Timeless Tunesday: {Where is Thumbkin?}

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Timeless Tunesday is brought to you by one of my favorite mother goose rhymes! But seriously, it started as a rhyme, then Barney adapted it and sang it to the tune of Frere Jacques. I received a cassette tape of Barney in Concert which features this song, for my 4th birthday. I am not ashamed to say I still have it today, despite the fact that I have no tape player. The song is a fantastic way to engage children in finger play and imitation. In the past, I’ve used this activity for group music sessions, but recently, started using it to address fine motor and upper body strength goals with an occupational therapist for a 1:1 client (yay for co-treating!).  To adapt the activity, I held my guitar up in the air, and for each verse that “finger” strummed the guitar chords.

Where is Thumbkin, Where is Thumbkin (hide hands behind your back)

Here I am, Here I am (bring right hand around, then left hand)

Play my guitar, Play like me (OT strums guitar to demonstrate, then client uses the thumb to imitate)

Come and play, play the guitar

Repeat this each time with pointer, tall man, ring, and pinky fingers.

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Friday Favorite: {Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus}

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We’ve shared how much we love the book, “Pete the Cat, I love my White Shoes” in one of our first posts. Well, Pete the Cat is back as a bus driver in this fun singable book.

One of the songs that all of the little hunnies in our ECSE classrooms love is “Wheels on the Bus”. We have a gross motor imitation goal so the song is a great opportunity for the kids to practice imitating actions while singing.

In addition to imitation, this book adds some novel verses to the old standard (The kitties on the bus say, “Let’s Rock Out!!”). For children struggling with rigidity, we want to practice change within the context of something familiar. This book is perfect to work on flexibility and why I love “Pete the Cat, Wheels on the Bus”.

We hope your little ones have as much fun singing and imitating the actions of this book as I have had this past week in my classroom groups!

Friday Favorites: {Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck!}

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I have been using “Hurry, Hurry Drive the Firetruck” this week during Musical Playground in ECSE classrooms to work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, impulse control, and imitating gross motor movements. The melody is simple so kids latch on to it right away and a handbell in the key you are singing the song in serves as the focus of joint attention. Have kids imitate the gross motor movements and wait to play the bell at “ding, ding, ding, ding, ding” to work on improving impulse control. Use as many verses as needed (or as few) so that each child gets a turn to play the bell. I like to repeat the song 2-3 times so everyone has a chance to get the gross motor movements and more than one turn to play the bell.

Here is the lead sheet and lyrics:

1) Hurry, hurry drive the firetruck (3x) [make driving motion w/ hands]

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

2) Hurry, hurry turn the corner [sway side to side as if turning corners while “steering” with hands]

3) Hurry, hurry find the fire [hands over eyes to look for the fire]

4) Hurry, hurry climb the ladder [pretend to climb up with arms]

5) Hurry, hurry save the baby [cradle pretend baby in arms]

6) Hurry, hurry squirt the water [pretend to hold a hose and spray water all around]

7) Slowly, slowly, back to the station [“steer” slowly]

Hope you have a fun time pretending to be firefighters with this Friday Favorite!

Monday Music & Movement: {It’s a Beautiful Day}

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Welcome to another Monday Music & Movement! Today’s song is one that Lyndie, our other music therapist, taught me from a practicum and a second version that I learned from a different practicum supervisor. Shows you how versatile and well-loved this song is with music therapists in MN!

There are two sets of lyrics that I use with this song to work on goals of name recognition, turn taking, joint attention, and choice making. You will want to choose the lyrics that will best address the goal areas you are working on with a particular group. You can just sing the song as a group to each member and have the friend choose who goes next for option #1, or use a little glockenspiel or handbell to pass around for option #2. Here is the lead sheet on Scribd.

#1)

It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.

It’s a beautiful day, a day with __name___. A beautiful, beautiful day.

#2)

It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell, ring your bell.

It’s a beautiful day so ring your bell, ring your bell with me.

Using only one instrument grabs the attention of peers who are not playing the bell, to work on joint attention. Friends wait to take a turn and interact with peers by making a choice of who will go next. Finally, since children love to be the center of attention, why not use a song that will allow the attention to happen in a context that is positive and praises sharing and choice making? It’s great to see little ones succeed with such a simple intervention that sets them up for improvement in multiple functional goal areas.

Friday Favorites: {It’s Raining, It’s Pouring}

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We have had a busy week at Toneworks, starting Musical Playground groups in four Early Childhood Special Education and Mental Health Collaborative classrooms! One of the songs we have been using this week to promote joint attention and peer interaction is “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” with slight modifications. In addition to the social/emotional goals, use of the rainstick requires motor planning and gross motor movement from the child so you can work on those goals as a secondary gain as well with this short little song!

Here is a link to the lead sheet and here are the lyrics:

It’s raining, it’s pouring, (n-a-m-e’s) making rain

First it’s (n-a-m-e), then a friend

What friend do you choose?

A simple song that hits several goal areas for you to use this rainy Spring. Happy Friday!

{Musical Playground in ECSE Classrooms}

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Toneworks is very excited to announce that we have been awarded mini-grants to provide music therapy groups. Lyndie Walker and I will be going into early childhood special education (ECSE) classrooms for music therapy groups called, “Musical Playground”.

Musical Playground are music therapy groups designed for children that are differently abled to interact with peers while working on academic, gross motor, cognitive, and social goals. We are privileged to have this wonderful opportunity to work with 3-5 yr olds in ECSE classrooms and are excited to use music to meet goals and to give music resources to the teachers and children.

If you are a teacher or parent in the Twin Cities metro area and would like to explore options for getting individual or group music therapy in your classroom or for your child, please Contact Us and we will be happy to talk!

{Autism Awareness Day!}

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April is one of my favorite months of the year. The sun shines once again for a solid 12 hours, April Fools Day is observed, AND most importantly, it’s Autism Awareness month! Over the last five years, I have had the privilege of getting to know some of the most unique, fun, challenging, and loving individuals I have ever worked with. Yes, they all have things that “link” them together and give them a common diagnosis, but each client has a different personality, favorite activities, and lessons to teach all of us. Music is a way to express individuality in a setting that is positive and successful. My clients can participate in a meaningful experience that is engaging and work on goal areas such as gross, fine, cognitive, and regulatory skills.

“Music has the advantage of demanding attention that a visual stimulus cannot, because it intrudes immediately through ears that cannot be closed voluntarily.”       -Hanser

Hanser’s observation explains why music therapists can effectively help clients achieve goals in a variety of areas. For example, if one of my clients is having a hard time slowing down his body, we will choose a song together, and he will jump on a trampoline while hitting a paddle drum that I move around. The client may not respond to a visual for “calm body” but with music, I can meet the client where he is and using the iso-principle, bring him to the calm body that will be necessary for him to be ready for kindergarten.

The actual goal we were working toward may read “L will participate in filling in the blanks of a song sung by the therapist for 90% of opportunities with minimal assistance”. In the meantime, the secondary gains that are built in to the therapeutic music intervention include  gross motor goals by crossing midline and bilateral movement, visual tracking, breath control, and self-regulation. The client is able to build self-esteem by participating in a meaningful activity, creating rapport with an adult figure, and responding to bids for interaction (socialization!) with the therapist.

Musical experiences are positive so people participate because they are enjoyable and successful. They learn to seek out and trust the therapist because that is needed for the experience to be successful for the client. Individuals that engage in positive creative efforts gain self-control and create a healthy emotional outlet.

Happy Autism Awareness Day!