Monday, May 18, 2015

Mailbox Monday: What's New in Kindie Rock

Vered - Hello My Baby: Songs to Bond You and Your Baby

(Release Date: March 24, 2015; Baby In Tune)

The 16 laid-back tracks on Vered Benhorin's second album of baby-centric tunes feature layers of harmonies and lots of finger-snap percussion. Producer Dean Jones works his particular earthy, organic magic on Vered's compositions, and a constellation of performers contribute, including David Levine (ex-Dog On Fleas), Justin Lansing (Okee Dokee Brothers), Rachel Loshak (Gustafer Yellowgold), Amadou Diallo, and Joanie Leeds. Dig the beautiful album art by Luisa Possas.

Standout Tracks: "More of a Baby," "All I Want"

Randy & Dave - Calling All the Elephants

(Release Date: April 2015; Song Wizard Records)

Randy Sharp has a songwriting resume that goes back to the mid-70s, and Dave Kinnoin has released eight solo kids' albums. Their debut CD as the duo Randy & Dave features a dozen tunes with lots of stylistic range and loads of silliness. Comes with a booklet of lyrics and chords. Particularly enjoyed the 7/8 chorus of the classroom-appropriate tune "Counting One, Two, Three."

Standout Track: "Counting One, Two, Three"

Lloyd H. Miller - Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! An Introduction to the Civil War Era for Kids

(Release Date: April 14, 2015)

Miller has become one of the preeminent history rockers on the scene, as his albums and live presentations help spread the gospel of significant but sometimes overlooked historical events and personalities. Yet another album produced by Dean Jones, Glory! revels in melding traditional arrangements and instrumentation with the power of rock and roll. This first in a series of "musical textbooks" is highly recommended for upper elementary classroom media collections and history buffs.

Standout Tracks: "John Brown," "Tenting on the Old Campground," "Weeksville"

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Beauty of Music

As a child care provider, I've thoroughly enjoyed playing a part in helping curious, impressionable, and energetic young children grow and mature during their first few years of life. Every week I loved sharing songs with them for the sheer joy if it, but there are actually many benefits to singing and playing music with your children.

  • Music helps develop children's language, math, and listening skills
  • Music helps develop children's self-esteem and social skills
  • Music improves memory
  • Music relieves stress and encourages creativity
  • Music is a multisensory experience
  • Music helps improve fine motor skills, coordination, and rhythm
  • Music provides an outlet for self-expression
  • Music improves self-regulation skills and makes transitions easier
Having said all that, though, the most beautiful thing about music is that melody is universal and crosses all cultural boundaries. We were very fortunate at our early learning center to have the opportunity to work with a culturally diverse group of children, some of whom had a limited grasp of the English language when they first arrived at the school. However, after just a few days of singing songs together, those children joined in enthusiastically with everyone else.

It’s also important for children to have knowledge about and appreciate the traditions and lifestyles of kids from different lands. This can only help to lessen their fear and misunderstanding of anyone not like them. Those fears and misunderstandings tend to lead to prejudices many of us adults can't let go of. Record labels like Putumayo Kids, The Secret Mountain, and Smithsonian Folkways provide rich, deep collections of children’s songs from around the world, while artists like Elena Moon Park and José-Luis Orozco share collections of childhood songs from their native countries. Have fun exploring these resources and collaborating with your children in the beautiful global language of music!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Mailbox Monday: What's New in Kindie Rock

Jonathan Sprout - American Heroes #4

(Release Date: February 11, 2015; Jonathan Sprout)

Sprout's fourth collection of musical biographies. Slickly produced and full of information, AH4 would make a nice addition to an upper elementary media center collection, or the basis of a school social studies presentation. Includes a booklet of lyrics and brief bios.

Standout Track: "E=mc2"

Earthworm Ensemble - Backyard Garden

(Release Date: April 21, 2015; Western Seed Records)

Beautifully organic country rock from members of I See Hawks In L.A. Their second album for families visit themes of home-grown food, animals and insects, and enjoying and appreciating the outdoors. Parents who dig indie rock will find this CD in their stereo even when the kids aren't around.

Standout Tracks: "Picture This You're a Fish," "Ladybug"

Stephanie Coldwell-Anderson - Dreams

(Release Date: March 12, 2015; Sakura Melody Music)

Classical vocalist Coldwell-Anderson's 5-song EP celebrates imagination and childhood experiences. The quiet tunes feature Stephanie's voice and piano, along with occasional acoustic guitar and mandolin. Perfect for naptimes.

Standout Track: "If I Were a Wizard"