5 Transition Songs to Use with Your Kids Today

Transitions can be hard for young children.  From waking up and starting morning routines, to getting out of the bath and ready for bed, life is full of transitions.  Here are 5 songs you can use today to make these transitions easier for your kids, and in turn, easier for you.

Good Morning Song

Do your kids take a while to wake up?  I’ve found that even if I’m in a rush, taking the time to sing a short good morning song lets them transition into the day more smoothly, and we overall save time in the morning because they are more compliant.  I usually sing a song my mother used to sing to me, a version of “Good Morning” from Babes in Arms and Singin’ in the Rain.

Clean Up song

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Music Therapy Technique: Entrainment

Music therapists use many specific techniques to improve the lives of their patients.  We are trained to design and implement interventions that use elements of music to stabilize, improve, or enhance functioning.  One of the techniques I use daily in my individual clinical work is called entrainment, which means matching.

I use this most often with babies, patients in low awareness states, and patients needing non-pharmacological pain relief.  I first assess the patient and choose a tempo from their body – it could be a baby’s rhythmic screaming, a teenager’s breathing rate, or a heart rate from a monitor.  Then, I create music with my voice and/or an accompanying instrument that matches that tempo.

Matching a patient’s body rhythms often produces a relaxation response.

We get in sync and then slow down together.  In the hospital setting, I can watch their monitors and see their heart rates decreasing and oxygen saturation increasing.  This means they are calming and their breathing is becoming more effective. Continue reading

Turning Loneliness into Joy

I recently attended a presentation about music and health by Renée Fleming, superstar soprano opera singer.  She was in Indianapolis preparing to perform with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.  A few days prior to her performance, she visited Riley Hospital for Children and spent some time with me and the other music therapists.  I was very honored to have her be part of one of my music therapy sessions – she even sang along during a couple of the songs!  I sang with Renée Fleming!!!  ::pause to geek out::

Anyway, her presentation was wonderful, and one part in particular stuck out for me.  She mentioned a study that examined the detrimental health effects of loneliness.  I found some more information about that study here.   Loneliness in older adults is actually linked to Alzheimer’s disease!

I immediately thought about the “grandfriends” in our Intergenerational Music Classes.  Older adults in senior living communities can easily become lonely and disengaged in the community.  I knew that bringing children and families into senior living communities to make music with grandfriends was improving their quality of life, but this information suggests that these classes could actually have a positive effect on their physical health, too.   Continue reading

This Song Helps Toddlers Manage Emotions

Do your toddlers ever get upset?

Of course they do.  They’re toddlers!

A few months ago, I was visiting my friend Mary.  We were singing together at her piano, like we did so often when we both were in the Michigan State University College of Music.  Her 3 year old son began to get upset, wanting us to play with him instead of sing.  Watching his tension rise, and seeing that he might be headed towards a meltdown, I jumped into music therapist mode and sang this song:

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Music for the Eclipse

in honor of the solar eclipse that passed over indiana on august 21, i’m sharing some of my favorite sun and moon songs!

Have you ever heard the song, “Mr. Sun?”  This song is a fun one to sing as you are getting your kids ready to play outside.  The next time you children are about to throw a fit about getting their shoes on, just start singing this song!  Sometimes a little music is all the distraction kids need to get through a difficult task.

I love “Here Comes the Sun.”  This song is nice and mellow, making it a good one to play during dinner or quiet play time.  Speaking of the Beatles, have you heard about the Netflix show “Beat Bugs?”  It’s a cute children’s show with animated bugs and Beatles music.  Check it out!

Another one of my favorites is “Moon Moon Moon,” by Laurie Berkner.  I like to add some simple hand motions, reaching up high or lifting my baby up high when the lyrics say to “look up, it’s the moon!”  This song is a good one to sing at bedtime.

Here’s a picture of my husband and daughter viewing the eclipse with a homemade pinhole projector.  Did you view this event with your kids?  Tell us about it in the comments!

With joy,

Lauren

A Special Grandfriend

I love Intergenerational Music Classes.

Prior to one class today, a grandfriend approached me.  In her hands she held a stack of children’s books. She explained that she used to teach preschool, and she was wondering if I’d like to use any of her books during story time today.  I told her that we would love to use her books, and asked if she would be willing to read the story herself.  She was initially hesitant, but then agreed and chose her favorite book.  She held it in her lap during the first half of the class, while we sang the hello song, played instruments, and did some dancing.

Finally, it was story time.  I spread out the story blanket by her chair and the children gathered near her.  She opened the book and read it beautifully.  She pointed out different things happening in the story and talked with the children about the pictures.  The kids loved it!

After the class ended, a parent went up to her and thanked her for reading the story.  She looked surprised and said, “I did?”  Because of her dementia, she had already forgotten that she led story time.

Moments like this make me love Intergenerational Music Classes.  This woman was given the chance to be back in her element and do what she had done for so many years: teach children.  She made some real connections with the children, and although she may not remember it, I believe it was a meaningful experience.

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to bring these different generations together using the shared experience of music.  If you are interested in trying out a class with your child, contact us!  We would love to have you.

With joy,

Lauren

What Happens in a Joyful Melodies Class?

Many parents wonder what happens in an early childhood music class.  Joyful Melodies offers a variety of music classes, many of which are designed for families with young children. The Mommy & Me classes are specifically for families and their young children, and the Intergenerational Music Classes take place in senior living communities.  The structure of the Intergenerational Music Classes is similar to the Mommy & Me classes, with just a few modifications designed to encourage the little ones and “grandfriends” to interact with one another.

All Joyful Melodies music classes for children 5 years and under are uniquely designed, but most Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Make Music with Your Kids

All children are musical!  You can make music together as a family, even if you don’t have formal music training.  Making music with your children when they are young can help them learn and grow, develop a healthy bond with you, and foster a love of music that will last a lifetime.  Here are some simple ways to make music with your kids:

Repeat their noises

This technique works even with the youngest infants!  When your baby coos at you, coo right back and smile.  This helps your baby learn the basics of communication!  Older babies and Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you were able to enjoy some time with your loved ones on Mother’s Day!  My oldest and I got matching hair cuts on Saturday and spent some quality time with my mom.

On Sunday, we went to Eagle Creek Park, where we (accidentally) saw the end of the Big 10 rowing championship, played on a playground, and had a picnic in the back of my car.

We also got to watch the reptiles get fed at the Earth Discovery Center.  Who would have guessed that my 3 year old would be enthralled with the snake?

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was filled with love and laughter!

With joy,

Lauren

Musician Spotlight: Mrs. Ashley’s Music Circle

You don’t want to miss this interview with Ashley Robertson of Mrs. Ashley’s Music Circle!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I have 3 education degrees from Ball State in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Deaf Education. I taught for 4.5 years prior to staying home with our children and loved managing the classroom. I have two daughters; ages 2.5 and 4.5. My mother is a music educator, so I grew up playing piano, viola, and learning all the insider tips on managing chaos.

What made you want to make music with children?

When my youngest was a couple months old, I researched music class options in our area and was shocked by the prices! I feel that early access to quality programming should be available to Continue reading