1. You Tube (search music therapy, action songs, pre-school (or whatever age) songs with motions, and songs on specific topics (such as holidays…)
2. iTunes and Amazon (try searching on “clap”, “stamp”, “move”, “sing”, “mouth” “holidays”…)
3. Other people’s websites and blog posts (search music therpists, educators, performers, teacher lesson plans sites (under music.)
4. Right here at MusicTherapyTunes.com Your one-stop Shop! 🙂
5. Other people’s and teacher’s CD collections, library CDs. Get ideas from classroom projects displayed on the wall.
6. Books and Teacher magazines. Poetry books. Kids magazines.
7. TV shows and commercials (We sang “We’ve got the Sunshine in our Hands” for graduation one year after I heard it in an O.J. commercial. It was a retro hit!)
8. Listserves for MTs, teachers, children’s artists…
9. Write your own! (Or, sometimes a child can sing a song they’ve heard. You only need a partial sentence to do a google search on lyrics.)
10. Radio shows and children’s music channels (including those on TV)
11. Bonus: if you’re an intern, record your supervisor’s songs! If you’re already working, have a song swap.
Once I’ve got it in my hands, I can change one or more of the following to suit my goals and the people in my care: tempo, key, style, emotional tone, modes and more. Add motions, manipulative (toys, pictures, puppets…) Elongate or rearrange a song to include more motions, (simple) phrases and/or vocalizations.
Hi! This week I want to blog about my new best Fall Find. It’s an activity to I may post it there too because it is that good. The words and chords are already up under “videos.” I’d heard many of the kids mention “Yo Gabba Gabba but finally bumped into it via You Tube.
This song teaches countless goals all wrapped into one rockin’ jam. The upside or the downside is that it is fast, frenetic, and fun. The kids request it every day. Many of them are already familiar with it through the TV show. Our PT even mentioned that like anaerobic exercise, the pattern is move hard and fast, then sit and breath. It is good for the heart and lungs and is a good workout. Other goals addressed are motor, language (ways to move), bodily control, awareness of personal space, impulse control, awareness of sound and silence, movement and rest. It’s a great way to end a session because it ends on a relaxing note. And it’s easy to change the lyrics, strumming, tempo, and pausing to suit the abilities and needs of the children. Love it!
Yo Gabba Gabba Hold Still (Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle stop!)
5 4 3 2 1Verse: D………E Stand Still! D 1. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!D……………………………………………………….E Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- STOP! Stand still…… D Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!
Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- GO!D………………………………………………………..E Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle- STOP! Stand still……
“Chorus”C#m…………………………….E Settle settle down. Settle down now. ………………….D………………………….A We’re gonna get our wiggles out, get our wiggles out. E Time to settle down. C#m………………………………E Settle settle down. Settle down now. D…………………………………………….A We’re gonna get our wiggles out, get our wiggles out. E Time to play this game. Stand still……
2. Jump, Jump, Jump – Go! (repeat 2x) Jump, jump – STOP! Stand still…… Jump, Jump, Jump – Go! (repeat 2x) Jump, Jump, Jump – Stop! Stand still…… ——————————————– To chorus ——————————————– 3. Dance, Dance, Dance- GO! (repeat 2x) Dance, Dance, Dance- stop! Dance, Dance, Dance- GO! (repeat 2x) Dance, Dance, Dance- stop!
Move to the music and sit when it stops.
Dance and freeze in place when the music stops.
Dance minimally when the music is soft and grandly when loud. And stop.
Dance and put a specific body part on a chair when the music stops.
Freeze like an animal or character you are studying or reading about.
Freeze and connect to a partner. Same part to same part. (Elbow to elbow…..)
Freeze like an object in the room like a chair, or pencil, or flag for instance.
Freeze like the something that rhymes with a word, like something that starts with a specific letter, or near to a particular color….
Freeze by the function of an object. What? Yes, this is great to increase conceptual and language learning in all kids, certainly including those with special needs. It looks like this: “freeze by the thing you sharpen pencils with.” “Freeze by the thing come in and go out from”….. or “the thing we can look out through!” Freeze like a preposition. Under something, over something, on the side of your chair, putting your right hand on your right foot. Bonus: Freeze like the leader.
Freeze games have stood the test of time and there is a reason. They are nutritious and great for our brains. Brains always seek more sophisticated stimulation. Here are some of the frozen benefits. Freeze are great games because they require the recognition of sound verses silence, give and take, interest in the “other,” listening, auditory processing, concentration and attention, bodily control and coordination, imagination, and expectancy. The game is also good for waiting and impulse control, building all types of language, conceptual and pre-academic skills, social skills and more. These skills are all used for higher emotional and academic intelligence. All of that — and they’re fun to play.
Making Transitions easier for kids
Transitioning a bunch of kids from one activity to another can be stressful for the students and hence the teacher as well. Some kids really need advance notification that the thing they are doing will change. They may become anxious, fearful, or angry when they have to stop doing one thing and go with the flow to the next activity. We sometimes tell our students that they’ll clean up in three minutes, then in two, then in one and then we go for it. Other children do well with pictures of the parts of their day displayed on a large board. As the class moves from event to event we remove the pictures thereof. This is a significant help to children who feel anxious, need a lot of structure, and/or are on the spectrum.
Singing is a great way to initiate a transition. Singing gets a child’s attention, and the familiar words help them focus and become the first part of the transition. Either way, just a spoonful of singing makes the transitions go down much better. Here are three of my favorites:
Put your finger on the wall, on the wall. Put your finger on the wall, on the wall.
Put your finger on the wall when we’re walking down the hall.
Put your finger on the wall, on the wall. (Tune: If you’re happy and you know it.)
It’s clean up time everybody. It’s clean up time right now. If I help you and you help me,
Then we’ll get ready for _______.
(Tune: Miss Lucy had a baby, she named him tiny Tim….)
Circle time is almost done, almost done, almost done.
Circle time is almost done, then we’re gonna go to ______.
(Tune: Buffalo girl won’t you come out tonight, come out tonight, come out tonight….)
Of course, you can make up your own songs, but that’s another blog!
– Margie La Bella
General types of activities and variations I do with my kids,who contend with language, communication, learning difficulties… ages: 2-12.
- Circle dances.
- Instruments -general rhythm instruments, homemade instruments.
- Songs with motions/movements/signs.
- Role playing/pretending/pretending.
- Lyric discussion.
- Lyric/Song writing… adapting songs, fill-in-the-blank songs, mad lib songs
- Story writing to music. Accompaniment to a story.
- Singing activities.
- Specific concepts taught through music.
- Auditory identification of sounds.
- Auditory attention span, discrimination and memory.
- Relaxation or coping strategy experiences.
- Guided imagery (very light unless done with a pro.)
- Finger plays.
- Adaptive instrument lessons.
- Call-response activities.
- Drawing to music.
- Improvising of every kind; instruments, dance, vocals.
- Dancing to live or recorded music.
- Play instruments in turn and cooperatively (ie: divide up a drum set and share the beat.)
- Mirroring/imitating activities.
TOP 10 MUSIC THERAPY VARIATIONS
By Margie La Bella at Musictherapytunes with music, activities, blogs and more
1. Large group with everyone all together
2. Small groups within the larger group
3. Solos, turns
4. Partners, share it
5. Record the audio (Make sure you have permission if using any type of camera/video device.)
6. Act out the words. Dance it. Use props, hats, masks, dress-ups…..
7. Make your own version, or verses/lyrics, hand motions, movement sequences, discussions….
8. Do leader and follower exercises. Have an assigned helper with responsibilities.
9. Make you own accompaniment for it with rhythm instruments, orff instruments…..
10. Perform it for another class or group of people
By Margie La Bella at Musictherapytunes with music, activities, blogs and more
1. Puppets (homemade, store bought, party store and craft store bought, masks, hats…).
3. Instruments (homemade, store bought, party store and craft store bought. Peer 1 has some nice musical placemats made from wood.)
5. Pictures, PECS cards, sequenced lyrics pictures, large cube with song/instrument/movement choices fastened to it….
6. Toys to represent song characters.
7. Hula Hoops and other shapes. Painter’s tape works well for making shapes and comes off easily.
8. Flags and streamers
9. Microphones (pretend, party store mics, real mics…)
10. Any new electronic devices, aps, games, wii….
Top 10 activities for mixing kids and instruments. Featuring the CD player.
1.Use the CD play button and pause button to make the music “go” and “freeze.” Have the children play their instruments, stop, then resume.
2.Use the CD volume button to lead the class in playing “loud” and “soft.” Mix this skill with the “go” and “freeze” mentioned above. This fosters improved auditory awareness and attention
3. Have the kids do a series of turn taking songs. Use the play and pause buttons of your CD player to signal when turns begin and end. Have the kids play under certain language characteristics and say things like “play if you’re a boy/if you’re a girl,” and “play if you are 3 years old.” Repeat with the 4s and 5s. How about playing if you’re wearing certain clothing items, or by the colors of your clothes? See how this teaches peer awareness, colors, clothing vocab….. the list goes on and on. What is it you want to teach? Play games like this one.
4. Another turn taking game is to have the kids play depending on how their instrument is made. Turn the CD on and tell the kids to play if their instrument is made from plastic, wood, metal, or is homemade… This helps further understandings of categories and attributes.
5. Take turns and share the music depending on how you play the instrument.Have the shakers play first. Then the tapping instruments play. Then the rubbing instruments and on and on.
6. Play under certain conditions: for example, if you like to play basketball, or if you like to eat ice cream, or spinach. If you have a June birthday, or meet some other condition.
7. Here’s another new type of idea. Have the kids march to music (and play their instruments) around a group of pictures of shapes, colors, numbers, site-words or any other picture representing something you want to teach. The kids march to the music and when the music stops, they identify the picture of the object in front of them. Use chairs or a table or rugs to place the pictures on if the kids need more structure than just the floor.
8. Play musical hot-potato. Pass a maraca (or two or three) around the circle. When the music stops, that child has to answer a question. Use to teach concepts. Examples: what do we wear on a rainy day. What animal do you like. What animal lives at the zoo? What toy do you play with? (You can write them out ahead of time.) Variation: Or simply have the kids who end up with the “hot potato” come to the center of the group to play other instruments along to the music. Repeat with the next hot potato child coming to play with the music.
9. Play instruments and pass them when the music stops. Too hard? When the music stops take the instrument of the last child, then tell the next-to-last child to give her old one away. Repeat down the line. Give the instrument in your hand to the last child.
10. Play along to part of a favorite song. Then have the kids put the instruments under their chairs and put their hands in their lap. Give them a one-step direction (“clap your hands”, or “tap your knees”) and have them do that for a little while. Then repeat over and over with different directions/requests. Have them come up with their own ideas of how to move.
See you don’t have to go near a guitar or even sing! Go have fun and give it a try.Be careful with picking a song that’s too fast for your group; they will probably get over excited. Also be a little wary of song lyrics and content. Listen to the words and only use it if you don’t mind them telling the parents that they learned the words in school. Even some kids music and music from kid’s shows and movies can be inappropriate for some groups.
About Home-made Instruments
Instruments can be very simple to make. Don’t be afraid to try. Here are some starter ideas:
1. Put unpopped popcorn kernels, dried beans, dried peas, jelly beans, pebbles, little shells, nuts and bolts, any sort of beads, macaroni…..Basically, PUT ANYTHING into SOMETHING, then cover up any holes or sharp edges,and shake!! Something@ could be: old soda cans, other cans, two pie plates, two paper plates, toy Easter egg-shells….just make sure to prevent choking on small bits!
2. BANG on ANYTHING which may include: boxes, pans, clean little garbage cans,oatmeal containers, plastic cups, pretty much anything that could contain something else.
3. DRUM STICKS can be fashioned out of: plastic straws, plastic spoons, wooden spoons, dowel, spatulas. Just remember to keep it safe for children.
4. Many kinds of BELLS can be found at CRAFT STORES. Tie on a string or fasten with elastic.
5. Party stores often sell inexpensive instruments and sound makers. We use “knock-knocks” at my school ie: wooden eggs from a craft store to banged together. Pier One sells a nice wooden placemat (with many hollow bamboo-like sticks tied together) that we tap and rub with pencils like an old-fashioned “washboard.” Walk around such stores tapping on things or banging things together. Same thing with Home Depot. (Just think, you’ll give people something good to talk about at the dinner table. )
6. Kazoos can be made out of paper towel holders, rubber bands, and wax paper (best with a few pin pricks in it.) I’ve heard that juice boxes can be played too. That may be a joke however. ….
7. Hang different sized flower pots for a a xylophone@ effect. Make tuna cans Achild safe@ and string these together. PVP pipes can sound fantastic when struck with certain mallets.
8. Make cheap rhythm sticks out of sanded down wooden dowels. Foam or wooden Childrens blocks also work. We use pencils as sticks in my school. Cheap and if you lose them, it’s no big deal. Speaking thereof: plastic spoon tops make great pics. Try it for yourself: cheap, easy to locate when dropped and ergonomically shaped to the thumb.
9. Any bumpy or rough surface can be child-proofed and rubbed with a wooden spoon to create a guiro or musical-fish effect. Think of the old washboard. Look around!
10. In general, you can do well by visiting the toy box, home improvement stores, craft stores, party stores, and dollar stores.
Go tap and shake some objects in a new way. You may look a tad askew but tell people you’re just thinking out of the box. Which reminds me of my newest use of dollar store pails: they make wonderful vocal and tactile feedback devices. I use them with kids who need to discover and explore their voice as a precursor to speech. When they make any sound into the pail, they will hear it at a very magnified level and get a lot of result for a “little” effort. Not only will they hear their vocalizations, they will feel them through their fingertips. Apparently, a turned-upside down pail makes a great music therapy device.
This will be very important with the economy the way it is. (Just joshing, but try the pail!)