[THEMES] Winter: Music, Literacy, and More!

Shivering Snowman!

Get moving with these winter-themed activities!

Even if you don’t receive an inch of snow or temperatures below freezing, you can always dream up what winter feels like. Today in the Bear Paw Creek blog, we are focusing on winter-themed music, movement, and literacy activities for you to use in your music classes or music therapy sessions (or where ever you use music and movement!). We have also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in your planning.

Winter Song Playlist

Included on this playlist are some standards — Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Sleigh Ride — but I also included some lesser-known songs that you can use at this time of year.

 

  • Winter Wonderland – Michael Buble
  • Jingle Bells – Laurie Berkner
  • Sleigh Ride – Leroy Anderson
  • A Marshmellow World – Dean Martin
  • Winter Song – Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson
  • River – James Taylor (Sarah McLachlan has a really great version, too!)
  • The Skater’s Waltz
  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow! – Dean Martin
  • Winter Wind – The Piano Guys
  • Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
  • Let It Go/Winter from The Four Seasons – The Piano Guys/Vivaldi

 

The Skater’s Waltz

I mentioned The Skater’s Waltz last month in the Christmas-themed blog post (you can read it here). I love this piece of versatile music so much that I wanted to include it here, too. 

The Skater’s Waltz can be used in so many different ways. You can pull out your Stretchy Band or parachute and have your students or clients lift and lower right to the waltz beat of the music (for a total of 6 counts up, 6 counts down). Make sure you are keeping track of student/client fatigue with the movements and give them appropriate break times from the movement.

You can also take your Stretchy Band (my daughters’ music teacher calls it “Super Stretchy”), and have your clients or students mirror your movements. While stationary, you can move with a circling motion, a bicycling motion, as well as pulling, pushing, zig zagging, and stretching motions. Again, make sure you are watching for student/client fatigue. 

You can also use The Skater’s Waltz with your creative movement with scarves and streamers. You can even check out these neat winter-themed jingle streamersAnd don’t forget that there is a special winter balloon ball, too! So many music and movement possibilities!

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Snowball Fight

Last year, when the indoor snowball prop set was created, many of you shared your fun ideas. Janet and her family even had an indoor snowball fight in Missouri, where snow is rare! They included Jimmy Fallon’s Snowfight book in their activities. You can read Janet’s blog post here (it also includes a great activity idea from Carole of Macaroni Soup). 

Additional Resources

Rachel Rambach does it again! She created an awesome Winter Song Pack, especially for those working with younger children.

Amy from Wholesome Harmonies, LLC featured a Frosty Mad Lib on her blog — perfect for your elementary level kiddos.

This is one of my favorite go-to winter songs — My Snowmen (to the tune of This Old Man). It is super cute, engaging especially for younger kiddos. 

What winter-themed songs and activities are in your “go-to” stash? Have a fun time moving to the music suggested here, and STAY WARM! 

Written by: Julie A. Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

[THEMES] Christmas: Music, literacy, and more!

Christmas music to get you moving and grooving!

 

It’s December, and most likely your focus has been on incorporating holiday music into your lessons and sessions. It’s a festive time of year, and in my opinion, adding holiday music to your music lineup brings a lot of JOY to you and your students and clients.

Here at Bear Paw Creek, since we focus on music and movement, we wanted to highlight how you can incorporate movement in your music classes and sessions. We’ve also included a handy YouTube playlist to inspire you in planning your sessions, lessons, or classes this holiday season.

 

Jingle Bells

Who doesn’t love the sound of jingle bells at this time of year? Besides the familiar Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock, you can use your jingle bells with lots of different Christmas songs, as well. Two favorites of mine are Silver Bells and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town. These jingle bell scrunchies can be perfect to use when addressing fine motor skills, such as grasping. 

If you are looking to stretch your repertoire beyond Jingle Bells, however, SKS Music Therapy has it covered here in this blog post entitled appropriately “Past Jingle Bells: Three Ideas for Palate-Cleansing Christmas Music.” 

Music therapist Ryan Judd also covers a couple of easy to learn holiday songs for kids with special needs on his vlog — including using jingle bells. Watch his video here.

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Stretchy Band & Connect-a-Stretchy-Band

When incorporating Christmas music with movement, you can’t go wrong with upbeat classics like Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride. The Stretchy Band or Connect-a-Stretchy-Band are excellent props that you can use to support your student’s or client’s movements.

If you are looking to slow the tempo a bit and really focus on slow and controlled motor movements, you can always incorporate the slow jazz version of O Christmas Tree by the Vince Guaraldi Trio or White Christmas for your older adults.

If you work with older adults, Rachelle Norman, MT-BC blogged about some “fresh” music ideas. She shares her post here.

 

Bear Paw Creek Christmas Playlist 2017

Scarves & Streamers

Scarves and streamers are a perfect addition to your Christmas music sessions and classes.

Skater’s Waltz & Skating by The Vince Guaraldi Trio

These two selections are perfect for pairing with scarves (I like using shades of pink, blue, purple and white at this time of year). If you work with younger children, you can add paper plate skates! Take a simple white paper plate, have your kiddos step on them, “lace them up,” and skate away. This works best on carpet. 

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy – Pentatonix

I really love this version of the Sugar Plum Fairy because of its’ strong beat. You can keep a steady beat with your streamers while having your clients or students mirror your movements. Read our post about why a steady beat is important. 

An activity extension is to take turns having different leaders and see the creative ideas come forth from your clients and students!

Songs in ¾ time

¾ time in music lends itself well to smooth, sweeping motions. Just think of your favorite waltz dance. Do you automatically start to sway to the beat? 

Grab your favorite scarves or streamers and sway, bounce, tap, toss and catch, roll, balance, and turn to these great selections that are in in ¾ time.

  • It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Andy Williams
  • Coventry Carol – Pentatonix
  • Away in the Manger
  • What Child is This?
  • My Favorite Things – from The Sound of Music

Special Downloads & Printables

Movement Action Cards

You can pair these great movement cards with a freeze song of your choice. These great, colorful, and fun movement cards from the Oopsey Daisy Blog are a favorite of mine for the early childhood crowd.

Download them here.

Activity Ideas Download 

Coast Music Therapy offers this great download of activity ideas that teach social, language, and motor skills. 

Download here.

 

Christmas + Literacy = A great combo!

There are so many great singable books that you can use at this time of year. I pull these books out every year with my own children, and we enjoy being snuggled together while singing these wonderful and beautiful books.

Click on each book image to purchase on Amazon. 

Little Drummer Boy – Ezra Jack Keats

How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss

Snowmen at Christmas – Caralyn Buehner

Jingle Bells – Iza Trapani

Take a look at some of our previous Christmas-related blog posts:

What are your favorite Christmas songs that you use in your music therapy sessions or music classes? 

And in closing, we hope you have a musical and wonderful holiday!

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the Creative Director of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website here: Serenade-Designs.com

Movement Prop & Musical Instrument Organization

Organizing for traveling music therapists, educators, caregivers, and professionals

 

 

As a traveling professional, organizing on the go is a must. Your vehicle serves as your office, lunch room, and closet all at the same time.

In part 2 of this organization series, we explore the intricacies of being a traveling professional who travels from site to site.

You can read part 1 here.

 

organizing-traveling-professionals-blog-post-sm

Practical considerations for traveling professionals:

  • Utilize a large tote bag for your various materials and for your larger instruments like hand drums, paddle drums, sound shape drums, tambourines, and all of the accessories (BONUS TIP: I recommend contacting a vendor who sells Thirty-One bags and accessories – they have a nice selection of sturdy bags of all sizes that may hold your materials, instruments, and movement props very well)
  • Organize your smaller materials, like small rhythm instruments, streamers, and scarves, in totes and bags — doing this makes it super simple to grab what you need right in the middle of a session or class
  • Use a rolling cart, rolling luggage, or even a wagon (more on this in a bit!)
  • Find and use a good quality gig bag for your guitar and invest in a Guitten
  • Use a BoomTote to keep all of your Boomwhackers together instead of letting them roll all over the car trunk

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Getting from Point A to Point B: 

Transporting all.the.things from place to place can be a tricky job! 

Rolling carts are always a plus — two traveling music therapists share their favorite traveling accessories below: 

Just Keep Rollin’
Jody Tucker of Access Music Therapy, LLC in Duluth, MN, shares her favorite rolling bag, her visuals, and other cool materials she can keep in her HUGE travel bag…pssst, think ocean drum!

Bumping Up And Down in an EasyGoWagon
Linda of RhythmWORKS Music Therapy, LLC in Chicago, IL, shares her favorite music wagon – and it’s easily foldable and carries a ton of equipment. Check out her post!

Additional things to help you along your way:

  1. Phone and phone charger
  2. Podcasts (for when you are stuck in traffic or have a longer commute between sites)
  3. Mileage log or app
  4. Voice memo app (for when you think of a great idea, you can quickly record it for future use)
  5. Hand sanitizer
  6. A good ice scraper/snow brush or sunshade for your vehicle
  7. Umbrella

Katey of On a Good Note has written an entire Traveling Music Therapist blog series on apps, podcasts, and tips just for traveling music therapists. Check it out!

Take care of your vehicle:

Carve out time to take care of your car. Get regular oil changes and car washes, vacuum all of the seats and trunk, and throw away all the coffee cups.

Also, take some time to organize all of your materials. This is the most important step. As I wrote in Part 1 of this series, having an organized space certainly makes your life as a therapist, educator, or professional much easier.

Be flexible as a traveling professional:

Amy Buser, music therapist and owner of Wholesome Harmonies, LLC, in Miami, FL, shares about the one day she forgot all of her materials for her music therapy sessions. She relied on her music therapy training, as well as her spontaneous creativity to get through the day. 

And finally, a little humor to lighten your way:

 

mt-meme-bpc

Do you have a great organizing tip or resource for those professionals who travel frequently? Please share in the comments below.

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and rock their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful girls. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

Movement Prop & Musical Instrument Organization

Organizing for clinics, studios, and classrooms

We know how important organization is for music therapists and music teachers, whether you have a clinic space, a studio, a classroom, or if you travel from site to site in your mobile office on four wheels (aka your vehicle!!).

In part one of this two-part series on organization, we explore ways to organize your clinic, studio, and classroom spaces (read Part 2 here). 

Utilizing wall space

Whether you have a thriving studio or a busy classroom, having your movement props and musical instruments stored up and off the ground is advantageous. This keeps some of your most important tools away from curious hands.

Using a guitar wall mounts/hangers is a perfect way to keep your guitar safe. This neat guitar wall mount from Wallaxe.com is visually appealing and super cool (and bonus points because their products are made in the USA!).

wallaxe-guitar-mount

If you are handy and want to make your own guitar wall mount for your clinic or classroom space, you can easily search for “DIY guitar mount” or “DIY guitar stand.” You’ll find hundreds of results, building plans, and ideas.

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Our friends at Music Therapy Connections in Springfield, Illinois have put together a neat and efficient slatwall that easily holds movement props (there’s the Stretchy Band!), books, baskets of instruments, and special materials for their early childhood music classes.

music-therapy-connections-organize

The team at MTC shares their process and the reasoning behind using this simple wall piece that can be purchased right from a local hardware store. It’s a perfect solution for them as it keeps their instruments better protected and cuts down on distractions for their students and clients.

Establishing storage areas

Having a separate storage space in your clinic or classroom space is a nice perk, as well.

Whether your movement props, musical instruments, and visuals are stored in a closet, an office, or simply a bin or bookcase, having a storage makes your life a little bit easier.

Everything is in its’ own place so that you can easily find it for the next time.

Organizing for itinerant Music Therapists

Music therapist Kathy Schumacher from Tuneful Teaching shared exactly how she organizes her music therapy equipment — from instruments to puppets to visuals. She primarily uses drawstring bags, tote bags, and an organized system of labels.

Having an organized space certainly makes your life as a therapist, educator, or professional much easier.

For more organizing ideas, make sure to visit our Pinterest board for organizing!

TIP FOR PROFESSIONALS

Place an instrument (eggshaker, jingle bell, rhythm sticks, small tambourine) in a drawstring bag. Give it a shake and see if your students or clients can guess the instrument.

Great for sound identification and awareness goals.

Tell us — what are your tips and tricks for organizing your clinic space, studio, or classroom? Leave a comment below!

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful little girls. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

Stretchy Band Round-Up

Bear Paw Creek’s Stretchy Band Round-Up!

 

 

The stretchy band is one of the most popular items at Bear Paw Creek, and we are so pleased to also provide you with ideas on how to use it in your everyday work with individuals and groups.

Listed below is a quick list of activity ideas that you can grab if you are low on time in planning your next music and movement session or class.

Stretchy Band Activity Round-Up

5 Ways to Use a Stretchy Band

Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC shows you 5 different ways she uses the stretchy band in her music therapy and yoga practice. She offers suggestions on how to use the stretchy band with groups, as well as individuals, all while working on pre-academic skills. Read on…

 

The Airplane Song with the Connect-a-Stretchy Band

Take a ride on an airplane and a rocketship, all while using the stretchy and Connect-a-Band. Read on…

 

Stretchy Band Row Row Row Your Boat

Different versions and variations on a traditional song – perfect for rowing your stretchy band. Read on…

 

Jump on Board the Stretchy Band Train

Especially for your clients and students who love trains! Printable tickets available here, too. Read on…

 

11 Circle Songs for Stretchy Band Music and Movement Activities

11 Songs for all ages and abilities → for kids ages 0 to 110! Read on…

 

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Stretchy Band Shapes and Teamwork

A video AND plus an awesome printable accompany this post on making shapes with the stretchy band. Read on…

 

13 Stretchy Band Movement Activities

A colorful infographic on 13 stretchy band activities. Read on…

 

Stretchy Band Movement and Song Activity

Are you movin’ and you know it? A lyric rewrite on the traditional “If You’re Happy & You Know It,” just for stretchy band. Read on…

 

Wonderful Artie Almeida

The title ‘Wonderful Artie Almeida’ doesn’t do this post and activity justice — take a look at how the stretchy band is used with Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker March. You’ll get goosebumps, it’s so cool. 🙂  Read on…

 

Stretchy Band™ “Movin’ in the Circle” Video

Using the stretchy band with Rachel Rambach’s music and movement songs.  Read on…

Written by: Julie Palmieri, MM, MT-BC is the owner of Serenade Designs, which specializes in helping music therapists create, enhance, and ROCK their online presence. She is a board-certified music therapist, wife, and Momma to 2 beautiful little girls. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

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