Musician Howard Levy has played with some of the world’s best musicians – from the innovative, future-forward stylings of banjoist Béla Fleck to Dolly Parton, Bobby McFerrin, as well as symphony orchestra musicians around the world with his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra.
Howard is also a featured musician on two Kindermusik recordings: “Riding the Rails” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”
Composer and arranger Jon Negus worked with Howard on the Away We Go! session. Here’s what Jon had to say about it:
When I was describing to Howard and the violinist (Peter La Bella) that “Riding the Rails” was going to be a duel between harmonica and violin, Peter said “Gee… I wonder who’s going to win that one….!”.
Howard was “off the charts” amazing even back then. A kind and gentle man who always educated while he played.
Musician, composer and arranger David Huff added this about the session:
Jon and I were completely awestruck by this man’s virtuosity. Though Howard got it in one take, Jon asked him to do it again just so we could repeat the experience of watching/hearing him play.
Howard is a world-touring musician, playing piano and harmonica. He’s also a dedicated educator teaching harmonica at the online school Artist Works. In this video, Howard talks about his musical beginnings.
Want to play? Harmonica is a featured instrument in Kindermusik’s Away We Go! music and movement program for toddlers. Join the worldwide community of educators and musicians around the world — sharing the gift of musical learning with children and their loving caregivers. If you’re ready to become a Kindermusik educator, our online training program provides a flexible, supportive learning environment.
"Shockingly, when we look at some of the most elite musicians in the world, we find that they aren’t necessarily practicing more but, instead, more deliberately. This is because they spend more time focused on the hardest task and focus their energy in packets — instead of diluting their energy over the entire day, they have periods of intense work, followed by breaks. Not relying on willpower, they rely on habit and discipline scheduling. Studies have found that the most elite violinists in the world generally follow a 90-minute work regime, with a 15- to 20-minute break afterwards." via brainpickings.org
Want to be more productive in your music business, too? Consider teaching Kindermusik. A structured curriculum, online training, and ongoing support to help you along the way. Ask today about becoming a Kindermusik Educator.
Over the river and through the woods
To Grandmother’s house we go.
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
Through white and drifted snow.
It’s hard to say when this famous American poem became so synonymous with the Christmas holiday, but the tune truly belongs to Thanksgiving.
Written by journalist, poet, and human rights advocate Lydia Maria Child, the poem first appeared in Child’s Flowers for Children, Volume 2, in 1844.
It was originally titled “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day,” and celebrates Child’s childhood memories of visiting her Grandfather’s house.
As an advocate for Native American rights, anti-slavery laws, and women’s voting rights, Child raised her voice on many issues flaring in the in the 1840s, but refused to raise a fist. Her writings urged people to find a peaceful, non-violent way to progress.
The song can be a great holiday tradition for your family, too. We’ve put together a few simple ways to adapt the song to your child’s learning ability.
Hold your baby close and bounce in rhythm to the music, or pat the steady beat of the song on her back as you sing the song. Studies show a baby prefers the sound of her mother’s voice, and the sound of your voice paired with rhythm of the words – as you gently rock baby, or pat her on the back – helps your baby begin to identify the patterns of language.
Toddler (2 to 3 years)
The “giddy-up” tempo of this song makes it a great lap bounce for toddlers. Exaggerate the movement words, and make the weather and animal sounds mentioned in the lyrics to help your toddler better connect the vocabulary word to the physical movement.
Preschool (3 to 5 years)
Sing the song together and ask your preschooler to draw a picture of the story, and act it out: Pretend to ride a sled, ride through the wind, and ring bells!
Big Kids (5 to 7)
Engage your big kid’s active imagination and write your own lyrics about your family’s Thanksgiving tradition. Use the “Over the River” melody with lyrics about your own journey to Grandma’s house. What do you see? What does the weather do? Do you go over a river? Write your own lyrics.
Click here to see the long and short form of the lyrics.
Play Kindermusik @Home
Talk with your family about the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday. You’ll find several folk and Americana songs in this collection of Kindermusik songs, “America the Musical Vol. 1 and 2.” Lydia Maria Child would have loved the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd,” a song used to help people find the Underground Railroad.
Location: Crozet, VA (outside of Charlottesville, in the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains)
Studio name and link: Kindermusik with Pam
Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik: Eight
Describe yourself in five words or less: Dedicated, child-centered, professional, enthusiastic
Favorite Kindermusik song: “Giraffe and Zebra Move-Along,” from Zoo Train
Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why: My current favorite activity is the circle dance from Zoo Train, to “Drover’s Dream.” It’s got a great beat and is very adaptable to different movements. Everyone loves to hear the unique sound of the didgeridoo!
A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom: After several years of classes, including Village and Our Time, a sweet preschooler now enrolled in ABC Music & Me is demonstrating his solid understanding of the concepts he has learned in Kindermusik. Steady beat, pitch, tempo – you name it! His good beginning truly will never end!
Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.): “Shiny stickers are special!” “Hand sanitizer is cold!” “An opened/flattened castanet makes a great pretend phone!” And finally, “Kindermusik is a place where I am accepted and loved for who I am, just the way I am right now!”
Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom: One of my favorite, most memorable moments occurred during vocal play when we were making doorbell ringing sounds. “Ding, dong” said Abigail’s mom. “Pizza’s here!” said two-year old Abigail!
The reason you teach: I teach Kindermusik for many reasons. The one closest to my heart is creating those special moments when parent and child really connect in class. These days, precious time to focus solely on our children is rare. It is a blessing to provide these opportunities for families in my community.
Describe yourself in five words or less: Passionate & Loving People Coach
Favorite Kindermusik song: Skinnamarink
Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why: Tants, Tants Yidelekh: Accesses all 6 regions as we dance and laugh as a community, while children enjoy and learn the timbres and tonality while feeling the structure, beat and sequence of the dance for cognitive, emotional, physical and language fun! It’s a BLAST!
A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom: A class had begun the semester disconnected, parents unengaged with their children, and at the end of the semester were completely engaged in scaffolded, joyful play with their children. Tears of joy came right then and there as I stepped back and watched this beauty in action.
Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.): Love has many different faces and we need to engage in relationships verses assumptions. I will never again assume that someone is not enjoying my class because of how they look, because when we originally participated in the Loyalty Surveys, I discovered that people could Love you and not appear or communicate as we might expect. Now I form relationships with all my families. My life is richer and there will be no surprises!
Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom: Walked into the middle of the Hello circle in Our Time and proudly pulled down his pants to show us his new Batman Bigboy pants – got so excited he peed right there. Precious!
The reason you teach: To change the world, one child, one family at a time.
This post was shared with Minds on Music from Kindermusik educator Analiisa Reichlin.
I sat at the dining room table with my head in my arms and just sobbed. Our studio email accounts had disappeared, our website was being migrated from a very slow, old server to a new one, and the ½ hour project turned into a week-long nightmare, and the site was down during our busiest time of the year.
Our dog Buddy had been bitten or stung by something, and had gone into anaphylactic shock. In addition, after 3 years of deals falling through at the last moment, we were just about to put an offer in on a house. But that was before the unexpected expenses that wiped our savings out.
It was only 7:30am on Tuesday. And the week really didn’t get much better. I’m sure you’ve had weeks like that, too. But before this gets too depressing…
I found myself frequently bursting into song this week. And of all the odd things – hymns from my childhood. There was something comforting about them. I began wonder why.
I remember when I took my husband-to-be, Karl, to his first musical – Showboat. I grew up on musicals, and went to as many as I could when I lived in New York City. So I was totally dumbfounded when he turned to me shortly into the first act and said, “They just burst into song. Why did they do that?”
I’m thinking, “Well, it’s a musical.”
Years later I asked [my Kindermusik partner] Miss Allison (with her degree in musical theater), why do they burst into song? And she said that the character has reached the point where the emotional intensity of the moment can no longer be conveyed with words.
So this week, when I ran out of words, I found myself singing. But why the hymns? Certainly because the words brought me comfort. But also because when I sang them, I was brought back to the time when I was young, surrounded by my family, in a moment when I felt very loved, and at peace. Where I needed to be emotionally this week.
I got to thinking…What songs did I sing to my babies, and now with my children?Because those are the songs that they are going to sing when they are grown up and need to remember the emotional security and comfort of those who loved them best.
-by Miss Analiisa, who knows that the math formulas she teaches her children may not be remembered when they are older, but the music and songs she instills in them will be in their memories forever.
Describe yourself in five words or less: From me: creative, passionate
From my customer loyalty surveys: talented, fun, clever
Favorite Kindermusik song: So many great ones, but “Big Black Bear” really stands out. I love seeing the kids pretend to go on a walk and then the sleeping bear wake up and ROAR!
Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why: Once again, really difficult to choose, but recently, “Snail & Grasshopper” from Village Dewdrops. I love that it teaches AB music form, fast/slow, major/minor, ASL, and incorporates so many senses: auditory, kinesthetic, visual. Plus the babies all crack up during the bouncing and anticipate the stopping.
A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom: When I looked around a Village class and saw most adults dancing with someone else’s child. What a wonderful community where everyone trusts each other with their children!
Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.): My families have taught me to be respectful and not to judge, and that there are unlimited ways to do something, or think about something. Everybody has their own way, and that’s good.
Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom: One 3 year old boy wasn’t seeming to pay attention during a Family Time class, and then at the end, he grabbed his little sister’s hands, swung her around, and sang “Skinnamarinky Dinky Dink, Skinnamarinky Do, I LOVE YOU!!!” at the top of his lungs!
The reason you teach: I love seeing the children and parents grow and learn, and am honored to be part of that experience. It is important to me to show the parents that THEY are their child’s most important teacher. I’ve also found that students who have completed the Kindermusik program have shown an increased ability for abstract musical concepts, have better rhythm and intonation, and better listening and attention skills.
Number of years you’ve taught Kindermusik: 8 years
Describe yourself in five words or less: Wife, mother, friend and teacher
Favorite Kindermusik song: Butterfly Wings
Favorite Kindermusik activity, and why: There are so many favorites, but nothing brings me more joy than a roomful of babies and their caregivers dancing to Hop Up my Baby! The smiles and laughter are infectious!!
A proud moment in a Kindermusik classroom: One day, I greeted my Our Time class as they entered the classroom. One by one everyone entered the classroom, and I realized I had an overfilled day with my full class of enrolled families, plus preview families and families making up classes. I welcomed the challenge and during quiet time, I looked around, and every single child was cuddled up with their parent or caregiver, and all were singing together. It was magical.
Something your Kindermusik children or families have taught you (could be inspirational, humorous, practical, etc.): That each week is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get. I love it, and it keeps me on my toes at ALL times!
Something funny a child has said or done in your classroom: “Miss Holly, can you come live with us?”
The reason you teach: The question should be why I teach KINDERMUSIK. It is the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done. I love connecting with the children, but also with the parents, and sharing my passion for music. My motto is “Connecting Families through the Magic of Music”, and that’s what I get to do. It’s such a wonderful combination that makes it right for me.
Let’s take a spin around the world to find some of the wonderful music you’ll hear in Kindermusik this semester. Have a look!
Your babies 0-18 months will enjoy the sounds of: May There Always Be Sunshine (Russia), Zum Gali Gali (Israel), The Keel Row (Northumberland) Suliram (Indonesia, Polovtsian Dance (Poland).
Join your toddlers 18-36 months in singing: The Barn Sull (Scandanavia), Duermete, mi Nino (Latin America) Fais D0-Do (France).
Preschoolers will love hearing and learning: Japanese Rain Song (Japan, Wggis Song (Switzerland) Funiculi Fuicula (Italy) Lirum Larum (Germany), Siyahamba (Zulu).
And that’s just a sampling of what you’ll find at Kindermusik right now.
Exposing your child to different music and cultures at a young age is a fantastic way to promote understanding, diversity, and spark developing minds and imaginations. After class, talk to your child about faraway places and cultures. Let your child know there is a great big world out there to embrace, explore, and enjoy.