Magical Moments- with Music Props in Church Choir Rehearsal Part 3

Part 3- Wave Your Scarves and Streamers to Improve Phrasing, Intonation (and Fun!)

Welcome back from the sometimes lazy days of summer, to an always exciting fall, filled with opportunities to try new activities with your props from Bear Paw Creek! In this installment of “Magical Moments” we will explore the wonders that ribbon streamers and movement scarves can work in your church choir.

 In this third blog on making magical moments with music props in church choir rehearsal, I will share activities using scarves and streamers that are tailor-made for your sacred choral ensembles. In addition, I will give you tips on how to acquire a set of scarves or ribbon streamers for your group, no matter your budget, including DIY ideas.

 Magical moments are within reach the instant that you take out the scarves and streamers, because they are enjoyable! When the brightly-colored chiffon and satin start making their rounds through the room, the Holy Spirit starts moving singers to smile. This affords you the opportunity to “break the ice”, by having your singers get moving to their anthem, or any song that will get their hearts pumping and their energy for the rehearsal in full gear!

Everyone has fun when the scarves and streamers come out!

 

Scarves and Ribbon Streamers 

Use scarves and ribbon rings for self-expression, easing kids and adults into dance and movement. If an anthem has a dance time signature like 3/4 or dance-like rhythm, scarves and ribbon rings can help them to internalize the dance-like feel.

 

  • Moderate Budget- Bear Paw Creek also has Make Your Own Hoop Streamers available. These are 4” polycarbonate hoops, to which you would add your own ribbons: Make-your-own Hoop Streamers
  • Small Budget- go to the thrift store for scarves or buy plastic bracelets and loop ribbons onto them
  • No Budget- have members and families donate their unused scarves or lengths of ribbon (which can be used successfully on their own without rings)

Make Your Own Ribbon Rings

You need-

Make Your Own Hoop  from BPC at $1.25 each or  Plastic O-ring Shower curtain rings cost about $10 or less

Ribbons $5-10 craft store or plastic flagging tape about $3 from hardware store

STEPS-

  • Cut plastic tape or ribbon to double desired length
  • Fold ribbon in half
  • Place ring a couple of inches below the top of the loop you have made. Take the loop in your hand and tails in the other and reach through the loop to grasp the tails and pull them through. Pull the knot firmly to make it tight.
  • Repeat on the same ring until you have your preferred number of ribbons/streamers

 

TIPS:

– For a good deal, look at the craft store for ribbon remnants, I find grosgrain ribbon to be tougher than satin.

-For ribbons the float in the air well use strips of flagging (not sticky) tape from the hardware store. It can be found next to the caution tape

-You can also use rigid bangle bracelets or I have even used my daughters’ cast-off baby stacking rings. If you use shower curtain rings be sure that they are in an O-ring closed circle so the ribbons can’t slide off

– For increased durability use glue at the ends of ribbons that may unravel

– You can even just loop the ribbon halfway over the bangle and sew into position.

Magical moments are within reach the instant that you take out the scarves and streamers, because they... afford you the opportunity to “break the ice”, by having your singers get moving, their hearts pumping and their energy for the rehearsal in full gear!

 

 

Activities-

Difficult Section or Pitch- Use the streamers to follow the melodic contour of the difficult section in order to give singers a visual and kinesthetic learning opportunity and minimize the time spent in rehearsal fixing the section.

Kids-

Move Expressively- to a recorded Praise and Worship song like:

     Jesus is My Superhero– by Hillsong Kids, Gagnam Style- Christian Remix, or God Made Me by Casey Darnell and John Delich

Holy Spirit- Have the children show how they think Holy Spirit moves: up and down, through, side to side, or any way at all.

Pitch Exploration- Have one student stand before the group and however they move the scarf up and down the choristers reflect that in singing

Pitch Matching Hello- Sing hello followed by a chorister’s name on Sol Mi, then roll up and toss the scarf to that chorister and repeat.

Turn, Turn, Turn- Use scarves to create motions to match the text of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, or to the Byrds rendition of that same biblical text altered and set to music in “Turn! Turn! Turn!”.

12 Apostles- Sing “The Twelve Apostles” song to the tune of “Jesus Loves Me”. Have 12 children stand before the rest of the group represent each apostle. Each child representing an apostle creates a motion to go with their apostle’s name. As the whole group sings along they can do the motion for each apostle.

TIPS: -Scarves and streamers can create a bonding and teambuilding experience for adults in choir because they may be doing something new and unusual for them.

-Keep an eye on the edges of handmade ribbons and scarves because with boisterous use they will need some minor maintenance to prevent fraying.

I hope these ideas  of how to get your choir moving with scarves and ribbon streamers have gotten you in the mood to try some new things with your church choir this season. When you give these props a try with your choir members of any age, you will find your singers energized, and able to pick up tough passages even faster when the element of movement is added to the rehearsal mix. Happy rehearsing!

BPC has a great variety of streamers and scarves for you to choose from, right here on bearpawcreek,com.

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

[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

Promoting Social Interactions through Sensorimotor Play

Written by: Alyssa Wilkins, MT-BC, owner and founder Dynamic Lynks Alyssa is a passionate Autism provider, Board Certified Music Therapist, music educator and adaptive yoga instructor.

I work with a lot of young children and children on the autism spectrum. Often this means that cooperative play and typical social interactions are challenging. Activities where we need to play as a group or hold hands are difficult, but sensorimotor props make learning these play skills much easier!

In this post I will share a few ways I use the stretchy band and ribbons to accomplish this goal.

Using the Stretchy Band

I have written several posts: A Stretchy Band for Every Skill and 5 Ways to Use the Stretchy Band about how I like to use the stretchy band, but one way it has been coming into my sessions recently is for classic childhood games!  Something like Red Rover or Ring around the Rosie now becomes a piece of cake for children who struggle with spatial awareness or peer relations.

  • Ring around the Rosie
    • I assign each child to a color and sing the classic rhyme.
    • When it comes to “we all fall down”, I have the children drop the stretchy band to the ground since it can be difficult to get some of my kiddos back to standing.
    • I sing the song several times and always change the ending so instead of “we all fall down” it becomes “we all jump up” or “we all stomp”.

 

  • Red Rover
    • I start with 1 child holding the stretchy band on each end, keeping it taught.
    • We chant the Red Rover song and call one child’s name to run over into the stretchy band.
    • They run as fast they can into the band and get flung backwards by the pressure.
    • That child then helps hold the band and we call another friend over.
    • We repeat this until everyone has had a turn running into the band.

Row Your Boat Stretchy Band

 

  •  Storytelling
    • For fall, I particularly like “Way Up High in the Apple Tree”. I do the story chant-style, but the Learning Station also has a version for those who are unfamiliar with the song.
    • I chant the song while we are all holding the stretchy band in a circle. The kids have to follow my movements with the stretchy band throughout the whole story.
    • There is fun shaking, stretching, climbing in the story so you can get creative with how you all move the band together.
    • Once the children know the chant well, I assign different leaders to chant the song and create their own versions of the movements that we all have to follow.

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Using Ribbons

Ribbons are so versatile, and Janet makes many versions perfect for children of all ages and abilities. The thing I like most about ribbons is that they are visually engaging and give an easy way to track another peer’s movements so you can have extended interactions without many distractions.

  • Shake Your Ribbons
    • This is one of my original songs that I use often in my early childhood sessions. The song instructs children to move their ribbons in different ways.
    • In the song, the children go “fishing” with their ribbons and have to share what they caught with the group.
    • You can use the same chords of the song and ask different children to choose a movement, and all the other children have to follow and copy that movement for the duration of a verse.

 

  • Ribbon Walk
    • Some of my children really struggle with staying in a line or keeping appropriate personal space. I like to use a Ribbon Walk to work on this skill.
    • The children stand in a line and are each given a ribbon. The person 2nd in line has to hold the end of person number 1’s ribbon and keep it straight and tight the whole time they are walking. They have to stand a “ribbons-length” away from their friend in front of them.
    • I put on, or play, one of the group’s favorite songs and they have to follow-the-leader and walk around the room, keeping a ribbons-length of space between them and each friend.

 

  • Mirror my Ribbon
    • For children who are working on engaging in prolonged social interactions, this is one of my favorites!
    • I pair 2 children up and the goal is for them to be perfect mirror images of each other, copying each other’s movements. Often this is done with the children touching hands, but that can be difficult for my little ones.
    • The children instead have to hold each end of a ribbon and use that as a guide to complete the movement of the leader.
    • The leader switches about every minute, so they always have to be ready to lead and follow!
    • I play slow, simple music patterns in the background to guide slow, clear movements.

Ribbon Wrist Streamers

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I hope you can use some of these ideas in your next class or session! I find that sensorimotor props are the most effective way to engage an entire group and get them working on social skills that are usually very challenging. For more songs to use in session, you can check out my latest CD, Mini Musical Minds. I also have an entire curriculum dedicated to social and emotional developmental for children of all ages and abilities!

Dynamic Lynks Logo

 

 

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Shamrockin’ with Creative Movement Props for St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrockin’ with Movement Props

 

 

One of my favorite ways to incorporate music and movement into our days is by using holidays and the times of the year. 

St. Patrick’s Day is coming and I’m excited to share a song written by Rachel Rambach Listen & Learn Music!  It’s title says it all, “Shamrockin’ Song.”  It’s sure to do that and get stuck in your head!  My kiddos LOVED it (and so does their mom.)

We’ll be giving the song and balloon ball away this week!

Now I’ll share some ways we’ve been having fun with it.

Sharockin' Song and Shamrock Balloon Ball Giveaway

Shamrockin’ with the Stretchy Band

Sometimes when I hear a song, I know it will be a great one with the stretchy band and any time I hear Irish music, it gets my feet tapping, and I want to start dancing like Riverdance!  You’ll see our feet attempt to do an Irish jig in this video.  With lyrics like this: hey, hey, move left and right, up and down, it’s great to use with the stretchy band. If we had a little more I think  it would be fun to put the kids on the connect-a-stretchy band straight and have them dance in a jig line!

 

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Shamrockin’ Streamer Craft

Using scarves or streamers to move along with the Shamrockin’ Song would allow more individual interpretation of the song. 

We had fun cutting out these shamrocks and adding some “gold” for tails.  Glitter of course was a must!

Then we danced along with the song following the directions in the song.

Making shamrock streamers creative movement with shamrockin' song

Buy Rachel’s song and learn more about it!

Shamrockin' Song Listen and Learn Music Rachel Rambach

 

 

 

Check out the St. Patrick’s Day Balloon Ball

St. Patrick's Day Balloon Ball

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.

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

 

Ribbons and Dancing and Scarves! Oh, My!

Jenette Clay is a blogger, SEO content and podcast show notes writer. She loves dancing with her little kids and annoying her older ones. She admires Janet Stephens and all that she has done as a wife, a mom and owner of Bear Paw Creek.

 

Have you ever danced with ribbons or watched someone else (whether they were dance professionals or your kids in your living room)? Here’s a list of songs and activities you can use with kids and in elder care.
 
The effect of the fabric streaming out behind as you move is fascinating and adds dimension to motion – ramping up the fun quotient exponentially.

Hold an impromptu dance party in for your kids

Visual Music

Fluttering waves

Swirling rainbows
Giggles, pirouettes, motion music
Purple…chasing blue…chasing gold overlap in dancing ripples
A final bow
Collapsing into piles of laughter and smiles
 
Granted this would be a scene in my living room, not a well-organized class or a performance at the ballet, but ribbons and scarves, music and dancing are a feast for the senses. Have you ever seen a Chinese scarf dance (or the dances with dresses which have the long silky sleeve ribbons)? The dancers move gracefully as their arm movements cause the ribbons to ripple around them like water or twirl above their heads cascading back down again as they weave a tapestry of color on the stage. It is mesmerizing.
 
 Movement Scarf Set of 12, 6 colors
If you’ve ever danced with ribbons or scarves, you know how much fun and fascinating it is to see what shapes your motions can conjur up. You don’t have to be a professional to enjoy it.
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I’ve got some resources for you!

If you need ideas to for activities to get people moving in elder care, at school, for youth groups or in your living room, I have a line up of links to get you inspired. I also have a list of activities and songs you can use with scarves and streamers that you can print out and take with you. Very handy!

So, here we go:

  1. I like the fabulously fun and creative Beverly Meyer. She calls herself The Music Lady and you can watch what she does here, on Youtube, to see what a blast kids and adults can have singing and dancing together.
  2. Miss Jen, Children’s Librarian, sings All the fish are swimming in the water (illustrating a song that makes great use of the effects in the movement of the scarves.) on Youtube
  3. Here is a great Pinterest Board with plenty lots of video suggestions for songs and activities using scarves by curated by Dana and Lindsey, Children’s Librarians.
  4. I love these ideas from the Future Librarian Superhero
  5. Great for the church nursery and for moms at home. I found this, on Youtube – perfect for babies and toddlers.
  6. One of my favorite songs is from Macaroni Soup, Dancing Scarf Blues! It’s pretty jazzy and I think would be a great resource for activities directors involved in Elder Care. Brighten up the lives of people in nursing homes by getting out a batch of beautiful scarves and putting on some music to dance to.

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Take a look at those sites, get the list, and tell us what you think. How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? How long has it been since you’ve danced with ribbons, streamers or scarves? Do you have some songs or activities to add to this list? I’d love to hear from you and have you add your suggestions to mine!

Activities and Songs for Scarves and Streamers

 

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