Monday Music & Movement: {Had an Apple}

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Image via Sweet Cup ‘N Cakes

After a week of heat indexes in the 100+ range, I breathed a huge sigh of relief and threw windows open yesterday when the temperatures in MN dropped into the 70’s! Along with the cooler weather, I took down summer decorations to fall and got to baking chocolate zucchini cake and simmering chicken wild rice soup. Autumn is my favorite season and it’s definitely on my mind right now! Today’s Monday Music & Movement kicks off our fall songs posts. We hope you enjoy it.

This song is a piggyback of “Old Dog Blue” and is used to work on goals of matching color. For a foundational skill of matching, you will want to start by making 2 apples of each color for an exact match. Here is one example of clipart that you can color in. After the child or group meets that objective, you can work on matching a picture of an apple and a worm that are the same color, which is a more difficult task. You can also work on goals of turn taking, joint attention, and expressive language during this intervention.

Start by passing out an apple to each child. Hold up or place on the first color apple on the board and sing:

Had an apple and it was __color__ (3x)

Who has the same as me?

Wait for the child to answer {I do, or Me!} or for peers to help the child identify their matching apple or worm. Have the child bring it up to the board or to you and sing:

__Name__ had a __color__ apple/worm (3x)

Two same  _color_, __color__ {point to the two objects}

This music therapy intervention is short and sweet, the repetitive and predictable nature of the verses are perfect for young children and groups of children with special needs that need structure in learning. The possibilities of tailoring this simple melody to objects that will capture the attention of young children are endless. Matching characters from “My Little Pony” or “Lego Star Wars” anyone?

Happy first week of school to most children that we have the privilege of working with every week!

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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

Chorus:

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.

Friday Favorites: {In the Summer}

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Today’s Friday Favorite is a piggyback version (same melody, different lyrics) of the song “In the Jungle”. I got this song writing idea from my fabulous internship supervisor at The Family Partnership, Sarah Woolever. You can use this song to meet goals of choice making, turn taking, sight words (names and foods), food identification, and if the kids are older you can even talk about healthy vs. less healthy food choices as well.

You will want to find or print off a variety of foods, include the names of the foods on the cards so you can work on sight letters/words. You may want to print out a few more than the clients you have in the group in case they all hate green beans 🙂 If clients are old enough to read, you can write out the  lyrics on a large notepad or have it on a powerpoint. If not, just have a felt board for them to place food pictures on to with their names on it.

Start singing/playing the chorus of the song…

In the summer, the hot, hot, summer

We like to have fun in the sun

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

We like to eat lots of yummy food

Now the children get to make a choice during the verse and put their food next to their name on the board

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food__

In the summer, the hot, hot summer

__(name)__ likes to eat yummy __(food)__

Then everyone can join back in for the “a-wim-o-weh” part

Here’s a link to a lead sheet for The Lion Sleeps Tonight so you can see the melody and chords from Wikifonia! We hope you enjoy song writing all about food with your kiddos!

 

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.

Monday Music & Movement: {Executive Functioning and Functional Life Skills}

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Since the MN Music Therapy conference last weekend, I’ve had brains on the mind (pardon the pun!). Using music to engage all areas of the brain in order to maximize where memories or facts are recalled from is so exciting to me. This week, my personal goal was to use music interventions to improve executive functioning in everyday life. For example,  learning addresses, birthdays, phone numbers, and calendar days! In the meantime, I was still addressing gross and fine motor, academic, socialization, and musical knowledge skills that were in individual treatment plans.

For each client this week, I chose a goal that could be addressed and improved by using an executive functioning exercise to recall a sequence of numbers. For some, I chose 4 numbers and for others up to 10 numbers to sequence learning of their phone number.

First, I laid out seven instruments in a pile and he laid seven numbered mats that were all in his phone number around the room in various places. He sorted through the instruments and chose one to put by each mat. Then, I wrote his phone number on a white board, we started by playing the assigned instrument the first number. For example (not the actual client’s phone number), I wrote 2-1-8-3-1-6-0-5-2-0. Starting at the mat with the #2 on it, he played the instrument for the duration of a song that I played on the guitar (at least one minute), and then moved on to the mat with #1 on it.

After playing that instrument for the duration of a song, we erased the first *2* and *1* from the white board and started over. After each new number we added, we went back to the board, erased that number, and started from the beginning. After we made it through all 10 numbers, I took away the mats, and he recited the numbers as he went through the instrument course. After that, we took away the instruments, and he followed the course where the mats previously were. Finally, he recited his phone number without any instruments or numbered mats and he was able to remember it!

This is an example of an activity that would also be able to transfer to the home environment. Numbers or letters can be put on pieces of paper, and any number or instrument, or body actions can be combined with the items on the paper and slowly sequenced and then taken away. In the meantime, you’re still improving other goal areas, and it’s a fun way to improve functional living skills!