As I type this blog post, there are snowflakes flying outside my office window. It’s no secret that I am not a fan of winter, and luckily the Midwest hasn’t been hit too hard with the white stuff so far this year.
I shouldn’t speak too soon, though, because we are expecting almost two inches on Thursday; good thing I’m prepared with plenty of snow-themed songs! The newest addition to the collection is Snowflakes, Snowflakes.
One of my favorite types of songs to use in music therapy sessions and classes is that with varying dynamics or tempos, and this falls into the latter category (going from slow to fast). My kiddos are always up to the challenge of playing their instruments along “even faster” — sometimes it’s hard to keep up with them!
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Last week as I was putting together the fall curriculum for Church Mice — the music and movement class for young children I’ve led for the past 6 years — I realized I was in need of some new “rhythm sticks” songs.
We play several instruments during the 45 minute class, and rhythm sticks are one of them. But nothing in my song collection was jumping out at me, so I decided to write a new one. That particular day it had been storming on and off all morning, which inspired Thunder & Raindrops.
When I introduced this song at Church Mice for the first time yesterday, I had the children practice making both thunder and raindrop sounds by playing their sticks on the floor. Thunder was loud, slow and steady, while raindrops were quick and a little softer (or as soft as three-year-olds will play).
I arranged the recording to reflect the difference in sound from thunder to raindrops, but it’s so much more fun to play in person with a big group of kids! I highly recommend giving it a try if you have the opportunity.
The timing of this song is a little ironic, since we haven’t had rain here in central Illinois for what seems like weeks now. But I wrote the lyrics a couple of months ago and felt inspired to finish the song over the weekend, so maybe if I sing it a whole lot, we’ll actually get some sprinkles? Wishful thinking, I know ;)
The lyrics came to me in the midst of a huge thunderstorm, during which it thundered so hard my whole house shook. I like a good rain from time to time, so it didn’t bother me, but the storm got me thinking about how bad weather affects people — adults and kids alike.
I wanted to put a positive spin on the weather by acknowledging that it can make us feel blue, but we can look to those we love to make us feel better. This is especially true for little ones who need some comforting during scary storms.
Now, if only I had a reason to share this song with my students. Come on, rain!
Spring not only brings a change in the weather, but it also brings a change in mood. At least, that’s true for me and many of my students — like me, lately they’ve seemed just a little more smiley and excited than usual. Day after day of sunshine and warmth has been amazing!
But I also appreciate a good spring shower, which is what this week’s song is all about. There are already so many great songs I use in music therapy sessions on this topic, but I was inspired by a friend to write this one. Check it out:
A couple of good showers have snuck their way in amongst all this sunshine, and already the trees and flowers are blooming. Just the other day, their beauty caught me by surprise as I drove down my tree-lined street, and at that moment, it felt really good to be alive. Corny, yes? But like I said, spring has that affect on me!
Ask any of my friends or family and they’ll tell you: Rachel is NOT a winter person! I despise the cold and am deathly afraid of driving in any kind of hazardous weather condition.
So when I saw that snow was in the forecast this past week, I ran all of my errands and did my grocery shopping for the week. The next day I was able to admire the freshly fallen snow, only because I didn’t have to step foot in it. Have I mentioned how much I love working from home?!
I know that all of my students are enjoying the (very delayed) first real snowfall of the year, and I’m happy that all of these snowy songs are getting some play. But come February, I think I’ll be ready for spring! ;)
Welcome! I’m Rachel Rambach, board-certified music therapist and creator of Listen & Learn Music — educational songs and musical materials for children. I love sharing my work with you, along with my behind-the-scenes creative process, adventures in business ownership, and life as a mom of two little ones.
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