Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Cup of Coffee / Tea with... everything bagel with cream cheese, and depending on my mood; listening to music through my earphones (closing off the outside world), playing a video game or the piano.

Nurture Yourself

Nurture Your Students

You will receive so much love from your students

They will lift you up

They will inspire you and encourage you

You will love them in return

Everyday is a gift

Each child is a gift

You are a gift

Life is busy. We need to make a conscious effort to take care of our own

During the school day, sometimes I would play the piano in between my classes. My students knew if I was still playing the piano when they arrived, they would enter the room quietly and wait until I was finished.

Sometimes I would play one of my favorite songs through my room sound system while sitting at my desk focusing on my water fountain or making circles in my sand dish to help relieve tension, relax or refocus by giving my brain a quick break.

Sometimes you just need a little brain break in between classes yourself.

Modeling this helps your students see, understand and use the power of music to recharge, relax and refocus.


Tai Chi uses slow, rhythmic, meditative movements to enhance relaxation, inner calm and peace.

I have taught my students as young as Kindergarten to use music and Tai Chi as a meditative tool. 

I had a Kindergarten class who was so unfocused and so undisciplined that I gave this a try and it took! Their classroom teacher asked for a copy of the music I used so she could play it in her room. What happened was when the kids heard the music, their minds and bodies automatically relaxed and refocused on their task at hand without doing the movements!

I used music by David Lanz, Cristofori's Dream (Album)

I taught the following 3 movements to them: Around the Platter, Bass Drum and Carry the Ball Around the Platter.

The key is to adjust the speed of the movements to the natural "feeling" of the music you choose. I find the slow, meditative sounds the best.

In the following instructional videos, the moves are done at a faster speed for instructional purposes only.

Rocking Motion

Around the Platter

Bass Drum

Carry The Ball Around The Platter

Some Exercises for you

8 Minute

4 Minute

Extra Tai Chi Movements
Click on the link below

for all you do and remember to take time for yourself!

Donna Marie & Mary

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sing - Along Christmas & Winter Songs

A few of my students favorites!
All found on YouTube
Enjoy and Have Fun!!!

Lyrics Included

"Jingle Bells" 
(no lead Voice)

"Deck The Hall" 
(no lead Voice)

Frozen: "Let It Go"

"Santa Claus Is Coming To Town"

"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree"

"Jingle Bell Rock"

"We Wish You A Merry Christmas"

"Feliz Navidad"

"Joy To The World"
(no lead Voice)

"Stille Nacht"
("Silent Night" in German)

"We Need A Little Christmas"
(my favorite!)

"Christmas Canon"

Not a Sing Along - I just found this to be a Wonderful A Cappella version of 

"Mary Did You Know"

Have A Great Day and don't forget to take time for yourself!

Donna Marie & Mary

Monday, December 7, 2015

Classroom Rhythm Instruments - Let's EXPLORE the Jingle Bells ☺

File:Sleigh Bells.jpg

For many people, singing is the most natural way to PERFORM music. Sadly, not all people will participate in singing activities for a variety of reasons; shy, self-conscious to name a few. Some children are no different.

There are many skills required in learning to sing a new song especially for young children who are just beginning to learn to read words. Not only do they need to remember the words, there is the understanding of the words, pronouncing the words and remembering how the Melody goes. This is a lot for our younger school aged children.

Classroom Rhythm Instruments give INSTANT SUCCESS and confidence. The Rhythm Games and Activities are EASY. For me, there is always full participation and the students are CREATING music without really trying!

Here is a Classroom Rhythm Instrument Activity from my "Piggyback Song Activities for Rhythm Band and Boomwhackers Pack 1 PreK-1"

“WHERE IS MY BAND?” (Where Is Thumpkin?)
Abbreviated Version

1.       Where are the DRUMS?
   Where are the drums?
   Here we are.                                                                                                                 
   Here we are.
   Listen to our drums.
   Listen to our drums.
  Ta-Ta-Ta-(pause) or 1-2-3-(pause)
  Ta-Ta-Ta-(pause) or 1-2-3-(pause)

2.       Where are the CYMBALS?
3.       Where are the RHYTHM STICKS?
4.       Where are the TAMBOURINES?
5.       Where are the SAND BLOCKS?
6.       Where are the TRIANGLES?
7.       Where are the MARACAS/SHAKERS?
8.       Where are the JINGLE BELLS?

9.       Where is my BAND?
  Where is my band?
  Here we are.
  Here we are.
  Listen to us play.
  Listen to us play.
 Ta-Ta-Ta-(pause) or 1-2-3-(pause)

 Ta-Ta-Ta-(pause) or 1-2-3-(pause)


Starter List

Hand Drums
Tone Blocks
Jingle Bells (Wrist)
Rhythm Sticks
Sand Paper Blocks
Small / Finger Cymbals

In my October 19, 2015 Post "You Got Rhythm", I talked about some playing techniques for the Cowbell and Claves. Today "Let's EXPLORE the JINGLE BELLS" 

  • SHAKER INSTRUMENT: makes its sound by the rattling of small metal objects inside a larger metal object.
  • SOUND is Bright and Sharp
  • STYLES: Bells on Bracelets (plastic or Velcro) {if your bracelets are Velcro let the children have a minute to pull them off and reattach them again, to get it out of their system!}, Attached to a Wooden Handle, you can CREATE your own bracelet by weaving a Pipe Cleaner through the Jingle Bells.
  • WEAR the Jingle Bell bracelets on wrists or ankles
  • Hold the Bells in your hand
  • Slide a bracelet around a Plastic Drinking Cup 
  • When first introducing the Jingle Bells, talk to your students about what it is made of and compare it to other Rhythm Instruments they have played.

  1. What are RHYTHM STICKS made out of? [wood]
  2. What are MARACAS made out of? [wood, beans, plastic, beads, rice]
  3. How do JINGLE BELLS make their sound? [shake them]
  4. How do RHYTHM STICKS make their sound? [tap, scrape]
  5. What else is made out of metal?
♫Pass the bracelet around and allow each student to shake it and look it over♫


  • SHAKE it Up and Down
  • SHAKE it from Side to Side
  • Make a Circle in the air
  • TAP them Gently in the Palm of the other hand
  • SHAKE behind Back
  • RUB them on your Tummy

Easy Listening Game: "BELL or __________ ?"

  1. Choose another Rhythm Instrument to pair with the BELL
  2. Have class sit in a circle
  3. 1 by 1 have a student sit with their back to the group and close their eyes
  4. You play either the BELL or the other RHYTHM INSTRUMENT for a few seconds
  5. Ask the student which Instrument they heard

  1. Put on some MUSIC with a Moderately Fast Beat
  2. Have students COPY your Different Playing Motions


  1. Have students attach the BELLS around their WRISTS or ANKLES
  2. Play some fun DANCE MUSIC
  3. Everyone DANCES until the music STOPS
  4. When the MUSIC STOPS, the children "FREEZE" like statues
♫The BELLS make it more of a challenge♫

I combined the JINGLE BELLS and PLASTIC DRINKING CUPS to help improve my students RHYTHM skills while CONNECTING the SEASON by CREATING Music with Traditional and Non-Traditional CLASSROOM RHYTHM INSTRUMENTS.

I slid a WRIST JINGLE BELL bracelet around the OUTSIDE of a PLASTIC DRINKING CUP (as pictured above) and created new original RHYTHMIC PERCUSSIVE ARRANGEMENTS to "Play Along with" the original artists of "Dominic The Donkey", "Jingle Bell Rock" and "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer".

Click on the link above to see the product and download a preview

  1. READ Verse 1 of "Jingle Bells", one sentence at a time, asking the corresponding question/s immediately AFTER reading the sentence.


  • What are we dashing through? [snow]
  • What color is snow? [white]
  • What are we dashing through the snow in? [sleigh]
  • What animal is pulling the sleigh? [horse]
  • How many horses are pulling the sleigh? [1]
  • What are we going over in the sleigh? [fields]
  • What colors are the fields before the snow? [green/yellow/etc..]
  • Are we laughing or crying "all the way"? [laughing]
  • What is the name of the horse? [Bob]
  • What are on Bob's tail? [bells]

2. Sing "JINGLE BELLS"! (Have students play their bells along with the chorus)

Karaoke Version no lead singer, just instrumental

for all you do!

Have a Great Day and remember to take time for yourself EVERYDAY!

Donna Marie & Mary