Professor publishes third iBook in series promoting inclusion in music class

Building on her mission to bring music to children of all ability levels, Oakland University’s Deborah (Blair) VanderLinde recently released the third installment in her “Songs for You and Me” iBook series. The series consists of illustrated collections of sing-along songs that promote inclusion in music classrooms.

Like the first two books, the latest release contains three songs. The songs in this collection are “Sakura,” “Bluebird” and “Sea Shell.” It also features videos with illustrations and musical maps synced with each song, as well as videos of the songs played on classroom instruments, keyboards and iPad apps. Coupled with graphics, musical maps allow learners to follow lyrics as the songs are sung. Since the songs are offered in a mobile format, learners can sing and listen to them at their own pace at home or school. When creating her iBooks, Dr. VanderLinde strives to include songs that strike a chord across cultures.

“I look for songs that are appealing and engaging, and that represent different cultural music; for example, I’ve used songs from Israel, Portugal, Japan, as well as typical American songs,” said Dr. VanderLinde, an associate professor of music education. “The songs are public domain and can often be found in teaching materials.”

Dr. VanderLinde launched her venture in 2013 through Oakland University’s Ideas 2 Business Lab. She enlisted the help of several students who helped take her idea from concept to completion. Music students recorded the songs and an art student, Laura Eagan, provided the illustrations. Since graduating from OU in 2013, Eagan continues to partner with Dr. VanderLinde on the iBooks.

“Illustrating the ‘Songs for You and Me’ series has provided a unique experience at the end of my college career and the beginning of my professional practice,” Eagan said. “It is a rare privilege that I have been able to work in my field of study right after graduation. Not only do I appreciate the contribution it gives to my portfolio, I have sincerely enjoyed being part of a project that helps others.”

Dr. VanderLinde notes that the artistic aspects of the iBooks can be especially helpful to students with autism and any “who value visual strategies for learning.”

“Engaging visuals are key to connecting with many students with exceptionalities,” Dr. VanderLinde said. “Laura’s creativity and artistry are key to the success of the iBooks.”

Dr. VanderLinde is now working with the OU INCubator on marketing efforts and plans to make the iBooks available on Nook and Kindle.

For more information on “Songs for You and Me,” and other teaching resources, visit Dr. VanderLinde’s website at