Original Songs & Experiences
"What Are You Gonna Do in 2022?" is an original tune focused on celebrating the new year and what new year resolutions are. We acknowledge in the song how goals can be set anytime throughout the year and celebrate "practice makes progress"
In “Seasonal Senses Song (Winter)” we begin by inviting kiddos to join in a drum-roll and vowel vocalization (an ascending octave slide on “ohhh”), which is repeated throughout the song to provide a grounding but engaging refrain. Each verse focuses on one of the five senses and how that sense can relate to a seasonal experience, in this case a winter experience—seeing snow outside your window, hearing the “whoosh” of winter wind, touching cold snow and making a snowball, smelling hot chocolate, and tasting a snowflake caught on your tongue, which is further reinforced with the visual video prompts. For each sense, we include a modeled action or gesture to reinforce which sense is being engaged. We also prompt the kiddos at the end of each verse with a question regarding the corresponding winter experience (“Do you know what I see/hear/touch/smell/taste?”) based on the clues provided in the previous line to invite further engagement beyond movement, music-making, and vocalization.
"Great Big Holiday" is an original tune which focuses on four principal Winter season holidays in chronological order; Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve. We wanted to write an inclusive holiday experience where all kiddos could be validated by at least one holiday discussed in this experience. This also creates an opportunity to discuss and educate other kiddos about holidays they might not celebrate. This particular music resource is centered around a tradition shared by all four holidays: food! We encourage vocal engagement during the call and response section after each holiday verse with the traditional foods used to celebrate each holiday. In the video we also include images of each food to further encourage the kiddos' recognition and to hopefully start another conversation about familiar looking food (i.e. a child might have had potato pancakes before but perhaps not know that making/enjoying latkes is a beloved Hanukkah tradition). Connection and community are the main themes of this experience.
This original experience is called "The Ol' Scarecrow 1-2-3." This is a semi-seasonal movement based experience where we mimic a scarecrow with specific movement prompts, with each verse prompting a different dance move. The video (and overall experience) focuses on gross motor movement, following visual and auditory directives, isolating body movement, identifying body parts, and imagination play. We use videos and pictures of scarecrows in the video to further give the kiddos a visual reference of what a scarecrow looks like. We used chromatic movement on the guitar for the "1, 2, 3" section before each movement to create more anticipation, as well as to include a grounding, repeating pattern.
"Fairy Ring" is a fantastical narrative song, which is new territory for us to be sure. The song describes a happenstance sighting of a fairy ring (a naturally occurring growth of mushrooms in a circle), where the narrator meets an actual fairy! The rest of the song draws from fairy folklore, with the fairy repeatedly inviting the narrator to dance around the titular fairy ring, with the narrator responding: “No, no, no, thanks but I won’t go! ‘You don’t take a chance on a fairy dance,’ my mama told me so, ‘For as you swing around the fairy ring, you’ll get so sore ‘til you drop to the floor and sleep right through the spring!’ ” This concept is a kiddo-friendly adaptation of old Western European lore surrounding fairy rings, as well how to fictionally conduct oneself around the mischievous fair folk! Aside from the passive storytelling aspect, we were excited to create this song/video resource as a movement experience. Each time the fairy character invites the narrator to dance, a different movement is prompted (bouncing, clapping, or running), giving kiddos an opportunity to join in whatever movement has been prompted, enforced by a lively tempo change in the music.
This song uses the metaphor of a bubble to start the conversation with children about boundaries. This song was created from the line "just because it's fun you doesn't always mean it's fun for your friends too", which is conversation adults often have to start with little ones (sometimes adults need that reminder too). We wanted to provide validating and helpful language for children regarding setting healthy boundaries within friendships, especially within play-based scenarios.
This experience has an interactive "yes and no" section that was added to invite your students to respond with their preferences to sensory-based activities, thus expressing their personal boundaries. We also incorporated multiple stop and go moments throughout the song, not only to provide the basic language needed for children to express their boundaries, but to also provide environmental changes in the music that could refocus the students' attention back to the song.
"Who's Behind the Mask?" by the BenAnna Band
Throughout the song, there are myriad opportunities for personal creative expression through movement and vocalization, especially during the monosyllabic, high-energy chorus section, legitimized through multiple repetitions. The clinical goal areas of this song also include the reinforcement/increase of cognitive skills such as color and shape recognition, autonomous body recognition/awareness, and following verbal/visual movement prompts.
Outside of the cognitive, expressive, and motor functioning goal aspects of this song experience, we are also seeking to provide an inclusive and diverse communal experience for children, who may recognize the “classroom-like” or “playground-like” on-screen environment provided by their peers (other children) dancing, inviting them to join in the experience. This camaraderie is further reinforced by the individual diversity of the children in the video, which features both typically-abled/neurotypical children and children with developmental differences.
Anna used to work a Special Needs Preschool where they celebrated the Lunar New Year, so together we wrote this song experience two years ago and we wanted to share it to be used in more classrooms and homes for this year. We intentionally left the lyric "As we welcome in the year of the..." blank to allow students and adults to change the Chinese Animal Zodiac for each year they watch this video. In 2021 when we published this video, it was the year of the Ox. The repeated chorus is great for movement and vocal engagement with various associated sounds for the Chinese Parades that occur during the Lunar New Year. We focus on the common phrase "Gong Hei Fat Choy" throughout the song experience to encourage vocal interaction and engagement with students and clients.
In this experience we count to 100 while doing 10 different groups of movements to celebrate the 100th Day of School. Along with the cognitive and motor skills we're working on throughout the experience, we're also challenging your kiddos' attention span, recognition of numbers, sequencing, following visual and verbal directives, while allowing for moments of independent self expression which is one of our biggest goals in all of our musical experiences. This resource can be adapted to count by 10's instead of 1's if you're working towards that educational goal and looking for a shorter experience. This can easily be done by singing acapella and clapping your hands to keep the beat or we'd be happy to share the chords so you can accompany you and your students.
This song experience is centered around emotional and physical regulation. By setting aside a moment to take a “rainbow breath” (a stretching and breathing exercise), we practice mindfulness, grounding ourselves within our bodies and to the present moment. In a world filled with overwhelming feelings and over-stimulating surroundings, the need for increased regulation is apparent to all of us at any given minute. Even in instances of play and joy, we can forget our relation to our space or experience an inability to focus or “calm down.” Taking a rainbow breath is a way to calm our internal world in order to “brighten” the world around us. Plus, the gross motor experience of lifting our arms as we inhale and stretching them wide as we exhale is not only physically satisfying, but also serves as a helpful visualization activity! We hope this is a useful and regulating resource for both you and your kiddos!
This would be a great experience focusing on environmental awareness, expressing independent ideas, counting, spelling, picture identification and so much more. We primarily work with 2-5 year old kiddos so we would be focusing on the 'summer' rhythm, when we introduce rhythms we start by counting and clapping (i.e. counting to 6 while playing the appropriate rhythm). As we start the music accompaniment we continue the repetition of the rhythm we shift to the letters of 'summer' and continue to engage/model the clapping. Just wanted to let ya'll know how we do it in person versus the video below. We all know how beneficial music is with memory and cognitive skills (remember how you learned your letters? By singing!) so that's why we love to incorporate spelling in music to further focus on this cognitive and academic skill. Since the lyrics are quick during the verse, we saw this as an excellent opportunity to include visual prompts with this month's resource. Feel free to use these before, during or after the experience or get creative and make your own!
This musical experience is an exercise in practicing positive self-reflexive language and regular affirmation. The lyrics in the chorus repeat: “I can be sunshine ‘cause I am warmth to all my friends/I can work hard for what I’m working towards ‘cause I’m loyal to the end/ I am strong, there is strength in who I am/ And who I am when I’m shining bright is who I’ll be again/ I can choose what I want to be today and tomorrow I’ll choose again.” The lyrics in the chorus and throughout the song emphasize the importance of practicing self-kindness (both as children and as grown-ups). This socio-emotional skill is beneficial to both individual development throughout early childhood and to a child’s wider social experience. Coupled with the reassurance that we can choose what language we use with ourselves, we hope this song provides a means to help the children in your life see themselves in a positive light and regard themselves with compassion, disregarding rigid ideas of who or what they “should be” on a daily basis in favor of genuine emotional well-being. This musical moment is also an opportunity to engage in gross motor play, highlighting words like “Sunshine” with extended arms in a “sunshine” pose and “Strength” by flexing muscles, pantomiming “strong arms” to symbolize the value of inner strength. We also invite listeners to sing along with the verse using neutral syllables “Doo-Doo-Doo” and engaging vocally throughout the song.
"Shake, Shake, Shake and Stop" is a short orginial interactive instrument experience that we use in almost every performance and class. Although short it works on a wide range of goal areas.
- Following directions (stop and go)
- Impulse control
- Self regulation with high affect experience