Hot ‘n Cold Visual

Here’s a quirky new way to approach the topic of “opposites” with all different ages and client populations using a popular song by… Katy Perry! A lot of my students are working toward learning various opposites, and the song “Hot and Cold” (by Katy Perry) leads into this topic quite nicely! I was able to adapt some of the lyrics to make it more¬†appropriate, and created a flowchart visual depicting the different opposite relationships.

After the student has learned the opposites on the chart, I cut the pictures out and mix them up. Then, I have the student correctly identify the opposites using the visuals. My students really enjoyed this activity because it was often times a song they recognized from the radio.

Below, you will find the visuals that I used with my students. If there are different opposites you’d like to incorporate, you can easily substitute the existing material.

**For another song suggestion, “Hello, Goodbye” by the Beatles is a great choice for discussing opposites, particularly those that are less common or more abstract.

Hot ‘n Cold Visual

Nickel Frog

Hello, viewers! Noa here.

Like many of my students this week, you’re probably thinking, “…What is a ‘Nickel Frog‘?!” Counting in increments or by patterns (e.g. Counting by 5’s, 10’s…) is a tough task for some of my students, so I created the Nickel Frog to function as a fun and friendly guide on their counting journey!

When implementing the Nickel Frog activity, you may find it useful to supply some sort of number sheet that clearly depicts #1-100, so your student can have a concrete visual to accompany the learning process. To supplement the lyrics and number sheet, I made a Nickel Frog visual [with a front and back] to accompany the song that you can cut out and glue back-to-back OR laminate — I did the latter for durability. Because I don’t have a color printer, I colored the frog using markers post-printing. ūüôā

Written in the key of C using the I-IV-V chords, the Nickel Frog likes to eat nickels instead of flies, and therefore loves to help you count by fives! The song provides the opportunity to incorporate movement in to the learning process via prompts — (e.g.) The lyrics, “So let’s¬†hop,¬†hop,¬†hop!” followed by the numbers to and from which the Nickel Frog is “hopping.” My kids really enjoyed taking turns making the Nickel Frog hop around, and motivated them to listen closely as to not miss where the Nickel Frog is headed.¬†Lyrics & Nickel Frog Cut-Out

Some of my students and their parents were gracious enough to allow for photography and audio footage collection during sessions, so I am very pleased to present you with this coverage of the Nickel Frog IN ACTION! Nickel Frog Audio

Thanks for hopping by!

Baseball Rap

Hello music makers! Here’s a fun little rap about America’s favorite past time: Baseball! I use this jingle with all different groups with fairly similar goals in mind: Listening comprehension, working on diction and speech fluency, and most importantly- to have FUN!

I provide each group member with a card containing a different baseball team name, and when cued in the rap, they have to say the name back and match the syllables of the name with a drum beat.

Some team examples include: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals…. etc.

I used my keyboard to produce the back beat, but you can easily create something similar on Garageband OR find rap back beats on iTunes that is just the beat itself with no vocals.

Swing batter, batter… swing!

Audio Clip! 

Los Colores!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I love doing songs relating to all types of holidays, and it so happens Saturday is Cinco de Mayo. I came up with a song addressing how to say all the different colors in Spanish. My students love learning words in different languages, including Spanish, French and German.

Many of my groups have teachers aides available during music therapy time, so I had them learn the drum part that you will hear in the audio clip!

You’ll notice this song sounds a lot like a popular spanish song called,¬†“The Mexican Hat Dance” —¬†I took the melody and just changed up the words.

This is a fun and exciting activity that can be use with all types of populations, and gets everyone in the spirt of CINCO DE MAYO! 

Audio Clip

Los Colores 


Los colores means colors in Spanish

los colores rojo, azul

los colores means colors in Spanish

in Spanish or English too!

I see the color blue

color of the sky that is true

I see the color blue

but in Spanish we say azul!

I see the color green

color of the grass that’s seen

I see the color green

but in Spanish we say verde!

I see the color red

color of flowers oh yes

I see the color red

but in Spanish we say rojo!

I see the color white

the color of the clouds that right

I see the color white

but in Spanish we say blanco!

I see the color yellow

color of the sun oh hello

I see the color yellow

but in Spanish we say amarillo!


Pass the Beats

Good afternoon, music makers!

I’m in the process of planning for a group session with high-school age children in the school setting. Abilities and needs amongst these students are spread across a wide range — some of the teens have mild, learning-related needs, while other group members are non-verbal or display moderate levels of intellectual impairment. That being said, I find it essential to incorporate music and activities that can be accessed and enjoyed by¬†all of the group participants, regardless of ability.

In seeking to create a structured and interactive music circle experience, I came up with this simple chant titled, “Pass the Beats.” All group members come together to recite the chant, with a unison rhythmic accompaniment on percussive instruments (egg shakers, maracas, claves, etc.). After the chant is recited, a “beat leader” is chosen to create a [short] rhythmic sequence that must then be copied all the way around the circle until it reaches the beat leader again. [The therapist should be the leader the first time through to clarify the form of the activity.] You can choose a “beat leader” by volunteering or just going sequentially around the circle, student by student — when applicable, ask the students which method they’d prefer!

The cycle of reciting the chant, setting a beat, and completing it around the circle is very simple but effective. It requires an awareness of self as well as one’s surroundings, turn-taking, listening, and attending to task, while the opportunity to be the “beat leader” and create an original rhythm serves as an incentive for participation. While there is a chant involved, it is not the most crucial component of the activity —¬†the creation of an opportunity¬†for¬†group cohesion through music making should be treated as the area of greatest importance in this activity. Regardless of existing skill sets, participants can enter this activity and take part in an enjoyable and peer-driven musical experience.

Pass the Beats Audio

Pass The Beats

We’re gonna pass the beats,

Pass them around,

Pass the beats

And pass our sounds.


Get ready to pass them to your right,

Get ready to send those beats in flight!

Simple and accessible — That’s my kind of music! ūüėČ