Tag Archives: Movement

4 {Clean} Valentine’s Day Dance Songs

2 Feb

Valentine’s day doesn’t have to be all about mushy gushy love—it’s also a great excuse for a dance party. I like using these songs for anything from instrument play to lyric analysis, and find they’re great for facilitating conversation about friendship, love and what it means to share a relationship with another person. You’ll also look extra cool for using songs heard on the radio right now. Now, go spread some love (and your best dance moves)!

  1. Love is the Answer (Aloe Blacc)

2. Electric Love (Borns)

3. One Call Away (Charlie Puth)

4. Lay It All On Me (Rudimental ft. Ed Sheeran)

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Singable Book: The Leaves Are Falling One by One

28 Sep

Leaves are fallingSung to the tune of “The Ants Go Marching One by One,” this book by Steve Metzger is one of my fall favorites. It’s a familiar melody that has lots of fun rhymes, action movements and opportunities for color identification and counting.

I like to pair it with some foam leaves that I labeled with both the number and number words (which, btw, are also fun to use with a parachute—throw them in and make them fall/twirl/dance, etc!). While we’re singing along, I have my kiddos sort through the leaves to find the corresponding number or word, then add it to our leaf pile each time we sing “fly, fly, fly.” At the end of the book, we JUMP, JUMP, JUMP in our leaf pile and throw them everywhere…well, because it’s fall.

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#MusicTherapyBlogger Challenge: 10 {Clean} Summer Dance Songs

3 Jun

This post is part of a 5 week #MusicTherapyBlogger challenge. Learn more and join the movement by visiting Serenade Designs!

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 9.44.46 AM‘Tis the season for end-of-the-year parties, and no party is complete without a great playlist! Below you’ll find a list of current dance tunes straight off the radio–but the best part? They’re all totally cleanYup, you heard me! No bad words or questionable topics, so these songs are ready to go for use in music therapy sessions, school parties or even with young kiddos. If you’re looking for even more dance party jams, don’t miss my other favorite playlists: 1, 2, 3.

1. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars) Bonus: more ideas from Toneworks MT.

2. Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon)

3. I Really Like You (Carly Rae Jepson)

4. I Need Your Love (Shaggy feat. Mohombi, Faydee & Costi)

5. I Want You to Know (Zedd feat. Selena Gomez)

6. Don’t Look Down (Martin Garrix feat. Usher)

7. Cheerleader (Omi)

8. Fire N Gold (Bea Miller)

9. Feel the Light (Jennifer Lopez)

10. Where Are U Now? (Skrillex & Diplo feat. Justin Bieber)

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It’s Turkey Time: 7 Gobble-Worthy Activity Ideas

18 Nov

November = TURKEY TIME!!! I like using turkeys as a session theme because they’re cute, can be used in endless ways and are great for speech goals (can I get a gobble, gobble?). Below are some of my favorite turkey-themed activities to use this time of year.

1. Feather Decorating: This is a nice art and music activity I like for self-expression and tactile experiences. We listen to Copland’s “Hoedown” and decorate turkey feathers with different sensory materials like feathers and stickers.

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2. Turkey Drumming: This is a simple drum activity that I love for attention, impulse control, following directions, and speech goals. I sing it to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw”, but simplified the words so my kids could really focus on just saying “turkey” and “gobble”. I usually line up three tall drums and have kids strike each drum in order on the “1-2-3” beat that follows each line. With groups, I will give everyone their own drum and either choose a soloist to come play the big drums or ask for volunteers to sing the gobbles into the microphone.

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3. Pass the Turkey: My most heavily used visual during turkey season is my turkey beanie baby! He’s the perfect size for passing around a circle or even for perching on a drum or piano during sessions. The kids love him!

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4. Turkey Songwriting Cards: I made my own turkey flash cards this year to use for songwriting with bells, boomwhackers and xylophones. My piano students totally dig writing their own turkey song with the cards then performing it on the bells. I’ve also been using them for math goals as well as color identification and matching. Download them for FREE! All you have to do is color them in. 🙂

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5. Starvin’ Marvin: He’s basically a celebrity to my kiddos. Everyone wants to meet Marvin, is always very concerned about how hungry he is (When I pulled him out the other day, one kiddo said “Miss Kerry!!!!!! He’s REALLY hungry—he looks a little faint.”) and loves “feeding” him by tossing bean bags in his mouth.

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No time to learn the song? This also works great with “Let’s Turkey Trot” by Little Eva.

6. Rachel Rambach’s “Turkey Dinner Dance”: This one is always a hit and is a great way to work on gross motor movement. Plus, it’s pretty darn catchy!

7. Turkey Dance Party: Straw hats optional! Check out some of my favorite hoe-down dance songs below that will get your clients do-si-do-ing.

Hoedown Throwdown (Miley Cyrus):

Bonus points for learning/teaching the dance:

Cotton Eye Joe (Rexnex)

Turkey in the Straw (Tennessee Mafia Jug Band)

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10 Clean Dance Songs: For Back to School Fun!

18 Aug

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 2.50.36 PMAs I gear up to see my public school kiddos next week and all my teacher friends prepare to have their classrooms full again, I thought it might be time for another list of TOTALLY CLEAN but also {totally hip} dance songs for use in school settings and beyond. For some street cred and mad cool points, play one of these babies in your classroom or music therapy sessions–but don’t blame me if it turns into a full-fledged dance party. You’ve been warned!

For more ideas, don’t miss my original dance song playlists, found here and here.

1. I Will Never Let You Down (Rita Ora)

 

2. Believer (American Authors) **Bonus points: Use for lyric analysis.**

 

3. Ten Feet Tall (Afrojack)

 

4. Rather Be (Clean Bandit)

 

5. Hideaway (Kiesza)

 

6. Shower (Becky G)

 

7. Am I Wrong (Nico & Vinz)

 

8. A Sky Full of Stars (Coldplay)

 

9. We Are Done (The Madden Brothers)

 

10.  I Want You Back (Jackson 5) .Okay, fine. This isn’t a new song. But I’m obsessed with the Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack…can you blame me? Plus, this video confirms that I need giant fringe scarves for my shirt sleeves.

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3 Resources I’m Loving: Summer Visuals

6 Aug

I think we all know by now that I love me some easy to make but effective visuals. A good visual doesn’t have to take you 2 hours to craft (though, if your laminator is moody like mine…you never know) and shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg (COUPONS! COUPONS! COUPONS!). Sometimes, the simplest items can make or break a session by getting everyone engaged and having fun. Below are three visuals that have been an absolute hit with my clients this summer!

photo (4)1. Suns. If you’re thinking, “All she did is print out a picture of a sun and put it on the ground,” you are CORRECT! But you better believe that these suns have been going everywhere with me this summer and have been used in a bunch of ways. Our fan favorite has been putting the suns down on the ground in different shapes or paths, slapping some sunglasses on and stepping on the suns to the beat of the music. It’s a great way to work on gross motor skills, problem solving (If one sun is too far away to step to, how can we get there? Do we need to jump, move it closer, etc?), working on shapes (placing the suns in circles, triangles, squares) or just for a summer dance party. Try it with “Walking on Sunshine,” “Good Day, Sunshine” or “Let the Sun Shine In.” 

photo (3)2. Surfboard. This one REALLY got the party started in some of my group sessions. I just cut out the shape of a surfboard from brown paper, drew a line on it and BAM! Instant summer fun. My clients of all ages had a blast showing off their surfing skills and cheering for their friends. To be extra cool, throw some sea animal beanie babies/stuffed animals in there and have clients choose one to go surfing with them. Works great with “Surfing USA” and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride”.

photo (2)3. Fish & Fishing Pole. My buddies at Toneworks Music Therapy inspired me to use their Let’s Go Fishing song in my sessions. Place the fish on a scarf and take turns “going fishing”. You could adapt this in a number of ways; my kiddos were working on colors, but you could also write social questions, movements, instruments, etc on the fish that can shape the activity as you do it. Once I tried this out, I’ve had requests almost every week for “the fishies”!

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10 {More} Clean Dance Songs!

27 May

Check out my current dance playlist, which is full of pop songs with CLEAN LYRICS that will get the party started no matter where you are. You can never go wrong with some free dancing, plus you’ll get bonus points for knowing some pretty cool songs.

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss my previous post with 10 Feel Good Dance Songs for even more song suggestions.

1. Summer (Calvin Harris)

2. All Night (Icona Pop)

3. Classic (MKTO)

4. Problem (Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea)

5. Hey Brother (Avicii)

6. What Is Love (Rio 2 Soundtrack)

7. Everything Is Awesome (The Lego Movie Soundtrack)

8. Red Lights (Tiesto)

9. Neon Lights (Demi Lovato)

10. Loud (R5)

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Activity Inspiration: Singin’ in the Rain

19 May

This time of year, I love to use weather-related songs and activities in my sessions! Springtime weather always inspires me to break out my ambient instruments (frog rasp, crow sounders, canary sticks, rain sticks, thunder tubes, etc) and use songs about sun, rain and flowers. One of my fan-favorites from this season has been a movement activity paired with “Singing in the Rain” that gets everyone moving and has lots of opportunities for some feel-good solos.

When I introduce the activity, I usually show clients pictures of Gene Kelly dancing (quite adorably) with the light-post or a brief video, if possible. I mean, how cute is he?! Clients are then invited to volunteer for a “tap dancing” solo in front of the group. I usually model some snazzy moves (turning in a circle, kicking my feet out, jazz hands) but you’ll also love seeing what your clients come up with on their own.

I made a few portable umbrellas (gotta love those multi-purpose rhythm sticks!) and dug out two very suave costume hats for clients to hold and wear.

photo-12For some groups, I attach jingle bells to self-adhering Velcro tape (my bells too small to fit around adult ankles) and invite clients to wear or hold them during their solo. Because some of my adult groups have high numbers of hearing and visual impairments, I’ve found that this is a great way to motivate clients to move and participate, even from their seats.

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For your cool kids and teens, try this Glee mash-up of “Umbrella” and “Singing in the Rain.”

 For everyone else, I love Gene Kelly’s classic rendition!

 If you have lots of staff to help and don’t need your hands free, you can even play it live and vamp during each client’s solo. Have fun!

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10 Feel Good Dance Songs (with CLEAN LYRICS!)

24 Feb

photoThis week, I’m beginning the process of termination with my wonderful students at my internship site—how bittersweet! As a goodbye gift and way to start processing feelings about me leaving, I’m making each class a CD containing some of our greatest dance hits from the past six months. It’s not always easy to find pop songs that are both cool and appropriate for a school setting, so I wanted to share my current playlist for all your dance party needs. I couldn’t resist throwing in some oldies…like my favorite birthday song (love me some Beatles!) and some Earth, Wind and Fire. Let’s groove, ya’ll!

Don’t miss my newest playlist post: 10 {MORE} Clean Dance Songs! for some more fantastic dance song ideas!

1. Happy (Pharrell)

2. Let’s Go (Neyo)

3. The Man (Aloe Blacc)

4. Safe and Sound (Capital Cities)

5. Wake Me Up (Avicii)

6. Best Day Of My Life (American Authors)

7. Superstar (Lupe Fiasco)

8. What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction)

9. Let’s Groove (Earth, Wind and Fire)

10. Birthday (The Beatles)

 

Music Therapy Olympics: Instrument Relay (with 4+ adaptations!)

18 Feb

As the 2014 Olympics come to a close, I want to share another activity that has been highly successful in my music therapy groups: an instrument relay! I have implemented this activity in a variety of ways to work on goal areas like social skills (sharing, turn taking, positive peer interactions) and following multi-step directions (shake and pass, etc). Regardless of the adaptation that I select, I always preface this activity with a discussion about teamwork and working together to reach a common goal. If I have access to a SMART board or iPad, I will show a brief video of a relay (speed skating, track and field, etc) and draw attention to how the athletes are taking turns, sharing and supporting each other.

Below are 4+ instrument relay race ideas to get your wheels turning, instrument batons passing and speed skates…skating!! Too much nerdiness in that sentence? …NO WAY.

1. Instrument Relay: When first introducing the concept of a relay race, I like to start out with a small, easy-to-play instrument, like a shaker. So my hands are free, I create a simple instrumental loop on a keyboard or music program that provides a steady beat without being overly distracting. I encourage each student to shake the shaker, then pass it to the person sitting next to them by improvising rhythmic or melodic prompts (ex. “Shake and shake and shake and shake and PASS IT TO YOUR TEAMMATE”) over the loop. See how fast you can get that shaker going around the circle!

Listen and download this FREE groovy instrumental I made on Mixcraft that’s guaranteed to make you strike a disco pose:

Alternate idea: Pair the concept of a relay race with Tuned Into Learning’s “Pass it Along” from Volume 1: Social Skills & Pragmatics. Let me tell you—this song is fantastic! Directions are embedded in the song lyrics (ex. “I play my instrument and pass it along”) and the music provides extra support for clients who need it, especially during that difficult transition that happens when you have to pass that shaker along. It’s hard to stop playing a fun instrument!

2. Speed Skating Relay: See the instrument relay above…but before clients can pass their instrument to the next person, they must stand up and “speed skate” a lap around the circle! This provides an opportunity to work on motor skills and following three-step directions.

Visual: Show this brief speed skating video. Bonus points if you have access to a SMART board and can play it WHILE the speed skating activity is happening. It’s fun to watch clients skate along with some Olympians.

3. Drum Rhythm Relay: Initiate a simple rhythm and pass it around the circle, telephone-style. Is the rhythm still correct when it makes its way back to you? How fast can it go around the circle without any errors? Have clients take turns being the drum rhythm leader. In a lesson or music education setting, write rhythmic lines on index cards and tape them to a handheld drum. Pass the drum around the circle and have each client drum the rhythm.

Make it harder: Split clients into small teams to create and write down their own rhythms for the group to try.

photo(4)4. Word Rhythm Relay: Instead of rhythmic notation, try writing thematic words like “Winter Olympics” and “Gold Medal” on index cards (with a visual, if needed) to promote speech skills, articulation and literacy. You can also pair the words with the rhythmic notation if working on music reading skills. Demonstrate speaking and playing the word rhythms simultaneously on a drum to start off the relay!

 Free sample word rhythm printable HERE!

[Print, cut, glue to thick paper (if needed) and drum away.]

Additional Resource: Check out a recent post from Wade Richards of Time for Music, where he shares a list of Olympic sentences to try in his post “Drumming to Foster Fluency in Speech.”

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