{Spring Update from Toneworks}



It’s raining in MN today…so that’s one step closer to melting all of the inches of snow on the ground! It has been a whirlwind of a week for us at Toneworks and we want to share some of what is coming up in the Spring of 2013.

Tones of Fun Music, Movement, & Literacy Groups at Ramsey County Libraries

  • If you live within Ramsey County in the Twin Cities metro area there is a good chance Toneworks is coming to your library for Baby and Me or Preschool Storytime. Please check at your local Ramsey County library or children’s librarian

Musical Playground Groups around NE Minneapolis

  • We will be moving into our new clinic space in April where we will be starting new groups for Tones of Fun and Musical Playground. We are also able to work with parents that have a current playgroup for children with special needs or group of children that would like to start up a Musical Playground group at their meeting space or home. Please contact us for more information!

We are also in the midst of applying for a grant to provide music therapy groups for social, emotional, and academic skills in Early Childhood Special Education classrooms in Minneapolis. If you are a special education teacher or parent of a child in a special education classroom, we would love to chat with you about getting music therapy in your child’s classroom! Again, please contact us for more information.

Thank you for your support in reading our blog and we hope to see many of you at the libraries this spring and at our Open House for Toneworks, which we will announce soon. Happy Weekend from Lyndie & Andrea!


Monday Music and Movement: Here Comes Peter Cottontail

One of my favorite songs growing up was “Here Comes Peter Cottontail”. My sisters and I would change the words to go on a scavenger hunt around the house to find different items that my mom would hide.

In this version, the melody of the song is used, but different verses are substituted to focus on different goal areas. Here is the song so you can hear the melody that is used. These goal areas include, the gross motor movement of  “hopping” over and collecting the item requested, identifying objects, colors, and letters, as well as self-regulation to “freeze”.

“Here comes Peter Cottontail, hopping down the bunny trail. Hippity, hoppity, hippity hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the Easter basket? Hop over to the Easter basket. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the jelly beans? Hop over to the jelly beans. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the _____(pick a color) egg? Hop over to the ___egg. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

“Can you find the letter ____ (pick a letter)? Hop over to the letter ____. Hippity, hoppity, hippity, hoppity, FREEZE!”

Items to find can be purchased at a dollar store or use props that you have at home.

Friday Favorites: {Baby Animals in the Spring}

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Baby Bunny Rescue #2

Photo Credit: wsimmons

We think there are endless possibilities for piggybacking classic children’s songs (examples here and here). Today’s Friday Favorite is no exception! In honor of the supposed start of spring, which meant wind chills of -10 for us in Minnesota, we bring you a song about baby animals sung to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus”.

You can use this song to address goals of gross motor movement, cooperation, and academic skills such as matching pictures of baby animals to mama animals. You can review pictures of the animals and movements that they make before you start singing. Have the kids stand up and even move in a circle if they are old enough to do so. Here are the lyrics:

The bunnies on the farm go hop, hop hop

Hop, hop, hop. Hop, hop, hop.

The bunnies on the farm go hop, hop hop in the spring time.

Chicks – flap, Horsies (or baby foals) – gallop, Baby cows – swish (tails) and on and on!

Happy Spring from us at Toneworks Music Therapy Services! We are excited to move into our new clinic space in the coming month and will keep you updated on new classes starting.



Monday Music & Movement: {Shake, Shake, Baby}


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Today’s song is a piggyback of the catchy chorus of Nelly’s “Country Grammar”, which has a chorus based on the children’s rhyme “Down Down Baby”. Here’s a link to a clean version of if you’ve never heard it…please try not to judge my 15 year old self that loved the catchy melody!

Whenever I have an earworm, I figure it’s a decent melody to piggyback new lyrics. That’s how today’s Monday Music & Movement came about. This song addresses goals of body identification, self-regulation, following directions, and gross motor goals (bilateral movement of harms, meeting, and crossing at midline). During the song, children will stop/go, watch and listen to you to move shakers in different ways, and receptively identify body parts.

Here are the lyrics:

[Sung to melody]
Shake, Shake, Baby
Shake down the rollercoaster (swoop arms as if on a rollercoaster)
Up high baby, shake them way up high (reach!!)

Roll and roll and roll and stop (pause)
Roll them way up high (above heads)
Roll and roll and roll and stop
Roll them way down low (by the floor)

Let’s get the rhythm on the head, head (2x)
Let’s get the rhythm on the …. etc.

Continue the chant with whatever body parts you are working on identifying. Repeat song 2-3x with repeated body parts for younger children to really learn them or with different parts if you have been working on body identification before.

This is a seemingly simple therapeutic music intervention, but as a music therapists you can address so many goals with this fun instrument song. We hope you can adapt and use it with your clients or children!

Friday Favorites: Music Bingo for Kids!


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One of my favorite activities to use when working with children is music bingo. The template is simple, functional, and easy to manipulate depending on the songs you’re familiar with. The template that I have linked uses six familiar children’s songs: The Wheels on the Bus, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Row Row Row Your Boat.

Depending on the group, I either have them work together on one sheet, or give them each their own. Goals that I address can include visual and auditory perception, peer interaction, song identification, counting 1-6, directional concepts, and phonics. I like to adapt the level of difficulty by singing the lyrics, or for more a challenge, only humming the melody for each tune.

Here is the Kids Bingo Sheet

Bingo-away friends!

MN Music Therapy Day on the Hill 2013

photo (3)For the past two years, I have had the privilege of meeting some of my Minnesota legislators with groups of my music therapy colleagues at Day on the Hill. The purpose of Day on the Hill is to educate legislators on what music therapy is and advocate for music therapy. In addition, we have specifically advocated for a music therapy licensure bill in the two years that I have been involved.


We’ve posted before on why music therapy advocacy is important and how to advocate here. In today’s post, I will focus on why we are seeking a music therapy licensure bill in Minnesota.

What is licensure, you may ask? The answer will differ by state. In Minnesota, licensure in Minn Stat. sec214.001 is defined as:

“a system whereby a practitioner must receive recognition by the state of having met predetermined qualifications, and persons not so licensed are prohibited from practicing. (Title and scope of practice restriction.)” 

Some of the legislators we met with wanted to know why licensure was necessary for music therapists since we already have a Certification Board for Music Therapists. There are several reasons why we want to see a music therapy licensure law passed in Minnesota. Below are a couple of the reasons.

1) Protection for Clients – Licensure would protect clients from treatment that may be potentially harmful to clients from individuals that misrepresent themselves as “music therapists” but are not board-certified music therapists (e.g. non-music therapy musician)

2) Access to Music Therapy Services – Some state agencies require providers to be state recognized. Licensure would provide the necessary state recognition for clients and families seeking access to music therapy services.

Licensure would also define music therapist’s scope of practice at the state level to prevent conflict or confusion with other practitioners.  Music therapy licensure does not mean that music therapists are claiming all use of music during sessions as our own. Rather, licensure will protect clients and allow for more access to music therapy services while increasing awareness of music therapy to clients and other allied health professionals.

This week, I have talked with several friends that said they knew someone who uses music therapy. Sounds great, right? However, in each case, the person that was using “music therapy” was not a music therapist. They may be using music as medicine or using music therapeutically, but playing a song on the piano or creating a playlist on an ipod alone is not music therapy!

Every time I hear these stories, I give this example: I can’t go around saying that I do physical therapy or that I am a physical therapist just because I lead movement to music as part of my music therapy sessions. Music therapists have training in music, psychology, anatomy, therapeutic skills, and group management. In order to be board-certified, we have to complete a 6 month internship and 1200+ hours of music therapy experience. We take a client from assessment, planning, treatment, progress notes, to termination while working on goals that are most relevant to the client’s quality of life.

We would like to thank Senator Rosen and Representative Dorholt, the chief authors in the Minnesota Senate and House, respectively for their work on the music therapy licensure bill.

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Left to Right: Music Therapists Kathy Nelson, Melissa Hirokawa, Claire Klein, and Representative Zachary Dorholt

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Left to Right: Music Therapists Andrea Yun-Springer, Melissa Hirokawa, MTAM President Peter Meyer with Senator Julie Rosen

We hope 2014 is the year that a music therapy licensure law will be passed in Minnesota. Until then, we will keep up our work in advocating for and educating on music therapy!

State of MN – Frequently Asked Questions About Licensure

Music Therapy Advocacy: {On the Daily}


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I was having coffee with a friend of mine last weekend who is a candidate in the Master’s of Social Work program at the U of M. She mentioned that last week in one of her classes the instructor brought in a documentary and talked about incorporating “music therapy” into social work practice. As in, the social work students could be using recorded music in sessions and calling it “music therapy”.

A student then asked the instructor, “So is music therapy an actual profession then, or what is it?”. No one had an answer in class and the instructor proceeded to say that she thought it was, but wasn’t sure about the training requirements, etc. That was it. No clarification, no google.

Unfortunately, I hear these stories myself or via friends and family all to often. In this instance, my friend was willing to give me her instructor’s contact information so I can pass on the definition of music therapy according to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”

We’re lucky in MN to also have a great state organization and I can give this instructor a list of music therapists in MN that are in private practice as well. I know several music therapists that would offer at the drop of a hat to guest lecture on how music therapists and social workers can collaborate in various settings.

All of this reminded me once again that while we have social media music therapy advocacy month, it is also important to always be willing to educate in a positive way. Believe me, I do not usually feel like smiling when hosts on Minnesota Public Radio start throwing around the term “music therapy” when describing an iPod playlist. So, having a few bullet points that differentiate music therapy vs. music as therapy (like this great post by Metro Music Therapy!) in addition to the “elevator talk” version of what you do as a music therapist can help clarify and inform.

That said, I’m excited to advocate for music therapy tomorrow at MN Music Therapy Day on the Hill 2013! I’ll get to meet with a Senator and Representatives from my work and home districts to advocate for music therapy licensure in MN. I’ll save the reasons why we support music therapy licensure until our post on Day on the Hill later this week. Hope to see you back here then!