Sleigh bells ring!

Just wanted to take a minute to share this photo from class. The children made their own sleigh bell necklaces, bracelets or anklets this week, and we used long scarves as reigns. The kids really enjoyed galloping around while leading their sleigh-riding mommies!

More musings of a possibility finder

As the semester is drawing to a close, I find myself reflecting over the session and the families I have worked with. What a joy to be a teacher! You have the opportunity to help establish a foundation of possibility in the life of a child. When I look at my students, I view them for what they could be, not necessarily what they are. Today's stubborn 3 year old may be tomorrow's tenacious world leader. Or what about the little child who is always doing something different from everybody else in class. You know the one? He seems to always be marching to his own little band. Well, that's ok with me too. Tomorrow he may find a cure for cancer, because he has learned to think outside the box. What wonderful possibilities lie within us all? I'm looking forward to finding out!

Happy Thanksgiving

I wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for the great group of families that I get to work with every day. We truly do make beautiful music together, don't we! I hope that you enjoy your time with friends and family this holiday, and I'll see you next week.

Take a giggle break!

As I'm sitting here listening to my own two children play, I found myself reflecting on the power of laughter. They say laughter is good for the soul, and I believe it's true. Think about it. It's one of the things we all have in common. The ability to laugh. It can be an ice breaker in a nervous moment, a source of healing in a stressful moment, a time of bonding between two people. It's often associated with some of our most priceless memories. Scientists have even studied the power of laughter and determined that it, not only, lowers blood pressure and releases "happy" endorphins, but it can also boost your immune system for up to three days following a good hard laugh! Just think, all this goodness, and it's fat free!! So go on, find something to laugh about today!

***2006 Top Twenty Albums***

If anyone is interested, here are my picks for the top 20 kids' albums of roughly 2006. My criteria were:

1. Would I, as an adult, be willing to listen to this CD over and over?
2. Is this artist presenting anything new?
3. If there are cover songs on the CD, are they performed in a unique way?
4. Does it rock?

And here they are:

Number Twenty : Electric Storyland - The Sippy Cups
Number Nineteen : Every Word I Say is True - Daniel Schorr
Number Eighteen : Plays Well with Others - Uncle Rock
Number Seventeen : World - Teacher and the Rockbots
Number Sixteen : Prelude to Mutiny - Captain Bogg & Salty
Number Fifteen : Josh Levine for Kids - Josh Levine
Number Fourteen : Eat Every Bean and Pea on your Plate - Daddy a Go Go
Number Thirteen : Rockin' in the Forest with Farmer Jason - Farmer Jason
Number Twelve : LMNO Music-Pink - Enzo Garcia
Number Eleven : Best Friends - Ellen and Matt
Number Ten : Stories from Duke Puddintown - Greg Loop
Number Nine : Jim Gill Sings Moving Rhymes for Modern Times - Jim Gill
Number Eight : The Hollow Trees - The Hollow Trees
Number Seven : ACTIVATE! - Joel Caithamer
Number Six : You Are My Little Bird - Elizabeth Mitchell
Number Five : STARBOY Soundtrack - Lee Feldman
Number Four : The Great Adventures of Mr. David - Mr. David
Number Three : Fascinating Creatures - Frances England
Number Two : When I Grow Up - dog on fleas
Number One : "Hey You Kids!" - The Jellydots
Importance of a 5-Point Harness Carseat

Important for all of us to know, but grab your tissues first!

***Jason Falkner***

What happens when a new baby comes into your life? Well, you stumble through your work day in a proud, drowsy stupor; you marvel at the awesomeness of your newly-constituted family unit; and you end up not giving a crap about stuff like kids' record reviews. So, after taking three weeks off when our son was born, and in the midst of another three as my wife goes back to work, I have fallen way behind on what's going on in the world of children's music.

An old bandmate recently reminded me of this CD, though, as he and his wife had a baby in September and wondered if I had reviewed, or even heard, the album. Now, as a band we collectively worshipped the Beatles and deeply admired the work of Jason Falkner, a musician I've mentioned a few times in past reviews. The combination of the two couldn't possibly miss, I thought, and I was right. BUT the resulting CD, Bedtime with the Beatles, released on Sony Wonder in 2001, sounded nothing like I had imagined. Falkner is somewhat famous for his "wall-of-sound" production, so I expected jaunty, finger-poppin' Beatles instrumentals. Falkner, however, decided to slow everything down, keep it all relaxed, and turn in a truly inspired lullaby album.

Most songs are pretty faithful to the originals, with material chosen from A Hard Day's Night, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Magical Mystery Tour, the "White Album", and Let It Be. But Falkner uses just the right amount of ambient sounds and personal touches in decorating his lovingly recreated instrumental versions of Beatles classics to make the songs unique. The clavinet runs during "Blackbird" and the small swells of strings at the end of "Michelle" will catch your ear; and at a lullaby's pace, you can really hear the beauty of the melodies in "And I Love Her" and "Here There and Everywhere".

Bedtime with the Beatles has been road tested, as well: my wife and I play the CD every night during our little one's bathtime, and he really digs it. It makes the whole end-of-the-night routine a very soothing experience for everyone (plus, it's hard not to sing along quietly to all the songs). A must have for all new parents (the CD is available in blue and pink), for Beatles fans, and for music lovers in general. Beautiful stuff.

Snow in Florida!

We had a great time in my preschool, Imagine That!, classes this week. We have been studying weather, and when I checked our Kindermusik forecast for the day, there was snow! What can you do in a snowy classroom? Why go ice skating of course. Grab some Styrofoam plates, your favorite ice skating music, and a little imagination for some big family fun!

Musings of a possibility finder

I just got back from Kindermusik Convention. What a wonderful experience! I was reminded, yet again, why I love my job. I am more than just a music teacher. I am a possibility finder! Hidden within each child, there are talents and abilities just waiting to be uncovered. In watching my own children grow, it has been so exciting watching them awaken to all the possibilities that lie within them. Discovering strengths, learning to work through their weaknesses... All these things play an important role in discovering everything they are capable of. What a joy and honor to play a role in encouraging and nurturing that in the lives of my children and the children in my classroom!
11 year old Blues Guitar Jam

Thought this was awesome and had to share! Enjoy!!