Friday Favorites: {Old Gray Cats}

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We have been busy at Toneworks getting grant applications ready so that we can start our work again in Early Childhood Special Education classrooms at several Minneapolis schools! In preparation, I have been going through my book of songs and found this gem that is a traditional song, but in Lynn Kleiner’s “Kids Make Music, Babies Make Music Too” with some great ideas for movement.

Old Gray Cats is a song full of little mice and sleeping cats. You may want to keep it simple for toddlers or pre-k children. Have the whole group pretend to be mice or cats for each verse.  Older children can be divided into groups (hand out pictures/stickers of mice/cats to assign) and act out the verses at the same time. If you’re lucky enough to have Orff instruments, you can really utilize a variety of musical cues during this song. Try a slow beat on a tone bar or fifths on a xylophone for the sleeping cats, quiet staccato 8th notes for mice creeping, a wake up signal for the cats, and crazy pentatonic scales for running around! Here is the sheet music on scribd.

Old Gray Cats

There is a lot of room for improvisation as a music therapist in planning this music therapy intervention. The intervention can be tailored to work on goals of imitating movements, working with a group, following directions, and sequencing. This is a great song to use at the beginning of a session to get some of the wiggles out and get children ready to focus for any interventions designed to meet academic or cognitive goals.

We hope your little ones have fun working together during this intervention like ours do. Contact Us by e-mail for more information on how to get Music Therapy Groups with Ms. Lyndie or Ms. Andrea at your school or daycare.


Monday Music and Movement: {Theme Songs for Life}



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Being a music therapist, I often get songs stuck in my head that my clients frequently request. Although I do enjoy endless renditions of “I Know a Chicken” and “I Love Rock and Roll”, by the end of the day, I’m annoyed with myself and in need of my own music therapy. There is an old wives tale that if you listen to a song that’s stuck in your head, it will be “unstuck”. Unfortunately, that technique has never worked on me. In an effort to curb my problem, I decided I needed a power song to distract and motivate me.

Thanks to some soul searching back to my earlier days, I remembered an episode of Ally McBeal that talked about having a “theme song of life”. This theme song could be an old classic or a new favorite that you can sing to make yourself feel better. For me, it’s a song that can wake me up in the morning despite my love of the snooze button, sing in my head while waiting in line at the grocery store, or belt out loud in the car. No matter what the situation, this song will clear my mind and fit any mood or situation that I’m in.

Choosing a theme song for life is harder than you would think. I’m not talking about the standard “Eye of the Tiger” that most sports teams use to pump up players before a game, but something that speaks to you personally. For me, that song is “Hang Loose” by Alabama Shakes. I immediately smile when I hear the first guitar riff on a recording, or I of course sing the riff myself if I don’t have the music available. Here is a link to the song.

What is your power song? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

Friday Favorites: {Milkshake, Shake it Up}


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Today’s Friday Favorite is the perfect tune, especially considering our recent heat wave in Minneapolis! The intervention is adapted from the song “Milkshake” by Wiggleworms. You can following this link to find the CD “Songs for Wiggleworms”.  This intervention can of course be adapted depending on your client base. I sing the song live to give enough time for each child to give their favorite milkshake flavor or ingredient. For this activity, you will need two egg maracas for each child.

Before each verse, choose a child to give you their favorite ingredient or flavor of milkshake and sing that in the third stanza of the verse. The words from the adapted version are below:

You take a little milk,  pour some milk 

And you take a little cream,  pour some cream

You stir it up with ____________ (child’s favorite ingredient or flavor)

You shake it and you sing…1,2,3,4


Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

Milkshake, milkshake shake it up, shake it up

Milkshake, milkshake shake it all up!

I usually use this intervention in small group therapy, but recently adapted it for an individual client working on identifying objects. For each verse, I presented him with two options and asked him to choose the one I requested. Instead of egg maracas, we used a large ocean drum to shake during the chorus, which addressed one of his gross motor goals as well.

Monday Music and Movement: {National Interpretive Dance Day!}



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As a firm believer in the power of dance, I couldn’t help but grin at the gym when a morning talk show host announced today was “National Interpretive Dance Day”.  After googling any combination of national, interpretive, dance, and day, I was disappointed to find out it was not actually a real thing, but I’ve still been walking around with jazz hands all morning! This faux holiday coincides with our first announcement for our fall schedule, which also happens to be about dance! Despite my (and sorry Ms. Andrea, you too) lack of dance coordination skills, we are excited to announce that Toneworks will be offering an Adaptive Dance and Movement class beginning this fall with the lovely Maureen Cavanaugh!

In the Adaptive Dance and Movement class, individuals work in inclusive groups of 4-6 to focus on gross and sensorimotor coordination through the use of rhythmic movement and dance. Students will learn short dance sequences to improve skills like joint attention and following directions. Sequences are broken down into simple steps using both auditory and visual cues to set all participants up for success. In addition, basic adapted yoga poses and breathing exercises are incorporated to improve focus, balance, and breath support. Participating in these creative music movement games is a fun way keep your kids active and increase self awareness of one’s body in space!

Maureen is the Music Therapist for Edina Public Schools and a Dance Instructor/Choreographer for 5 Star Dance Studio. She holds a B.A. in Theater from The College of St. Benedict, and a B.S. in Music Therapy from Augsburg College. Having a passion for working with children of all ages and abilities, Maureen enjoys integrating various art forms in her teaching as a way to tap into each child’s strengths and interests.

Sessions run for 6 weeks, each class is 45 minutes in length, and all classes are grouped by age or development level. Because it is inclusive, multiple diagnosis are welcome, but participants must be ambulatory and able to be in a 45 minute group session. Parents, caregivers, or PCAs are welcome to join and assist as needed!

To find out more information about class times, location, and rates, please contact us for more information!