Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Song 3: White Christmas

Merry Christmas everybody!  I hope you are having a wonderful holiday with friends and family.  I know that I have a had a great relaxing break with TONS of food.  I have broadened my horizons a little bit and learned and new dessert.  I learned how to make Banafi which is a toffee and banana pie that originates in Europe.  It is very delicious but very rich and sweet!  I also am excited to say that I am currently a graduate from Sam Houston State University!  It was a long ride but I finally finished my music therapy degree!!

So for today I wanted to post another Christmas song for you.  I had the privelage of singing with my sister Erica Lane over the last couple weeks and different churches and venues.  She gave me a solo in which I sang "White Christmas" in the style of Michael Buble.  Listen below for this jazzy rendition.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

There's an App for that.....Christmas Music Tree

Before I continue to talk about this great holiday app, I must tell you that I have officially finished my internship!  Yesterday was my last day ever!  It was very strange as I went through my day because it seemed just like any other.  But then it was time to go and I was thinking, "Wow, that's it".  After six long months of hard work, I have finally reached the end of the tunnel.  How great it feels to have accomplished this goal.  I had a wonderful internship director who taught me so much.  I am very grateful to her for everything she did to prepare me.  She actually had a hand in getting me the job I will have starting at the very beginning of January.  I will be working under the same therapy agency in the Houston area serving clients within their homes.  I am very excited to start this new step.  But I have to admit that I am terrified of this upcoming Monday.  I have never been so nervous for a test.  I am taking the board exam for music therapy to receive my credentials of Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC).  No four letters of the alphabet have ever meant so much to me.  So please wish me luck as I take this test that determines my entire future!

So after all of my ranting, finally here is the app I was supposed to introduce to you in this blog. :)  Christmas Music Tree is a very fun holiday app that you can't help but love.  There are three Christmas songs to choose from to play or not play in the background.  You can also choose to see regular ornaments on the tree or letter note named ornaments on the tree.  So if you chose letters, you would see A, B, C, D, E, F, G repeated a couple places.  So basically, you can touch the ornaments and they have a bell-like sound.  It's really fun to touch them in all the different spots and can be quite challenging.  That is part of the reason I love this app.  It is fantastic for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.  It's not some easy touch app, it requires a little bit of concentration.  Another way I use this with clients is by taking advantage of the letter names and having them spell words with me.  Granted, you are limited to the general C scale but you would be surprised at how many recognizable words you can make out of those few letters.  Some examples of words I had a client spell with me are:  bed, fed, bag, gag, fad, had, etc.  So I hope you enjoy this app during the holidays as much as I do!  Another plus is that the lite version I use is FREE!  Enjoy my video demonstration:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dancing Around the Christmas Tree

This week I have been doing several holiday interventions.  One of my favorites was my adaptation of "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree"  I realized that this song is already perfect for incorporating movements due to the lyrics.  I went through the verses and changed up the words to add in several different movements.  As you will see below, I sang through the whole song with 4 different movements.  Then, I sang through the song again singing the 4 additional movements in parenthesis.  Here is an explanation of the movements I used:

1. Rocking=  Alternating arms up and down vertically in front of you with fists closed
2. Clapping= Clap to the beat of the music
3. Twirling= Arms up like a ballerina and spinning in circles
4. Dancing= Sliding feet side to side
5. Prancing= Skipping in place
6. Rolling= Clench fists and roll them in front of you horizontally
7. Twisting= Do "The Twist"
8. Flying= I tell them to fly like reindeer with their arms out

I had come up with several movements for this intervention and then I read Stephanie's blog at The Rhythmic Mind and got some great ideas for additional movements.  Make sure you check hers out as well for another great movement song she created.

Dancing Around the Christmas Tree

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Song 2: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

For my second Christmas Song post, I am not technically singing.  My beautiful and talented sister allowed my husband and I to take part in her music video, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."  It was a very neat experience and kind of strange and exciting for us to see ourselves on a music video.  It was really neat and special to reenact my husband proposing to me.  This post is mainly for your entertainment so I hope you enjoy.  To hear more from my sister, find Erica Lane on her website, Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

There's an app for that....Holiday Bells

Today I want to share a great holiday app that I discovered while searching "Jingle Bells" on the App Store.  It is called Holiday Bells.  I love this app because it allows anybody to play several familiar Christmas songs using bells.  It also has the option to play single bells at a time, or play specific notes in a scale.  This is great for fine motor skills, sequencing, and reading.  The cool thing about it is that it places a snowflake and words above the next bell that is to be played.  I use this with my clients all the time!  Here is a video demonstration below:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Must Be Santa

This week I had the pleasure of introducing my Christmas interventions into the schools.  I have been looking forward to this for a long time!  I love Christmastime and will incorporate it any way that I can.  One of the interventions that I introduced this week incorporated the song "Must Be Santa" in the style of Raffi.  One day last week I walked into a preschool to carry out an assessment and heard this song on the CD player.  A flood of memories filled my mind as I went back to my childhood singing that same song.  I had no choice but to use it!  This song is so great because it requires memory of different clothing and activities Santa Claus participates in.  I created laminated pictures of each clothing item or activity to help the children remember what came next.  Students are forced to remember what comes next, verbalize correct words, point to pictures at the correct time, and participate by singing repeated phrases.  Here are the lyrics:

Who's got a beard that's long and white
Santa's got a beard that's long and white
Who comes around on a special night
Santa comes around on a special night
Special night, beard that's white
Must be Santa, Must be Santa
Must be Santa, Santa Claus

(The song continues to add the following)
Boot and a suit of red
Long cap on his head

Big red cherry nose
Laughs this way Ho, Ho, Ho

Very soon will come our way
Eight little reindeer pull his sleigh

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Song 1: Ave Maria

Since I absolutely love the Christmas season, I have decided to periodically post videos of me singing some of my favorite Christmas songs the rest of this month and the month of December.  I, of course, will still post my other regular posts.  One of my favorite Christmas songs is actually not always considered Christmas.  "Ave Maria" by Franz Shubert is a beautiful song about the Virgin Mary being blessed among women.  Here are the Latin words followed by the English translation.

Ave Maria
Gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui, Jesus
Ave Maria, gratia plena

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee;
blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

There's an app for that.....Music Sparkle!

Hey everyone, Happy Thanksgiving!  I am sitting in the living room with my family enjoying the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!  This is one of those things I really look forward to every year.  I hope to one day go to New York to see it for myself.  Anyway, I wanted to post really quick a fun new app I have discovered.  It is called Music Sparkle.  In this app, there are several different instruments including a glockenspiel, drumset, and saxophone.  These instruments can be played while having a fun background ostinato.  Banjo, piano, and drums can be played behind the instruments making it sound like a band.  Kids love this app because it has so much going on.  The full version includes many more instruments and sounds.  I don't have a video to show you but it is a free app so you can explore!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flight of Fright - How I learned to relax

I hope everybody is having a marvelous holiday.  Tomorrow is the day of giving thanks and eating lots and lots of food.  I am spending my holiday in Nashville with my husband, mother, sister, and brother-in-law.  Here are some pictures from our day today.  I am definitely having a great time.  It is so awesome to relax and enjoy doing absolutely nothing!  A couple of days ago, we flew here from Texas on a tiny express jet through continental airlines.  Did I mention that I hate flying?  Well of course I had that same anxious feeling I always get when I am on a plane.  For some reason I don't trust things that are in the air with nothing below but the sky and the clouds.  Every time that jet would hit any sort of bump, I would start to panic.  I know, I know I am little overly nervous.  But I just can't seem to get over this fear.  I remembered that I had my iPad in my purse and grabbed it during the flight.  I thought, "Since I use relaxation techniques with my clients, why not try them on myself?"  I guess I never thought about actually using music therapy with myself before because I am so used to giving it to others.  My heart was racing and my stomach was way above the plane.  If we dipped one little bit, there went my calmness.  So I turned on some relaxation music and closed my eyes to avoid the night fog outside the window.  After a couple minutes, my hand loosened it's grip on my poor husband's hand.  I started feeling my heartbeat slow down to the beat of the music and I kept my eyes closed.  When there was slight turbulence, I still felt nervous but did not squeeze his hand.  The music really did help my anxiety level and gave a little bit of peace until it was closer to landing time.  The moral of this story is that we as music therapy students, interns, and therapists need to take care of our mind and body just as much as we aim to take care of our clients.  We can reap the tremendous benefits of music just like anyone else.  I will definitely take along my music and headphones for the next trip....which is on Sunday again.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Native American Thanksgiving Intervention

It's almost Thanksgiving!  Here is a simple intervention for you to fit in before the big day!  This intervention can be taken a couple ways. It can celebrate the Native American heritage or it can be used as a Thanksgiving history lesson. I used this intervention this week as a way to explain what Thanksgiving is. I told students that the very first Thanksgiving included the Native Americans and the Pilgrims coming peacefully together to celebrate their union through a giant feast. I commemorated the Native Americans by creating this intervention. First, I play some Native American music in the background to create ambiance. Secondly, I read a poem that I created by grouping together several different poems I found. I can't tell you the authors because I used so many different so I apologize! While reading this poem, I have the students wait until they hear the word "drum". This word could be used as drumming, drumbeat, or drum. When they hear this word, they play their own drum with a simple rhythm three times and stop. This works on attention and listening skills. In the video I had my husband, Anthony, help me demonstrate what this intervention would look like.  Have a happy Thanksgiving next week!  And don't eat too much! ;)

Native Drumming Poem

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shake the Eggs, Senora!!

Hello all!  I feel like I haven't posted in a while.  I was on a roll there posting every couple days.  I guess I have been pretty busy lately job searching, studying my practice exam for the board exam, finishing up my internship, and getting ready to move.....again.  I have moved 7 times in my life and this will be my eighth.  I can say I am not completely excited but at least I will be closer to where I will be working.  By the way, I think I got a job!  I am so happy because I have been worried and stressing about finding a job after I graduate.  But I think the worry is over!  More updates on that soon when I finalize everything.

But today I am posting an intervention that I have used a lot the last month.  I call it "Shake, Shake, Shake the Eggs".  It is based on the song, "Shake, Senora" and I adapted it to fit what I needed.  I picked this song because it goes great with shaking eggs!  The main component of this song is movement.  It works on gross and fine motor movements and is just a lot of fun.  The great thing about this song is that it can be used for young or old.  Some older clients will probably recognize the song while younger ones will just think it is great fun!

So take a listen to the song right here!

Here are some of the lyrics from the song:

Shake, shake, Shake the eggs
Shake em way up high
Shake, shake, shake the eggs
Shake em way up high
 Shake, shake, shake the eggs
Shake em way down low
Shake, shake, shake the eggs
Shake em way down low


Shake em all around
Shake em to the sound
Okay I can hear you

(Following verses the same as above)
.....shake em to the right
.....shake em to the left

....shake em in the front
.....shake em in the back

....shake em side to side
.....shake em high to low

Thursday, November 3, 2011

All Keyed Up!

This week I had the pleasure of bringing my new Casio key-lighted keyboard into sessions with me.  I have not done this much because I definitely need more skill when it comes to playing piano and keyboard!  This is definitely my greatest weakness musically!  But I decided to go ahead and bring it in to force myself to play in front of others.  It was a little bit nerve-racking and intimidating but I got through it!  I had a few unexpected and delightful surprises along the way!  When I purchased my keyboard from Target, I saw that it had light-up keys and I thought, "How awesome to provide my clients with a way to play with no musical experience!"  The problem was that when I chose available songs, they were way too hard to follow.  The left hand was lighting up to play chords and the right hand was playing melody.  I couldn't even follow it.  So I was very disappointed and came up with some other interventions that would work with the keyboard.  One intervention was inspired by Bonnie Hayhurst over at The Groovy Garfoose!  She posted a video about using only black keys (the pentatonic scale) and accompanying clients.  It worked very well! 

But at the beginning of the week, one of the clients hit a button and the keys started lighting up one by one as the client played the song!  So my client taught me how to correctly use the keyboard for what I was looking for!  That goes to show that extra exploration from clients during an intervention isn't always a and thing!  So after that happened, I let all of my clients play a song in each group.  One group in particular was a 10 student middle school classroom.  This little boy did not want to take his turn and took refuge in the bathroom when it was his time.  I went through all the clients, allowing them to pick their song to play.  When it came back around to be his turn again, he still did not want to participate due to anxiety.  So I did the first thing I could think of.  I brought the keyboard to him rather than having him come up to the keyboard at the front of the room.  At first he was very resistant to the idea until I told him I would play and he could watch.  I then invited him to press the next key that lighted up and he did!  He proceeded to finish the entire song!  It was so exciting to watch him light up!  After that intervention, he was excited, alert, and ready to keep going.  Unfortunately the end of the session had come up.  This happened a lot in several classrooms.  Students that would usually act out or be withdrawn would suddenly become very engaged in the keyboard playing.  I look forward to trying this again!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Simple Joys of Music

     According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Cerebral Palsy is a neurological disorder that appear in infancy or early childhood.  CP is characterized by problems with muscle movements, coordination, and nerves.  Even though physical problems are one of the main complications in CP, it is caused from abnormalties in brain functions rather than in physical reasons.  Common physical characteristics include: ataxia (poor muscle coordination), spasticity (stiff/tight muscles), awkward gait, stiff/low muscle tone.

     CP can vary in degrees.  A person can be diagnosed with severe cerebral palsy needing assistance in ADL's (activities of daily living) and unable to walk.  There can also be a type of CP that is mild and a person might not need much assistance and only have slightly awkward gait.

     Yesterday my husband came home from clinical and had some interesting stuff to share with me.  He is currently in nursing school for his RN, BSN and goes to the hospital twice a week.  This week he worked with a 22 year old patient with cerebral palsy.  He inquired from the patient's chart that the patient also had scoliosis, pneumonia, history of staph infection (MRSA), and a trach in place.  This poor guy had a lot of things going on.  He was nonverbal and after brain function testing, found to have  the cognitive function of a ten year old.

     My husband was able to talk to the patient's father about his son's diagnosis.  My husband explained to me that the patient would lie in his bed staring at the ceiling barely acknowledging anything.  The patient would only smile, but that seemed to be at random times.  He asked the father if the patient was able to express much emotion or pain.  The father explained that he did not do much besides tense up when in pain and arch his back and smile when engaged or excited about something.  The father told my husband to watch something.  He went over by his son and found a television station that was playing George Strait music.  Instantly, the patient started wiggling with excitement and smiling from ear to ear.  As soon as his father turned off the music, he went right back to lying motionless and staring at the ceiling.  His father tried this several times and the same excited reactions appeared each time.

     How amazing is this?  A patient thought to have no interaction with the outside world shows such a great difference when music is brought into the picture.  And not just any kind of music.  Client preference is almost always the most effective way for them to experience music.  They can have association, memories, and special emotions attached to their favorite types.

     I always get to so excited when I hear how music can affect individuals, even in the simplest ways.  I hope to keep hearing about these special moments to further build the advocacy for music therapy.  It is not just about singing a merry tune and having fun.  Music therapy is about healing and love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Fun

Halloween is creeping up on us!  We have just a few days left!  I wanted to write about another intervention that I have been using with my clients this week besides "Pass the Pumpkin".  When you think of creepy crawly fun Halloween songs, what comes to your mind?  I know that "Thriller" has to be in there somewhere.  To me, this is one of Michael Jackson's best creations.  I love this song!  It is so fun for everybody!  I decided, with the idea from my intern director, to create a dance for the older kids in my classes.  I looked at some simple "Thriller" dance moves on YouTube and found great resources.  I looked through several and picked a few movements that would be simple and fun for the kids.  I was worried because I had never introduced a dance to them before.  I didn't know how they would react, or if they would think it "uncool".  But it turns out, they really enjoyed it!  I was so excited to see them having such a good time with it!  And of course, they were working on goals they didn't even realize were being fulfilled.  This intervention is great for gross motor movements, motor planning/processing, social interaction, sequencing, patterns, and unity.  Here is a video that I used to help me plan out the dance moves.  There are several parts in which I would pick and choose the best dance moves for my purposes.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pass the Pumpkin

Yesterday, my husband and I decided to carve some pumpkins to get into the Halloween spirit.  It was so much fun!  I finally carved a real pattern, and I was so proud of myself for my cute little bat cat.  After we finished and put the lights underneath our pumpkins, I suddenly felt inspired.  I was thinking, "I should write a song about a Jack-O-Lantern for the kids next week in sessions."  I thought about what goals I wanted to work on and instantly I thought of passing and socialization.  This is always a big one in the school groups.  And the product of this inspiration was, "Pass the Pumpkin".  It is a spooky little tune talking about the different faces that can be carved into a pumpkin and how Jack sits there at night waiting for everybody.  The chorus says, "Pass the pumpkin....and don't let him land on you."  This throws some extra fun into the kids trying not to have the pumpkin land on them during this phrase.  I decided I am going to have them pass a real pumpkin.  The small kind of course, but I figured that would be really fun for them to see it in real life rather than just a laminated piece of paper.  I hope you enjoy this tune and feel free to download it for your own use!  Please leave comments below if you have any other ideas in which this song could be used.

Pass the Pumpkin

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Autumn is here!

Well, one of my favorite seasons is here!  That is of course besides winter.  And winter only because of Christmas.  Otherwise I love autumn because of the temperatures here in Texas!  We finally start to see fall in October.  Isn't that sad?  We have to wait much longer than all of the other states!  But I love this season because of the beautiful cool weather and the colorful trees.  Of course, Texas trees haven't become that colorful yet since a few days ago it was in the 80s!  But today was wonderful.  And this week I have been singing a song that is about autumn with my clients in schools.  Many students still have trouble with their seasons and need to understand the differentiation between them.  In my song "Autumn Leaves", I sing about the colorful leaves that appear in this season which helps to set it apart from other seasons.  One of the questions I ask my classes before I start the song is, "What colors of leaves do you see in the fall?"  I allow the students to give me all of their guesses which usually contain at least one or two correct colors.  The main colors that I focus on within my song are orange, brown, red, and yellow.  When they hear the leaf color they are holding, they wave it in the air and let it float to the ground.  This is great for color identification, selective attention, gross motor movements, following directions, participation, and social interaction.  So here is the song below, take a listen!

***Note:  If you view the chord chart below on a mac product such as a phone or ipad, you may see missing letters.  When downloaded, the words will fully appear.

Autumn Leaves

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All you need is...Relaxation

Relax.  How do you do that?  People are constantly using this word.  "Just relax, everything is under control", "I need to relax", or "When I get home I am going to sit down and relax."  We use this term so lightly.  But what does it really mean to relax?

According to, the word relaxation means: abatement or relief from bodily or mental work, effort, or application.  I don't know about you, but this is pretty hard for me to do.  Even when I get home from a long day of working with clients, I still feel like I have so much to do.  Even when I am "relaxing" I am either writing a new song, blog, creating a plan for the next week, making sure I get dinner on the table for my husband and I, catching up on phone calls, and helping my husband study for nursing school.  This doesn't sound like a state of relief from bodily or mental work.

Research proves that music can help a person to achieve a state of relaxation.  There is something called the iso-principle in which a person mental tempo can match music's tempo.  Their mental tempo could be angry, stressed, hyper, etc.  Music that relates to the tempo can be played to match.  After this state is reached, a calmer form of music can slowly be introduced until the person's state of mind matches that of the music.  So relaxation means to totally relax your body AND mind.

I decided to adapt the song "Beautiful Dreamer" to introduce guided imagery into singing rather than speaking.  Many times guided imagery can be read as a script over relaxation music to channel the client into a positive visual world in their mind.  This technique definitely works and I have used it many times.  Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is the technique used by trained professionals to "create an environment in which one can experience personal insights that provide answers and guidance for important life issues."  Now, I wanted to add singing instead of speaking to add an even more musical and relaxing element.  This song can be great within a music therapy session, or for your own personal well-being.  It is very important for people to take care of both their mind and body.

Check out the song below.  If you purchase the "A Beautiful Vision" on the Relaxation album, you will receive a free special bonus track of the song's instrumental accompaniment with no vocals.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

There's an app for that......Songwriter's Pad

Today I will be sharing with you one of my most constantly used apps.  Songwriter's Pad is a Godsend!  The reason I love this app so much is because I can jot down my song ideas anywhere.  Today, I wrote a song in the car while waiting for the other session to begin.  It is a very handy tool to have with you for those moments when a great idea pops into your head.  Don't you hate it when you think of the melody to a song and then you forget it a few minutes later?  This won't happen to you if you have this app.  Not only can you jot down your verses, chorus, bridge, etc, you can also record audio in the same screen!  It piles all of you information together to make it a handy way to look at chords, words, and listen to your song's audio.  I have done this so many times.  I think of the song, record it first, then write down the words and chords later.  In a time crunch this is perfect.

Within the app, there is a great tool for rhyming.  Say you are trying to find a word that rhymes with "me".  Go up to the tab that says Rhymes and presto!  You have yourself a list of words that rhyme with "me".  Say you want to know what a word means, go to the Dictionary tab.  Or if you want to look up words or phrases in a specific topic, go to Words or Phrases.  Topics you can click on can be in the following categories: love, hate, happy, sad, desire, anger, hope, fear, and silly.  It will give you tons of phrases that relate.  If you pick the topic love, an example phrase would be, "head over heels in love", "I'm a fool for your love", "nothing like a girl in love", or "your eternal love".  These came straight from that category.  Another great thing is that you can section your song by clicking verse, chorus, bridge, outro, or custom.  And of course what would an app like this be without a sync button.  As you can see, I am definitely a fan of this app!  See the video below for a demonstration of the app.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Sounds Around Me

I am very excited to share this post with you today!  I have been working on a song for speech goals for my clients with autism.  There are infinite numbers of songs out there that can address any speech goal you can think of.  Pretty much any song you can think of with appropriate lyrics will work on some type of language/speech skill.  I wrote this song with fun in mind.  I wanted to figure out a way to provide a song that directly deals with the client needs while still creating a fun and energetic atmosphere.  What better way to do that than to make noises?  I used sounds that my clients have been having trouble with such as: /ch, z, sh, ha, pop, gull, mm, and cah/.  

When in a session using this song, I first go over the song verbally and explain the different sounds that are made during the day.  One example within the song includes, "A train is chugging down the tracks....../ch, ch, ch, ch/."  So I ask the client on each line what sound that particular verse creates.  Then, I sing through the song stopping to ask what sound is going to be made before I make it.  There are many opportunities within the song to make the sounds.  The clients are having so much fun that they don't realize how many times they are saying the actual sound.  And what I have learned is, through repetition, the client begins to form the sounds more correctly each time they give it a try.  Just within the one hour session, my client, who very rarely speaks one of the sounds accurately, made the correct sound at least once.  I can't wait to see what happens after I start repeating this song much more often!  Maybe my client will begin to remember how to correctly form her oral/motor responses.

So here is my creation for your purchase below, enjoy!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

'What am I Trying to Say'

There are many clients that I work with throughout the week that have a hard time expressing themselves.  Even everyday conversation such as greetings, questions, and answers can be a very difficult task for some.  In a regular conversation people usually say "Hello" and "How are you?"  Then you proceed to ask further questions and give answers to keep the conversation going.  And when it comes to questions like "How are you feeling" or "How was your day", you have to be in tune with your own feelings and emotions.

I wrote a song called "What am I Trying to Say" to focus on the workings of a conversation and expressing feelings.  Within the song I go over some of the feelings a person can have.  And when I use this song, I plan to use visuals for such feelings.  I will make several laminated cards such as angry, sad, happy, sick, or tired and hold them up for the client to choose.

Below is the song I wrote:


And here are is the free chord chart that you can download as well:
What Am I Trying to Say

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Someone Like You Lyric Analysis

Lately I have been hearing a song on the radio all the time.  I have grown to really love it.  This song is "Someone Like You" by Adele.  The reason I love this song so much is partly the passion that she puts into it.  She really means what she says when she is singing.  It is nice to find artists who aren't afraid to show feeling and rawness in their creations.  The lyrics can be very meaningful and emotional for some people.  So today I decided to cover this song myself.  I loved singing it and I hope you enjoy it.  You can click this link to get a free file of "Someone Like You" fill-in-the-blank for lyric analysis.  The way I formatted this sheet was to allow blanks to be filled in by clients in a session.  This song could be of particular interest to someone who has just gone through a break up and has depression afterward.  Or this song could be for anybody that is having trouble letting go of a relationship of any kind or that is trying to cope with how they are feeling after a serious event with another person.  Goals could include emotional expression and self expression.  Here it is, Enjoy!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Here is the second part of my favorite harp apps that I use on my iPad. The first one was Echo String which has preset chords, songs, and note named strings. The app I am glint to talk about today is called Air Harp. What is so amazing about this app is that it is just like a Music Maker or lap harp but is much more portable. Within the app, there are many song sheets in different genres from kids to adults. Also, packs can be purchased for cheap within the app. I think I purchased a relaxation pack for 99 cents that included Amazing Grace, Clair de Lune, and others.

This harp places the music underneath the strings. Notes such as quarter, half, and eighth notes show up under the string right where it needs to be played. Anybody can play it. All the have to do is just follow the notes. They don't even really have to have the correct rhythm for the piece to sound great. And of course you can play your own pieces as well with the notes placed on one side of the screen for a guide. I definitely recommend this app for a variety of clinical goals. Some of these include: fine motor skills, sequencing, reading right to left, and motor processing.

Here is a video below:

Friday, September 30, 2011

There's an App for that.....Echo String

The other day I was looking through harp apps and I stumbled upon a great one!  This app is called Echo String.  It has some really pretty sounds and a lot of different options.  You can only pluck a couple strings at a time if you like, you can play chords, you can play sample songs, and much more.  I love the sample songs such as "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  I currently have the free version which serves my purposes of the I-IV-V chords and plucking individual strings.  Here is a video I found on youtube featuring the paid version.  What I notice that is different are the numbers of chords on the string and different sample songs that are available.

So with this app, I found many different clinical uses.  First of all, I use my iPad with one client primarily as a reward.  This is a great reward for them!  I also use this app for fine motor skills.  It is a little bit challenging to hit the strings individually without missing them, but I believe that makes it better for the students to work hard at hitting them.  Of course when you strum the harp it is very easy to play.  Also, this app can be used for social interaction with other clients.  It could be used between two partners taking turns playing their own solos.  In my next blog, I will talk about another harp app that I love!

Comment below if you can think of other ways in which this app could be used for clients or therapists!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Music: That's What You Are Game

Find this book on Amazon

At Regional Conference last year,  I bought a great book that I haven't really been able to look through until recently.  It is called "101 More Music Games for Children".  This book is amazing for school groups of any age!  It is fantastic because it splits up categories by type such as listening, improvisation, rhythm, relaxation, etc.  It also has an index that shows the age group that the activity is best for.  These activities can be used with children preschool age all the way up to high school and any age.  There are even some great games such as musical card games that would be great for adults in the geriatric setting or medical setting.

Today I want to highlight one game that would be great for middle school, high school,  or adults.  This game is called "Music:  That's What You Are".

Common Goal Areas:  Emotional expression, Leadership, Eye Contact, Unity, Listening, Attention

Objective: Given Instruments or a sound of choosing, clients will watch the conductor for their cues when to play within the activity.


1. Put instruments in the middle of the circle.
2. Clients will stand in a circle around instruments.
3. Clients will choose to make a sound of their choosing (body percussion, voice, etc.) or pick an instrument in the circle.
4. Explain that you will be the conductor first and point to the client when you want them to play, and show them specific gestures for continuous play while you choose others to play along.
5. Begin by pointing to one person and make a gesture for them to continue and add on more players.
6. Stop some players and choose others.
7. Continue this process for a minute or two adding 2-4 people at a time.
8. Stop all play and choose a new conductor.
9. If time allows, let each student have a turn to conduct the whole group.

This intervention can be varied in many different ways.  You can choose just to have them use everyday items for their instruments, just their voices, instruments, or a combination of everything.  Also, you can choose how many people you want to play at a time.  You could have 2-22 people playing, make up your own gestures for specific meanings, and design the group to your liking.  With adults in a geriatric or rehab setting, you could have them all sitting and keep the same process.  Have fun making this activity your own!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hello Song

I am always looking for new interventions constantly from online sources such as other music therapy blogs, music educators websites, YouTube videos, etc. But I found a YouTube video in particular that was of great interest to me. The beginning of your session is always very important. You set up the mood and pace for which you expect patients to match. The Hello Song is a great way to set up your session for success. If it is bouncy, fun, and catchy, your patients will expect just that from your session. The following video is a Hello Song that has all of those qualities. It is high energy, very catchy and fun, and will be a great way to begin the session by patient involvement. Watch this music therapist to see how she sings the song.

Here is the video:

Monday, September 19, 2011

There's an App for that....MadPad

So I recently discovered a new awesome app that I just have to share!  This app is so cool because you can record any sound you can think of and then put it into a viewing square.  I believe there are 12 squares to record sounds in.  Examples can include kitchen sounds, voice sounds, construction, starbucks, instruments, etc.  Basically where your imagination leads you is where this app will take you.  Below I have a video that I created using Mad Pad.  I used my music therapy instruments in each square to create some cool sounds and beats.  Here it is!

So there you have it!  I had a lot of fun creating these sounds and I cannot wait until I come up with some more things to do with the app.  There are definitely music therapy applications that would work great with this app.  I plan to use this with some of my individual clients for them to create their own band.  They can make whatever noises they want and it will turn out great.  By using this, I can target their fine motor skills, sharing, turn taking, creativity, musicality, and so much more!  Have fun with this app!

Memory Song Game

    This will be my first blog that is talking about one of my intervention ideas and I am veryexcited.  I created this intervention to meet the needs of severaldifferent clients.  The great thing about this intervention, is that itcan be used for practically any goal area that needs to be met.  First ofall, I will explain what this intervention is. 
    The picture above showsthe visual that is needed for the intervention.  All that is needed forthis visual is white cardstock, a laminator and laminating sheets, clipart fromthe internet, and something to color the pictures with if you don't havecolored ink like I do.  First, go to Microsoft Word and create a box thatwould be a good size for holding a picture.  Then copy that box four timesonto the page.  Then, find four pictures from google images for the topicof your choosing.  I chose animals for this particular set.  I alsohave another set of fruit visuals.  Then place each picture inside thebox.  After you do this, go to a new page and do the same exact thing withfour different pictures.  After you have finished creating all of yourcards, print out two sheets of each page.  This ensures that you have twoof each animal, fruit, etc.  So in the end, you will have 16 cards whichis plenty.  I actually split my up into groups of eight to make iteasier.  When they master that set of animals, I use the other set ofanimals, and eventually add them together for the full 16.  So after youhave printed our your cards you are ready to laminate them.  Place aboutfour cards per laminating sheet.  And then you are finished making yourvisuals!  Now let's talk about what to do with them. 
    First,  show theclient the cards by holding two pairs of each animal.  Explain that theirare two of each.  Then, place all cards face down.  Have the clienthelp you shuffle them up.  This is usally a fun way for them tohelp.  Most really enjoy being able to help at something.  Then, placethe cards in rows of two with four cards each as shown above.  Next, youwould sing the "Memory Game Song" with the client.  I will posta video below to show you how this song goes.  For now, here are thewords: 
Let's play a memory game (3x's)
And say/spell all the words. 
The reason I have say or spell in the line is because I haveclients that need to work on speaking the words, and then I have clients thatneed to work on spelling the words.  Either way the game works forboth.  After you sing this part, you ask the client to pick their firstcard.  If their first card is a bird, you sing the song again likethis: 
This word is bird (3x's)
It is spelled B-I-R-D (Bird) 
So above is the same melody except at the end you spell eachletter while singing.  In parenthesis I have (Bird).  If you areworking on having the client speak the word, you say bird at the end instead ofadding extra words.  This gives the client a chance to speak the word 3-4times.  So while singing this part, you would pause each time you get tothe word bird in order to allow them to speak the word. 
So now you ask them to turn over a second card.  If this cardis the bird again, you would be finished with that stack and applaud them whileputting it to the side.  If it is not a bird again, you would go throughthe same process and sing the above verse with the correct animal.  Youcan go through the whole game like this until they have found all of thepairs. 
    I think this game isgreat because it targets so many different things.  It works on memory,fine motor skills, academic processes (spelling), and communication.  Youcan pretty much change up the intervention to fit your needs.  Have fun figuring out your own style!  Enjoy!

The Music Never Stopped

     Last night, I sat down to watch a movie I have been wanting to watch for some time.  The movie is called "The Music Never Stopped" and it is available in Redbox.  This movie is about a music therapist working with a man who has suffered from a tumor that affected a huge portion of his brain.  One big ability that was affected was his inhibition.  He lacked the restraint and filter he once had when speaking to others.  When somebody would speak to him saying, "Would you like a coke?", he would reply by saying, "It's the real thing."

   The movie continues to show his severe amnesia.  He remembers long term memories from his high school years and below.  The music therapist reveals this information when playing him music.  His mood instantly changes from stiff and passive to emotional and active.  When the therapist found his musical preference, he began telling stories of his younger days.  The therapist continues to work with him and finds that when she turns off the music, he goes back to his passive state.  One technique she used included playing music while asking him to remember a new phrase he had never heard before.  He repeats it back perfectly.  As soon as she turns off the music and asks for the same phrase, he cannot remember.  This is when she tries a new technique.  This technique is a neurologic music therapy technique called Rhythmic Speech Cueing.  When she turns off the music, she says the phrase again but taps out the rythmn while speaking.  She asks him to try the same thing and sure enough it works.  Later on in the movie he uses these techniques to remember a phrase taught to him by the therapist to greet a lady.  Amazingly, he retains this information even though he was not able to retain new memories in the past.  He begins to progress as music is used.  He is less rigid and more active even without music. 

   Towards the latter end of the movie, his father takes him to a Grateful Dead concert which is his favorite band.  He was never able to see them in the past.  At the concert he recognizes most of the songs except for one which he had never heard before.  In the past he had associated his old memories to songs he already knew.  But this new song had the potential for a new memory to keep long term.  He sang the song with his father and they shared in singing together.  If you plan on watching this movie and don't want me to spoil the ending, go ahead and stop reading right now. 

   After this concert and the bonding between them, his father has a heart attack and passes away later.  At the funeral, upon his father's last wishes, the new song by the Grateful Dead is played in remembrance of him.  The son plays back the memory of the concert in his head and tears rush out of his eyes.  He remembered their special time together.  The amazing thing is that he associated a new long term memory to a new song he had never heard in the past.  This shows the great power music can have.  Even when there looked to be no possible way for him to create new memories, music changed his life.  I definitely recommend watching this movie.  It definitely shows the power of music to heal people.

Here is the trailer:

About Me

     So for my first entry, I would just like to tell you a little bit about myself.  My name is Ashley Lundquist and I am currently a music therapy intern.  I graduate in December and am very excited to become a board certified music therapist!  I can't believe time has gone by so quickly!  It seems like just yesterday I was entering my freshman year of college as scared as can be.  Now here I am finished with all of my coursework and one step away from my career.

     I didn't actually begin college with music therapy on my mind.  I intended to become a choir director in a high school because I had enjoyed the Texas All State Choir experience for four years.  This made me want to lead others along the same path.  But soon I realized it was the choir experience that I loved most, not necessarily the teaching part.  So I began college with the mindset that I would be a music teacher one day and I was already not looking forward to it sadly.  I think deep down I knew then teaching was not my calling.  Then, after my first two years, I made the decision to change to music therapy after much thought.  I always had a passion for helping others.  I especially had a soft spot for the elderly in nursing homes.  My first experience of giving through my musical talents was with my sister.  One day we traveled to a nursing home to sing and play guitar for them.  I saw the great joy this brought to them and how some seemed so lonely.  I realized that they didn't get to see much of the outside world, much less, music.  So this began my interest in using my talents to aid others.  Music therapy was the perfect choice for doing just that.

    Thankfully, I began my college career at Sam Houston State University majoring in music therapy.  I wasn't completely sure of what it was when I went into it.  I pretty much thought I would be singing to people in hospitals, nursing homes, or schools.  Boy was I off!  I learned that there was so much more to the field than I had previously expected.  Much more!  My first semester there was definitely tough.  I had some great instructers that pushed me to my limits.  At times I was so overwhelmed with the workload that I didn't know if I would make it to the end.  There was so much clinical and scientific information that I had to learn in order to even start my real life practicum experiences.  Through my years at Sam, I was able to gain experience in working with preschool children, rehabilitation patients from the hospital, special needs children, and clients that were victims of domestic violence through a shelter.  I gained so much knowledge in working with clients throughout these experiences.  They definitely greatly prepared me for my time as an intern.

     So now here I am in my internship working under a private music therapist.  We see clients of many different types including private clients, school settings, and patients with traumatic brain injurys through a center for neurorecovery.  I have learned a great deal already and still have four more months to go.  When I finish my internship, I plan to work with private clients of my own and hopefully contract with a hospital in the medical setting.

     After talking all about me, I realize that I have not explained what exactly music therapy is.  There are many correct definitions I could give you, but I would like to stick with the best one available from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  Their definition is as follows:

"Music Therapy is an established health[care] profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings." -AMTA-

In short my definition is as follows:
"Music Therapy is used by trained music therapists to address nonmusical goals using music as the tool to address those goals.  Such goals include communication, social/emotional needs, physical needs, and cognitive needs.  After referrals, assessments, and observation, the therapist presents a treatment plan to the client throughout the course of a predefined time period.  During that treatment the therapist uses musical techniques such as instrument playing, therapeutic singing, neurologic music therapy techniques, movement to music, and many other techniques to address the client's greatest needs." -Ashley Lundquist-