Listen, Learn, Love!

Listen, Learn, Love!

Here’s the truth: February is not my favorite month of the year. It’s bitterly cold, and my stress levels are higher than usual since our local National Federation of Music Clubs Junior Festival takes place over two weekends later in the month.

But February does have its redeeming qualities. For one, it’s short. And two, there’s Valentine’s Day. And while I don’t get too over the top excited about this particular “holiday”, I do like that it gives me an excuse to write and sing songs about L-O-V-E.

This year, instead of complaining about February, I’m choosing to celebrate it. So I compiled some of the songs I’ll be using the most this month, wrapped them in a pretty little package, and called it Listen, Learn, Love!

This 6-song collection features not only the recordings for each song, but also a PDF download with lyrics and chords. Five of the songs are originals I’ve written, and one is an adaptation of a pop song that I use frequently with my kiddos.

Give your month repertoire a boost with Listen, Learn, Love! — at $5 for this package deal, what’s there not to L-O-V-E? Happy February!

You Are Loved

Valentine's Day Song

Happy Valentine’s Day! I know that lots of people regard this as a “Hallmark holiday” and I do, too…for the most part. But there’s nothing wrong with having an excuse to show the people in your life — not just a significant other — just how much you care about them.

One of my favorite ways to do that is to write songs. I’m constantly writing them for my students, but I’ve also written many for my friends and family. There was the Valentine’s Day song for my husband, the 50th birthday song for my mom, and the 80th birthday song for my grandma, among many others.

But the one I want to share today was written for my two good friends as a wedding gift last year. I was listening to it over the weekend and realized that it could apply to anyone…even YOU. Because it’s true :)

Look around,
Take in the sound,
You are loved, loved, loved.

Breathe in it,
Feel it on your skin,
You are loved, loved, loved.

Not only for today,
But happily ever after.
Let it guide you along your way,
Through the tears and through the laughter.

Know this one thing is true,
In all you do,
You are loved.

When this moment’s gone,
And time ticks on,
You are loved, loved, loved.

Near or far,
No matter where you are,
You are loved, loved, loved.


Love will keep you warm,
Be your shelter from every storm,
Lighting your path,
Wherever it leads,
Whatever your journey.


You are loved, loved, loved.
You are loved, loved, loved.

Again, I’ll say it: Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovebirds. I hope my song has inspired you to remind the people in your life that they are loved today and always!

Free “Feelings” Visual Aide Download

Girl Showing Love

I love to sing The Feelings in My Heart around this time of year, what with so much talk about Valentine’s Day, hearts, and love.  This is one of my favorite Listen & Learn songs — it’s even featured on my studio album.

And that leads me to the highlight of this post: a visual aide download to go along with the song. I like to give my students an example of each emotion as it is mentioned in the song, and while in the past I’ve used illustrations, this year I wanted to use stock pictures of real children to which they could better relate.

Visual Aide Download: The Feelings in My Heart

As described in the PDF download above, I laminated the pictures, cut them out, and single-hole punched them so that I could keep them together with a binder ring. They were a hit when I used them for the first time yesterday afternoon with a group of young music therapy students. We used sign language for each emotion as we looked at the pictures during the song — talk about a multi-sensory experience!

Here’s the full song and lyrics, as well as the instrumental version.  I hope you can make use of this visual aide (and if so, please let me know in the comments how you plan to do so).

Speech Therapy + Music Therapy = <3

Speech Therapy and Music Therapy

That’s the emoticon version of a heart, in case you were wondering.  Valentine’s Day is a week away, so this is the perfect time to talk about what a great pair speech therapy and music therapy make.

I love collaborating with the speech therapist at my school, so much so that I recently gave a presentation about music therapy for communication goals to her speech and language pathology association.  The children with whom we work respond to music above everything else, so incorporating music into speech interventions makes them even more effective.

This month, speech and language goals for our students are centered around the theme of friendship, and target words include I, you, friend, heart, and the colors pink, red, and white.  Our speech therapist put together some simple song ideas, and my job was the add the music.

I am your friend,
You are my friend,
We are all friends together.
Everywhere we go,
At work and at play,
We are all friends together.

I’m going to the store to buy candy hearts,
To buy candy hearts,
To buy candy hearts.
I’m going to the store to buy candy hearts,
To give to my friend on Valentine’s Day.

Some of the hearts are pink or red or white,
Pink or red or white,
Pink or red or white.
Some of the hearts are pink or red or white,
All for my friend on Valentine’s Day.

Both the speech therapist and I include these songs in our sessions so that the students are exposed to these concepts frequently throughout the month.  Collaboration is key in the classroom setting…plus I love being part of a team.  How do you collaborate with other professionals to enhance students’ progress?

My Funny Valentine

I’m not talking about the old song; I’m referring to my wonderful husband of one and a half years!  Even though we haven’t been married for very long, we have a very interesting history that goes back to before either of us hit puberty.  And in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m going to tell you our story.

Zach and I started dating as 21-year-olds in 2004 (September 16, to be exact) but we first met at the age of 11.  Fifth grade.  We became friends, and would hang out in big groups after school and on the weekends.  The next year, Zach asked me to be his girlfriend.  We were each other’s first kiss, and he even told me he loved me.  Needless to say, he was heartbroken when I broke up with him a month later.  He still gives me a hard time about that!

Zach and I remained friends through our sophomore year of high school, but at that point, we drifted apart.  We still had lots of mutual friends, but he was too much of a party animal for me.  After graduation, I didn’t see Zach again until I ran into him the night of my 21st birthday, at a bar of all places.  We were inseparable the rest of the summer, but didn’t make it official until the fall.

In 2005, Zach graduated from college and returned to Springfield to start his career.  I still had a year of graduate school left, so we only saw each other on the weekends.  It was a tough year, to say the least, but we still managed to have a lot of fun.

2006 was another challenging year, because I spent most of it in St. Louis doing my music therapy internship.  Luckily, I was able to live with Zach’s sister and brother-in-law, and I went home on the weekends to see him.  Zach took me on my first trip to Las Vegas (the picture is of us on the plane…can you tell I’m excited?) and we bought our first house.

In 2007, I finished my internship and finally got to live in Springfield permanently.  I got a great job, and soon after that, Zach proposed!  He took me completely by surprise, luring me to the Ritz-Carlton in St. Louis on false pretenses and asking me to marry him in a room filled with rose petals, candles, and “our” song playing.  When we went down to the lobby for a celebratory drink, we found our entire families waiting to celebrate with us.

On August 8, 2008 (8-8-08…can you guess my lucky number?) Zach and I had the most beautiful, perfect, and fun wedding.  After a week in St. Lucia on our honeymoon, we returned to real life as a married couple.  Turns out 2008 was the year of weddings, including Zach’s brother’s just a few months after ours.

2009 started off with a bang: we bought a new house!  We spent the next few months decorating and nesting, and I moved my private practice from the “road” into my new home studio.  In May, we added a new member to our family…our golden retriever, Sadie.  Career-wise, we both had amazing years; Zach earned the prestigious title of AAA’s “Agent of the Year” while I successfully raised money to record a professional CD, presented at the AMTA National Conference, and was featured in the media several times.

2010 has only just begun, but so far it has been great!  We took an exciting trip to New York City and attended our friends’ gorgeous wedding last month, and we are already looking forward to a few days of sun and fun in San Antonio this April.

Tonight we are going out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day…our 6th together, with many more to come!  I feel so lucky to have such a supportive, successful, and loving husband, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.