Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal

Now that we are in the New Year, it is time to begin afresh, and make some magical moments with those wonderful props you have from Bear Paw Creek. But, have you noticed there aren’t a lot of resources out there for church choral directors to draw upon when searching for music and movement activities?  

I did notice the lack of resources, and certainly very few mentions of activities for more mature adults as well. So I set out to create some new activities and share some resources with you Bear Paw Creek fans and church choir directors to maximize the props you have.

If you do not yet have the budget to purchase the high quality props the BPC has to offer, then I will give you some alternative ideas for until your funding comes through. In addition, if you are like Janet and I and enjoy being makers, I am providing ideas, instructions and resources for you to make away!  

Stretchy Band

Stretchy Band in Choir Rehearsal with All Ages

Where is the magic? 

Where is the magic I mentioned?  To me, the magic rushes in in the moment when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir, wondering what I will suggest they do with the prop! Then, just as thrilling, seeing the concept I wanted to impart take hold so quickly because manipulating the prop engages those kinesthetic and tactile learners in my group.

 In this first of several blog posts on magical moments with music props in church choir rehearsal, I will provide you with activities using the stretchy band that will be just right for the church setting. There will be suggested church-appropriate activities for adults and children, recommendations on how to acquire a stretchy band for your rehearsal space on any budget and two ways to make your own stretchy band.

[Tweet “The magic rushes in when I take out a prop and see the excitement and expectation on the faces of those young and old in my choir! “]

Stretchy Band Activities that are fun and engaging!

Adults and/or Children-

Breathing Technique- Everyone breathe with the following motions- step back on the inhale and forward on the exhale, but never fully collapsing their ribcage by moving all the way to the middle, this creates a visual for good breathing technique.

Musical Learning- Adults and children together or separate, work together to make the stretchy band into note shapes and dynamic markings, this helps them to team build and work together.

Musical Form- Analyze the form of a current anthem or hymn using teamwork, by making a triangle as group for the A section, circle for B, square for C and so on.

Children-                                                                                                                                                                                                 Song Movements- Use the band for movements to songs such as: Michael Row the Boat Ashore, My God is So Big, Father Abraham, Zaccheus or Deep and Wide.

Highlight Individual’s Movements- Sing songs that highlight individual’s actions, for the larger group to imitate such as Did You Ever See a Lassie or Walking, Walking.

Fisherman Song- Use the chorus of the tune Blow the Man Down to create fishermen lyrics such as: Gather the net and pull in some fish in yea hey, like Peter did

Preschoolers- Stretchy bands can work on fundamentals like: high and low, soft/loud, up/down, in/out, colors and shapes through movement and visuals.

Putting away the stretchy band: Teacher “How big is Jesus’s heart?” The children stretch the band back and say “Sooo big!  and release. Or simply have everyone pull back and have everyone let go simultaneously, either way leaving the band in a nice, easy to pick up pile, and it is fun!

Easy Stretchy Band Clean-up

TIP: Be open to participants contributing lyric, movement or song ideas, as they are often good ones. 

 

HOW TO GET A STRETCHY BAND:

  • Big budget: You can purchase a high-quality stretchy band right here on this site from Bear Paw Creek.
  • Small budget: I made a thick and hearty homemade band of my own design for less than $20 and about two hours of work several years ago and it is still holding up well! See below for directions.
  • Tiny budget: The blog Education in Our World has an entry with a very frugal way to create a thin stretchy band of flexible size.

 

Two ways to make your own stretchy band

  1. Thick and Hearty

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • Fabric- colorful cotton/polyester blend or polyester cut lengthwise into 6 inch wide strips.
  • Fabric yardage- (using typical 44-45 inch width fabric) A few examples for stretchy bands intended for  different numbers of participants: 12 people= 1 ¼ yards, 20 people= 2 yards, 24 people= 2 1/3 yards. Formula for customization purposes can be found below.
  • 1 inch width elastic
  • Extra large safety pin
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread
    STEPS:
  • Calculate size based on maximum number of children or adults times 1 foot, which will give you the amount of elastic. Then double that number, which should give you the total length of the fabric strips you will need.

o   Formula for elastic:  Number of People x 1 foot= Elastic Needed*.

o   Formula for number of fabric strips: Elastic Needed x 2= total length of fabric strips needed.

o   Formula for fabric yardage required: Total Length of Fabric Strips x 12 = total number of inches required. Inches required divided by the fabric width of 43= total put into calculator at Quilter’s Paradise: Pieces to Yardage Area Calculator.

  • Cut the fabric into 6 inch wide lengths down the longest way of the fabric until you have strips adding up to the total length you calculated in the first step.
  • Turn two fabric strips so the right sides are facing each other, then sew the short ends together, repeat until all the pieces are one very long strip.
  • Fold completed long piece in half the long way, right sides together and sew about 1/2 inch from the edge creating a very long tube.
  • Turn the tube right side out, you will need to use a very large safety pin stuck through one end to aid you in this process.
  • Now comes the challenge- threading 1 inch elastic with the big safety pin in the end through the entire length.
  • Finally, sew the two ends of the elastic, overlap by an inch and stitch in a box shape and then in and x over the center of the box. *If the elastic length you require can only be achieved by purchasing two packages of elastic, then you will use the above process to attach the two ends of elastic together to make a larger size.
  • Fold under unfinished edges and sew completed stretchy band closed.

TIPS:

  • Enlist the sewing skills of an adult choir member or a child chorister parent or grandparent.
  • Go big, you can always tie a knot in the finished stretchy band to shrink the size if necessary.
  • Always double stitch everything if you want it to last.
  • If you are savvy, you can make this style for about $15 in a large to extra-large size. Look in the clearance fabric for steep discounts.
  • If your band is one color or pattern, tie scarves or ribbons every 12 inches to the stretchy band in order to be able to call out choristers by color for activities
  1. Thin and Flexi

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 bag of nylon potholder loops

STEPS:

  • Can be found on the blog Education in Our World when you go to Mrs. Toben’s entry  “Games and Movement Band” where she explains how to make a thin, flexible band in five minutes for about $5 worth of spandex potholder loops.

TIPS:

  • You can easily adjust the size for each group
  • Create sections of a particular color so you can call colors being held for people to switch places etc.

I hope that these ideas are helpful to you in your upcoming rehearsals!  Let me know if you have any questions or comments below or you can email me at [email protected] Check out my next blog on Magical Moments for more activities.

Leah Murthy is a music educator, performer and military spouse. She has a Master’s in Music Education from The Boston Conservatory at Berkelee, 14 years experience teaching music and recent contributions to professional journals such as The American Organist and The Chorister. When she is not teaching music in Maryland, or playing with her two little girls, she is in Washington D.C. conducting for The National Children’s Chorus.

[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!

[Tweet “Shivering Snowman! Grab these chilly winter music and movement activities! — via @BearPawCreek”] 

 

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

New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

New Products Include Make Your Own Streamers and Guitar Case

I have been busy with trying to knock some to do items off my list, but it keeps growing!  I am sure you can relate to that.

One of my lists is new product ideas. I’m always thinking up more and getting suggestions from customers, so I have finally added a few to the site and updated some other products.

I will also sharing a 20% off code for Black Friday/Cyber Monday.  AND – a special Gratitude = Giving event that will be happening in the Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.

Read on to learn more!

2017 new products cyber sale

Make Your Own Streamers, Bags, and Balloon Balls

Make Your Own Streamers

A little story, for 15 years I made our hoops for our streamers out of food grade tubing. Safe right?  Well – a few years ago they failed the test for compliance on phthalates.  WHAT!  I was truly surprised since this is food grade tubing, meaning we are consuming drinks out of it.  So – I went on the hunt for compliant hoops.  I landed on poly-carbonate and had a bunch made up.

Make Your Own Hoop Streamers - 4" Poly-carbonate Hoops

I thought it would be fun to offer these for sale so you can make your own streamers!  At $1.25 each, this can help the budget and for those creatives out there, you’ll love being able to make your own styles up. You could even re-use them, tying on themed streamers, and taking them off for another event.   Get your kids or clients involved making them!

Here some ideas of how you can do it:

  • cut plastic table cloths into strips and tie them on
  • ribbons
  • fabric strips  (thrift stores are great places to find fabric, sheets, or even clothing) 
  • yarn
  • crepe paper streamers

Martin Backpacker Guitar Case

At a customer’s request, I’ve made up a case for the Martin Backpacker guitar. This was a fun project.  I am still testing this product out on a few more people before I completely launch it, but if you are interested in it, shoot me an email and I’ll put you on the list.  This product will be custom made to order, and will have limited availability each year.

The customer will be able to pick from my fabric stash, or send me their own choosing.  Here is the fabric and case for the original customer.

Fabric with birds on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Bag on Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Instrument Case

 

 

 

I used the left over fabric to make up drawstring bags for her!

 

Extra Drawstring Bags from Custom Martin Backpacker Guitar Soft Gig Carrying Bag

Zipper Pouches

I just added more small zipper pouches to the site with a few new colors!  These little pouches were originally made for small first aid kids to our 4-H group.  The kids love to clip them on their bag, or belt loop to carry items in.

Balloon Ball Additions

 

We are always coming up with new balloon balls!  The apple one was suggested by Miss Carole of Macaroni Soup and the acorn by our daughter.  We also attempted a banana, but so far that has been a fail! Another one on the list is a Christmas ornament.

 

Apple Balloon Ball

 

[Tweet “New BPC Products: create your own streamer, Martin backpacker guitar case, balloon balls, bags.”]

 

Stand Up Bag

 

These bags were inspired by my sister who wanted a bag that she could store egg shakers in and it would stand up so the kids could throw them in.  These stand up bags are 12″ tall by 6″ wide.  Great for storing small instruments or other items in.

 

Limited Stock on these. 

 

Bear Paw Creek New Stand Up bag for small instruments or items

 

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale and a  Month of Gratitude

Get 20% off everything (with free shipping) from Friday November 24, 2017 through Tuesday November 28, 2017.

Use this code at check-out: cyber

AND….a month of gratitude will begin on November 27 in our Bear Paw Creek Insiders group on Facebook.  If you haven’t – come join us! 

GRATITUDE = Four Weeks of GIVING

Janet Stephens is the founder and creator behind Bear Paw Creek’s creative movement props and bags. She is passionate about learning and sharing along the way.

Balloon Ball Activity Ideas

Balloon Ball Activity Ideas

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. She loves Christmas, chocolate, and Detroit Red Wings hockey. Visit her website and follow her on social media: Serenade-Designs.com

 

All about the Balloon Ball:

From simple movements to creating your own Balloon Ball Olympics!

The balloon ball is extremely versatile when using it within your sessions and classes. What’s even better is that the balloon ball is super soft, lightweight, and protects the balloon from being popped.

It comes in many themes and variations: rainbow, pumpkin, flower, snow, Valentine, St. Patrick’s Day, or watermelon. You place a balloon through the slit on the bottom, blow it up, tie it off, tuck in the tail…and the FUN begins!

Using a balloon ball can help with the following goal areas:
  • Enhancing eye-hand coordination
  • Following directions
  • Improving peer-to-peer and social interaction
  • Increasing gross motor movement and coordination
  • Improving motor control and planning
  • Crossing midline
  • Increasing range of motion
  • Enhancing visual stimulation
Balloon Ball Activity Ideas | Bear Paw Creek

Twelve simple movements to do with the balloon ball:

These can be done individually or in small groups…

  • Tap
  • Gently drum and create rhythms
  • Toss and catch
  • Kick
  • Roll (here’s a perfect balloon ball rolling song from Rachel Rambach of Listen & Learn Music)
  • Throw and catch with a partner
  • Hide around the room
  • Balance (on your hand, on your head)
  • Keep It Up (off the ground)
  • Toss, turn 360 degrees, and catch
  • Bounce off a body part (head, knee, elbow, hand)
  • Freeze dance

 

[Tweet “Looking for ways to use your balloon ball? Lots of activity ideas here! via @BearPawCreek “]

Balloon Ball Olympics | Bear Paw Creek

You can create your own Olympic-style competition with the balloon ball. These “sports” can help with eye-hand coordination and motor control, as well as provide opportunities to cross midline. You need a balloon ball and a few extra props, and you’re set to play some sports!

Some additional props needed:

  • Pool noodles (you can cut them in half, if needed)
  • Boogie boards
  • Laundry baskets
  • Plastic fly swatter
  • Hula hoop

Balloon Ball Olympics can consist of the following sports: 

Balloon Hockey: Team members push the balloon ball with a pool noodle into a laundry basket goal

Balloon Baseball: Team members hit the balloon ball with a pool noodle or a boogie board for a bat (bonus points for a solid swinging motion that crosses midline!)

Balloon Tennis: Team members serve up an ace with the balloon ball and a fly swatter as a racket

Balloon Basketball: Team members shoot three-points with the balloon ball into the middle of a hula hoop

Additional Balloon Ball Ideas:

  1. Have a Penguin Waddle Race (to be used with individuals or small groups) 
  2. Hang the balloon ball from the ceiling and bump, swat, swing, bounce, and tap off of certain body parts
  3. Throw your balloon ball in the middle of your parachute! Such colorful and visually stimulating fun!

Purchase your balloon ball here!

Welcoming Spring with Music and Movement Activities

Springtime Music and Movement

As of March 19, it’s officially spring!  I know around some parts of the USA, old man winter has shown up again, but here in Southwest Missouri, we have been enjoying beautiful weather. 

Julie of Serenade Designs sent me this great list of Springtime music and movement inspiration. Thank you!

Also, enter to win a flower inspired fabric covered balloon ball.

 

 8 Springtime Music and Movement Activity Ideas

 

 

1 –   Springtime Music for Elders (from JoAnn Jordan):

2 – Gardening Songs for Kiddos (from JoAnn Jordan):

3 – Grow, Flower, Grow (from Rachel Rambach):

The connect-a-stretchy band and Hub 8 are used in the following video.

4 – 5 Songs for Springtime (from Rachelle Norman):

5 – Sense-sational Activities: Springtime Sounds (from Amy Kalas Buser):

** Localization → can do with the rainbow streamers and following the SIGHT of the hoops shaking, hearing the rustle of the ribbons, feel the rainbow stretchy band move up and down to the music

6 – “You Are My Sunshine”

7 – “Rockin’ Robin”

8 – “Mister Sun”

 

[Tweet “Enter to win a fabric covered balloon ball inspired by spring! https://bearpawcreek.com/giveaways/flower-fabric-covered-balloon-ball/”]

 

Flower Balloon Ball Giveaway

Enter to win this great fabric covered balloon ball – inspired by Spring of course!

Checking out the fabric covered flower balloon ball

Checking out the fabric covered flower balloon ball!

Flower Balloon Ball

Valentine Movement Props

Valentine Movement Props

I had a bunch  of fun creating a Valentine inspired balloon ball, streamers and stretchy band this month. I have a few left and hope to do more again next year.

There is one set left that includes 12 heart streamers, balloon ball, and medium stretchy band for $99.  MSRP $120

Medium stretchy bands with Valentine inspired fabric are $45. MSRP $52

Balloon balls are $18. If you enter freeship in the coupon box you will get free shipping as well.  Always free shipping when you order over $35.

These are some songs to inspire your music and movement times that we have been enjoying around here for the last few weeks. Rachel Rambach has a great set of 6 songs to check out.

Listen Learn Love

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer “Give a Little Love Away”

Kelly Clarkson’s “Heartbeat Song” has been fun for the older kids.

Here is a snippet of us doing “There’s a Little Wheel a Turning in My Heart”  There are so many versions out there. Leave a comment with the verses you like!

 

 

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