Christmas Carol Flash Mob

I recognize some faces in this local flash mob. The first singer is a former Kindermusik mom from Delightful Sounds!

Meet the Frissore family!

I hope you are enjoying the "We are Kindermusik" blog series. If you'd like to be a featured family,
just let us know!
At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?

18 months

Number of years you attended classes?

3 and counting!

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?

somebodys knocking on my door……

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?

That there is no right or wrong way to "do" kindermusik, it's very much about taking what you want from it. Sometimes if your child doesn't want to participate for that session in the way that the other kids do then that's ok, they could still be getting a tremendous amount out of the class, they are just processing it in their own little way. Who are we parents to interrupt with the glorious workings of the creative child's mind?!

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:

My non-verbal 2 year old who had never said a sentence, let alone sung a song, sitting in the bath and suddenly singing "sweetly sings the donkey" the evening after her 6th Kindermusik class. Cue lots of happy tears from Mom and Dad.

Anything else you’d like to share?

It's so much fun to take a time out of your busy week and spend it singing and smiling with your kids, you can't help but feel great when you leave a class after seeing pure happiness etched on your little ones face for an hour.

Hallelujah Chorus

They're at it again! For those who missed the first round of this little surprise, click here.

Teaching Through the Pain

Yesterday my children were cooing and giggling over their newly born, baby goat. She's unusually tiny but sweet nonetheless. They are immediately smitten and name her Mistie. Today, however they have to mourn her passing. She was just too tiny to survive. Sometimes life is just HARD. There are so many lessons out there to learn, and as a parent, it can feel like an overwhelming task sometimes. How am I qualified to teach them about life and death, when I still struggle with these topics myself?
Loss- whether the loss of a pet, death of a family member, or even a divorce situation- is never an easy topic. It's full of abstract concepts and emotions that are unwelcome in our happy, little world. How do you explain to a child that life is not always a fairy tale where everyone "lives happily ever after"? Here are some of the things that we have been learning today:
  • Children need to know it's okay to feel sad. That's a normal and important part of grief.
  • Children need simple, honest answers to their questions, even if they're hard or unpleasant to discuss.
  • Children are watching and learning from our example, so practice what you preach. 
If you're in the process of working through some of these lessons during this holiday season, I pray for peace and wisdom for you.

Until next time...

Meet Lavanya and Manav

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?
We started Kindermusik very soon after Manav was 3 months old.

Number of years you attended classes?
2 years and going strong.

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?
We have many favorite songs from Kindermusik classes. Every semester we have a few favs. We haven’t come across a song which we didn’t like in the Kindermusik classes. To name a few that are close to our hearts – Skinnamarink, Tinga Layo, The toe tappin’ blues, Go into the kitchen and Down in the meadow.

What is something that you’ve learned from your Kindermusik experience?
To me Kindermusik is not just a music and movement class for the kids and caregivers. It has become an integral part of my life as a mommy. We have made wonderful friends from our classes at Delightful Sounds. Manav has learnt a lot of social skills appropriate for the age due to such exposure. The teachers are doing a fantastic job incorporating healthy habits and age appropriate development very subtly during the class.

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:
Happy or sad, Manav and I share a tune. We sing his favorite lullabies every night and no day is ever complete for us without Kindermusik songs.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Any class is only as good as the teacher imparting that class. In that domain, Mrs.Aimee has excelled (and still is) beyond any expectations and has also done a wonderful job recruiting similar teachers to Delightful Sounds.

Random Act of Culture

We've been talking about the importance of our voices for the last three weeks in the Kindermusik Family Time classes, and this just seemed to hit the spot!

Christmas times a-comin'!

Jingle Jangle Christmas Event is now enrolling for the Brandon and Lithia locations of Delightful Sounds.
Visit to enroll today!

Teacher Tips - Hiring a Performer

Teacher Tips
Booking a Performer
By Johnette Downing

Often an educator is placed in the role of hiring a performer for their school assemblies or special events. Having the tools necessary to hire the right artist for your school or event can be a rewarding experience for the students, staff and performer. Below are a few tips to help educators hire artists:

Where to look?

Performing artists can be found in numerous places such as:
*State Artist Rosters coordinated by each State Division of the Arts
*Performing Artist Directories compiled by State Libraries
*Artist Rosters coordinated by State, City and Parish/County Arts Councils
*Independent organizations like Alternate Roots, National Storytelling Network, Artist Guilds, Children’s Music Network, Folk Alliance, SouthernArtistry Register, etc.
*Online artist directories, phone books, magazines and newspapers
*Performing artist showcases and live public performances
*Referrals from other artists, arts coordinators, educators and performance venues.

Who to hire?

*Hire a professional children’s artist for the job. You get what you pay for!
*Look at artist credentials, performance history, fees, programs offered, travel area, audience age, space requirements, availability, reviews, letters of recommendation, press clippings and demos.
*Attend artist showcases and public performances to ascertain the quality, genre and style of performers available in your area and select artists who best suit your needs.

How to book?

*Contact the artist and ask for their brochure or “promotional packet.” A brochure gives you a brief overview about the artist and their work. A promotional packet gives you a comprehensive outline and usually contains an artist biography, list of credentials, performance history, press clippings, reviews, photograph, business card, and demo audio or video.
*Discuss your particular performance needs in as much detail as possible (who, what, when, where, why and how).
*Discuss available dates and times
*Discuss artist fees
*Discuss artist’s technical requirements

What will I need from the artist?

*Contact name, address, phone, fax, email and website
*Booking confirmation letter, form or contract
*Audience size, audience age range, length and description of the program.
*Press release and photograph to publicize the event.

What will the artist need from me?

*Contact and school name, address, phone, fax, and email.
*Signed booking confirmation letter, form or contract
*Audience size and age range.
*Location of the performance (stage, gym, cafeteria, etc.).
*Access to the location 30-60 minutes prior to the performance.
*Directions and map to the school or venue.

Prior to the performance

*Inform staff and students that the artist is coming.
*Publicize the event with flyers and photographs. Invite the local media who are often looking for “good news” photos to put in the paper.
*Ask for artist study guides. Copy and distribute the guides to staff and students. Study guides offer pertinent information about the artist, their work and how the scheduled performance relates to the curriculum.
*Ask for order forms for artist’s products (CD’s, tapes, videos and books). Many educators preorder artist’s products and use them in the classroom to allow students to become familiar with the artist’s work prior to the performance.
*Contact the artist a week prior to the performance to re-confirm.
*Discuss audience etiquette with staff and students.

Day of the performance

*Make sure the performance space is clean and clear of debris and furniture.
*Make sure the artist has access to the space 30-60 minutes prior to performance.
*Be available or assign someone to direct the artist the performance space.
*Discuss the best seating arrangement with the artist for optimum audience viewing and enjoyment.
*Allow ample time prior to the performance to assemble the students in the performance space.
*Begin the performance on time.
*Introduce the artist.
*Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and enjoy the show!

Copyright 2003 Johnette Downing,
Article first published in the Spring 2003 Issue of Applause!

Johnette Downing

Johnette Downing is a multi-award winning musician, author, poet and educator.

Born to Boogie!

As a 15 year veteran, music educator, I am often asked how young is too young to begin music study. Typically, private instrument study should not begin until the elementary school years. However introducing your child to music concepts can begin much earlier. I recently read about a study on the effects of music and rhythm on babies as young as 5 months old. The findings suggested that babies are born pre-wired to move with rhythm and music. "We also found that the better the children were able to synchronize their movements with the music the more they smiled," said the University of York's Department of Psychology researcher, Dr Zentner.

I have seen similar results with babies even younger than this in my Kindermusik classroom. Musically speaking, this early start to music exploration greatly increases your baby's ability to appreciate a variety of musical styles as well as understand beginning music concepts, such as loud/soft, beat patterns, or fast/slow. Nevertheless, early music exploration and experiences benefit all areas of development in children, from language skills to reasoning, physical development or cognitive awareness. Whatever the developmental benefits, babies were just born to boogie!

We're ready for you!

I am so excited about a project I recently found out about from Kindermusik International! They are going to create a resource for their educators called "Kindermusik for Every Child". So what does this mean for you, you might ask? Well, for quite some time Delightful Sounds has been working with children who experience a variety of developmental delays or disabilities. With two certified Infant Toddler Developmental Specialists on staff, we have seen amazing progress in all areas of development with these very special children. I love the fact that we have been able to create an inclusive environment where every child is edified and esteemed.
A Kindermusik classroom is a fabulous place where all children can explore the wonderful world of music and gain skills while having fun! However, not all educators or parents have felt comfortable or ready to take this step. That's where "Kindermusik for Every Child" comes in. This resource will provide Kindermusik educators around the world with resources and ideas specific to all kinds of developmental challenges that children face. Armed with this information, we will be able to reach children of all abilities with the developmental benefits, bonding experiences, and just plain fun that our music classes provide!

So, how about it? Are you ready for Kindermusik? We're ready for YOU!

Meet Sarah and Anna

We Are Kindermusik!

At what age did your child begin taking Kindermusik classes?
Anna was nine months when we started taking Kindermusik classes.

Number of years you attended classes?
We have been attending classes for a year and a half.

What is your favorite Kindermusik song?
Oh, where do I begin? There are so many songs that we have enjoyed in all of the classes and continue to sing them on a daily basis. Anna loved the See Saw and Giddy-Up Horsey songs from the first classes we took. She still sings them to her dolls and babies that we see. Recently, Anna has enjoyed Yum Yum, Washing Machine, and the Scrub Scrub Scrub song (I like this song because my family room gets cleaned while it is playing).

What is something that you've learned from your Kindermusik experience?One of the things, I enjoy about Kindermusik classes are the mini-lessons provided during the class about how to use the songs to help your child learn or why we do certain movements to help them develop physically. For example, the importance of the stop-and-go songs and how they teach self control.

Tell us about a favorite Kindermusik moment with your child:
My favorite Kindermusik moment or moments with Anna are at home when we put on the CD from Carnival of Music, turn it up really loud, get out our instruments, and march around the house to Rhythm of the Band.

Anything else you’d like to share?
I feel that Anna’s Kindermusik experience has enhanced her language development and increased her vocabulary by singing.

I hope you've enjoyed this first edition of "We are Kindermusik", where you can get to know parents just like you and what they think about our children's music classes!

music fun

I was looking for one of our Kindermusik videos on YouTube today, and I found this instead. LOL It was not what I expected to find, but I couldn't resist sharing it anyway. We mix a lot of world music into our Kindermusik classes. It's such a great way to promote a love for music in your children as well as strengthen their understanding of a variety of rhythms and pitches. Feel free to dance along!

Featured Artist - Paul Behnke

Featured Artist - Paul Behnke

From Tavistock, Ontario, Canada, Paul Behnke's dynamic style and superb songwriting skills have caught the attention of those in the music industry. Paul's new album "Singing, Learning and Laughing" has been released across Canada by E.M.I. Music and Popular Records. It has also been honoured with a 2000 Parents' Choice Award. In 1998 Paul was nominated as "The Children's Songwriter/Entertainer of the Year", by the Entertainer Network of Nashville, Tennessee. Emerald Records were so impressed with Paul's children’s songs that they have released "We're All Different On The Outside" and "The Greatest Prehistoric Band" across North America and Europe. These hits can now be heard on radio stations throughout Europe, Canada and the United States.

Featured Artist - Randy's Music Jam

Featured Artist - Randy's Music Jam

Randy Sauer is a Children's Songwriter/Singer from Hays Kansas and he calls his show "Randy's Music Jam". Randy’s Music Jam is a fun and interactive music show for the entire family. Randy leads the audience in fun familiar songs and has the audience singing along with his original songs. Kids always enjoy jamming with Randy on stage with the inflatable instruments and rhythm instruments. Many of the songs will have the entire audience up out of their seats dancing to the music.

Randy has been performing at Libraries throughout Kansas, Malls, Town Festivals, Kansas Sampler Festival and the Midwest Kids Fest in Overland Park, KS. Randy has been teaching music for over 17 years and is very active in writing children’s music, performing and conducting music workshops.

Family Night at Schools

For several years, schools have been hosting Family Nights to encourage parent involvement in student learning in the school environment. Schools usually have Parent/Teacher Organizations as well for the same purpose, but Family Night offers a fun night out for the entire family. Schools now host Family Math Night, Family Literacy Night, Family Art Night, and so on.

The Family Night concept has become so popular with families that schools are hiring entertainers to provide storytelling, music, magic, and other arts to make the event even more special.

Next time you are planning a Family Night at your school, consider hiring a local musician. Our list of performers makes it easy to plan a special musical treat to liven up any Family Night.

About the Artists - Harpbeat!

Featured Artist - Harpbeat!

Harpbeat! celebrates the unique combination of harp and percussion instruments to entertain children. While singing, moving, and laughing with the music, children hear positive messages about themselves and the world we all share.

Harpbeat! brings many exciting aspects of our world to children by featuring foreign and sign languages within the songs. Musical styles and cultures from Australia to Zaire are explored through traditional and original songs.

Harpbeat! concerts offer a dynamic new twist to the stereotypical reputation of harp and drums. Donna brings the magic of music to children of all ages in her highly interactive, approachable, multicultural programs.

Harpbeat! appeals to children ages three to thirteen in small or large groups. Harpbeat! suits the length of its programs to suit your needs.

Harpbeat! was founded upon the conviction that children want to have fun while learning about their world. After all, the most beautiful music is the sound of children's laughter.

Sometimes you just need a moment!

In our Kindermusik classes, we have lots of fun playing stop and go games while singing and dancing. The children love the anticipation of waiting for the music or singing to stop so that everyone can freeze! It's usually a time filled with delighted eyes and lots of giggles, but... shhhhhhh.... don't tell anybody this. It's also a time filled with learning self control. Unfortunately, we humans aren't born with the skill of self control. It's an acquired skill that must be practiced repeatedly before mastered. (some of us are *still* learning) LOL
When children are around 18-24 months old, they begin to learn that they can make choices. Those choices aren't always the best choices either, especially when doing the wrong thing can seem so fun at the time! That's why practicing the skill of self control becomes so important. Make the learning fun by turning it into a game. Try these ideas for size:
  • Try some freeze dancing by stopping the music in unexpected places.
  • Play a game of follow-the-leader and include long pauses as one of the movements.
  • Sing songs that leave words or letters out, such as B-I-N-G-O.
  • When you see your child needs a moment, you can even sit down with them for a quick book or other relaxing activity.
Don't be afraid to set a good example, by taking your own "time outs" when needed. :)

Mind of my own - Frances England

Kindie rock that's mostly acoustic and sometimes folksy. It's gentle and almost delicate - the drums sound as if they're mostly played with brushes, and although these aren't lullabies Ms. England has a kind of lullaby voice. Having said that it is mostly upbeat in a very understated way, and there's the occasional almost lively track (like "Place in your heart" or "Vacation Delights").

The vocals are easy on the ear and there's some very capable guitar-playing. It's pretty melodic although a little lacking in hooks, and the lyrics can be hit-and-miss - some of the child's-perspective songs like "Cookies and Milk" aren't really convincing and others stray into adult-centric territory (like "Child teach me to be" and "Big heart") which I never really like on a kids record.

Not really blowing me away, but pretty good, and the song "Mind of my own" has been stuck in my head all afternoon.

We are Kindermusik

I am planning a new blog series here, called We Are Kindermusik, and I'm going to need your help! It will feature Kindermusik families, past and present, discussing their experiences with Kindermusik. If you would like to participate, please email me at for further details. 

Funny, Child, baking, hilarious, kid

Just a little something to warm you up for the start of our Kindermusik Milk and Cookies semester next week for children 18 - 36 months old. Happy munching everyone!

Parenting in a Microwave World

In the 1950s, Swansons put out the first ever, TV dinner. Along with the invention of the counter top microwave oven, this was the beginning of a new age in American history-the age of convenience. Fast forward 60 years, and you will find a society saturated in convenience and ease- convenience foods, computers small enough to fit in your pocket, drive through banks, drive through drugstores, and even drive through wedding chapels!
Has this plethora of conveniences affected our expectations for being a successful parent? You bet! There are some great tools out there that can make being a parent much quicker and easier than life in the 1950s. However, parenting isn't always effortless or convenient. Sometimes life is extraordinarily challenging. It requires sacrifice, selflessness, patience, and perserverance. For these character traits there is no "easy button". When faced with a challenge, whether in parenting or elsewhere, don't be afraid to go for the long haul. Facing life with grace and honesty is one of the best lessons you can teach your child about being successful, and when you fail (not if) use it as an opportunity to teach your child how to make it right and move on.

Until next time,

The Terrific Twos!

We've journeyed a long way as we've discussed social, developmental milestones in young children, and today we are going to focus on the two year old. Most people associate this age with the infamous "terrible twos". Life can be quite tumultuous when you're two, but it doesn't have to terrible. Armed with the right information and skills, I think any parent can turn this phase of development into the "terrific twos"!  Here are a few things to expect:
  • Your two year old will begin to enjoy a wider range of relationships but will still feel strongly possessive of his family.
  • His growing imagination may cause him to develop sudden fears that were not there before.
  • Frustration tantrums peak as does clinging and whining, however with patience and proper guidance, you will see greater independence and less separation anxiety as they approach their third birthday.
  • Your child will begin to understand and respect simple rules around this age.
  • She will enjoy playing interactive and circle games, such as "Ring Around the Rosey".
You can encourage your child's confidence and obedience during this phase by giving him opportunities to choose something related to the trouble area. For example, a child who is not wanting to go to bed could be offered a choice of which bed time story to read before going to sleep. I hope you'll leave some of your parenting ideas for this age as a comment below. Just remember that patience and consistency are your keys to making this stretch of road the "highway of terrific twos"!!

The New Explorers Club - Flannery Brothers

Upbeat kindie rock from 2 American brothers. It genre-hops a bit, with a latin-sounding opener, reggae-lite "Kitchen floor" and the pirate-y (is "pirate" a genre? in kids music it seems to be) "Pirate or parrot". It's pretty danceable and the songs are pretty solid, with the occasional hint of Jonathan Richman, but, apart from the pirate song (and, as you know, I'm a total sucker for all things pirate), there's nothing really outstanding here.

This is fun! - Caspar Babypants

I wasn't crazy about Caspar Babypant's (AKA Chris Ballew from The Presidents of the USA) first kids album, but I'm digging this one. It's a mixture of originals and traditional tunes, sounding quite like, surprise surprise, The Presidents of the USA ... or what I remember of them anyway, must be 15 years ago now since I listened to one of their records (eek!)

Mostly the songs are pretty simple, but that's a virtue when they're also bouncy and quirky and fun and catchy enough to stick in my head - and I expect when I bring this home this evening they're going to make the kids dance. The lyrics keep making me smile - they're not self-consciously addressed to children, rather Chris Ballew just has a child-like view of the world (like Jonathan Richman) that is perfect for family-friendly music.

There's also a cover of Nirvana's "Sliver" - the one with the chorus "Grandma take me home" - and a quote from Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf" in the middle of "Buckeye Jim" that made me laugh out loud when I heard it. I like this. Recommended.

Mile marker 18-24

Thinking of toddlers always makes me smile! I can't think of another age where so much energy, curiosity, and emotions are so passionately expressed! :) It's am amazing time of blossoming imaginations! You will not only notice some early pretend play, but you may also see the first signs of night mares and "monsters under the bed". At this stage, yout toddler is much more aware of other children and will interact with words and gestures while playing in a group setting.
Your 18-24 month old is also beginning to be aware of a variety of emotions that they have never experienced before- jealousy, sympathy, guilt, and fear. That makes this a great age to begin talking about body language, facial expressions, and the feelings that go with them.
  • Grab a mirror for some face making fun.
  • See who can find different facial expressions when reading a book.
  • Talk about how you or your child feels and why. This will give them a better understanding of healthy emotional expression. 
Until next time,

What are the odds? - Meredith LeVande

American kindie acoustic-guitar-playing singer-songwriter plus band. Fairly gentle singalong-y indie, occasionally bluesy and a little They Might Be Giants-ish some of the time, it's let down by a lacklustre recording. My kids like it and the songs are nearly all good, but I'd really like to hear them re-arranged and recorded with a bit more ZING.

Happy first birthday!!

For those just joining us, we've been doing a post series on social, developmental milestones in young children for several weeks now. Today, we're going to talk about the 12-18 month old. At this stage, your baby is truly beginning to understand how things work and the "cause and effect" nature of objects and situations around him. As a result, his social development takes on a new level of interaction. Here are a few things to expect:
  • Cooperative ball play
  • Giving a toy to you and then taking it back (this is a great stage to begin working on sharing and turn taking!)
  • Begins to imitate adult behaviors; such as trying to brush hair, sweep, or put on shoes
  • Laughs at silly things and begins to understand humor
  • Resists adult control and may display frequent tantrum behaviors (Remember that he is learning about cause and effect. Giving in to tantrums can teach your baby to tantrum every time in order to get their way.)
  What a fun age to deepen your relationship with your baby! His creativity is growing, and you can really begin to see his personality beginning to shine! It's a great time to get out in your community with your child. Look for story times at your local library or book store. Join a local mom's group for playdates at the park, or try a free Kindermusik class. Click here to find a location in your area.

Mile marker 6-12

If you have a child in this age range, chances are you are daily amazed at the new skills they learn. I remember thinking that mine learned things while they were sleeping! A six to twelve month old child is gaining mobility and cognitive awareness in a variety of ways. These new skills will bring about a lot of changes in social development as well. Here are a few things to look for:
  • Your child's love of interactive games, such as finger plays, will increase. You will even see them beginning to imitate some of the movements from their favorites!
  • They typically begin to show preferences for certain people, places, or objects. For this reason, you may notice separation anxiety increasing.
  • Your baby will use their new found mobility to explore their surroundings with enthusiasm. Time to baby-proof the house!! :)
  • You may begin to see the initial stages of parental testing with regards to bed time, feeding, or other boundaries you have set.
As your child grows and learns, you will find that each stage carries with it, it's own joys and struggles. I encourage you to embrace each moment, as you enjoy learning more about your child and his or her strengths and abilities.

Mile marker 3

Congratulations, you've survived the first three months of sleepless nights, diaper changes, and endless feedings with your newborn. Reaching the three month marker can be a real turning point for most new parents. Your baby is now beginning to coo and smile when she sees you. She will even begin lifting her arms for you to pick her up sometime in the next few months. This is an age where your child will begin to enjoy hand games, mirror play, and other social activities, such as playgroups or "mommy and me" music classes. By 6 months old, your child will likely develop a strong attachment to you, so plan to interact along side your child during these outings. This will help her to be more comfortable while she explores and learns, as well as promotes the bond between parent and child.

We'll continue our social milestone journey next time with a post on the 6-12 month old child. Until then...

Hello Children Everywhere

This is the best CD of "classic" children's songs available at the moment (that I know of), all in their original versions. It's got "Nellie the Elephant", "The Runaway Train", "The Teddy Bears' Picnic", "Gilly Gilly Ossenfeffer Katzenellenbogen by the Sea", "You’re a Pink Toothbrush" and many many more. One of the best sellers on the kids-tunes site.

Buy it, and other children's classic recordings, now on

Phineas and Ferb soundtrack

Shiny, commercial-sounding music from the cartoon (which, again, I have never seen). There's very little on here that wouldn't fit in on your local Top 40 radio station - it's mostly pop/rock with the occasional genre influence like the reggaeton beat and dancehall vocals in "Backyard beach", or "Perry the Platypus" which sounds a little like Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man". The songs are all very competently put together and performed, but there's not much in the way of originality or real personality on here.

There's the occasional highlight, like "My goody two shoes brother" that sounds like it's from a crazy musical, "Chains on me" which I'm surprised Tom Waits hasn't sued them over, and the following hilarious lines in "Little brothers":

Even when you break my toys, you will always be my little brothers
Because you're younger, we're related, and you're boys

Isabelle and Heather like the livelier tunes well enough (all those girls want to do is dance), but it's really just too commercial for my taste.

Buy it now on Amazon

The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Music from the Movie and More...

The opening track on this is a disastrous cover of the Spongebob theme from Avril Lavigne, which very near put me off entirely. Fortunately it didn't, as the rest of the CD is (mostly) really good - good tunes from Wilco, Ween and Motorhead, and The Flaming Lips' fantastic "Spongebob and Patrick confront the psychic wall of energy" which is almost worth the price of admission on its own. Not quite as good overall as "Spongebob's greatest hits", but still worth your while.

Very soon I'm going to get some Spongebob CDs for the shop, but for now you can content yourself with the other kids film / tv music that I do have in stock or buy it on Amazon

Congratulations on your newborn, now what?

I recently started writing a monthly column, Ask the Expert, in Macaroni Kid Brandon's newsletter. There are so many parents wondering about their child's development. What age should my child ___________? Is it normal for my child to _____________? I hope you will take a moment to send your questions in to Macaroni Kid. In the meantime, I would like to do a blog series on social development of young children. Let's start today with the newborn babies.
Have you ever wondered what it must have been like to be a newborn? There you are, all snugly and warm inside your mother's womb and suddenly...LIGHTS, SOUNDS, TEMPERATURE CHANGE, COLOR! From the start, your newborn baby is very busy making sense of the world around them. Since they lack mobility at this stage of development, they will spend a great deal of time watching, listening, and learning! You will seem them studying everything from your face, to the ceiling fan, to that little speck of lint on the floor next to them. :) Around three months old, they will even begin to coo and vocalize to all of these objects. Use this time during your baby's development for lots of face-to-face interaction and talking. In a Kindermusik class, the youngest babies and mommies enjoy activities such as Peek-a-boo, infant massage, nursery rhymes, and lullabies. It's a special time of bonding and laying the earliest foundation for learning with your new little one.
I look forward to answering many more of your developmental questions in the coming months.

About the Artist - Mister Chandler

I have decided to let you know a little bit about the artists listed in the resource Blog. I will start with the artist I added today and slowly make my way through the list.

Today's featured artist is - Mister Chandler

Mister Chandler is a first grade teacher in Northern Virginia. Many years ago, OK - not that many, he was inspired by his brother to learn to play acoustic guitar. A year later he was inspired by a colleague to use it in the classroom. According to her, it would make the job and the students' day more fun, right? Right! Ever since that first attempt to play a song in class, Mister Chandler has been writing songs straight from the curriculum he teaches. Colleagues from other grade levels have asked him to write and record songs for them, too. These days, if he has to teach it, he's instantly thinking about how to play and sing it as well! He hopes you think about purchasing his new CD, "Songs From Room 8" for primary aged students, but even more, he hopes you find new ways to use music in the classroom!

He has a new CD so check him out at

Time out to rock - The Not-Its

The Not-Its are a Seattle-based band playing guitar-based kids rock music. Their singer was formerly in a band signed to Sub-Pop, and lots of other blogs love them ...

There's some good stuff on this, like the call-and-response and Pavement-y guitar melody of "Accidentally", the "la la la"s in "Change my Luck" and the horn section in "Cheetah the buffalo", but ... well, the band has a tendency to drag the beat, so everything sounds like it's slowing dooooown, and the singer's pitching tends to be a bit off (or sounds it to me, maybe it the backing vocals that are off?). Some bands can get away with this kind of thing (Pavement! White Stripes!) but, sorry The Not-Its, you can't. This puts me off to the extent that I can't really tell you whether the songs are actually good or not.

It's a shame, cos the one Not-Its song I know from the previous album has a cool chorus:

Buy it now on Amazon

Class of 3000

Music from the animated series "Class of 3000", which I have never seen. The music was written by André 3000 of Outkast (with K. Kendrick, don't know who he his) - it's funky and hip-hop-y and, well, Outkast-y with traces of Parliament. And jazzy without being boring. And adventurous and creative, wow, and fun. Man, this is fantastic, some of these songs could easily be hits of the magnitude of "Hey Ya". Haven't tried it on the kids yet, but it's going straight onto my grown-up playlist.

Buy it now on Amazon

Charlie Hope - World of Dreams

Charlie Hope's lullaby album - quiet arrangements, beautiful melodies, and Ms. Hope's gorgeous voice. The lyrics occasionally stray into saccharine territory - "You are loved and I'll watch you grow/I believe in you and everything you do" ... someone's going to cringe at that when he/she is a teenager - but given the genre and the fact that these are very well-written songs we'll forgive that.

I haven't used this to try and send anyone to sleep, as Heather finally seems to be past that stage, but it sounds like it'd be effective - "Rain Song" would fit right in on "On a starry night" which was on rotation at night in our house this time last year. If anyone reading this has tried it let me know and I'll report your findings here.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory soundtrack

Some real children's classics on this, the soundtrack from the 1971 movie (all sung, incidentally, by the cast), like "Candy Man" and "Pure Imagination". There's also the slightly sinister Oompa-Loompa songs, instrumental pieces including the music from the bizarre/scary boat ride on the chocolate river and lots more. It's a real musical treasure trove, with little snippets of dialogue from the movie reminding me how amazing Gene Wilder was as Willy Wonka - so wistful and unhinged but basically kind.

Isabelle, although she has now forgotten the obsession she had with Wonka when she was 2, has really taken to it, asking me incessantly about the different children in the story, and about what's happening in the story as the music progresses. Recommended.

It's all about perspective!

If you're raising a gifted child, the following quote should make a lot of sense to you.

'If we say that all people look at the world through a lens, with some lenses cloudy or distorted, some clear, and some magnified, we might say that gifted individuals view the world through a microscope lens and the highly gifted view it through an electron microscope. They see ordinary things in very different ways and often see what others simply cannot see.' (Linda Silverman)

Have you ever wondered why your gifted child seems so different? Why can't they watch the same TV shows or enjoy the same music without getting upset or overstimulated. Why is consistency in their routine so much more important than with that of their peers? The answer in one simple word-perspective! In the same way that you would get a totally different perspective by looking at the world each day through a microscope as opposed to wearing glasses, a gifted child sees everything around him in a different light. There's an old saying, "Never judge a man, unless you've walked a mile in his shoes." I've found that looking at things from my gifted children's perspective has truly helped me to better understand and parent them.

Spongebob's Greatest Hits

I love Spongebob, and the way his optimism and belief in his fellow sea-dwelling creature are never dented. I also love (most of) this CD. The words are a delight, like Plankton's verse in "F.U.N. song":

F is for fire that burns down the whole town

Haha! And then Spongebob get him to try being nice, and he likes it :)

It's not breaking any new musical ground, I suppose, but it has its moments - like the detuned backing vocals in the "Goofy Goober Song", and the Zappa-esque guitar solo in "Goofy Goober Rock", and the Beach Boys-ish "Best day ever". Hmmm, maybe there's more to this than I thought ... anyway, this made Isabelle and Heather dance at the dinner table, and it puts a big grin on my face.

Music Together

Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.
Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning.

Happy Summer!

Have a musical summer!

Mozart's Magnificent Voyage - Classical Kids

Another from classical kids in their story-with-classical-soundtrack format. Mozart is up against the deadline for finishing "The Magic Flute" because he's worried about his son Karl who's away in school. The 3 dream children from the opera are afraid of having their parts dropped, and want to talk to Karl to get him to convince his Dad to keep them in. Conveniently, the magic flying boat from the show activates itself and takes them to visit Karl, and then travels back and forward in time to give them a whistle stop tour of Mozart senior's life, ultimately resulting in a deeper understanding between father and son.

The music's good, of course (though I have to admit I'm not the world's biggest Mozart enthusiast) but the story is kinda preposterous - just a daft framing device for imparting facts about Mozart's like. Haven't tried it on Isabelle yet, but I didn't like it very much.

Peter and the Wolf - Prokofiev, narrated By Dame Edna Everage

If you've got one children's classical music record in your house, it's probably "Peter and the Wolf". If you don't, you should buy this one toot sweet. It's a great performance and Dame Edna does a cracking job of the narration - and in case you don't know the music, that's great too, melodic and very accessible with a cool story about a young boy outsmarting everyone.

Click here to listen to and hopefully buy it on

parenting politics

Anytime you get a group of moms together, the topic will eventually turn to children and parenting. You'll begin to hear questions like: When did your child stop using a pacifier? What kind of music do you allow your child to listen to? Do you believe in spanking your child? Do you co-sleep or make them stay in their own bed?
It can be tricky to succesfully navigate the waters of parenting politics without offending someone. There are so many different ideas out there about what is best for a child, and deciding which of these ideas will work best for your family is a personal decision. So what do you do when you find yourself in the middle of this type of conversation? Here are a few ideas:
  • recognize that there will be differences in parenting styles among your friends, and that it's okay
  • agree to disagree (sometimes a parent has a really good reason for their choice that others might not understand)
  • Don't be afraid to say if a topic makes you uncomfortable or is too personal to discuss.
  • If your child questions why others are allowed to do something and they are not, use it as a teachable moment. Each family has to find what works for them, and different doesn't always mean it's wrong.
What ways have you found to deal with parenting politics?