March into FUN!!

Developmental Music Therapy Group

We have had a fun time during our developmental music therapy groups this busy month of March. We learned how to wait in line to jump over rainbows while we cheered on our friends. We held onto our rainbows as we sang, danced, and followed directions in the context of a song. Mr. Frog helped us work on lip closure, and one finger isolation as we sang and he made everyone laugh and giggle. We also had a fun time playing our tambourines as we did a fun Irish jig. Our little train allowed us to learn how to push the button to hear the music then push the train to a friend. It’s so hard to learn how to share at the age 2! My little ones did such a great job we had time for parachute play!! We sang “one little, two little, three little shamrocks….bouncing up and down. They learned how to shake softly as we sang part one and quickly as we sang bouncing up and down. The kids were quick to find the lucky shamrocks and race back to the parachute to do it all over again!!

We followed it up by making rainbow soup!! Each child received an object representing one color and waited patiently for their color to be sung. Once they heard their color they transitioned from mom to the big pot where they were able to stir the pot. I was so proud of my kiddos for being great listeners while also being so brave to come up to the front of the room. They did a fabulous job!!! We rounded off our fun time with a short yet sweet little book called, “You are my sunshine” for a little rocking and snuggle time with mom and dad. For those brave enough to reach into the sensory bin, they were rewarded with playing with the Leprechaun’s loot!

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Sitting On The Farm by: Bob King

Sittin on the Farm

Oh how I love to sing books!!!  I am not sure how many I have in my music therapy collection but you can be sure I will be sharing some of my favorites over the next few weeks. 

Sitting on the Farm is a great book by Bob King.  I love to use this book in the springtime during my Farm week.  This book is a great way to teach animal identification, and can be used as an  introduction the food chain. 

I love the repeated lines throughout this book. Especially the “Munch, Munch, Munch.”

Over the years I have used this song/book simply as a book that is sung.  As I sang through each verse I had my students name the animals on each page.  For my students who used adapted switches, I recorded the “Munch Munch Munch” on a big mack and had them push the button at the designated spot in the book. Oh the out break of giggles we received!!

At the completion of the book I asked questions:

Where does this story take place?

What was on the farmers knee?

What did the farmer say when the animal got on his knee?

What did the farmer pick up?

What animal the biggest/smallest?

Was the first picture an animal or an insect?

How many of the pictures are mammals?

Who did the farmer call when the dog got on his knee?

If my students had a hard time recalling the information,  I sang the part of the phrase that gave them the answer.  “I picked up the….”

To meet the continuing  needs of my students, I have created a few adapted books ABSittin on the Farmand visuals to go along with this book/song.  First I made a file folder game where the students had to identify the animal in the song and place it in the number block where it belongs.  My goals for those students were animal identification and ordinal positioning as well as following directions and increasing focus and attention.

I later had a few students who needed strategies to label word to picture. So I created a book where the students were given a “word bank” and were asked to find the animal word that went along with the picture in book. Last year I created an interactive computer program using Promethean Planet so the students could independently play the song and label the pictures during computer time.

For those students who needed to work on impulse control I gave them a drum and told them they could ONLY play on… “Munch Munch Much.” For other groups I had them clap on “Munch Munch Munch” if I needed to work on motor imitation.

Last but not least… I have also used puppets for this song.  I have passed out the various puppets to my students and when they heard their part… they were asked to come to the front and put the puppet on my knee.  For this group I was looking to see if my students could follow 2 step directions, transition from one place to another, take turns, and increase eyecontact with peers.

The ways to use this one song could go on and on!!

I love how one song can work on so many skills!!

On a side note, I like to sing all my songs “live.”  However, if you need a recording, Bob McGrath, has a great upbeat recording of the song I would recommend!! 

If you use this song or have this book.. how do you use it?

Learning Through Music and Movement

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Music and Movement activities help to develop the large muscles of the body, help enhance creativity, and help to improve listening skills and concentration. You may want to try these activities with your student or child:

Follow the Leader —
This activity helps develop concentration. Play a recording of an instrumental song. Move around the room in different ways such as walking, tiptoeing, hopping, and twirling. Let you child observe you, follow your lead, and copy the movements. As your child becomes familiar with this game let them take the lead and you follow them!
Scarf Dance —
This activity nurtures your child’s creativity. Give your child a scarf or a piece of cloth. Play a recording of a song and let your child wave the scarf to the rhythm of the music. Wave the scarf over your head and across your body crossing midline as often as you can.
Loud or Soft —
Your child will improve listening skills with this activity. Play a recording of a song loudly or softly. Tell your child to listen carefully to the song. When it is loud, he or she marches around the room. When the music is soft, he or she tiptoes around the room.
Mirrors Mirrors
This fun activity helps your child improve concentration. Play a slow piece of music and have your child stand facing you. Move very slowly using a variety of arm and leg movements while your child copies you. Then let him or her make the movements while you mirror them.
Musical Instruments can also be used during movement activities. Instruments can be a motivating way to encourage grasp/release, bilateral integration, eye hand coordination, crossing midline, cause/effect skills, and basic motor imitation.
Jim Gill is one of my favorite artists. I have been using his songs in my practice for 10 years. Jim Gill has several CD’s out and I must say they are wonderful to move to. The kids and the teachers love the upbeat songs and catchy lyrics. You can check out his website at http://www.jimgill.com/
Here is a list of my favorite:
Irrational Anthem
Toe Leg Knee
Hands are for Clapping
Alabama, Mississippi
List of Dances
Let’s Dance Now
Poison Ivy
Leaky Umbrella
I love to use shakers with Alabama Mississippi. Here is the basic movement pattern I use with this song
Alabama – shake over head
Mississippi — shake on knees
New Orleans — shake side to side all the way to the floor (I like to have the kids bend their knees to work of quad. strength if unable to do this movement simply have them reach down as far as they can go.
Repeat pattern throughout the song
For my upper grade levels I have even brought in a map to show them where each of these states and city are located. From there you can open up discussions of how long it would take you get there, the climate, culture, etc.
I hope you enjoy these songs!!

Do you Hear What I Hear?

instruments

Today in my medical fragile classrooms I sang the traditional Christmas song “Do You Hear What I Hear?”  As I sang the song, “Ms. Shae style,”  I introduced different sounding instruments to my students. First singing “Do you hear what I hear?  I repeated this several times while I played the selected  instrument.  As I walked from student to student I looked to see if the students were tracking the sounds, and if they were able to focus on the instruments.  I then sang, “A bell, a bell, do your hear the bell. Do you hear the bell as I play… now let me hear Megan play.”    The students LOVED this activity and love when I put their names in the song we are singing.   I was able to introduce the following instruments in one session; wind chimes, bells, castanets, finger cymbals, drum, tambourine, triangle, cabasa (I did change the words during this verse to feel and rolled the cabasa up an down the students arms and legs) and a vibrotone.  The students and the teacher loved the activity so much I may just have to pull this one out at other times of the year.

After the session I shared with the teacher how she could change up the words even more to say do you see what I see, what I feel etc.
Later in the day, I tweaked the activity a little more and used the song to facilitate choice making.  I started out with “Do you hear what I hear?” A bell a bell, who wants to play the bell? Who will play the bell for me? Who will play the bell for me?”  I then had the student play the instrument one time and put it under his/her chair and fold their hands.  We repeated this until everyone had an instrument.  Once everyone had an instrument I accompanied the students on my guitar as we played through a medley of carols.
I wish I could take full credit for the idea but I can’t.   I recently purchased a book called Sensational Songs and Activities by Amy Kalas, MM, MT-BC and one of her song suggestions was my springboard for this suggestion.  Her ebook is packed full of great ideas to help jump start your creativity!!  You can check out her blog and her book @ www.WHmusictherapy.com

I do hope you have a wonderful day!!