Sunday, August 5, 2018

Music and Math Concepts

As a school based music therapist, I assist a lot of students with their academics.  Whether it's breaking down a concept into steps or composing a repetitive jingle to help them remember facts or a certain process, music is very engaging and beneficial in the school setting.  

With younger students, I always strive to include songs in music therapy sessions that address basic math concepts.
One major math concept that students learn in PreK and Kindergarten is counting.

Students begin their experience with numbers through counting, number names and written numerals.  Students learn to count objects and begin to understand one-to-one correspondence.  

I love to use my "Count with Fingers" song with young children who are just beginning to count and grasp one-to-one correspondence.  


The tempo of this song allows students time to use their fingers to count each number.  As they count their fingers, they are also practicing fine motor skills and finger dexterity.  This song can easily be implemented by teachers as part of a morning group or circle time.  The great thing about it is music keeps counting fun and engaging!
As we're counting down the days until school officially starts, what songs do you use that help students learn to count?



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Back to School Grind

It's almost time to go back to school!

Every year around this time, parents and students start their back to school shopping.  The new school calendar goes up on the fridge.  It's time for new school clothes and shoes.  Open house nights are just around the corner and mom and dad start creeping back the bedtimes as well.

For some students, it's an exciting time.  However, there are some students that really prefer the relaxed schedule of summer.  They thrive on all the attention given by mom and dad, grandma and other extended family members who are close to them.  They wish they could go back to that week of vacation where they got to see and do so many fun things.

For these students in particular, the back to school grind is challenging.  It takes awhile for them to get back into the swing of things.

What can you do to help these students?  I like to use music as a motivator.
I wrote the song, "It's Time to Work" precisely for this time of year (as well as anytime there is a long break from school).

You can sing this song, sign this song ( I sign the words "time" "to" and "work" when introducing this song to students).  You can also get the group up to dance to this song.  With older students, you can also have a discussion with them about work that is hard for them, frustration, how to handle those situations, etc..



The song is catchy, it's fun and hopefully will motivate a student or two to recognize it's time to work!

What are some of your go-to back to school motivating strategies?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Importance of Planning

Summer is one of my favorite seasons.  It is a time to de-stress, spend time with family and have time to yourself to do whatever you enjoy doing.  Summer is also a time when many of us school-based music therapists do a lot of planning. 

I find that planning ahead helps lessen my stress.  Instead of pulling all-nighters and being in a rush the morning of, I give myself time to think of creative ideas.  I take the time to research what other music therapists are doing and create my own ideas as well.  Over the years I have found that if I procrastinate with planning,  I feel more stressed and not as creative. 

If you're a school-based music therapist and you are trying to plan ahead for the upcoming school year, you may be interested in my e-book:  "The Back to School Batch". 

The Back to School Batch is a digitally downloadable songbook designed with the music therapist and special education teacher in mind.  It features 12 original songs that cover a variety of daily topics and routines that students learn in the classroom. 
With the purchase of the E-Book, you will receive sheet music for each song, ideas and suggestions for implementation for each song, as well as instrumental accompaniment tracks and mp3's of each song.
These songs are ideal for groups as well as one-on-one clients and are appropriate for students with a wide range of diagnoses.  This E-Book is guaranteed to help you teach More with Music!

To find out more and to purchase "The Back to School Batch", click here.




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Plants Adapt

Happy Thursday!
Many of the classrooms I serve in the public school setting have been learning about plants.  We sing about the parts of a plant (find it here), and the needs of a plant.  For our middle and high school students, we also sing about photosynthesis, (which I'll be sharing soon!).  Earlier this week I recorded two additional songs about plants.

Today I'll be sharing one of those songs:  Plant Adaptation.
Researching this topic was very interesting.  At the same time, I found it challenging to keep the song short and simple.  After many drafts, I finally finished writing the song and decided on a jazz chord progression for the accompaniment.
(Warning:  This song is catchy and it may get stuck in your head!)



The repetitive chorus is intended to help students learn the main idea:  plants adapt in order to live.
The chorus can also be used to engage students who use a voice output device.  They can sing along with this repetitive part if it is prerecorded on their device.

Stay tuned for another song about plants next week!

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Life Cycle of a Butterfly

Spring is in full bloom here!    
I love this time of year because students can learn and observe so much while being out in the beautiful  weather.  

Many classrooms that I work with are learning about life cycles. The past two weeks in particular, we have been learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.   Today I want to share a song I wrote about this with you!


The vocabulary in the song includes the following key vocabulary words:  
butterfly
eggs
caterpillar
chrysalis

I kept this song simple and allowed for repetition within almost all of the verses.  I also searched and found signs (ASL) for the four key vocabulary words listed above, as well as the following words:  fly, hatch, eat, spin.  I use these signs while singing the song so students have a motion for each part of the life cycle.  

The students have picked this song up very quickly and many of them are singing along on the repetitive phrases and mirroring the signs as well!

What other butterfly songs do you sing with your students or groups?

As always, thanks for stopping by!