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

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

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

Musician Spotlight: ShooBeeLoo Music and Movement

Indianapolis is home to many great children’s musicians and music classes.  We interviewed Michelle Marti of ShooBeeLoo Music and Movement to learn more about what she offers.  Check it out!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I was born in Australia but I have travelled all over the world, living in Australia, Singapore, England, and the USA for extended periods. I have worked as many different things, from barista to window display artist, but all the while music has been my passion. It has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I have played in many bands over the years, have recorded albums, filmed videos, and toured all over Europe with a couple of bands. Now I live in Indianapolis with my husband and four children.

What made you want to make music with children?

I never imagined myself as a children’s musician, but when I had my own kids everything changed. Continue reading

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Each December, I find myself reflecting on the past year and feeling grateful for my many blessings.  This year, I’m feeling especially thankful for my family.  Our family grew this year when our second daughter was born in October.  Anna Belle loves music.  Watch her reaction as I sing to her:

I hope you are making some Joyful Melodies with your little ones this season!  Need some ideas?

  • Put on Pandora Christmas music and dance around your living room (teaching young children self-expression and building motor skills!)
  • Take that jingle bell ornament off your tree and shake it around as you sing Jingle Bells together (teaching young children cause/effect and self-expression!)
  • Play a musical game: hum a well-known Christmas song and have someone else name that tune (developing active listening skills!)

Does your little one have a favorite Christmas song?  Let me know in the comments!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

With joy,


A Peek Inside an Intergenerational Music Class

Have you considered signing up for a Joyful Melodies Intergenerational Music Class, but aren’t sure if it’s right for you?  Check out this video to get an inside look at a class.

We just finished up an 8 week class semester.  It has been so much fun to watch all the children and older adults come out of their shells and interact with each other more and more each class!

Learn more about Intergenerational Music Classes here.

Our next class session starts on Saturday, August 6th – register by Friday to reserve your spot!

With joy,


Parent’s Guide to Toddler Music Classes in Indianapolis

Parent's Guide to Toddler Music Classes in Indianapolis

Are you interested in getting your toddler involved in a music class?  Here are my top 6 favorite options in Indianapolis:

Joyful Melodies Intergenerational Music Classes

Joyful Melodies provides music therapy and music classes primarily in Avon, Indianapolis, and the surrounding areas.  Intergenerational Music Classes bring children 6 months – 3 years old into retirement communities, where they play instruments, sing songs, have fun, learn, and grow!

Check this page to learn about current class offerings.  Drop-in to the current class semester to try out a class!

Location: Hendricks County, Indianapolis, and some surrounding areas

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/makejoyfulmelodies

Visit the website: www.makejoyfulmelodies.com (Subscribe to the blog!)

Nurture The Child through Kindermusik

Nurture the Child Through Kindermusik provides Kindermusik classes for children ages 0-7.  Kindermusik is an international music-and-movement program designed to boost children’s development and teach basic music skills.

Locations: Hendricks County and West Side Indianapolis

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ntckindermusik

Visit the website: ntckindermusik.yourvirtuoso.com

The Urban Chalkboard

The Urban Chalkboard is a place for parents to bring their children for open play or structured classes.  Their Play Cafe and Learning Studios are designed to help children grow and develop and give parents a chance to relax and connect with other parents.

Location: Carmel

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheUrbanChalkboard

Visit the website: www.theurbanchalkboard.com

The Music Playhouse

The Music Playhouse offers early childhood music classes in Carmel and Broad Ripple.  They use The Music Class curriculum, which focuses on immersing children in a musical environment and providing a solid foundation for music education.

Location: Carmel and Broad Ripple

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/TheMusicPlayhouseIndianapolis

Visit the website: www.themusicclass.com/Center/Default.aspx

Bongo Boy Music School

Bongo Boy Music School provides music lessons and groups in the Castleton area of Indianapolis.  Their Recreational Music Center offers some early childhood music classes, drum circles, and more!

Location: Castleton

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/BongoBoyMusicSchool

Visit the website: www.bongoboymusic.com

Mr. Daniel at Darrin’s Coffee

Mr. Daniel is an amazing musician who provides various types of engaging opportunities for children and families in Indianapolis.  Sometimes he visits Darrin’s Coffee in Clermont to lead a free music jamboree with kids and families.  Check him out!

Location: Clermont

Like the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mrdanieljamboree

Visit the websites: darrinscoffee.comsmileandsaygoodmorning.com

What else would you add to this list?  Let me know your experiences with toddler music classes in the comments!

With joy,


Intervention Spotlight: Encouraging Vocalization Through Singing

Intervention Spotlight-Have you ever seen the  movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

One scene depicts the bad guy trying to get Roger to show himself by tapping the rhythm of “Shave and a Haircut…” on the walls.  Roger tries to resist, but in the end he can’t help but to jump out and complete the phrase: “Two Bits!”

We all have a natural inclination to complete unfinished musical phrases.

Music therapists use this to our advantage, especially when we’re working with clients who need some encouragement when it comes to vocalization.  Watch the video below for a demonstration with my sweet daughter:

I remember being fascinated with this concept in my college music theory classes.  Certain Continue reading

Music Classes Build Social Skills

Joyful Melodies Music ClassesI had a very proud mama moment in our Intergenerational Music Class last weekend.  My daughter, Mary, attends the class with my husband every week.  This was the sixth music class of the summer session, and Mary has come out of her shell more and more each class.  This class is held in a retirement home, and we call the older adults “grandfriends” and encourage them to join our class every week.  I often ask the children to interact with their grandfriends by waving hello, asking their names, and taking them small instruments.  Mary has always been shy around the grandfriends and has needed to hang onto one of her parents before she would approach a grandfriend.

This time, when I asked her to take an egg shaker to a grandfriend, Phyllis, she happily took it from me, ran over to Phyllis, and plopped it into her hand!  I was so proud of her and happy to see that she was learning to form relationships with her grandfriends.

The other children have been building social skills in the Intergenerational Music Class, too!  It has been wonderful to see them interact with each other and the grandfriends in more and more meaningful ways throughout this class session.


Do you have a child who would benefit from this type of socialization?  Sign up for our next session!  We start in August.  Learn more and register here.

With joy,


August/September Classes

We have some exciting classes starting soon!  We would love to have you and your friends join us.  Reserve your spots soon!

Joyful Melodies Music Therapy ClassLET’S ALL MAKE MUSIC

Everyone can make music!  This class, for children ages 0-5 with special needs, uses singing, playing instruments, and movement to encourage children of all abilities to learn, grow, and make new friends. Activities are designed by a music therapist and adapted in the moment to ensure that all children can participate in their own way.  Parents and siblings are encouraged to join in!

Dates: July 25th, August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29

Time: 9:30am-10:15am

Cost: $84

Location: Bliss Studio, 1620 E Main St, Ste 149, Plainfield, IN

Claim your spot by filling out this registration request form.  You will soon receive a PayPal invoice by email.  Once the payment is received, your registration is confirmed.

LJoyful Melodies Ukulele ClassEARN TO PLAY UKULELE

This class is perfect for the 7-12 year old who shows interest in music and a desire to learn an instrument quickly.  After 6 weeks, the children will know how to tune the ukulele, how to play basic strumming patterns and chord progressions, and be able to play a variety of simple songs.

Dates: July 25th, August 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29

Time: 10:30am-11:15am

Cost: $84

Location: Bliss Studio, 1620 E Main St, Ste 149, Plainfield, IN

Claim your spot by filling out this registration request form.  You will soon receive a PayPal invoice by email.  Once the payment is received, your registration is confirmed.

Intergenerational Music Class (1)Intergenerational Music Class

This class has been so much fun, the grandfriends wanted us to come back for more!   We use singing, playing instruments, reading, and movement to encourage children at all developmental levels to learn and grow. Activities are adapted in the moment to encourage creativity, sharing, turn-taking, and healthy relationships, as well as to reinforce concepts like colors and numbers. At least one parent or caregiver accompanies their child to group, and learns fun songs and activities along with the children to do at home. Children will build special relationships with the older adults in the group, develop positive attitudes towards aging, and have fun with their grandfriends!

Dates: August 6, 13, 20, 27, and September 10 and 17

Time: 10:00am-10:45am

Cost for a Single Child: $84

Cost for Multiple Children (same immediate family): $126

Location: The Harrison Retirement Community, 3060 Valley Farms Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46214

Claim your spot by filling out this registration request form.  You will soon receive a PayPal invoice by email.  Once the payment is received, your registration is confirmed.