Why I Love Tuesday Mornings

Early Childhood Class in Springfield, Illinois

While I initially created the Listen & Learn for Little Ones early childhood class just over two years ago, it wasn’t until last July that I was able to get it up and running on a continuous basis. Ever since, I’ve spent almost every Tuesday morning making music with young children and their parents or caregivers.

It didn’t take long for this class to become the biggest highlight of my week, especially since many of the same families registered for every single five-week session over the course of this year. I got to know the kiddos very well, and even better — they got to know each other.

I’ve met some amazing moms, grandmas, nannies, and a few dads here and there, too :) We’ve played with countless instruments, read tons of singable stories, showed off our dance moves, and the very best part is that I’ve had the pleasure of watching these children develop.

This morning’s class was my last before I take off some time for maternity leave, and I have to admit, it was bittersweet saying goodbye to everyone. All the adults in the room looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told them I’d be returning at the end of June, but the truth is, I’m already looking forward to it!

Since I won’t be practicing music therapy or teaching lessons over the summer, the classes will provide a nice creative outlet and chance to leave the house a couple times a week.

I can’t wait to spend Tuesday mornings snuggled up with my brand new baby girl in just a couple of weeks (or less!), but I will miss my “little ones”. It will be so much fun to see how they’ve grown and changed during that time.

Are you interested in starting an early childhood music program of your own? My course Create, Market, Make Music! (3 CMTE credits) takes you through the entire process. Learn more here.

My Latest Songbook Collection is Here!

Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum Songbook Collection | Instrument Songs for Children

I am so happy to announce that as of today, my new songbook collection — Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! — is available in its entirety. I have been working SO hard over the last couple of months writing and recording 12 brand-new songs that I think you will love and be able to use with your children, students, and/or clients.

Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! is a digitally downloaded songbook collection containing 12 never-before released Listen & Learn songs for playing instruments — including rhythm sticks, hand bells, cabasa, castanets, kazoos and more. Not only does the PDF songbook provide the notated melody line, chords and lyrics, but you also receive full and instrumental mp3s for all 12 songs:

“Rhythm Sticks Mix”
“Ring Around the Rainbow”
“Hum a Tune”
“Gather ‘Round the Drum”
“Strum With Your Fingers & Thumb”
“Click Like This, Clack Like That”
“Cabasa Bossa Nova”
“Jingle Jamboree”
“Rainstick Round”
“Lollipop Start & Stop”
“Tam Tam Boo”

Purchasing the lead sheet and mp3s for each individual song would cost you $3 a pop; multiply that by 12 songs and you’re out $36. But since I’m all about sharing the love, I’ve priced Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! at a mere $12.

With just under a month remaining in the school year, it’s right about this time that your repertoire needs a boost — if you’re anything like me, that is. Whether you work as a music therapist in the classroom or one-on-one setting or you are a music educator, my newest creation might be just the boost you need.

Check it out!

(And for even more instrument songs for children, you should take a look at my best-selling songbook collection, Tapping, Shaking, Music Making!)

Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum!

Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum Songbook Collection

2015 has proven itself to be the year of inspiration for me so far. I started it off with a brand-new podcast, then launched my first-ever songwriting challenge (still one day left to join!), and most recently, I’ve been hard at work on a new songbook collection — the follow-up to 2013’s Tapping, Shaking Music Making!

That songbook collection was a big hit and is still one of my bestsellers, so I’ve always had plans to write a “part 2”. I figured there was no better time than at almost 9 months pregnant, just weeks shy of my due date…right? ;)

Ring, Sing, Strum & Drum! will contain 12 completely brand-new instrument songs for children, including the full and instrumental tracks as well as sheet music for each. The full collection will be released on May 5, BUT you can preorder your copy now and receive 3 of the songs immediately.

In addition to the songs that are already available, I will be adding tunes written specifically for these instruments:

  • rhythm sticks
  • shakers
  • jingle bells
  • lollipop drums
  • tambourines
  • hand bells
  • rainsticks
  • guitar
  • kazoos

I used my own music therapy instrument cabinet as inspiration, keeping in mind the instruments I use most often in my sessions, groups and classes. I’ve already put some of the songs to use with my own students, and I’m happy to report that they have been extremely well-received and effective.

I sell single-song album downloads (which include the full track + instrumental + lead sheet) for $3 a pop, but this 12-song collection is priced at just $12. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your repertoire, and I appreciate your support in advance!

Preorder Now

Let me know if you have any questions, comments or feedback on the songbook collection so far. And thank you to those of you who have already placed your order…I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you in just a couple of weeks.

A New Online CMTE Course…Open Now!

Early Childhood Programs CMTE

I’ve been facilitating early childhood music programs since graduate school, before I was even a full-fledged music therapist. I’ve continued to do so all of these years, and it has been so exciting and fulfilling to see my programs continue to grow and touch the lives of many young children (and their families).

After reading dozens of emails from fellow music therapists and educators asking for advice on starting an early childhood music program, I decided to take the plunge and create an online CMTE course on this very topic. It covers the entire process — from conception to the very last class — and everything in between.

3-hour CMTE course

This 3-hour CMTE course consists of 3 chapters, and each chapter is made up of 6 videos. Watch the videos at your own pace and on your own time; once you register, you will have 3 months to complete the videos, final evaluation, and post-test. Each video comes with a downloadable audio track and PDF of the slides in the video.

BONUS: You will also receive 12 songs (including mp3, instrumental track, and lead sheet) from the Listen & Learn Music collection. That is $36 worth of music at your fingertips, which you are invited to use as inspiration for your own early childhood program, or include in their original form. You are also welcome to create adaptations and use the instrumental track to record your new versions.

Course Outline

I. Create (42 minutes)
What Kind of Program Will You Create?
Songwriting for Ages 0-3
Choosing Children’s Songs
Instruments, Props & Singable Stories
Packaging Your Program
Chapter 1 Action Steps

II. Market (48 minutes)
Location, Location, Location
The Money Stuff
Devising a Marketing Plan
Make the Most of Local Resources
Create a Buzz Online
Chapter 2 Action Steps

III. Make Music (40 minutes)
Before the First Class
Preparing the Environment
How To Be an Early Childhood Rockstar
Tips for Tricky Situations
After the Last Class
Chapter 3 Action Steps

Final Evaluation (20 minutes)

Please note that I will be answering all questions posted by course participants inside the course. I want this course to be as interactive and educational as possible so that you have the resources to go forward and create a successful program.

The price of the course is $75, which includes the bonus mp3/instrumental track/lead sheet downloads ($36 value).

Listen & Learn Plus! members receive a 20% discount on this course, so if you are already a member, click here to enroll. (And if you’re not a member yet, join now to receive 5+ years of archived resources and downloads PLUS the course discount.)

Once you complete your payment safely and securely via PayPal, you will be redirected to the registration page. Upon registering and logging in, you will have full access to the course for 3 full months.

CMTE Enroll Button

If you have questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Looking forward to seeing you in the course!

Guitar Lessons With Amy Benton

Guitar Lessons with Amy Benton

I met Amy Benton at Illinois State University, where we were both music therapy students. I was always impressed with her talent as a guitarist and songwriter, not to mention her lovely personality. I was thrilled to find out she had moved to Springfield, and it was so nice reconnecting with her over coffee this past summer.

I couldn’t be happier to share that Amy is now offering guitar lessons and currently taking new students of all ages. Here’s a little more about her.

Amy grew up in Taylorville, IL. She took guitar lessons, volunteered playing music at local nursing homes, performed in the community, started a music program for kids at the park district, and taught guitar lessons. After completing an internship at a school for autism, she graduated from Illinois State University with a Bachelor in Music in music therapy. She moved to Tennessee to pursue songwriting and performing. She got board-certified, started a music and movement program for preschoolers at a YMCA in Tennessee, and worked as a music therapist at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Amy has had several songs recorded by independent artists, an album produced by Pat Flynn, and opened for many national acts. She now resides in Springfield, IL, where she started “6 Strings \ 6 Weeks” (a program for adults who always have wanted to play the guitar) through Springfield Area Arts Council, teaches guitar lessons, and performs regionally.

Any student would be lucky to have Amy as a guitar instructor. If you live in the Springfield area and are seeking lessons, please contact me via email.

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