It was the last class at Gooch today, and boy did we have a long list of requests to make our way through! One of the moms made the comment that we should just start at the beginning of the Rainbow Songs Foundation CD, and I agreed that it was a GREAT IDEA! I started at the beginning and sang song after song. We also tossed in some favourites from Halloween Week, as well as Five Little Pumpkins and I Shut The Door. We had some extra jam time today as well, playing through a couple of my own favourite tunes (Rockin' Robin, Stand By Me, and Twist And Shout).

Some of the little ones had to leave before the Goodbye Song, but most were able to stay to receive their certificates, along with a hug and a high five. I chatted with a couple of the moms and they seemed very grateful for the RSF experience, and gladly filled out some evaluation forms.

As always, I was sad to say goodbye to my friends, but happy to bring some music into their lives. I hope to return to Gooch one day, where the staff and families have been so good to me!

Hoot Hoot Hooting

It was a smaller class at Gooch today, but you wouldn't know it from the good time we had celebrating our special theme: Animal Week. I made sure to bring along some fun props, including a raccoon hat, bunny ears, bug antennae, butterfly wings and a turtle puppet. We sang through as many animal-themed songs as possible, including The Turtle Chant, Itsy Bitsy Spider, The Flea Song, Baby Shark, Listen To The Water, Old MacDonald, Horsey Horsey and The Ants Go Marching.

For the instrument of the week I surprised the class with wooden frogs from Thailand. We passed them around, creating a bullfrog orchestra, as we sang Little Green Frog and Three Green and Speckled Frogs.

Jam time was spent Going To The Zoo where we saw crocodiles swimming in the water, monkeys swinging from the trees, owls hoot hoot hooting, and brown bears huff huff puffin'. We finished with some Rockin' Robin. The parachute was a perfect way to finish our animal-themed class with some Sleeping Bunnies snoring away underneath.

What’s on the agenda for next week? REQUEST WEEK! I made sure to tell the grownups to have a couple favourites in mind to finish off our session with a musical bang!

Hugs & High Fives

It was a busy day at Gooch today with so many familiar faces filling the room. I was able to meet one new child and her mom who had heard about the class through a friend. Her child demonstrated several classic indicators of autism spectrum disorder and, although I wasn't able to speak with the mom to confirm this as there was a bit of a language barrier, I am happy to say that the child responded very well to the Rainbow Songs Foundation environment. Once the music began she started to sway side to side and seemingly became more focused, rather than running around the space.

I decided to sing a series of songs at the beginning that focused on using the voice rather than the guitar, and this seemed to help focus the group. These included, Roly Poly, Open ‘Em Shut ‘Em, Mr. Sun, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider. Then I added the guitar for several songs, including Old MacDonald, Little Green Frog, Three Green and Speckled Frogs, Row Row Row Your Boat, Crocky Crocodile, Listen To The Water, The Wheels On The Bus, Down By The Station, and Zoom Zoom Zoom.

Jamming this week was fun (as it always is), but slightly chaotic, so after a couple of reminders to use hands on the drums we packed up and brought out the parachute. I instructed the grownups to go up and down slowly in an attempt to calm the class down once more, and thankfully it worked!

After a round of high fives and some hugs I made sure to check in with my little friend and her mom to see how they enjoyed their RSF experience. The mom was very surprised that her little one was able to stay for the entire class and promised to come again next week. I hope to see them again.

Smooth Sailing

After feeling sick last week I was happy to be back at Gooch this afternoon. Most of the families had attended class with me two weeks prior, so it was a smooth sailing class. There were lots of smiles and great participation from all the grown-ups. A couple of the staff members were busy tidying up when we got started, but within minutes they had abandoned their tasks and were sitting on the ground with me singing along! We sang a couple of fall inspired songs (Five Little Pumpkins, Pumpkin Pumpkin) and dedicated a song to Mr. Sun himself (Mr. Sun). We also reviewed some favourites, including Roly Poly, Wheels On The Bus, Hands Together Hands Apart, I Wake Up My Hands, Little Green Frog, Old MacDonald, and Zoom Zoom Zoom. I also took the opportunity to prep for an "Animal Week" class later this session by teaching a couple of new songs – Baby Shark and Who Fed The Chickens.

The instrument of the week was the Ocean Drum. We took turns passing the large frame drum around, singing along to Listen To The Water. Some of the little ones seemed a bit scared of the sound, so we put it aside and had an extra long jam portion of the class singing a couple pop favorites – I Feel Good, Three Little Birds, and Stand By Me.

After singing the Goodbye Song, I stayed behind a while and chatted with some of the moms. It was nice to have some time to get to know them a bit better. I’m hoping for the week to go by quickly because in all honesty I cannot wait to return to Gooch!


Dancing the Hokey Pokey

It was a busy day at the Gooch Residence today, so after meeting a few new families we jumped right into the Hello Song. I immediately noticed that it was going to be a busy class with a couple of distractions, so I took some time to review some basic rules in the friendliest way possible. Thankfully everyone was on board, and we ended up singing through tons of material, including some songs to prepare us for Halloween Week (Pumpkin PumpkinFive Little PumpkinsI'm Dressing Up For HalloweenThe Very Scary Spider). I could tell that some of the older children had been practicing during the week, and it was fun to hear them singing so loudly. I decided to take some requests to keep the group fully engaged, and we ended up dancing the Hokey Pokey not just once, but TWICE! Other songs included The Wheels On The BusI Wake Up My HandsBath TimeLittle Green Frog and Old MacDonald.

Overall, it was a great class and although busy, the energy was positive. I definitely got the feeling that next week, with some practice, it could run a bit more smoothly.

Feelin' Good

It was somewhat of a reunion class today as ALL the participants from last week's class returned with big smiles and contagious energy. It was a very grey day and I was feeling very thankful to be making music with the staff and families at Gooch. We started off by reviewing some songs about Halloween in preparation for our special theme week (Pumpkin Pumpkin, Five Little Pumpkins). Then, we learned two new songs (I'm Dressing Up For Halloween and I Shut The Door), both of which were a big hit among the little ones. We tackled some songs about opposites (Roly Poly, Hands Together Hands Apart and Grand Old Duke Of York), and reviewed some songs about different body parts (I Wake Up My Hands) and getting clean (Bath Time). We took the firetruck for a drive, ringing the bell along the way (Hurry Hurry Drive the Firetruck) and rode the bus to school (The Wheels On the Bus). We finished by zooming to the moon (Zoom Zoom Zoom).

For the instrument of the week I showed the group how to play the clave sticks, exploring a common clave rhythm with five beats divided into two groups. It is a great rhythm that can be heard in many songs, so we practiced keeping the beat while singing All The Children Like Bananas. We then jammed to Brown Eyed Girl and I Feel Good because it DID feel really good making music with my new friends.

Looking forward to another amazing week at Gooch!

Hello Dundas Gooch!

Today was the first class at the Dundas Gooch residence, and boy was I EXCITED! It has been a while since I have led an RSF class and I was looking forward to making some new friends.

I was able to connect immediately with a young child, age 3. She requested a few of her favourite songs and had such a vibrant, energetic personality that I couldn't help but giggle and smile through the entire class. The moms in attendance were also lovely and sang along, participating fully. We sang through quite a few songs (Roly Poly, Hands Together, Hands Apart, The Wheels On The Bus, Row Row Row Your Boat, Crocky Crocodile, Old MacDonald, Little Green Frog, Mr. Sun, Zoom Zoom Zoom). I also sneaked in a couple songs to prepare for Halloween Week (Pumpkin Pumpkin and Five Little Pumpkins)!

For the instrument of the week I did a general run through of how to play all the instruments from the jam bag. Afterwards I brought out an instrument called a cabasa. It is a percussion instrument with loops of steel ball chain wrapped around a wide cylinder. The cylinder is fixed to a long, narrow, wooden handle. It provides a metallic "ch ch ch" sound when shaken or twisted. We passed it around pretending to brush our teeth using the cabasa to imitate the sound of a toothbrush.

Moving along to the jam, we sang through a couple of my favourites (Brown Eyed Girl, Stand By Me, Three Little Birds). All the participants were smiling and singing. Some of the young ones were even dancing! The parachute was a huge hit and we sang about all the colours we could see (Red, Yellow, Green and Blue Parachute Song) as well as the stars up above (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star).

I truly couldn't have asked for a better start at Gooch! Feeling very thankful this Thanksgiving.

Magical Moments

Due to the end of the school year, there were no babies at Jessie's Centre today. There were, however, 2 young moms sitting in the daycare looking at their phones and so I took a leap of faith and introduced myself. Although they both seemed shy, I kept asking them questions and had a bit of a conversation with Barbara about my job and various things. I was suddenly inspired to bring over my pair of Tibetan Singing Bowls and before I knew it, we were playing the bowls on the bellies of the young mums. It was a magical experience and I was touched by their willingness to overcome what could have been a strange moment. I am a stranger after all! A couple of the staff members were sitting with us as well and so I grabbed my guitar and started playing some songs (Stand By Me, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Hush Little Rooster, Onawa's Waltz). It was incredibly intimate and felt more like a private showcase than any other RSF class I have ever led. Afterwards I taught one of the moms some chords on the guitar and talked a bit about what music she likes and how to incorporate "music-making" into her daily routine when her baby is born at the end of July. Before I left, I made sure to thank everyone for being so warm and open to a new experience and made sure to invite the moms back next week to attend classes when the babies have (hopefully) returned. That being said, I love how RSF creates such interesting opportunities for groups of people to connect through music, whether in a traditional setting or something different.

That made my day!

It was a fun day at Jessie's Centre today with a bunch of staff members on hand to participate. Although the babies were young and some a bit sleepy, we were able to sing through a ton of songs before they went down for late afternoon naps. We started by warming up our voices with Roly Poly, The Flea Song, One Button Two Button, and The More We Sing Together. We then woke up all our body parts with I Wake Up My Hands and filled our bellies with Sitting In My Highchair. Afterwards we had Bath Time to clean up our mess and took the bus to school (Wheels On The Bus). We also rowed our boats (Row Row Row Your Boat) and took a lap ride (Little Red Wagon). Standing up gave us a chance to stretch our legs and Zoom Zoom Zoom all the way to the moon!

For IOTW, I brought out a couple of instruments from Brazil (Agogo and Guiro) and gave a demonstration on how to play different rhythms on each. We passed them around the circle singing All The Babies Like Bananas and it was nice to see some of the grownups really enjoying themselves. We jammed to Stand By Me and Three Little Birds and finished with the parachute, with the babies lying down on their backs so they could look up at all the beautiful colours as we sang along to James Brown's I Feel Good and Jamaica Farewell.

As usual the class went by far too quickly and to my delight one of the mom's commented, "That made my day!" Always nice to hear positive feedback. Looking forward to next week!

Blessing in Disguise

After being sick the last two weeks, I was excited to see all my friends at Jessie's. It was a small group but we had a great time singing a variety of songs, focusing on an animal theme. All the participants were under the age of one so we started with some tickling (The Flea Song), following with some songs about bugs (The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Poor Little Bug On The Wall). We then went to the water and sang The Turtle Chant using a beloved turtle puppet. Listen To The Water allowed us to practice some animal signs for frog, crocodile and duck. Crocky Crocodile and Six Little Ducks had us practicing some specific rhythms using the hands to snap/quack. To finish, we swam even deeper into the water for Baby Shark. Sensing a lull in the energy, I asked the grownups to lie the babies down for Sleeping Bunnies. Many were surprised when the song sped up towards the end, and as a result the energy picked up a bit as the grownups helped the babies "hop" up and down. We stretched our legs singing Elephants Have Wrinkles, finding all the body parts as we marched around. I always like to use this song as a way to make physical contact with each baby by gently squeezing the toes, knees, hips, ears, and nose.

After sitting, I demonstrated how to play the wooden frogs from Thailand. One grownup was familiar with the instrument and was very encouraging to a mom who seemed a bit shy about playing the frog in front of the group. To accompany the "ribbit" sound of the wooden frog, we sang Little Green Frog and Three Green And Speckled Frogs.

Jamming gave us the opportunity to sing a request of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and a new song, Rockin' Robin.

Luckily Jessie's has a smaller parachute that we are able to use for smaller classes and so we shook it out for Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog (Joy To The World) and went up and down gently for one of my favourites Puff The Magic Dragon.

After class, one of the babies sat beside me and strummed the guitar for several minutes. The mom was able to take some video and we got to chatting about her experience with music as a child. It was very clear that she has a deep love of music and is seeking out ways in which her daughter may have a similar experience. I love having moments like this when I can connect and get to know clients in an intimate way and so, having a small class sometimes turns out to be a blessing in disguise. Looking forward to next week!