Saturday, April 4, 2009

Calming Your Children--the Power of Music

You can visit Seven Clown Circus today and read my post titled Calming Your Children--the Power of Music:

"I walk in the door after a long day of running errands with my cranky and tired kids. I drop the groceries on the counter and sigh as I think of the things I need to do before I can put these tired kids to bed...

Studies at
Columbia University shows that surgeons who use music during operations, on average, were “mellower and better performers in the operating room.”...

So, what type of music will help calm your child?..."

Angie is awesome so make sure to visit her again and again!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?
Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Didgeridoo

Yes, you guessed right!! The Didgeridoo is a wind instrument from Australia. The Didgeridoo is made from Eucalyptus trees that have been hallowed out from termites. The didgeridoo has been around for about 1500 years and is one of the oldest wind instruments. To play the didgeridoo a player will vibrate their lips and blow air against a wax mouthpiece to produce a sound. A didgeridoo player uses a technique called circular breathing, which is a technique that many brass players use. To circular breathe, a player will breathe in through their nose and blow air out of their mouth at the same time. By using this technique, players can play their instrument without moving their mouth off of the mouth piece to take a breath. (
Below is an example of a didgeridoo being played:

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Boom Boom Ain't it Great to be Crazy?

Here is a fun song I use to sing as a kid around the camp fire:

Boom Boom Ain't it Great to be Crazy?

A horse and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a curbstone shooting dice
The horse he slipped and fell on the flea
"Whoops," said the flea, "There's a horse on me!"

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?

Way down South where bananas grow
A flea stepped on an elephant's toe
The elephant cried, with tears in his eyes
"Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?

Way up North where there's ice and snow
There lived a penguin and his name was Joe
He got so tired of black and white
He wore pink slacks to the dance last night!

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?

Eli, Eli had some socks
A dollar a pair and a nickel a box
The more you wear 'em the better they get
And you put 'em in the water and they don't get wet!

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?

Called myself on the telephone
Just to hear that golden tone
Asked myself out for a date
Said be ready 'bout half-past eight!

Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Giddy and foolish the whole day through
Boom, boom, ain't it great to be crazy?
Listen Here (Click on number 12 to hear the song.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Winter Activities for Toddlers in Anchorage Alaska

1. Go to story time at the Alaska Zoo every Wednesday at 10:30 A.M. Story time is in a heated green room and lasts about 30 minutes. Every week the zoo staff teaches about a different animal. (Bundle up during the winter because the children will go outside to see the animals.) A family zoo pass costs $75.00 for a 1 year membership.

2. Attend an art class at the Dimond Center Mall. On Wednesday from 12:00 to 1:00 P.M. you can take your toddler to a craft class. The class is located right across from the Dimond Regal Theaters on the third floor in the Dimond Center Mall. There is no need to call ahead so just show up, the class is free!

3. Take Ice Skating lessons on Tuesday and Saturday. Classes are offered to toddlers ages 3 and up at the Ben Boeke Ice Arena. The classes are $100.00 for 2 months of lessons. The lessons include the ice skates and open family skate times. The teachers are really nice and make the children feel comfortable in the skates and on the ice.

4. Go Swimming at H2Oaisis Toddler Swim every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11:00 A.M. - 2:00 P.M. The cost is $6.00 for children ages 1 and up. Parents get in free.

5. Burn off energy at the Arctic Gym Open Play Time Monday - Friday from 9:00 A.M. - 11:00 A.M. for children ages 2-11. The kids can play and exercise on 2 big trampolines, a foam pit, lowered balance beams and bars, and big exercise balls. The cost is $5.00 a child. Parents get in free.

6. The Children's Gallery at the Anchorage Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10 A.M. - 6 P.M. and Sunday from noon- 6 P.M. The Children's Gallery offers activities and exhibits for your toddlers to play in and to look at. Admission is $8.00 for adults and free for children.

7. Go to Story Time at the Loussac Library. The Loussac Library offers Mothergoose for children ages 0-18 months and Lapsit for children ages 18 months - 3 years of age. The story tellers read great books and sing fun songs to keep your toddlers entertained.

8. Borders Books and Barnes and Noble offer story times and free store events every month. Check out Boarders Books calender here. Check out Barnes and Noble's calendar here.

9. Attend Pre-School Science Hour at the Anchorage Imaginarium on Mondays at 10 A.M. and 11:30 A.M. During Science Hour toddlers will learn different things about science and then make a craft about what they learned.

11. Visit Kardio Kids at The Alaska Club. Kardio Kids is for children ages 3 - 5 and is on Monday and Wednesday at 10:45 A.M. Kardio Kids is a fitness class that helps your toddlers to exercise and release energy.

12. Visit animals at Petco. Petco has a grooming service with big windows so your toddler can watch the animals being groomed. Petco also has fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles that are fun to watch.

13. Take your toddler to see a music concert. The Anchorage Concert Association offers concerts every month to take your toddlers to. This is a great way to integrate music into your toddlers life.

14. Enroll your toddler in ballet lessons at the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy. The Academy offers a Creative Movement class for children ages 3 and 4 on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

15. Enroll your toddler in dance lessons at the Children's Dance Theatre or the Alaska Dance Theatre. There are ballet classes, creative movement classes, and the Children's Dance Theatre offers a Moms and Me class. Check out their websites for more information.

16. Enroll your toddler in swim lessons. There are multiple swim class locations in Anchorage to enroll your child in. Swim Like a Fish Foundation even offers scholarships for those children who meet low income guidelines.

17. Pet a reindeer, watch a video, and get a treat at Alaska Wild Berry Products. Alaska Wild Berry Products sells chocolates, jams, smoked salmon, sausages, and has a fun theater and park to visit.

18. Play and make crafts at the Spenard Community Recreation Center. The Spenard Community Recreation Center offers toddle time for children ages 0-2 years old and Tons of Fun for Tots for children ages 3-5 years old.

19. Burn off some energy at For the fun of it located at 2840 Commercial Drive. For the fun of it is full of air inflated slides, jumpers, and domes. There are balls to throw around and fun games. For the Fun of it is open 7 days a week and costs $10.00 for 2 hours ages 2 and up. Adults get in free.

20. Visit a specialty toy store such as Classic Toys and Over the Rainbow Toy Store. These stores are open 7 days a week and sell high end specialty toys, wooden toys, and many other toys that most toy stores don't sell. These toys are very durable and fun to play with.

21. Jump, slide, and run around at Bouncin' Bears located in Anchorage, Wasilla, and Palmer. Bouncin' Bears is a lot of fun, but you will need to help younger children (18 months to 2 years old) on a lot of the ladders. Check out their website to get times and prices.

22. Sign your child up for a music, dance, martial arts, or or playgroup class at the Alaska Moving Arts Center. Check out their 2009 schedule for an idea of what your child would be interested in. There are classes for children of all ages including new born babies!

23. Take a day trip to Seward to visit the Alaska Sea Life Center. There are many great things to see and learn there. Seward is about a 3 hour drive from Anchorage, so the kids can nap on in the car.

24. Go to the preschool open gym time at the O'Malley Sports Center located in Anchorage. There is plenty of room to run around and get out some energy! Visit their website for more information about times and prices.

25. Visit a craft store like Michaels and walk around, you will more than likely be inspired for which craft your child would like to do. Also see my music craft post for more craft ideas.

For more winter activity ideas visit Scribbit's great list of Winter Activities for Kids.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Party 2009 put on by 5 Minutes for Mom, thanks for stopping by, I love meeting new people! Please make yourself at home and help yourself to some fun games, music, karaoke, and dancing (I know you can't stay still listening to this music!) There is plenty for all!

Let me introduce myself, I'm Andrea, wife, mom, musician, music teacher, and creator of Munchkins and Music, a blog dedicated to helping mom's teach music to their children. I feel that education in music is "most sovereign" and those who learn music will reap from it's many benefits. I have a bachelors degree in music education and have been playing music since I was 8 years old. Please feel free to browse around, you will find:

While you're here, pull up a chair and play some fun on-line music games:

Notes Drums Play Music Kid's Piano

Try some Karaoke (Turn off the music on my sidebar first) :

And please feel free to leave a comment so I can come and visit you at your party!

And now for the prizes:

I'm feeling lucky, so if I won a prize here would be my top 3 choices:

1) #1 100.00 gift certificate to either Pedal Cars or A Rocking Horse to Love from 5 Minutes for Mom.

2) #58 Kitchen Aid Artisan and Stand Mixer from Mom's who Think.

3)# USC 57 Personalized Graphic Button Design from Extravagant Grace Designs.

Here are other choices I would choose:

19, 101, 45, 49, 90, 106, or any target gift certificate.

Of course if I won anything I would be excited! Thanks 5 Minutes for Mom!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kitchen Rock

When I am cooking dinner I have found that the best activity to keep my children entertained is letting them bang on pots. We call this activity Kitchen Rock and play it often, so I decided to make it a learning experience to help teach my children about music.

Here are a few ideas to help spice up Kitchen Rock:

1. Get out a variety of pans, bowls, and pitchers. You can use metal, plastic, or anything else that won't break.

2. Get out a variety of utensils for your child to hit the pans with (each utensil produces a different sound.)

3. Teach your child about tempo by demonstrating the difference between largo and presto. For an older child you can teach him or her the 7 basic tempo markings:

  • Largo -- very slow (40 - 60 beats per minute)

  • Larghetto -- rather broadly (60 - 66 beats per minute)
  • Adagio -- slow and stately (66 - 76 bpm)

  • Andante -- at a walking pace (76 - 108 bpm)

  • Moderato -- Moderately (108 - 120 bpm)

  • Allegro -- fast and bright (120 - 168 bpm)

  • Presto -- very fast (168 - 200 bpm)

Once your child learns the tempo markings you can quiz your child by calling out a tempo and having him or her play that tempo.

4. Teach your child about dynamics by demonstrating the difference between piano and forte. Quiz your child by asking him or her to demonstrate the difference between the two dynamics.

For an older child you can teach him or her about the 6 different dynamic markings:

1. pianissimo/pp (very soft)

2. piano/p (soft)

3. mezzo-piano/mp (moderately soft)

4. mezzo-forte/mf (moderately loud)

5. forte/f (loud)

6. fortissimo/ff (very loud)

5. Turn on different styles of music and let your child play along. Show your child how you would play the pan differently while listening to slow/soft music vs. fast/loud music.

6. Have fun!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Tambourine

The Tambourine is a percussion instrument made out of plastic or wood with metal jingles built in the frame. The tambourine can be made with or without a drum head and can come in many different shapes (although the most common shape is round.) The Tambourine is played many different ways, some of the ways are shaking, stroking, or striking. There is also an advanced technique used to play the tambourine called the thumb roll where players will take their finger or thumb and run it across the head of the tambourine to create a fast jingle sound.

The tambourine was originally from Portugal and brought to Brazil by Portuguese settlers. The tambourine is played in many forms of music including jazz and classical.(

Below is an example of the tambourine being played:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Songs for Children

Baby Birdie

Note: This is a "scale song" - each line gets one note of the do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti do scale. You can review this scale here.

(sing the do pitch for each word) Here's a baby birdie (crouch down low, head down)

(re) Hatching from his shell

(mi) Out pops his head, (head pops up)

(fa) Then comes his tail (tail pops up)

(sol) Now his legs he stretches (stand up)

(la) His wings he gives a flap (flap arms)

(ti) Then he flies and flies and flies (twirl around and around)

(do) Now what do you think of that?

(do) Down, (sol) down, (mi) down,..........(do) BOOM! (fall down)

(This great song is from kids out and about)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless/ful Wednesday

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't posted for a few months. Things have been really busy and crazy. But I am back and very happy to be posting again! Hope you are all doing well! Let's see if you can guess this next instrument...

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday:

Yes, you all guessed this right! The accoridon! The accordion, made in Berlin in 1822, is a hand held free-reed aerophone instrument (meaning the sound is produced by air pushing past a vibrating reed). An accordion is played by compressing and expanding a bellows, and pressing keys which cause the valves to open. The accordion is played in Europe, North America, and South America. The accordion is mainly played in folk, jazz, and classical music. (

Below is an example of what an accordion sounds like:

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Steel pan/drum

A steel pan is a chromatically tuned percussion instrument that was originally made from a 55 gallon oil container. The steel pan is originally from Trinidad and was used as a form of communication between African slaves. The steel pan was outlawed by the British government, however, by the 1940's steel drums were allowed and were played at Carnivals.

Today, steel pans are made from flat sheet metal and molded into the shape of a bowl using hammers. Steel pans today are tuned with electronic tuners and need to be tuned 1-2 times a year. Steel pans are made into soprano, alto, tenor, and bass pans. They can be played solo or in a steel pan band.

Below is an example of a steel pan:

(Felix Walroud on the Steel Pan)