Sing Like a Pirate!

Sing like a Pirate

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ahoy, mateys! Did ye know? Tomorrah is National Talk Like a Pirate Day! Huzzah! Hoist the main sail! Batten down the hatches! WHERE’S MY PARROT?! It’s fun to talk like a pirate…ye just need an extry big bucket of RRRRRRRRRRRs!

Here in Kindermusik land, we be doin’ a bit more than just talk like a pirate! We sing like pirates! How do we do that? Well…ye came to the right place!

Arrrrrrrrgh![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Happy Birthday in Pirate

Our first test…know someone with a birthday tomorrow? Why not sing the traditional Happy Birthday song in Pirate instead of boring old land lover language? Let’s give it a go. It’s pretty simple…

Happy Birthday to ye,
Happy Birthday to ye,
Happy Birthday dear Blue Beard!
Happy Birthday to ye!

Easy as an albatross pie! Let’s try another one…[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]sing like a pirate[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Mary Had a Little Lamb? No…She Had a Ship…and a Parrot!

The pirate version of Mary Had a Little Lamb has Mary out on the high seas looking for treasure! Here be a link for some accompaniment music for ye!

Mary had a little ship,
Little ship, little ship!
Mary had a little ship
And sailed the seven seas!
And Everywhere that Mary went,
Mary went, Mary went!
Everywhere that Mary went
Her sails would catch the breeze!

She found some treasure on the beach,
On the beach, on the beach!
She found some treasure on the beach
And split it with her crew!
Her parrot asked her
“Where’s my gold? Where’s my gold?”
Her parrot asked her “Where’s my gold?
A bird deserves gold, too!”

Did ye ever hear tell of a parrot demanding gold? Well, this be a pirate parrot. Always best to do what a pirate parrot asks of ye!

Try makin’ up yer own verses![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Traditional Sea Shanties

What be a Sea Shanty, ye ask? Well, I’ll tell ye – but listen up, mateys! Capt’n Dr. Boyle doesn’t like repeatin’ his-self. I’m busy tryin’ to talk a parrot out of his gold.

A Sea Shanty is a work song – used to get a group of people to complete a task that requires cooperation – or in pirate speak, a song to make us move as one, like a school of fish swimmin’ in the sea….ARRRRRRRRRRGH!

Here’s a classic – Haul Away, Joe![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBigLvMyKzU&index=1&list=PLC161314B67D41FE1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]There be some great songs about pirates, and Ward, the Pirate is probably one of the finest ye’ll hear. Take a listen to Ralph Vaughn Williams’ setting of the story of Capt’n Ward. Here be the words of the song! Ye can listen to a recordin’ below…

Come all you gallant seamen bold,
All you that march to drum,
Let’s go and look for Captain Ward,
Far on the sea he roams;
He is the biggest robber
That ever you did hear,
There’s not been such a robber found
For above this hundred year.

A ship was sailing from the east
And going to the west,
Loaded with silks and satins
And velvets of the best,
But meeting there with Captain Ward,
It proved a bad meeting;
He robbèd them of all their wealth
And bid them tell their king.

O then the king provided a ship of noble fame,
She’s call’d the “Royal Rainbow,”
If you would know her name;
She was as well provided for
As any ship could be,
Full thirteen hundred men on board
To bear her company.

‘Twas eight o’ clock in the morning
When they began to fight,
And so they did continue there
Till nine o’ clock at night.
“Fight on, fight on,” says Captain Ward,
“This sport well pleases me,
For if you fight this month or more,
Your master I will be.”

O then the gallant “Rainbow”
She fired, she fired in vain,
Till six and thirty of her men
All on the deck were slain.
“Go home, go home,” says Captain Ward,
“And tell your king from me,
If he reigns king on all the land,
Ward will reign king on sea!”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SeZh_xnwZyo”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Rupert the Wrong Word Pirate
Rupert the Wrong Word Pirate

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]So there ye be! Enjoy the day and have fun singing like a pirate. If ye want to talk like a pirate, just be sure it’s not like our friend, Rupert. He get’s the words wrong all the time. Ye can learn about his tale in the book, Rupert the Wrong Word Pirate.

Sail on, me hearties! Sail on![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Ben Folds, the National Symphony Orchestra, and Magic: Improvisation Unpacked

Improvisation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]You may have recently watched a viral video of Ben Folds improvising a work with the National Symphony Orchestra. It’s rather impressive and demonstrates a host of skill sets, not just by Ben, but by the entire orchestra. To create something new on the  spot like this takes knowledge and talent. While Ben is calling the shots, it’s a team effort. These musicians have put in a lifetime of practice to get to this level. Let’s unpack what you are seeing in this short video; there is A LOT going on.


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Improvisation
Ben Folds doing what he does best – singing his head off!

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 Selecting Home Base

The very first thing that is selected is a key center. This is basically picking the musical neighborhood in which all the musicians will play. All basic, western musical keys consist of a set of seven notes. You might be familiar with the song from The Sound of Music, Do Re Mi” in which Julie Andrews lays out the pattern for a major scale – Do Re Mi Fa Sol La Ti and Do is repeated at the top. You can start on any note on the piano and sing this pattern. The easiest way to find it on the piano is to play C to C on all white notes – that’s the key of C Major. The audience selects a minor. Minor keys are a slightly different pattern. If you were to play A to A on the piano using all white notes, you’d get the a minor scale. With the key selected, the musicians know to hang out in the musical neighborhood of a minor. If they were artists, they might agree upon the same color palette.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tempo

The next choice the audience makes for Ben and the NSO is the general tempo. Tempo can really affect the mood of a piece of music. Give the choice of a ballad (generally slow) or something upbeat, the audience (nearly unanimously) selects upbeat, indicating a faster speed.

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Text

Ben is a song writer, so they needed a text. The audience is asked to find an interesting bit of text from the evening’s program booklet.

The key, tempo, and text selections can be seen below.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226328589″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Magic Starts – with a Joke

Ben sits at the keyboard and readies himself to create something entirely new. This is amazing when it happens by yourself as a composer – when you find that right sound and jot it down on staff paper or on the computer. It’s another level of awesomeness when you do it with 50 other people in real time. Be fore he gets started, he makes a wonderful musical joke, invoking Beethoven. He asks, “It has to be something completely new, right?” Without missing a beat, he mimics (although incorrectly – but we’ll forgive him) the main motive of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5.

After creating a grove, Ben moves on to a basic melody with the text. He then starts assigning parts to the various sections of the orchestra, starting with the cellos. He instructs them to play “arco,” or with the bow rather than plucking the strings with the fingers. He plays a pattern using the notes A, E, and the next octave B. Without telling the cellos what the notes are, or writing out the rhythms, the cellos nail it. This is exactly what happens in a Kindermusik class when children learn new songs by ear. He further instructs them to alter the pattern on the second iteration. “Just one on the second one.” He then asks for the same pattern at a different pitch level, creating a different harmony. He then asks for a low C and a then a low E, both held for four counts. Note that everyone knows what time signature he’s in just by listening – four beats to the measure. Here’s the creation of he cello line:[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226342028″][blockquote cite=”Ben Folds”]”It takes a second to create a whole song.”[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Winds – Flutes, Oboes, Clarinets, and Basson

Next, Ben moves on to the reed section and suggests a “one size fits all” accompaniment figure for them. he then, like composers do ALL THE TIME while composing (one of my teachers used to say that there is no good writing, only good rewriting), decides to just give a harmony figure to the clarinets. You’ll note he uses the term “concert” G and E. This is too complicated to explain in detail, but some instruments, clarinets among them, transpose. This means that they might play a written A, but it sounds a “concert” G. Don’t worry about it too much!

So – he asks the clarinets to pick a pitch – E or G – and rock back and forth to that pitches lower neighbor on fast moving notes. It sound like a little flutter. He puts it together with the cellos and decides to make a small change – joking with the audience that it “takes a second to create a whole song.” On the fly, Ben is fitting the pieces together as he creates them. Take a listen:[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226345129″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Violins,Violas, and the Rest

Moving on to the rest of strings, he improvises parts for both the first and second violins – slow moving notes in harmony. Not wanting to leave the violas out in the rain, he gives them what he calls a “little timing shizzle.” He gives them what is best described as a rhythmic ostinato – a pattern that repeats over and over. It’s also syncopated, meaning it happens on the off beat. You’ll feel it.

He then turns to the double basses and says “You know what you must do.” Their repeated quarter note figures on the lowest note of the harmony are sort of a bass line trope and why the audience (and the basses) laugh.

Ben then asks the drummer to do his thing, relying on his musical instinct. He asks for a trumpet solo and…ta-da…the under pinnings of a new song are created.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226350128″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Final Product

And with that, away they go. You’ll note in the final video that some instruments Ben never mentioned play – the horns in F are an example. These are top shelf artists. They know how to join the fun with the information Ben has provided.

He set out to create something new in ten minutes, and that’s exactly what he did. Just shy of the ten minute mark he completes his instructions and the conductor counts everyone in. Ben riffs a melody on text from the program book and eventually gets to the selected text. The act of creation isn’t complete until the music is delivered to an audience. The fun part about this compositional process? The audience was there to see it unfold before hearing the final product. That mad it even more special.

Listen to the end result – its a lot of fun to experience the new song after watching it be built from nothing by a room full of classical musicians, lead by one of the most talented singer-songwriters of our time.

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226351404″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Ben demonstrates the joys of creating original music and improvisation, and he does so with four chords, a room full of incredibly talented orchestral players, and the words from a program book. The truth is, with just a little bit of knowledge, anyone can write a song, and it expresses who you are in a way that mere words just can’t. I’ve taught lots of students over the years, and one of my most special memories is teaching a brother and sister (ages 8 and 11) how to write a song during a summer program. We had so much fun coming up with words and a melody. It was rewarding for all of us.

Writing music is similar to building a house. In the end, you’ve created something. But things crumble. A song lasts forever as long as there’s someone around to sing it.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Book Review: Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schnachner

Book Review

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]How could you not love a book with a title character named Skippyjon Jones?! The adventures of Skippyjon Jones are a delightful series of books based on author Judy Schachner’s real-life Siamese cat.

Apparently, Skippyjon Jones is no ordinary pet. Because Skippyjon Jones is certainly no ordinary cat. And that’s precisely what makes the hilarious adventures of Skippyjon Jones so appealing and yet so relatable to adults and kids alike.

“Oh, I’m Skippyjonjones,
With a mind of my own,
And I’ll bounce on my bed for hours.
I know I’m a cat,
But forget about that…”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Book Review[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The original story in the series, simply entitled Skippyjon Jones, introduces us to this uniquely lovable cat who has exasperated his mother who has to wake up Skippyjon Jones not in his bed, but in a bird nest outside. We immediately know we’re in for a lot of laughs as Mama Junebug Jones fusses at her little darling.

“No self-respecting cat ever slept with a flock of birds,” she scolded. “Or ate worms, or flew, or did his laundry in Mrs. Doohiggy’s birdbath.”

This is one of those rollicking read-aloud’s that draws you in from the very first page, keeps your attention all the way to end, and then makes you want to keep reading the next story in the series![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Skippyjon Jones waking up with the birds[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]From the way the words are laid out on each page to the colorful and whimsical illustrations, this book just makes you feel like becoming Skippyjon Jones as you read. You just can’t resist reading this book with drama, flair, and even adding in a song or two.

Preschoolers and big kids will especially love this story, and the others in the series because of the way the author invites you into Skippyjon Jones’s huge imagination, and the reader is delighted to discover a story within the story.

“With a walk into his closet, his thoughts took him down a lonesome desert road, far, far away in old Mexico…”

Oh, did I mention that the old Mexico part of the story line becomes possible because Skippyjon Jones is banished to his room after the incident with the birds?!

Skippyjon Jones embodies personality with a capital “P” – much like some of our own children. This story is not just fun for kids, it also helps adults discover all that there can be to appreciate and enjoy in a childhood filled with big imagination and creative play. It’s no wonder the book has won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and why we wholeheartedly give it a two thumbs up.

Skippyjon Jones, written and illustrated by Judy Schachner and published by Puffin Books, may be purchased at your local bookseller or online at Amazon.com in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover formats.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Independence Day and the Music of the USA

Independence Day

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Happy Independence Day to those celebrating in the United States! Music has been with us from the beginning. Native peoples had their own music, used for ceremony and celebration. Settlers from Western Europe, mainly from the British Isles, the Netherlands, France, and Spain, brought with them a rich musical tapestry. Folk songs, tavern songs, and religious music from these cultures provided part of basis of an American musical sound. The music of the fields – songs of the slaves – were the bedrock of gospel, jazz, blues, and rock and roll, which were some of the first truly American original musical genres. Let’s learn a bit about American musical heritage!


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Folk Songs

Folk music of just about any culture is the musical language of its people. Often times, the rhythms and melodies are related to how people speak – the cadence of their speech patterns. What songs were popular in the late 1700s, right around the date of American independence? Here’s an example…Early One Morning, an English folk song that tells the tale of a young maiden forsaken by a young man.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGYdD3M6BH8″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Here’s an early video recording of a Scottish folk song, The Four Marys, that found its way to Appalachia. It dates back to the middle of the 1700s. This recording is from 1966.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/mrPTrkpO6EQ?list=PL7C924A91D47257E1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tavern Songs

Our National Anthem actually uses the tune of an English drinking song, To Anacreon in Heaven, a tune written in the mid 1770s by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreon Society in London. Here is an ensemble at the University of Michigan performing the original work.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/3l-n64NWHS4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Songs of the Fields

Africans from a tremendously wide variety of ethnic groups were brought to the colonies against their will and were forced into slavery. They brought music with them, rich in polyrhythms (multiple rhythms at once) and syncopated rhythms (think Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones – lots of syncopation there). The percussive nature of this music, coupled with syncopation and call and response formats, would find its way into many popular forms of the late 1800s and the 1900s such as blues, jazz, gospel, and rock. Listen to Roll Jordan, Roll, taken from the movie, 12 Years a Slave. Clapping on the back beat (beats 2 and 4), the syncopation on the word “Jordan,” and the contrast between the solo voice and the full group are all typical of the genre. Most slave songs related stories from the Bible, especially those that dealt with freedom.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/7oFcFzJT7Tw”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Early American Hymns and the Sacred Harp

In the late 1700s and into the 1800s, early shape note singing was used in New England, and worked its way down to the south and out to the west. In 1844, a collection of tunes called The Sacred Harp was publishedGroups would gather together, without instruments, sit in sections in what is called the hollow square, with a leader in the center who calls the number of the tune to be sung. In recent years, Sacred Harp singing has experienced a resurgence. The tunes are characterized by even rhythms and are often based on the five note pentatonic scale (our normal scale has seven notes). Take a look at this mini-documentary on Sacred Harp singing.

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Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, and Rock and Roll

Without the American genres of Rhythm and Blues and Country of the first half of the 20th Century, the American genre of Rock and Roll wouldn’t exist today. The music of African slaves found its way into churches and the folk songs of Europeans morphed into songs of Appalachia and influenced Country music. The melting pot of the United States does more than mix cultures, it also mixes the music of those cultures. We can trace the uniquely American musical genres of today back to the music of those that brought their music here. Here’s an early bluesman, Big Joe Williams, singing and playing Baby Please Don’t Go from 1935.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/g22l1hnAnlA”][vc_column_text]Now…fast forward 70 years or so and you can hear Aerosmith’s rendition of that original blues tune. Take a listen. Sounds a bit different…but you can hear its roots in Big Joe Williams’ music.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/9r25eLFBAc4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the grand scheme of things, we are a young country. England’s been around in one form or another for over 1000 years. China, depending on who you talk to, is over 4000 years old. We’ll hit 250 in just under 10 years. But music…music is timeless. And once that music finds its way into our bones, it becomes part of who we are. You can’t tell the American story without Rock and Roll and R & B, without Country and Hip Hop. So while you’re watching fireworks this year, be sure to listen to some American music! There’s lots to choose from. I’m old fashioned – I’ll settle in with some booming Sousa marches. In fact, that’s what I’ll leave you with – Captain John Philip Sousa’s immortal march, The Invincible Eagle March. Happy 4th of July![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/1hXGZwHsTcM”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

7 Tips for Making Every Day a Musical Day

7 tips

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Any parent who’s been attending Kindermusik classes for even a short period of time quickly realizes just how enjoyable and powerful singing, dancing, playing, exploring, and making music can be – not just for their child, but also for them!  It’s no surprise then, that Kindermusik Educators are often asked for ideas about how to include more music into daily routines at home during the week in between classes.  With nearly 40 years of research and wisdom backing us, we’re always thrilled to share some ideas.  Here are a few of those best ideas compiled here for you!


Tip #1 – Sing, sing, sing!  

The most beautiful sound in the world to your child is your voice, whether you think anyone else would agree or not.  Over time, you’ll have an entire repertoire from your Kindermusik classes, and you’ll even get skilled at making up your own words for a new verse or two!

 

Tip # 2 – Keep the music playing

Create playlists or simply let the music stream – in the playroom, in the car, before naps, and before bedtime.  It’s really amazing to watch as your child starts to tune in to sounds of instruments (even naming them!), hums or sings along, breaks out into a spontaneous happy dance, or develops strong opinions about favorite types of music.

 

Tip # 3 – Start a collection of musical instruments 

One of our Baby Bags!
One of our Baby Bags!

Start off with the basics – egg shakers, bells, and drums – then add other age-appropriate instruments along the way.  We recommend keeping your instruments separate from your toys, so that even from an early age, children are learning how to listen, handle, and explore the instruments with focus, care, and creativity.  With you there to support and engage, exploring instruments is an especially delightful learning and play activity.

 

Tip #4 – Make your own homemade instruments

This is a fun, rainy day activity that will keep your child occupied, both as you are making the instrument together and later, as he enjoys exploring and playing with the instrument.  Two simple ideas to get you started are making homemade ankle bells or even a homemade guiro.

 

Tip #5 – Use a favorite lullaby to calm and soothe

Many parents tell us that there are one or two of our Quiet Time lullabies that really touch them and their children.  Learn the words so you can sing those lullabies at home, whether at those times when your child needs a calming moment, a close cuddle, or back rub and song while she falls asleep.

 

Tip #6 – Enjoy a little impromptu dance party

Tears quickly turn into giggles and smiles as you waltz and twirl around the room together, either to a song you hum or a favorite recording from Kindermusik class.  The type of music you choose can fit the need of the moment.  For example, if your child is fussy and needing your attention, cuddle up for a gentle waltz.  If your little one is bouncing off the walls, go for a lively jig.  

 

Tip #7 – Make the most of your Kindermusik Home Materials

Chock-full of ideas and inspiration for you and engaging musical play for your child, your Kindermusik Home Materials are one of your best go-to resources not only for enhancing your overall Kindermusik experience, but for providing hours of learning, engagement, and interactive play at home during the week.

 

These are simple ideas that are oh-so-easy to incorporate either spontaneously or as a planned part of your child’s day.  Without a doubt, music really can make your “everyday” moments a little happier, a little sweeter, and a little easier!


 

Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina has been bringing joy to families for over 20 years now.

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Mother’s Day Music Activities

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s nearly here! The day we set aside to celebrate mothers and all they do for us. Whether you celebrate by serving up breakfast in bed or making a coupon book for “free hugs,” we all know she’ll love whatever it is you do as long as it’s overflowing with love.Speaking of hugs…

One Mother’s Day, my boys and I cooked up a special gift. We bought a sweater – a simple sweater in a color we knew their mom would love. We then took a picture of the boys hugging the sweater, wrote a little poem, and boxed everything up. The idea was this – anytime my wife wore the sweater she’d be constantly receiving hugs from our boys. It was a big hit!

Mother's Day hug sweater
Our boys and the “Hug Sweater.”

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]That idea is free to the world – but this is a music blog, right? How can we celebrate our mothers in a musical way?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Write a Song!

You don’t need to be a professional musician to write song! Music belongs to everyone! The easiest way to start is picking an existing tune and writing new personal lyrics. Hey – if Weird Al can do it, so can you! Remember, the thought behind the action means so much to Mom! And the simpler the tune, the easier it will be for the little ones to sing along? How about this to the tune of Frère Jacques:

Mom we love you!
Mom we love you!
You’re the best!
Your’e the best!
Thank you for your kisses
Now we’ll do the dishes
After lunch!
After lunch!

It’s silly but singable. You can do it, too! Have fun, be creative, and tell her how you feel![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Make a Mix CD for the Car!

Remember when we were kids? The sweetest thing you could do for someone you liked was to make a mix tape. Well – tapes are pretty much a thing of the past, but we can still make a mix CD…or even a playlist. Find Mom’s most favorite tunes and create a personalized album. You could even create a custom insert for the jewel case with pictures of the little ones. What about adding little recorded messages from the kids between each track – simple things like “Mommy, I love you!” or “Thanks for tucking me in at night!”

A custom CD or playlist complete with little audio notes of love from the kids will be a big hit![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Music and Movement – a Mother’s Day Dance Off!

After the aforementioned breakfast in bed, how about finding some great music – maybe even some Kindermusik tunes – and have a family dance off! Everybody could take part or perhaps Mom can serve a judge and decide who has the best moves. Here are some crazy ideas:

  1. Who can dance like their favorite animal the best?
  2. Who can dance with only their face?
  3. Can you only dance with your legs and not move your upper body?
  4. Who can dance the longest without smiling?

I bet you can come up with your own fun variations on the dance off theme. Get those bodies moving to music as a family![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

dance_off
Dance Off!

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Dinner Time Opera

We’ve done this before. While you’re eating, when you’d normally have wonderful family conversation, sing instead of talking! This is easier than it sounds. Think about Will Ferrell in Elf...everyone can sing. If you can speak, you can make up a tune for that sentence. Believe me, it’s a woot. You’ll have a hard time not giggling as your conversation and melodic speaking develops.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Eto6DU_2oI”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]However you celebrate Mom, the most important part is time together. She’ll love whatever you do if it’s done from the heart. Have fun infusing music into the day…and if you do Dinner Time Opera, record it. We’d love to include a video or two in a future post!

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there from the Kindermusik family![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Music of the Earth

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Happy Earth Day! Well…it will be Earth Day in a couple days. First observed in 1970, Earth Day is intended to bring awareness to environmental issues and our interconnectedness to the only home we’ve ever known. Carl Sagan Said it best:

“…That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. ”

– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Dr. Sagan was referring to a photo of the Earth taken on Valentines Day, 1990, by the Voyager 1 spacecraft from a distance of about 6 billion miles. Here’s that iconic image:

Pale_Blue_Dot[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]That’s the Earth – Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot – the tiny speck in the yellowish beam of light. Puts things into a different perspective, doesn’t it?

Well, our perspective is music, and believe it or not, the Earth makes its own music; we just have to listen for it. Let’s explore Mother Nature’s symphony.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Singing Stones and Ringing Rocks

Yep. Stones can sing – and I’m not referring to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (although, those guys can sing!).These amazing, natural rock formations can be found all over the globe, from Bucks County, Pennsylvania to Omaruru, Namibia. The rocks ring like a bell when struck, producing different tones depending on physical make up and size. Here’s the interesting thing: scientists still can’t come to a consensus on what causes the rocks to ring. Regardless, they still sound beautiful. Take a listen![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5cJbcoWaH8″][vc_column_text]Interested in checking out ringing rocks for yourself? Here’s a list of locations over at Wikipedia.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

The Sea Organ

Ok…this one is a bit of a stretch. In Zadar, Croatia, a human-made structure is played constantly by the waves of the sea. From the website, Odd Music:

The Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is is a natural musical instrument, seventy meters long with thirty-five organ pipes built under the concrete. The musical pipes are located so that the sea water and wind movements produce musical sounds that are heard by passers by so that it achieves a communication with nature and promotes a unity of architecture and environment. As sea forces and energies are unpredictable in terms of tides and winds, this organ offers [a] never-ending concert of numerous musical variations in which the performer is nature itself.

That’s the key here, friends – nature itself is the player of this instrument. If there ever was an example of humanity and the earth coming together to make music, this is it. Have a listen – it’s mesmerizing.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YREFMRGMzLU”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Aeolus – The Wind Sculpture

The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion - photo: newatlas.com
The Aeolus Acoustic Wind Pavilion – photo: newatlas.com

This piece of art, created by Luke Jerram, falls into the same category as the Sea Organ; this is on a smaller scale but no less beautiful. Here is a human-made instrument designed to be played by one of the earth’s forces – the wind. In Greek Mythology, Aeolus was the ruler of the winds, so the sculpture is aptly named. Consisting of 310 stainless steel pipes with some containing suspended harp strings, Aeolus is always being played whenever the wind is blowing.

For some time, the sculpture was traveling around England but now has a permanent home in Canary Wharf, London. If you’re there, check it out![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_2Fkqkiuj0″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We certainly have done much with music as a civilization, but remember, the oldest musician around is the Earth itself. Beyond sounds of the planet, other inhabitants make music from bird songs and whale songs to the buzzing bees and howling wolves. Music is all around us. Take some time this week to go outside, maybe to a park, and listen to the music of nature. You might just find some inspiration for your own music![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Fascinating DIY Play Time that Inspires Imagination and Creativity

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Kids with great imaginations and boundless creativity may test your patience at times, but they are the ones with the brightest futures – the ones most likely to invent something fantastic or solve one of the world’s biggest problems.  And they are great problem solvers!

It’s in the early years that we adults have the greatest opportunity to support and foster imagination and creativity in a child.  That’s one of the things we Kindermusik educators love about Kindermusik – it’s all about being creative, thinking outside the box, and using our imaginations as the children learn about music and explore making music in all kinds of ways.

But it’s during play time at home that parents can really fuel the creativity and inspire the imagination – without a lot of expense, mess, or toys.  Just some simple DIY play time ideas will do.  So here are some DIY play time activities we lovingly recommend.


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Build a Cardboard Castle

We promise, it will provide hours of entertainment, and you’ll probably want to join in the play too!  Here’s how to make your own cardboard castle with a big box, a few simple tools, and a little bit of “royal” decor. (I’m not gonna lie – I love the cute little fanfare music that goes along with the video!)[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl_iEuaVVYQ”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Design a Chalk Raceway

This is just adorable – perfect for inspiring your little speedway racer to play, play, play!  This short 30-second video shows you how.  Add a few cars, and the race is on![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXSWnuxKDJo”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Try out Some Homemade “Playdough”

Kids love playdough, and playdough is great for developing those muscles in their hands and fine motor skills in their little fingers.  Watch the video below: instructions for simple no-cook playdough, or if you want playdough that lasts a little longer, here is a recipe for the cooked kind.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ABqBFnGAcY”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Create Your own Homemade Instruments

In fact, make a couple of them, and you’ve got the makings of a family band!  Here’s how to make a carton banjo, an oatmeal container bongo, or a set of ankle bells. [/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9EzC68Jc_M”][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVX5xTzaOXo”][vc_column_text]Ankle[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Make your own Shape Sorter

It’s easier than you think!  And you’ll love how it stimulates your little one’s thinking skills and encourages his or her creativity.  Find the short and sweet directions here.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AolpS74FMVA”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Inspire your Little Picasso

Your budding artist will be inspired to paint and draw on their very own easel that you can make together.  It’s a great way to keep the art projects a little less messy too.  Here’s how to make a simple art easel.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kU4mjc7atr4″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Get on Board with some Train-themed Crafts

So cute, and sure to enthrall your little train engineer.  Making some train crafts is easy with this short tutorial.  Add in a train conductor’s hat, bandana, and train whistle and you’re ready to go![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz1AD3BHgYw”][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We hope you have hours of fun making memories and inspiring your child’s imagination!  And one last tip… adding a little music along with the play will only make the creating and playing that much more fun and enjoyable.


Shared by Theresa Case, whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios is located in Greenville, South Carolina[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]