say Something” by a Great Big World immediately came to mind (quite possibly because 3 of my voice students were working on this at the time).

My client was working on controlling the level of her voice in certain situations, including using a loud voice when giving commands to her companion dog and talking quietly in places like church.

I pepped up the tempo, changed the words, and grabbed my ukulele to record this little ditty in one take…here’s the result.

When I use this song in music therapy sessions, I have my client fill in “loudly” and “quietly” at the appropriate spots in the lyrics. We also practice speaking in both a loud and soft voice, usually just counting to 10.

There are lots of other ways to target this goal, but it’s always fun to insert some pop culture when possible.

P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus

The Empathy Song

The Empathy Song Album Cover

A few months ago, my wonderful teacher friend Rene came to me with an idea for a song. She uses music quite a bit in her classroom, and wanted to do so in teaching and reinforcing the concept of empathy.

I tried to put the definition and description of empathy into words (that rhyme, no less) as best as I could, and I think the song paints a good picture of what empathy looks like for a kiddo who is just learning.

However, I think you’ll agree with me that empathy is something that needs to be experienced to fully understand it. I hope that my song provides a bridge to putting empathy into practice.

Do you have other musical tools you use for teaching concepts like empathy? I would love to explore this further, perhaps in a group setting where social skills are targeted. Yet another idea to add to my ever-growing list…

P.S. Did you know that you can gain instant access to a vast collection of over 200 songs (mp3, lead sheet, and instrumental track), videos, tutorials, and visual aides, plus ALL new releases from Listen & Learn Music?

Learn more about Listen & Learn Plus

“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!

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