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Tunes for Tasks
Michelle Lazar, MT-BC 
Director of Coast Music Therapy

Songs can be an ideal way to get children involved and interested in a daily routine or help to solidify a new skill through repetition. Pairing directions with familiar song melodies adds an element of fun and also provides structure to the daily schedule.  Teachers find that these tunes make classroom transitions almost effortless!

Here are some tips for creating your own “Tunes for Tasks”, followed by suggested tunes for various school and home activities:
     1. Choose the target skill you want the child to accomplish such as lining up for recess.
     2. Choose several related phrases that you would give as directions for the skill such as “Line up at the door” and “Time to go to recess.”
     3. Choose a simple, repetitive melody such as…
                •  Farmer and the Dell
                •  If You're Happy and You Know it
                •  Clementine
                •  Are You Sleeping
                •  London Bridge
     4. Start with one phrase relating to the skill and see if it fits logically within the song. For example “Line up at the door.” could be exchanged for “Farmer and the dell” using the same tune. 
     5. Adapt the song as needed to fit in each direction you need to give for the desired skill. For example, when it's time to line up, this song will facilitate the transition.

Line Up at the Door
To the tune of “Farmer and the Dell”

Line up at the door,
Line up at the door,
Time to go to recess now, 
Let's line up at the door.

     Here are some more of my “Tunes for Tasks,” sung to familiar melodies:

Bubble Song 
To the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel

Bubbles, bubbles in the air, 
We're blowing lots of bubbles, 
But when you catch one in your hand-- 
POP! goes the bubble.
Way up high and way down low,
Floating in the air now, 
But when you catch one in your hand-- 
POP! goes the bubble.

Calendar Song 
To the tune of “ London Bridge ”

Do you know what day it is, 
day it is, day it is? 
Do you know what day it is? 
Today is Monday. 

Do you know what month it is,
month it is, month it is?
Do you know what month it is? 
The month is August.

Colors
To the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Red, orange, yellow, green, ,
blue and purple too; 
These are the colors that I know, 
I'll show them all to you.

Goodbye Song 
To the tune of “Goodnight Ladies”

Goodbye Carlos, 
Goodbye John,
Goodbye Jenny, 
It's time to say goodbye.
(Repeat until all children's names have been sung)

Nap Time 
To the tune of “Are You Sleeping”

Are you ready, are you ready, 
For a nap, for a nap? 
Let's get out our mats now, let's get out our mats now, 
Then we'll rest, then we'll rest.

Playdough Song 
To the tune of “I'm a Little Teapot”

We can play with Playdough, here we go, 
Squishing and squashing in the dough. 
When we're making new shapes, it's so fun,
We pound and push until we're done
We can play with Playdough, here we go, 
Squishing and squashing in the dough.

Self-Help Skills 
to the tune of “Mulberry Bush”

This is the way we brush our teeth,
brush our teeth, brush our teeth. 
This is the way we brush our teeth,
to get them sparkling clean.

This is the way we tie our shoes,
tie our shoes, tie our shoes.
This is the way we tie our shoes,
we lace them so they're tight.

Snack Time 
To the tune of “If You're Happy and You Know It”

If your name begins with “B” then go to snack.
If you're wearing something red then go to snack. 
If you're wearing tennis shoes, 
Or if you have on something blue, 
Then you can stand and go to snack.

Washing Hands 
To the tune of “Farmer and the Dell”

It's time to wash our hands,
It's time to wash our hands, 
We'll rub, rub, rub until they're clean, 
It's time to wash our hands.

Then dry them with a towel,
Then dry them with a towel,
We'll rub, rub, rub until they're dry, 
and then our job is done.

      Other melodies that easily lend themselves to transitions and the teaching of elementary concepts include: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Jingle Bells, The Muffin Man, Ten Little Indians, The Bear Went Over the Mountain, She'll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain, and Did You Ever See a Lassie.

About Michelle Lazar, MT-BC

      Michelle Lazar, MT-BC, directs Coast Music Therapy , a San Diego-based agency focused on providing a creative approach to learning through music.  She specializes in meeting the learning needs of children with autism and developmental disabilities.  She also provides consultation, workshops and training seminars nationally for educators in both special and regular education classrooms. 
      Michelle holds a baccalaureate degree in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University, with additional training in Neurologic Music Therapy from the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University.  Her publications include a chapter in Models of Music Therapy Interventions in School Settings, 2002 edition by Brian L. Wilson.  
      Michelle offers other practical tips for music-assisted learning at www.coastmusictherapy.com .

 

 

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