Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wait a minute!

We live in a world where for the most part, we like things to move at a steady, if not speedy pace. We all but expect self gratification.

If something is supposed to work, we want it to work. If we are traveling somewhere and know on average, how long it should take to get there, we don't want to run into too many diversions along the way that might slow us down.

Patience is indeed a virtue, and in the world of special education it's a requirement.
As a music therapist who works with students with a variety of special needs, I often have to wait.

Wait for what?

I wait for a student to respond to a question, to choose an instrument, to give me an answer via eye gaze to a question,etc..
Technically speaking, I give the student wait time.

What is a "wait time"?

A wait time is defined as the duration of pauses separating utterances in a conversation, (i.e. the time a teacher waits after asking a question and after receiving a response).

Another definition I found online for wait time is the amount of time that elapses between a tutor-initiated (teacher) question and the next verbal behavior (e.g., a student response).

Wait time is an important tool to use in music therapy sessions. It gives the student time to process what you said and/or asked them to do. Some students who have apraxia, require the wait time so that they can process what you said and then form their answer/opinion/choice,etc..

So, a wait time is very important to therapists and students they serve.

Wait a minute-what do I do during a wait time?

Stay tuned for my next post here on More with Music when I'll give you ideas and more information about wait time, what to do and not do, and how to validate a student's responses or non-responses during a wait time!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Busy as a bee-that's me!
While this post is later than expected, it's up today!

Today will be the last post for Movin' Around the World. I've covered all but one continent, and today I'll be sharing a song to teach about Australia.

Known as the "land down under", Australia is a beautiful continent with a wide variety of topics to teach about to students.

Like the other continent songs I've posted here on More with Music, I always try to write a chorus that the students will be able to sing (whether they sing with their own voice or with the help of a voice output device that I prerecord the chorus into for them). A couple of weeks ago, I was working in a middle school class with several students with autism, and as I was setting up to start my session with that class, I heard a student humming to himself. I kept listening as I was setting up and sure enough-he was humming the chorus to the Australia song! :) The cool thing about it is we haven't been studying Australia this year yet, so he remembered it from last year and associated the song with me as I came into the room!

So, below is the Australia song. If you would like a song sheet for this song, complete with lyrics and guitar chords, just send me an email to

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas and look forward to more posts in 2012!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Movin' Around the World

It's Monday, and that means it's time for another continent song!
In case you've missed a few posts, I've been Movin' around the World with songs to help teach students about each of the 7 Continents.

If you scroll down below, you can catch up on previous continent posts and even a song to introduce the 7 continents as well!

There are only two continents left to sing about, and today's song will be about Antarctica.

Besides being one of the coldest places I know, Antarctica is actually an interesting continent to study. Many scientists travel there each year to research global warming and the effects it has on the water, land, animals, and weather.

I always think it's interesting when I learn something new after researching information to write a song about a certain topic. When I researched Antarctica, I was surprised to learn that moss actually grows there! I also enjoy finding out which animals live on each continent.

If you would like a song sheet for the Antarctica song, send an email to

As always, thanks for stopping by More with Music.
I hope all of you have a great week!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Welcome back!

It's time for another post about continent as I continue my weekly "Movin' Around the World" theme for Mondays.
I'm getting this post in just under the wire, but technically it's still Monday, and oh what a busy Monday it has been!

Nevertheless, today's continent song is about Europe. After today's post, there are only two continents left to sing about, so I hope you all have enjoyed some of these songs.

To help teach students about Europe, this song talks about Europe's flags, islands, peninsulas, European money (the Euro), languages, its long rivers and canals, its mountains (for skiing), its castles and the amazing food there.

As always, if you would like a song sheet for this song, complete with guitar chords, just send me an email to

Stay tuned for some upcoming holiday posts!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Number Rock

Welcome back!
Today is Tuesday, so I wanted to share a therapy tool today (for all of you long term readers out there...remember when I said therapy tools would be posted on Tuesdays?):)

Have you ever wondered what you could buy a new music therapist or a brand new music therapy student just starting out? Need an idea for a Christmas gift?
One of my top recommendations are the Prelude Music Therapy song books!

The Prelude Music Therapy Songbooks are great and include sheet music as well as lyrics and chords for each song. But wait-there's more! Most song sheets also give ideas and implementations for the song as well!

One song in particular that I learned several years ago from one of the Prelude songbooks was the Number Rock. It's a catchy, jazzy tune that the students love. Many students with special needs require lots of repetition in order to learn new material. The Number Rock is an example of a non-threatening way to provide the students with the repetition they need in a fun way-with a song!

The Prelude Music Therapy song sheet features numbers 1-10. I added my own spin on numbers 11-20, created visual aids and made a windows movie for the students I serve. *This song is only used for educational purposes.

Movin' Around the World

Welcome Back!
It's Monday and that means it's time for another continent song!

Our next stop will be Asia.
Asia is a very large continent. When I began researching and writing the beginnings of a song about Asia, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of a song about Asia, I decided to write a song about a country in Asia. I thought students would be more familiar (or at least distantly familiar with one of the countries because of news and media coverage about the countries in Asia), compared to the whole continent itself.

So, today's song will be a song about China.

I purposely structured this song so that each phrase would repeat to give time for students (verbal and non-verbal), to sing along, as well as give the teacher time to show visual pictures representing each verse to the students.

If you would like a song sheet for the China song, simply an email to

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Tunes

The countdown is on!
Turkey Day is quickly approaching!
In the midst of the holiday preparations, I want to share a few songs that I use for the Thanksgiving theme.

The first song I love to use is actually one by Hap Palmer. It talks about things we are thankful for. I created pictures to represent each answer in the song and in sessions, ask students to tell me what they are thankful for.

<a href="">I am Thankful by More with Music</a>

The next song I like to use is Ted the Turkey. Ted is a turkey who is running away for the dreaded Thanksgiving Day! I love to use this song because I get so many creative answers when we ask the question, "Where should Ted hide?" For some students, I have picture cards for them to choose a place for the turkey to hide (i.e. house, car, barn, truck, bale of hay,etc..).
<a href="">Ted the Turkey by More with Music</a>

The Pilgrims and the Indians is another song I use mainly with the high school-aged students.
Many times the middle school students like it too though!
It is a song that very simply tells the story of the Pilgrims and the Indians and the first Thanksgiving. I created picture cards to help tell the story and the song can be sequenced with the pictures, (in terms of the Pilgrims coming from Europe to America, the ship they traveled on, etc..).

And finally, the last song for today's post is The Turkey Flew.
I wrote this song based on an idea from a children's story. In the story, the turkey falls out of the oven and the family has to "make do" with the food they have left for their feast.
I sing this song and then use this song to teach the food/dish names for Thanksgiving dinner. I ask students what they would eat for Thanksgiving and have picture cards to represent the different foods mentioned in the song.

So, that's it for today! Whew! What songs do you like to use for a Thanksgiving theme or Turkey theme?

Thanks for stopping by! I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Welcome back!
I'm getting this post in just under the wire! But, it is technically still Monday here, so it's time for another post to get us Movin' Around the World.

If you missed any of the other posts about the continents, just scroll down below and you can catch up!

As you can see above, today's post will be about Africa, one of the 7 continents.
Africa is a very large continent. When I researched Africa, I wanted to highlight a few things about Africa that the students could relate to and learn about.

So, I definitely chose the oceans surrounding Africa, the landscapes, and of course many of the animals. I work with children with a variety of special needs, so in case you wonder while you're listening to the song, I purposely repeat verses in the song so that all students can see the visuals while we sing the song and/or so students have time to "sing" via a voice output device within the sessions. When I am in the classrooms, I adapt to whatever each classroom in particular needs. Sometimes I don't repeat each verse, and sometimes I do.

If you would like a song sheet for the Africa song, simply send me an email to and I will be happy to email it to you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Welcome back!

I'm a day late, but excited to share another post about one of the 7 Continents!

Last week, I posted a song about North America. If you missed it, just scroll down below and you will find it right under this post. :)

Our next stop while "movin' around the world" is South America.

When I wrote this song, I wanted to give it a different sound and strum. Since there are so many spanish speaking countries in South America, I went with a strum that I feel sounds like a spanish song.

So, here it is-the South America song.
If you would like a song sheet for this song, please send me an email to

Have a great day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Welcome back!

It's Monday, so it's time for another song about the 7 Continents!

Last week I shared my 7 Continents song that previews a little about continents in general. Now we're moving on to one continent in specific...North America!

When I wrote each continent song, I had several goals in mind.

The first goal was to give each song an opener--a part of the song the students would most likely be able to sing.
The second goal was to give the students details about where each continent is in relation to other places (i.e. states, countries, continents, etc.).

I support each part of the song with visual pictures, via power point presentations.

So, here it is: North America

If you would like a lyric sheet for the North America song, complete with guitar chords, please email me at

As always, thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Get ready for Veteran's Day

Welcome back!
This Friday, November 11th, is Veteran's Day.
Many people have the day off from school and/or work this Friday, but it's important for us to teach our students about Veterans and what an amazing job they do for us and our country.

Today's post will help you get ready with a song and a visual aide!

When I wrote this song, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

So, I used pictures to show military (soldier saluting to the American flag, and patches from each military group), a picture to represent freedom (the Statue of Liberty), and a picture to represent our country (USA map picture).

Before singing the song, I always teach/review how to say "Thank you" with sign language. We do this motion every time "We Thank You" is heard in the song. This makes it possible for many students (verbal and nonverbal students), to participate in this song.

So, below you will find the song and a windows movie that goes along with the song.

What song(s) do you like to sing to celebrate Veteran's Day?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Movin' Around the World

Today is my first post for Movin' Around the Word-The 7 Continents.
As of last month, I officially have songs to help teach a little about all of the 7 Continents.
I will be sharing them with all of you each Monday, so be sure to mark your calendars!

To start movin' around the world, we first have to review the 7 continents. So that is what I will post today.
This song reviews the 7 continents, what they are, and what surrounds them. I encourage you to have students use their fingers and count the continents as you sing and/or play the song. I promise it will "sink in" faster this way!

So, here it is, The 7 Continents!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

We say, "Boo!"

I'm sure you guessed from the title already, but today's post is about Halloween!
As of today, the countdown is on with only 7 days left to plan your perfect costume!
I just realized that that means there are only a few days left to buy candy for all the ghosts and goblins as well!

I really like Halloween as a holiday, but I also like to keep it friendly and fun. I definitely stay away from scary themes.

One song I like to use in particular for Halloween is Hap Palmer's, Witches Brew. If you haven't heard this song yet, trust me-it's an oldie, but a goody!

Another song I wrote last year is "We say Boo!"
You can easily use a voice output device with this song for the word "Boo!" for students who are nonverbal or that have speech delays. The more spirited you say "Boo!" the more they get into it!

This song also mentions things we do on Halloween like wearing a costume, going trick or treating, collecting candy, etc.. It is especially helpful for students with autism if you talk about, sing about, and look at pictures/videos of upcoming holidays and/or events and share with them what happens during these events. It lets them know what to expect and what people do before and during these events.

As always, if you would like a song sheet complete with lyrics and guitar chords for this song, just send an email to

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Listen for the Pattern

Many young students in school spend a lot of time finding patterns. Most of the time, students are introduced to color patterns and shape patterns first. But once simple patterns are learned, many others can be introduced.

I wanted to share a song I wrote (that I use quite frequently0, to help students learn and review their patterns. It's called, "Listen for the Pattern", and I often use Remo Sound Shapes drums(see picture above) as visual aides with this song in particular.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
As always, if you have any questions or would like to request a song sheet for this song, please email me at

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October Song

Welcome back!
Today I wanted to share a song about the month of October.
But first, I have to share my inspiration for this song.

Last year, I heard several songs for particular months of the year by Rachel Rambach over at Listen, Learn, Music. Rachel is a board certified music therapist who is an awesome singer and song writer. Rachel also has a lot of experience working with kids.

After hearing several of Rachel's songs that corresponded to each month of the year, I knew I wanted to write some of these songs as well.

I've been working on songs for the upcoming months of the year as well. I'll be sharing them soon!

As always, song sheets for this song are available. If you need a song sheet for the October song (complete with lyrics and guitar chords), just send me an email at

Hope you are having a great weekend!

It's October!

October is finally here!
The fall season has officially begun and cooler weather and Halloween are on the way!
I am currently working on several new songs for the month of October, but wanted to remind you of a song I posted last year.

<a href="">I have a Pumpkin by More with Music</a>

The song, "I have a pumpkin", is a very simple song that addresses basic shapes and parts of a face. I made my own laminated, paper visual as well as designed a Smartboard page to use in sessions. You can follow the instructions in the song, such as, "I'll use two triangles to make his eyes" and ask students to find triangles when paired with other shapes. On another day, you can ask students to pick a shape to put on the pumpkin to make his eyes. This is a great way to target choice making in non-verbal clients (via eye gaze, pointing, touching picture choice, using voice output device,etc.) and an excellent way to reinforce speech with speech delayed students.

Stay tuned for another song about October!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Therapy Tools Tuesday

Today's post is another (hopefully) helpful tool you can use for therapy.
The tool itself actually falls in the organization and storage category for therapy.

Take a look at these:

You might wonder, "How can these be used as a tool in therapy?"

I use these little bags, called makeup bags, as storage for picture cards (also known as PECS). I work in many classrooms that serve students who are nonverbal (for a variety of reasons and diagnoses), so we use pictures to help the students communicate. With pictures, students can say Yes/No, More/Finished, and can have a choice of objects. The picture cards are definitely helpful when giving the students choices of rhythm instruments to play during music therapy sessions.

I also include number cards, color cards, sometimes alphabet letter cards, and pictures of objects that are mentioned in songs we are currently singing (for example, in our fall song, students are shown pictures of red apples, fall leaves, pumpkins,etc.). Some students even learn to sequence objects in a song with the picture cards!

So, there you have it. Makeup bags can be a great tool for storing picture cards that aid in communication in music therapy sessions.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Welcome back!

Yesterday was officially the first day of Fall!
Around here, there are already tons of places selling pumpkins and the fall colors are starting to appear.

In the Fall season, there are always county and state fairs in so many places. Many classrooms learn about animals and animals that live on a farm during this time of the year.

Today I wanted to share a song I wrote and use in classrooms to teach about animals that live on a farm. It's a very simple song, but it is a song with very basic goals in mind. A few of these goals include recognizing animals by picture and recognizing animals by the sounds they make.

When teaching about animals, it is so cool to use their real sounds and I think the students remember more about the animals if they hear their real sounds.

To accomplish this goal, I designed an activity using SMART Notebook 10 software. Most of the classrooms I work with all have SMART boards in their classrooms and incorporate them into almost everything they teach.

A few samples from slides in this activity are below.

I use the first slide when I'm introducing the song to the group and singing it with/to them. The animals are all on the slide as a visual and the teacher can play the song I sing when I'm not there, by simply pressing the speaker icon. Each specific animal sound can be heard by pressing the speaker icon by each animal. The second slide focuses on the students finding the animals that match each sound. The third slide focuses on the students recognizing each animal and figuring out the pattern of the animals on the slide.

As always, thanks for stopping by! My posts are few and far between lately, but I appreciate all my readers.
Have a great weekend!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Rhyme Song


It's the weekend and I finally found some time to make a blog post! :)

Today's post will be a new song I just finished last week. It is a song I wrote to help teach the concept of a rhyme.

The song's lyrics encourage students to "listen with their ears" for words that sound alike. It explains the concept of a rhyme with the lyrics: "When words sound alike, we say they rhyme."

I made visuals to go along with each word family mentioned in the Rhyme song so students can see each word that rhymes with a matching picture.

I'm anxiously awaiting putting this song into use as well!

So, without further discussion, here it is! Song sheet to follow soon! :)

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

You gotta keep your head up

As a music therapist, I always try to stay current with music that is popular each year. I have found that some music therapists do this more than others.

Depending on which population(s) music therapists are employed to work with, they may or may not need to dwell in modern or popular music. Songs from the 1920s and 30s might be their focus, or children's songs, or even instrumental music for relaxation and reflection might be more in demand with their clients.

Nevertheless, I like to have a general idea what's going on in modern/popular music and many times, I find the ideas motivating to me in terms of song writing.

Here's an example:

Lately, I've been loving this tune by Andy Grammer. It's called, "Keep Your Head Up".

I'll admit, it's an upbeat song that is good for my "self Music Therapy" when it's been a long day or I feel like I still have a lot to accomplish on any given day.

Aside from that, I had this song stuck in my head for days and was inspired by it so much, that I adapted the lyrics and the tune a bit for one of the topics I was trying to write a song about: the 5 themes of geography.

So, I wanted to share that particular song today.

*This song is intended for educational use only!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A shape called a Circle song sheet

Take a deep breath...make sure you are sitting down...

I don't want to over excite anyone out there, but here's a new post on
More with Music!!!

I apologize for the scarcity of posts here on More with Music.

The beginning of the school year is always a SUPER busy time with students coming back to school, getting everyone settled in their classrooms, learning new students (names and personalities), and writing new songs to get the school year started.

I also have to mention that I'm the proud parent of a 2nd grader this year and happy he's adjusted so well getting into his back to school schedule. :)

But without further digression, today's song post is the song sheet for the song A shape called a Circle.

I have received so many nice emails in response to this song and hope you take a minute to listen to it. :) I'm eagerly awaiting using this song for the first time in many of the classrooms I serve this week and next.

Now, not to shock you twice in one blog post, but stay tuned for another post tomorrow! Yes, for real, no joke!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you are having a great Labor Day weekend!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Round Two!

Tomorrow officially starts my second year as a full time music therapist in a public school setting.

My caseload will be pretty much the same, and a majority of the classrooms will be in the same places, same teachers, etc..

For any of you who are new to reading my blog, I am a board certified music therapist who serves approximately 34 classrooms throughout the school year.

I travel to about 18 classrooms each week to do 30 minute music therapy sessions, and each classroom sees me every other week. I serve students(in our county they are labeled Low Incidence), from preK all the way up to high school (this includes a wide variety of developmental disabilities, Autism, etc.).

It's quite a schedule to juggle, but overall it has a lot of great moments.

At the end of this past school year, I made a list of things that helped me and things that I need to remember. So, I'm sharing my list today in hopes that it helps someone else out there in the wide world of the internet. :)

Ten things you need to remember:

1. Be yourself (You are the only person who can be you. The more you are you-the more you will learn about yourself and changes you may want to make.)

2. Check any baggage at the door. (The students deserve it.)

3. Make a point of asking how the teacher is doing. (Sometimes you will be the only one who cares to ask on a given day)

4. Count students in the classroom (this will mentally help you plan activities on the spot, divide instruments, and help you know if someone leaves the session unexpectedly)

5. Have some sort of structure to your sessions that the students can follow. (You don't have to do the same songs all the time, but be predictable on a few).

6. Compliment hard work when you see it. (This goes for the students, teachers, staff, etc. Everyone needs to know that you can tell they are making a difference.)

7. Find quiet time to think and reflect. (This is really important. Think and plan your next session. Reflect on what worked, why it worked, how interventions can work better, who you can ask for input, who else knows the student and can provide insight, what can you do different,etc. )

8. Think of at least 2-3 interventions to use with your favorite songs to use in sessions. (You can't always predict what's going to happen on any given day and this will help you be flexible.)

9. Give yourself time. (To reflect, to read, to grow, to improve, to observe, to vent, to practice, to listen, to laugh, to appreciate, to evaluate, etc.)

10. Always remember that you can never predict how your music will reach a person on any given day. Music is the universal language, and we all need it in our lives.

Friday, August 12, 2011


What is PS22?

PS22 is the name of an AMAZING chorus directed by Gregg Breinberg, and composed of 60-70 fifth-graders from a public school in Staten Island, New York (Public School 22). This choir has been singing and performing since the year 2000 and has already performed with an amazingly long list of major music artists!

PS22 is the largest elementary school in Staten Island which draws students from a wide cross section of ethnic groups and socio-economic levels.

The chorus has become a bonafide internet sensation over the last few years, and after you see some of their videos and hear them, you'll understand why!

I guarantee you will be blown away by the chorus itself, but while you're watching, be sure to observe how many students are actively engaged in the music and singing, how many students are singing whole-heartedly, and how much this chorus means to them!

They are truly an awesome chorus in my opinion and music is definitely a universal language for them. I'm posting two of their many songs they have sung. They are so good I couldn't just post one!

You can find more of their songs and videos on youtube. Just search PS22 chorus.
You can also find out current info and the latest news about PS22 on their blog here.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A shape called a Circle

The school year is fastly approaching and I've been going through my bank of songs the past few days.

I have been going over many of my "standards" I use in classrooms each week, and also sorting through songs that I want to make more interesting, motivating, catchy,etc..

So, here's a song I wrote and recorded yesterday about circles. I think it's more catchy and motivating than the song I usually use to teach about the shape of a circle. I can't wait to use it with the students in the schools I serve!

In terms of using this song in sessions, I plan on singing it while we show and play circles (Remo shape drums are awesome for this in particular!), and also with some of the younger, severe profound young students, we'll try using a 10" or larger hand drum and hand over hand, help them rub their palms on the drum in a circular motion while we sing about the circles. The sensory stimulation should be good for them too. :) I'm also planning on trying to move some of the groups that are mostly in wheelchairs in a circle formation. I think it will be a lot of fun!

So, here's the song below. I'll post the song sheet for it soon-maybe even tomorrow!

Having a Conversation Song Sheet

Welcome back!

Yesterday, I posted a new song called Having a Conversation.
If you missed the post, you can read and hear it here.

Today's post is the song sheet for that song. The lyrics and chords are included on the song sheet.

Song sheets are totally free here at More with Music, so please let me know if you would like a song sheet for any of the other songs I've posted.

Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Having a Conversation

For some children and adolescents with developmental delays (and other various special needs), having a conversation with someone can be a very complex task.

In order to have a conversation with someone, you have to understand numerous social skills. You have to understand turn taking, attending to and paying attention to what someone else is saying. You also need to be able to comprehend what the person is saying, talking about,etc..

I have had this song in my head for about a month now, and I finally decided to put it into action and hear how it would sound! I think the end product is good, and this song could definitely be personalized for individual children and their particular goals (speech goals, social skill phrases,etc.).

In music therapy sessions, I would definitely slow down the tempo when practicing the conversation parts of this song with students.

So, without further delay, here it is and I will post the song sheet for this song tomorrow.

I hope your week is off to a great start! Be sure to come back soon! :)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer is Hot, Hot, Hot Song Sheet

Welcome back!

We had some much needed rain here in North Carolina today, but it is still hot!

I know we haven't been having the hottest temperatures compared to other states in the US, but it still feels hot and humid when we step outside here in NC.

Today's post is directly related to the heat outside. I'm sharing the song sheet for a song I posted back in June called, "Summer is Hot, Hot, Hot!" I'll post the song also, in case you need a refresher. :)

I hope all of you are finding ways to stay cool as the summer season continues to run its course. Be sure to stop back soon!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Taking on Bullying

Bullying among school-aged youth is a significant problem, and it continues to increase.

It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. (National Education Association)

One in seven students is either a bully or victim.
56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.

In order to reduce bullying in schools, students need to be taught how to deal with situations where bullies confront them.

One such band, Debbie and Friends, is taking on bullying with younger children in a very creative way- with music!

In their new song and dance number called, "Walk Away", they introduce the basic ideas of bullying and that you should "just walk away, no matter what they say."

Below is their storyboard preview to go along with the song. The finished cartoon will be out in September 2011.

You can also check out a previous post here on More with Music called Hands are not for Hitting here.

Do you know other songs that deal with bullying and how to deal with being bullied? Please share if you do!

As always, thanks for stopping by and stop back soon for More with Music!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


We all make mistakes, every single one of us.

Awhile back, another great music therapy blogger posted a song she remembered her mother singing to her as a child about mistakes. You can find Michelle Erfurt's mistake song over at The Music Therapy Tween here.

Well, I really liked that song, and then today I stumbled across a children's book that addresses the same topic, making mistakes, and also has a song! How cool!

The book is called Beautiful Oops and it is written by Barney Saltzberg.

It's really okay to make mistakes, and sometimes it takes awhile for all students to learn just that.

Here's a peak at Barney Saltzberg's book and song!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bare Necessities

What are your bare necessities in your work as a Music Therapist?

I was recently talking to another music therapy friend of mind, and the topic of our conversation was how different our bare necessities are on a daily basis. The populations and age groups of the clients really do influence which instruments and extras we pack to take along.

So, I thought it would be interesting to share this discussion and hopefully get some feedback and sharing going on.

I think any feedback could be beneficial to music therapy students, in terms of helping them to plan ahead and know what kinds of rhythm instruments they should start purchasing while they're still in school. Starting early sure makes growing a rhythm instrument collection easier, and in some ways cheaper!

So, to start us off, my bare necessities are:

My guitar!
A set of egg shakers (12 shakers at least, variety of colors helpful)
A set of adapted wrist egg shakers (at least one set of 2)
A set of lummi sticks/rhythm sticks (again, 6 pairs at least)
1-2 hand drums (10 or 12" preferably)
Bells (therabells preferrably, set of 6)
Cabasa (at least 2 of them)
Clatterpillar (at least 2 of them. Believe me-they are popular with most clients!)

There are tons of extra things you can pack as well (extra visuals, books, pictures, communication cards, voice output devices,etc.), but those are my bare necessities.

What are your bare necessities?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pick a card, Any card!

You may be wondering, "What are those?"

Well, they are a very helpful teaching tool I use with my private violin students.

These rhythm cards (as I refer to them), have proven to be very motivating and educational for many of my students!

We as teachers know that each student is unique and different. Each student has their own likes and dislikes about practice time, learning scales, learning technique, drilling challenging measures of music, performance postures, sight reading, and the list goes on and on, and on!

I use the rhythm cards during lessons to help with several situations that come up from time to time.

The first time I introduce these rhythm cards to students is when they start learning how to play their major scales.

After students have a basic understanding of a scale or two, I ask them to memorize the scale(s). During the next lesson, they play the scale for me. We make sure it is in tune,etc., and then they get to pick a card. We talk about the meter and the rhythm on the card they picked. We clap and/or speak the rhythm on the card. Then I ask them to play the rhythm on the card for each note of the scale they memorized that week.

This is such a great way to assess their counting and sight reading skills!

Here's another peek at the various rhythms I introduce on the rhythm cards. These are usually rhythms we're targeting in their pieces as well.

There are a few more ways to incorporate rhythm cards into your private lessons. Be sure to come back tomorrow for another post about rhythm cards and ideas for incorporating them in private lessons!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Another great book!

Today's post may be short, but it is about such a great book!
I'm anxiously awaiting my own copy in the mail and highly recommend this book to anyone who works with children with special needs (especially children with autism, PDD-NOS,etc.).

Many students that music therapists typically see (especially students with autism, PDD-NOS), have various sensory issues that effect nearly everything they do. Students may have sensory issues with food, textures, water, heat and light, sounds,etc. and the list goes on and on.

After gaining knowledge about a few of the sensory issues listed above, I can personally say that some of my music therapy sessions were much better and were much less stressful for the students as well. Learning about these sensory issues and how to read each student as they participate in music therapy sessions definitely helps me as a music therapist.

This book,Insights into Sensory Issues for Professionals: Answers to Sensory Challenges, is a compilation of articles from the award winning S.I. Focus magazine.

Founded and published by Kathleen Morris, The S.I. magazine is the first of its kind serving as an international resource to parents and professionals. The articles included give readers more knowledge on how to improve sensory integration and how to address sensory processing deficits.

You can purchase this book here.

What other books have you read that helped you understand sensory issues?

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a great day!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Connect with More with Music!

Did you know that More with Music has a page on Facebook?

Just search for More with Music after you login to your Facebook account, and then you can see all posts duplicated there.

I also have a Twitter account, but quite honestly, I'm still trying to figure the whole Twitter thing out. I understand you follow and have followers, but I'm just trying to figure out the whole active "tweeting" thing.

If any of you wonderful readers of this blog and/or fellow bloggers would like to explain Twitter to me, please don't hesitate to email me at

Thanks for stopping by! I hope your week is off to a great start!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

But how can I help at home?

This is a question I have heard from many parents of children with special needs who are receiving music therapy.

If you think about it, it's actually a compliment.

They bring their child to you. They watch as their child achieves goals and learns so much with this nonthreatening medium called music. They observe and see that the music therapy interventions are motivating and fun, and these interventions allow their child to succeed on so many different levels.

How can they tap into all of that at home?

You can't exactly carbon copy each music therapy session, nor can you expect the child to respond the same way every time. You can recommend styles of music or certain standard children's songs/CDs,etc. that the parents can purchase and use with their child. You can also share particular songs you are using in sessions that their child particularly responds to each session.

I think parents need to think outside of the box in order to be really successful helping their child at home. I think a good start is to have a small assortment of rhythm instruments available to their child in their home (these can be homemade as well) and the parent can allow their child to initiate music time in their home. It is very helpful if parents are aware of their own child's goals beforehand, so that they can create fun experiences on the spot that help target those goals.

An example for this would be something like learning left and right.

Maybe the child gets out his drum and starts banging away with his right hand. The caregiver can instantly join in with a drum or just sit in front of the child and clap along while chanting something very simple like, "Playing with your right. Playing with your right. Playing drum with your right hand and that's alright."
Then the parent can encourage the child to switch hands and change the chant to, "Playing with your left. Playing with your left. Playing drum with your left hand and it's the best."

Keeping it fun and simple is really the key. Children love music and they love interacting with people with music.

How do you encourage parents to help their children at home?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Use the Force

Play is a very powerful "force".

As a music therapist, I find it so much easier to get students to challenge themselves when play is involved in the song and/or activity. As a mom, I use play as a motivating force with my own son throughout each and every day.

Yesterday, I was helping my son with his piano music. I have to be honest and say he wasn't overly excited that it was time to practice, but he came to the piano willingly when I asked him to, along with a few of his Star Wars Lego characters.

Sometimes, the legos (and other toys) can be a huge distraction, but yesterday, I decided to use the force..the power of play, to get him to do what I needed him to do.

The lego characters sat on top of the piano and "watched" my son to see how long he could look at the music and not down at his hands. They "watched" for good hand posture, and "listened" for the half notes to be a full two beats long. The lego lightsabers came in extra handy when my son played an incorrect note. He no longer showed frustration after making mistakes because a lego lightsaber was pointing to the correct notes.

The power of play made our piano practice time much more enjoyable and less stressful as well.

How do you use the powerful force of play?

Thanks for stopping by and please be sure to stop back soon!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Music Lab

Welcome back!

Today's post is long overdue! I've been enjoying my summer break and have found lots of ways to fill my time. I've also been gathering ideas and making lists of future posts that you will see here on More with Music.

So, even though my summertime posts may be fewer than I had intended, I'm still here and I have enjoyed hearing from many of you this summer.

I want to share a website with you that has been a lot of fun (for me anyways), to play with and use for additional instrument voicing ideas for some of my songs.

The website is The Music Lab.

There are TONS of sounds and effects from a wide variety of musical genres in the Sound Library to choose from. It's relatively easy to use as well!

I was working on some songs and tunes earlier today, and wanted to share a little composition I created. It's short and sweet! Click here to go to my composition. The song should start playing automatically.

Check it out and see what kinds of tunes you can create! It's so much fun to play around with and put different voices and instrumental effects together.

Thanks so much for stopping by and be sure to come back soon!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A great accessory!

While I'm finishing up my last day of vacation, I wanted to share a great accessory I use when practicing songs and recording my own songs.

It's called a copyholder and it holds any paper or even some small music books at an upright level for you to read while you're practicing. There are a wide variety of copyholders out there. I use a simple one that I found at a local office supply store which is made of a wire/mesh material and has two magnets that hold the document in place.

I am slowly but surely learning about accessories like this.

One of the main reasons I use a copyholder is to hold my music/song lyrics upright. It really does make a difference if you're going to be sitting there practicing and/or recording for half an hour, an hour and beyond. It reduces neck tension and strain and ultimately back tension because you are looking straight ahead, instead of leaning forward and looking at a document lying flat on a table or desk.

There are lots of little things we don't think of, that make a huge difference. Way back in November, I lifted my cart of instruments as I was going into a school to do music therapy sessions. I twisted my upper body to grab one more thing from my trunk as I was lifting. I didn't think of it at the moment, but later that evening, I felt it in a big way. After several weeks of self treating, icing, and stretching, I found I had a bulging disc in my lower back. It is one of those things that seems small, but effects everything you do.

I've learned a lot about chronic pain, nerves, discs of the spine and proper standing, sitting and bending this summer through working with a physical therapist. I've been so impressed and interested with the amount of knowledge physical therapists have of our bodies and body mechanics!

Very soon, we're going to be looking at my music cart in my trunk and discussing my options with that and how to manage traveling with all my instruments and accessories without hurting my back again. I'll keep you posted on my recommendations in case any of you traveling music therapists want a few tips for your cart (and back!).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Do it Yourself (DIY) rhythm instruments

As a blogger, I read several blogs each day. One of my favorite blogs, Kidz, posted some awesome Do it Yourself rhythm instrument ideas today! You're gonna love these ideas and I can't wait to make some of them myself.

When making homemade instruments, the ultimate question is, "How long will these hold up?" No one really knows for sure, and we all work with different populations that cause different wear and tear on our instruments.

One thing in particular you want to be careful about when making your own instruments, is making sure items, like bells, are firmly attached. They are one of the first things to come off of homemade and store-bought instruments and they pose a huge choking hazard too! I routinely check my bell collection to see if any of the little bells appear to be almost ready to come off.

If you're going to make homemade egg shakers or maraccas, just be sure whatever container you're using is firmly sealed. I have yet to find a way to make maraccas that withstands the use of most of my clients. Somehow they eventually crack open and beans or rice go everywhere!

With homemade rhythm sticks, after they are cut to the right size, they need to be sanded. They should feel smooth anywhere clients are going to be holding them. Also, if you're going to paint them, make sure you finish them off with a clear coat of sealer so that young (and older) students don't get paint residue and/or paint chips in their mouth if they happen to put the sticks in their mouth. Painting them with a coat of sealer also makes them easier to disinfect with a Chlorox wipe without wiping coats of the paint color off.

What DIY rhythm instruments have you made? Feel free to share ideas below!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A great summer read!

While I'm out of town on vacation (and away from my personal computer), I have discovered that the computers here won't readily read my flash drives. So....while I wholeheartedly intended on posting another song about maps, I decided to post about a book I'm currently reading.

(Don't worry, I'm in the process of figuring out the flash drive problem, so song posts will be coming soon!)

The book is called The Brain That Changes Itself.

First of all, I think this book is awesome!

This book is about brain science, but you don't have to be a brain surgeon to read it. If you're curious about the brain and how it can affect our psychology and what we think, then this is a good book for you!

This book explains and introduces many case studies involving neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain's ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

While that all sounds scientific and straight from a text book, this book actually relates what all of that means with real life situations and examples. The reader can learn alot from the very clear and easy to understand case studies and the science involved within them.

After reading the first few chapters, I had lots to think about and reflect on how I work with clients as a music therapist.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the brain and how it works. People who work with clients with strokes, cerebral palsy, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, obsessive compulsive disorders, etc. will gain a wealth of knowledge from this book!

What books are you reading this summer?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

North, South, East & West song sheet

Welcome back!

On Monday I posted a song about the directions on a map (North, South, East & West). If you missed it,just scroll down below this post.

Today, I wanted to share the song sheet to go along with this song.
I hope you find the song sheets helpful!

If you have questions about how to use the song sheets, just send me an email at

I hope you enjoy your day, and stop back soon!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Are we there yet???

Summertime is a time for traveling and vacations.
In our fast-paced, technology-infused lives, we depend on many things to help us get from point A to point B.

Most of us can quickly go online to Google maps and look up directions from our home to anywhere we want to drive. Many of us also own GPS devices in which we can type in an address of where we want to go and the device will tell us, step by step, how to reach our destination.

But what about maps? You know, those paper things that have a compass, legend, and longitude and latitude lines? Can you get somewhere by only using a map and NO technology?

Today's post is part one of a few posts about the concepts of maps and the parts of a map.

There are four main directions on a map: North, South, East & West. That is exactly what this song is about!

Stay tuned for more songs about maps and have a great week!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Polar Bear, Polar Bear Song Sheet

Yesterday, I posted a song I wrote to go along with Eric Carle's book, Polar bear, Polar bear, What do you hear? If you missed it, just scroll down below. :)

Today's post is the song sheet for that song. If you would like the song sheet emailed to you, please send an email to me at

Happy 4th of July!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Songs for books

Children love books and they also love songs that go with the books. Many times, children are more engaged and will focus for a longer period of time if there is a song or simple chant that is used to help read or tell a story.

Today's post is another song to go along with another popular children's book. I discovered that many of you like The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle when I posted a song for that specific children's book.
So today, I'll share another song I wrote to go along with another book by Eric Carle.

The story is Polar bear, Polar bear, What do you hear?. It's a great story (because Eric Carle wrote it, of course!), to read during the winter months and/or when you're talking about the 5 senses, (the sense of hearing to be specific).

I made a visual to go along with this song and with the help of a teacher I worked with this year, we found sound files to represent each animal in the story. The students were able to hear what each animal sounded like as part of the extension activities for this story!
So, here it is. I'll post the song sheet for this song tomorrow.

Monday, June 27, 2011

A new way to follow...

Did you know there's a new way to follow More with Music?

Blogger recently added a feature where you can enter your email address and each time a new post occurs on More with Music, that post will be emailed directly to you!

A few readers have already shared they like this feature because at their workplaces they can keep up with their email and blog posts in one place.

If you're interested in signing up for email updates, just look for the Email sign up to the right of the screen and enter your email address. Each new blog post will be instantly emailed to you.

This is what the Email sign up looks like:

Happy blog reading!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Keep Walking

Yesterday I posted a song called, "Keep Walking". If you missed the post and the song, you can scroll down below and catch it there! :)

Today, I'm sharing the song sheet for that particular song. If you're interested in playing the chords for this song, you will need to make sure you have a capo before you start. For this song, the capo is placed on the first fret of the guitar.

If you have any questions about the song, capo,etc. please feel free to leave a comment below or email me at

Hope you've had a great weekend and stay tuned for more posts this week!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep Walking

We all use music for different reasons.

Some of us use music to calm down and de-stress. Some of us use music to motivate us and get us going. Some of us use music throughout the day for a variety of situations.

When we use music to motivate us and get us going, it can be a great distraction. If you listen to music while you do any kind of exercise, you've experienced that the music can be a great distraction from the exercising itself (and all the heavy breathing, stretching, and pains involved). Music distracts us from concentrating on the negative and invites us to keep up with the beat. It moves us through that period of time and gets us to the next step.

Today's post focuses on walking. I wrote this song to motivate some students in a high school classroom with special learners. As part of their adapted physical education, they walk around the track or inside the gym each day. They participate in stretches and numerous team building games as well, but they always do their walking first.

Of course, the tempo of this song could be adapted to whatever pace your students can maintain. I'd love to hear what you think. Feel free to leave a comment below!

I'll post the song sheet for this song tomorrow. If you have any questions please email me at

Have a great weekend!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dinosaurs Song Sheet

Yesterday, I posted my song about Dinosaurs. If you didn't catch it, just scroll down below and it's there!

Today I'd like to share the song sheet that goes along with it. The guitar chords (or piano chords-whatever you might play), are written above the lyrics of the chorus. This chord progression is the same throughout the whole song, so in a way, it makes it easier once you get it down.

I hope you all have had a great week and TGIF!!!

If you happen to have any song requests or have any questions, please email me at

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Do you know your Dinosaurs?

I'm sure we all know about the mighty T-Rex, and possibly the brontosaurus too, but what about the other ones?

This song is very simple and covers the basic dinosaurs: Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus, Pteranodon, Stegosaurus, and the Triceratops.

Many teachers teach about the dinosaurs by talking about what each one ate, and their physical characteristics. So, I put that in the song as well.

I will post the song sheet for this song later this week.

Thanks for stopping by!