Tag Archives: session planning

#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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LOTS of Resources + Exciting Things Ahead!

28 Mar

Congrats PhotoAs of last week, I officially became Kerry Cornelius, MT-BC! Boy, that feels great to say. I’ve started working for Shiloh Center Music Therapy Services, LLC in Maryland (please go sign up for notifications–it’s going to be an awesome, resource-filled website!) and am slowly building up my caseload and getting a taste of life as a traveling music therapist. I’ve also got some other pretty incredible things brewing over the next few months, and promise that you’ll be the first to know about them!

For some immediate session planning inspiration, be sure to check out my guest posts for Michelle Erfurt’s Early Childhood Series on Music Therapy Tween.

In Music Therapy & Early Childhood: 4 Questions to Frame Session Planning, I share some important things to think about when preparing for a session with kids that range from themes to adapting on the fly to props galore!

For a bunch of resources, ideas and tools in ONE place, don’t miss Music Therapy & Early Childhood: 15+ Resources to Jump Start Your Creativity.

And don’t worry–exciting new songs, visuals and news will be coming to you VERY, VERY SOON! 🙂

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3 Easy Ways to Spark Your Snow Day Creativity

22 Jan

I am currently enjoying snow day #2 in Baltimore! While it’s been nice to have an EXTRA-long weekend, I find that I end up feeling blah when I spend multiple days in my PJs without getting much done. I’d like to share a few simple ways to spark your session planning creativity on days off without ever having to leave your house…or put on real clothing (shout out to my fleece polka dot pants—you have served me well this weekend).

1.    IMPORTANT: Do something for you!

Whether it’s catching up on some reading, watching that guilty pleasure show you’ve had recorded on your DVR for days or just sleeping in, it’s really important to spend some time taking care of yourself on a day off. Once you do this, I guarantee that you’ll have more motivation to tackle your to-do list.

(I won’t admit that I spent two hours catching up on Downton Abbey today…okay, FINE! But it was amazing to just sit on the couch and relax for a bit.)

 2.    Look through all of your music therapy supplies (instruments, visuals, books) and think of one new activity or song…that can be used with something you already own.

You’ll be surprised how quickly the ideas start flowing when you take the time to look through all those binders and boxes. Yesterday, I sat down and sifted through one of my “music therapy bins” (of which I have many!) that contained some singable books, rhythm sticks and a new set of boomwhackers. 5 minutes later, I came up with a new intervention involving these items that I’m really excited to use.

Noisy-Poems-Bennett-Jill-9780192763259One of the items in my bin was a book called “Noisy Poems” by Jill Bennett. After flipping through it, I realized it was filled with DRUMMING ACTIVITIES GALORE! Each page of the book contains a different poem filled with various sound words and rhymes. My favorite is a poem called “Song of the Train,” which mostly consists of “clickety-clack” sounds. Can somebody say rhythm sticks?

  • Have clients hit two rhythm sticks (or boomwhackers) each time they hear the words “clickety clack” read
  • Pair the poem with an original melody and have clients keep a steady beat with their rhythm sticks
    • Start slowly, speed up then slow down to mimic a train traveling between stations
  • Have clients orchestra the poem using a variety of instruments (drums, boomwhackers, rhythm sticks, train whistle, guiro)

3.    Spend a half hour looking for inspiration on Pinterest or music therapy blogs. 

There are few things I love more than adding a great new activity to my repertoire! Before I start searching, I often make a list of a few items I might be looking for (instrument songs, DIY visuals, session themes). This helps me narrow my search and ensures that I don’t get too distracted looking at unrelated pages (cough RECIPES cough).  If you’re browsing Pinterest, a great place to start is in the “Education” section. There, you’ll find lots of ideas for teachers that can easily be adapted for use in a music therapy setting.

photo-5Today, I spent my internet time expanding on item #2 (see above; AKA Operation: Save Money and Use What You  Already Own!) and found some fantastic blog posts with interventions based on some of my new singable books and instruments.

 After just a few minutes of searching, I came across:


It’s so easy to expand your collection of songs and activities with a little time and some help from fellow MTs. Thanks for those great ideas, blogger friends! 🙂

What do you do on snow days to keep your creativity flowing and your interventions growing?

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