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!