Sign Language & Music: Can’t Help Falling in Love

It was no difficult choice to do this song for our ASL cover. I absolutely love this song because it is cross-generationally appropriate! Because it is an affectionate song about love it is great to use at home and even as a lullaby. The music we choose to surround the children in our lives with is so important. Choosing music from different decades and genres will only enhance and deepen our experience in the world around us and with the people we love.

Sign Language & Music: The Birthday Song

This week we celebrated two birthdays in the office and I celebrated another for one of my clients! It has been a fun week of sweets, bright colored gift bags and much more. It was brought to my attention between celebration that though I knew the birthday song on at least four instruments and in two spoken languages I did not know it in sign language! I was inspired to learn this must have song in sign language and share it with you all!


Sign Language & Music: “How Far I’ll Go” ASL Cover in the Making

Hello All!

This week for our signing video I decided to change it up and do my best attempt at an ASL cover of “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. This is very different from the other videos that I do in many ways. The most evident is that I am signing in real time and in ASL.

I am usually focusing my energy on signed English which is signing the sign for each word within an English sentence structure. So you might be wondering… then what is ASL? ASL or American Sign Language is its own language, which means that it operates under its own sentence and lingual structure.

In ASL you may sign only a few words in an entire sentence. But where they don’t use as many words they make up for in visual elements. You can see in the video below that I create a place where the ocean is in my visual field and I use it as a frame of reference and to develop the story. So the following lyrics…

Every road I take

Every trail I track

Every path I make

Every road leads back



Road/path (gesturing to ocean)

Walk (gesturing to ocean)

Road/path (gesturing to ocean)

Go (gesturing to ocean)


It may be simplified in word count but the content and imagery is vivid in ASL and in many ways I think it is a more comprehensive and expressive language than any other.

Sign Language & Music: Numbers 1-31

Welcome back to Sign Language & Music!

Today I took a little time to go through our signs for 1-31. Now that might seem like an odd set of numbers but I use them mostly to express the days of the month which, as you know, go from 1-31. That beings said, I also use number signs for counting and to express age. For most of my clients number signs can be difficult and frustrating because there are so many of them and there isn’t a consistent and set pattern that they follow. You will notice that the signs 20-30 look quite a bit different from 10-20. So take your time with it. I recommend starting with the signs for 1-5. Then once you get comfortable add five more, and so on. If you feel secure in your signs then your clients will feel secure in the signs you teach them!

Sign Language & Music: Illness and Pain

This may not be the most pleasant signs but they are so very important! Whether you’re a Music Therapist working with clients, patients, and students who may be nonverbal, deaf, or hard of hearing, or if you are a parent who wants to give your little one the ability to express their aches and pains. These are incredible useful signs for all!

In the video you will learn signs for stomach ache, tooth ache, sick, and even dizzy! These are descriptive and very helpful in trying to understand an individuals behavior or emotional distress. Having the ability to say “I feel dizzy” or “I have a stomach ache” are priceless skills for all of us regardless of our age or abilities.

Beyond Teaching Lessons: Instructors Making Music Outside the Studio

We are so incredibly fortunate to have such a well-rounded, incredibly talented, and diverse group of musicians teaching lessons and providing therapy services at Music Therapy Connections. Not only do each of our teachers provide lessons to a large number of students each week, they are also all involved in their own musical projects.  Every one of our teachers has been involved in a large variety of musical endeavors throughout their careers and most are still actively involved in making music outside of the lesson room and in the public arena.  

While Katey, Kristi, and Reid are all involved in local or touring bands, Rachel continually creates amazing resources and songs, Matt Nall and Melissa provide worship/praise music, Alisabeth is involved with the Springfield Choral Society, Matt Mifflin performs in a solo and group capacity, and Becky compose music.  Our entire team is making music, for so many reasons, in a variety of styles, and across a large span of settings.   By participating in making music, we each are learning and growing in our own way, making us all better teachers and services providers through our individual experiences. 

You can read about each of our teachers and their music education, experience, and expertise on our about page:

This week, we want to give special recognition to Kristi Lecocq who is celebrating the release of the second album with her local band, The Fireside Relics.  They will be performing on Friday, March 24th at Capital City Bar & Grill in Springfield, IL to celebrate the release of the album.  We are so thrilled for Kristi and all of the members of Fireside Relics and hope you enjoy their new album.

I hope, if you have the chance, you will take a minute to listen to one of the new songs on Kristi’s album or check out any of the other incredible projects our team members is involved in. We’ll be sure to share more music projects or ways you can support music in our community and studio as they happen.


Sign Language & Music: Number Signs 1-10

Hey all!

This week in Sign Language & Music we explored numbers 1-10 in sign language. I mentioned that I often use number signs 1-31 in calendar time for many of my sessions. The numbers 1-10 are a great start to learning all of those number signs!

So heres the big question… Do I use signed numbers, or standard finger counting?

This really depends on what your classroom, students, or clients are using. If they have been using and gaining understanding with standard counting then that might be the most appropriate counting measure to use. Many of my classrooms use signed numbers so I use those to reiterate the method that is already being used in the classroom. At the end of the day I am always in search of the most efficient and effective means to the end. Check out this weeks video below, and have a wonderful week!


Intern’s Corner-Week 28

Well, this is my last blog post of my internship.The last six and a half months have flown by and I’m so happy that I got to spend my internship here at Music Therapy Connections. It’s been a fun journey of learning, growing, and meeting new people that have changed my life in so many positive ways. As I look back at who I was in August of last year, I realize that I’m a completely different person now. Even though it was hard at times and there good and bad moments, I wouldn’t change a thing about my internship experience. I’m so incredibly thankful for Rachel and Katey as well as the other team members here at Music Therapy Connections for welcoming me, challenging me, and loving me, especially when I didn’t know anyone else here in Springfield. My internship is an experience that I will surely remember for the rest of my life.

After this next week, I will be off to a new place to start another journey at my first job as a music therapist. I haven’t exactly absorbed or accepted the fact that I’m moving next Friday and finally starting my life after college, but know that all will be alright in the end. I don’t know where life will take me after next week, but I do know that it will be wonderful as long as I keep a positive mindset. It may be hard at times, but with a positive mindset, I will be able to conquer anything. I also have no doubt that I have the tools necessary to be an effective entry-level music therapist.

Finally, thank you for letting me share my thoughts and opinions with you each week. Blogging has been a great way for me to stay reflective and challenge myself to change my mindset whenever I needed it. I may be a sentimental person, but if you are just starting out your internship or will be in the next few months, I want you to remember to soak in every moment of your internship because it goes by fast.

Have a wonderful week!

Sammy Springer

Sign Language & Music: Down On Grandpa’s Farm

This week in Sign Language & Music I shared with you one of my favorite animal songs “Down on Grandpa’s Farm”. Its fun and not the same old farm song you hear every day. I hope you all can enjoy it as much as I do. That being said, you probably also noticed that my voice is almost gone, truly almost gone. It has been fading away slowly since about last Saturday…but I was ready.

This is one of the amazing benefits of utilizing sign language in my work. All of us could benefit from signing at one time or another and today, it was me! I was able to use sign language to engage my clients in alternative ways, communicate with them, and maintain the same efficacy in the session without using my voice at all!

How can you use sign language today?

Intern’s Corner-Week 27

Overcoming anxiety is hard. It’s a constant struggle for me and probably for many other people in the music therapy profession. Sometimes, as horrible as it is, my personal anxiety can carry over into my music therapy practice, especially when there is a lot on my plate. It’s happened a lot this past week and I am becoming more aware of it. I have been learning in my internship how to effectively deal with anxiety, both personal and clinical, and I’d love to share my reflections and thoughts with you today!

You’ve probably heard about the “hats” metaphor that people use to describe themselves in different situations. There’s the music therapy hat, the personal hat, and any other hat that may apply to your life. In order to deal with anxiety, I’ve been practicing wearing just my music therapy hat when I’m at my internship. In order to do this, I found it beneficial to stay in the moment. By staying in the moment, I avoid thinking about everything that I have to get done after a session or otherwise. Also, this is beneficial to the client because then I am focusing completely on them and their needs.

If I have time before I go into a session and I’m feeling anxious for whatever reason, I take five minutes to just relax and think about my “happy” place. This gets me prepared and less anxious. If I don’t have time when transitioning between clients at my internship, I like to take a drink of my water, take a deep breath, and visualize myself doing something that I love (even if it’s for a short thirty seconds). When I don’t take a moment for my brain to relax, my tensions can carry over into the next session, which is not the best option for anyone.

Overcoming anxiety is a process and if I continually work towards handling it effectively, it will become easier.

What are some ways you overcome anxiety and minimize it’s effect on your life?

Sammy Springer