Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My Cat, Billy Jean

Where, oh where is Billy Jean?

This song is about a cat named Billy Jean. I wrote it to address answering and understanding "where" questions.

By answering the "where" questions, the song also addresses prepositions like on, over, inside, outside, on top of, under, etc.

I've used this song already in a couple of sessions and brought a stuffed animal cat to represent Billy Jean. I think the kids loved it because the activity is a lot like hide and seek!

We played/sang the beginning of the song to introduce the cat, her name,etc., and then everyone hid their eyes (closed their eyes), and I quickly hid the cat somewhere in the room. Then we move on to the next part of the song and the students have to try to answer if the cat is "..inside, outside, on top of something, or under something too..."

It's a lot of fun, and as I said above, the kids love hide and seek type games!

My Cat, Billy Jean

I have a cat. Her name is Billy Jean.
She's furry and soft. She's the best cat you've ever seen.
I've looked and looked and looked, and nowhere has she been seen.
Oh where, oh where is Billy Jean?

Maybe she's inside or outside, I really wish I knew.
She could be on top of something, or under something too.
Maybe she's over here or over there.
Maybe she is stuck somewhere in between.
Maybe she's in front of me, behind me, or maybe right beside me.
Where, oh where, where is Billy Jean?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Music for Math

Simple chants and songs are used in many classrooms across the country, to help students remember a lot of their academic information. Chants and simple songs help students remember rules and the order of events/directions.

In my line of work, I see students each day with a variety of levels of functioning. There are a variety of developmental disorders across many age groups. In some of the classrooms, the students have been working on learning how to do simple, very basic addition. It is very challenging for them.

If you think about it, math is an entire different language for some of these students. We speak in words and even if we can't read, we see words in print all over the place. When you are exposed to math, you learn about the symbols used in equations. For addition, we use the plus sign +, and for subtraction we use the minus sign -. Multiplication and division have their own symbols as well.

So, for a person with developmental disabilities, we have to at first expose them the words addition, add, and more. When we talk about addition and/or adding, we have to use and show the addition sign, +.
I wrote the lyrics to this song (recognize the tune?), to help introduce addition in the classrooms and provide a way for teachers to begin teaching the addition symbol and pairing add with the word more. It's been one of the favorites this year, so I hope you enjoy it too!

I have written several additional songs for math concepts this year. You can find my Subtraction song here, and my Multiplication song here.

Thanks for stopping by!
I hope you have a great Memorial Day and hopefully a restful day off from work!
Stay tuned for more posts as the school year winds down!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

"I See The Light" - Tangled

Today's post is about a song from one of the newer Disney movies called Tangled.
It's a very well done movie (aren't they all when they're from Disney?), and features some really beautiful music (in my opinion, of course).
One song in particular that is my current favorite from this movie is "I See the Light".
In the context of the movie, the light is referring to a festival of lights. But it also has an underlying meaning about the light being a symbol of truth and reality.

I think this would be a great song to use with groups or individuals in therapy sessions. There are several lines within this song that would be very interesting to process and analyze with clients.

Some lines in particular are:
"Now I'm here, suddenly I see..."
"Standing here, it's all so clear. I'm where I'm meant to be."
"At last I see the light. It's like the fog has lifted."
"All that time, never truly seeing things the way they were."
"I'm where I'm met to go."

I think each line could be used for separate sessions in order to process feelings, measure accomplishments and personal goals, etc..
So I hope you enjoy it and if you haven't seen the movie yet, I highly recommend it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Supply and Demand

As a blogger, who is also a board certified music therapist, I really enjoy sharing songs that other therapists, music educators, and parents can use with the children in their lives.

It is so cool to hear how a song I shared here helps someone else reach a child! I'm also honored to hear that some of the parents of students I serve in my daily work, are using this site and the songs shared, to work on goals with their children at home.

With summer quickly approaching, I'm interested in hearing from you, the awesome readers, to find out what songs you've found here on More with Music that you really like and why. My hopes are that your feedback will continue to help me narrow down a few directions I want to take. Your feedback is an invaluable resource and will help me to analyze some of the demand areas/topics that I can then supply with songs.

So, if you don't mind taking a few minutes when you get a chance, I'd love to hear from you!

I hope you have a great weekend and stay tuned for some additional posts as the school year comes to a close.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Today I had a lot of fun with one class in particular. :)
We were discussing spring, spring weather, flowers, etc., and I introduced them to this new song.

Half way through the song, they all got the hang of it and sang along every time they heard the "Tweet Tweet Little Birdy" part. Several of the students also independently created a movement for that part. They tucked their hands under their upper arms and made flapping motions with their arms to represent to bird flapping its wings. It was too cute!
The funniest part was when the I asked some of the students, "What do mother birds feed the baby birds?" The number one response was, "Seeds!". (Of course, I had a visual... I love me some visuals!)
When I explained to them that baby birds eat worms, all but one of them looked TOTALLY grossed out! It was hilarious!

I got the original idea from a song I found on Songs for Teaching.
The song is called Tweet Tweet Little Birdy, and the original song is by Margie La Bella. I really like the catchy tune and the upbeat sound of this song. For the students I work with, I decided to edit some of the lyrics and create a tune for myself also. So, to make a long story short, the original idea is not mine, but I adapted it and created another idea from it. So, I wanted to share what I came up with. I will not be selling my adaptation-just sharing it here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


A lot of the middle and high school classrooms I work with study different continents and countries throughout the year. The students are exposed to the different flags, languages, landforms, animals, etc. that are within each country.

As we all know, many different cultures exist in each continent, country and community. A culture is one of those words/ideas that is rather abstract for some students. I wrote this song to (hopefully) give the students more ideas and examples to explain culture.

If you would like the lyrics for this song, please email me at morewithmusic@gmail.com

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment below!

5 Spring Flowers

Yesterday I posted a song about 5 litte seeds. It only seems fitting that I post about 5 spring flowers today. :)

I found some of the lyrics for this song in the form of poems (or finger plays, as they call them),on some of the early childhood resource websites. I changed a few of the words and then put it to music.

I have had fun with this song in particular. Besides the counting aspect of the song, the students have had fun making a "thunderstorm" with our various rhythm instruments. We have used drums for thunder "booms", and bells and clatterpillars for a quick "zap". We also use a rainstick to make real rain sounds during the thunderstorm. The possibilities are endless!

So, here it is, 5 Spring flowers:

As always, thanks for stopping by!
Please feel free to leave a comment below. If you have any questions, please email me at morewithmusic@gmail.com

Monday, May 9, 2011

5 Little Seeds

Every now and then we (as in music therapists, music teachers, creative and musical parents), grow a little bored with the songs our children love to hear over, and over, and over, and over, and...well you get the point.

A lot of times, I think it is the adults who quickly grow bored and tired of songs, and not the students. I think it is important to remember that one way children learn is through repetition.

One way to keep well known songs fun, is to point out and focus on different things within the song. This keeps things fun and motivating while students are learning valuable academic information.

Today's example will be a song I actually found in poem form on one of the early childhood websites. I changed a few of the words and then set the poem to music.
I only use this song for educational purposes and am sharing it for free download today.

There are several ways you can use this song to teach students.

The first idea that comes to mind is obviously seeds. It would fit right in with a unit on plants and seeds and growing flowers in the springtime.

Another idea is to concentrate on the counting aspect of the seeds (1-5).

Another idea would be to teach the ordinals (i.e. 1-first, 2-second,3-third,etc.).

A more advanced idea would be to give students the spoken lines and have them read and sing the responses of each of the seeds.

What other ideas can you come up with?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Silence, part 1

Another awesome blogger whom I follow, recently posted that she conducted a workshop entitled "Joys of Journaling".
She hopes to post weekly(or so), journal topics that readers can respond to and share, if they like.

I think it's an awesome idea. Imagine the perspectives we can gain from each other!

So, journal topic one is: Think about the experience of silence in your sessions.

Silence can induce many feelings in sessions, for both the music therapist and clients.

Silence can be calming and respectful. Silence can be peaceful and very giving in time, to those who just need to process what they think and how they feel. Silence can also be awkward and judgmental.

Silence can mean yes, and silence can be a definite no. Silence can be a sign of great content. Silence can also be a sign of fear.

Silence in sessions is something we learn to react to over time. I really think you have to experience silence from many different situations before you learn how to read silence and how to react to it.

When first starting out, I think some music therapists dread silence. I think that any prolonged period of silence exposes them and tests them in their abilities to adapt and keep the session moving in some sort of direction.

In my experience, silence can sometimes feel like pulling teeth.
Silence can also feel like time is frozen.

Over time, I've had quite a few experiences with silence in music therapy sessions. Many students that I work with are nonverbal. They cannot talk or sing the way you and I do.

All of the students have some way of communicating in their own way. Some can reach out, grab and point. Some students can only make sounds to tell you something is wrong. Other students will tell you a wealth of information if you learn to read their eye gaze. No matter how they communicate, I believe that everyone has something to say.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Silence later this week!