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A steel pan is a chromatically tuned percussion instrument that was originally made from a 55 gallon oil container.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)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Songs for Children

This song is so beautiful and this little 4 year old girl is amazing!!

Sleep Well, Little Children

A.Bergman L.Klatzkin

Sleep well, little children,
wherever you are;
Tomorrow is Christmas
beneath every star.
Soon the snowflakes will fall
and tomorrow you'll see
Every wish, one and all,
waiting under the tree.
Sleep well, little children,
pleasant dreams through the night;
Tomorrow is Christmas,
all merry and bright.
Soon you'll hear the bells ring,
time for dreams to come true
As the world wakes to bring
Merry Christmas to you.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Music Toys for Kids on Christmas

WFMW: Here is a l
ist of music toys/gifts I would recommend giving your children this year for Christmas. You can also read here for tips on buying musical toys.

Birth – 12 months:

1. Music Mobiles are great for new babies because they introduce music to your child in calming way. Your baby can look up at the mobile and easily fall asleep to the wonderful sounds! Some popular ones are the Jungle Tales Mobile and the Tiny Love Symphony-in-Motion Mobile.

2. The Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube is a great toy because it teaches babies how sounds are made by letting your baby push the buttons to add and subtract instruments in many different songs. This cube also teaches about tempo through the flashing lights.

3. Drums and egg shakers are fun for babies to use because they expose babies to real-like instruments, and they keep your babies entertained!

4. The Baby Grand Piano--Laugh and Learn is a lot of fun for babies because it is interactive and teaches babies about pitch through the piano keys. This piano will also teach your baby about tempo, colors, counting, and music styles. There is an interactive music book attached to the piano for you baby to flip through.

5. The Toddler Orchestra comes with 2 shakers and a tambourine that are easy to hold and use. All three instruments make a different sound that will keep your baby entertained. The Toddler Orchestra uses the same materials and toning methods that are used in professional instruments.

12 months-3 years old:

1. Xylophones are a fun way to teach your children how to create music by hitting the mallets with a stick. Make sure the xylophone you buy is a full octave and that the notes sound correct because your children will learn from it! Some xylophones I would recommend are the Jungle Jamboree, the Little Tike's Tap-a-Tune, and any other xylophone that works well.

2. Band-in-a-Box or the Beginning Band Set by Melissa and Doug (as seen in the photo to the above) are great gifts to give your little ones this year. They are fun to play with, they are durable, and they come with a variety of instruments to play with.

3. Play Guitars are always fun for kids to play with and to hold. I would make sure to buy a play guitar that resembles a real guitar. Some I would recommend are Elmo's Rock and Roll Guitar and the Big Rock Guitar by Little Tykes because they require your child to make a strumming action with their hand and to push the buttons on the neck to get different sounds.

4. The Phonics Radio is a fun toy because it plays 30 songs and teaches letters and phonics. There is also flashing lights and a volume control.

5. Recorders are great to get for your children because they are easy to blow in. When my son was 1 year old he figured out how to blow in a recorder the first time he played with it! I would recommend buying a recorder by Yamaha because they will last a long time and are durable.

4 - 7 years old:

1. Bongo Drums from First Act are handmade wooden lap drums with authentic skin drum heads. These drums also come with rims that stay in tune! You can also find other styles of bongo drums on

2. A sing-along CD player is a fun way to introduce your children to singing and to karaoke, because your children can sing into a microphone while listening to music. Your children can also sing with a sibling or a friend!

3. Mini piano's or electronic keyboards are fun for kids at this age because they are as close as you can get to the real instrument! Mini pianos come with non-tip benches and music to play.

4. The First Act Electronic Drum Pad is a digital drum set that features 16 drum voices and 30 drum patterns. There are drum sticks provided also! This drum set is recommend for kids ages 6 and up, however, I bought this for my 2 year old for Christmas because I can set the settings for him and let him hit the pads with sticks--which I know he will love to do!

5. The 12-Key Pipe Xylophone is a fun instrument for kids or adults and comes with 12 aluminium pipes. This xylophone is made of solid black walnut and pure maple hardwood, is very durable, and comes with a music book and mallets.

8-11 Years Old and Teens:

1. Music Lessons are a great present to give your children for Christmas. Most parents start their children in piano lessons around 8 years old. For most other instruments parents start their children around 10 years old (although you can start children in music lessons at many ages.) Click here to read about starting your children in private music lessons and how to find the right teacher for your child.

2. Buy a music instruction book and a music instrument is another alternative to private music lessons (although it is better to get music lessons to avoid creating incorrect playing techniques.) You can go down to a local music store and ask about what music books are good to use for your children and what brand of instrument to rent or buy.

3. Rock Band and Guitar Hero are fun music games that are really popular for kids, teens, and even adults! These games are a great way to get your children interested in playing the drums, the guitar, or singing.

4. Everybody loves to get a new CD for Christmas. You can find Cd's on You can also go to to read the lyrics and to see if they are clean.

5. Tickets to a music concert can be a very exciting gift and can make a great stocking stuffer! A good way to find out if your child's favorite music group is coming to your town is to look at the group's touring schedule on their website (all music groups have a website.)

Do you have any other music gift ideas to share with us? Please leave a comment and let us know!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Pipa

The pipa is a Chinese string instrument also known as a lute. The Pipa is one of the oldest Chinese musical instruments and has been around for two thousand years. The name Pipa is made up of two syllables "Pi" and "Pa" which stand for two different playing techniques. The syllable "Pi" means a player will use multiple fingers to pluck a string, and the syllable "Pa" means a player will strum the strings with their thumb.

Below is an example of what the pipa sounds like:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Double Bass
The double bass is one of my all time favorite instruments because it is so much fun to play with! The double bass (also known as the contrabass or standup bass) was made in the 15th century and is the largest string instrument made. The double bass plays jazz and classical music and is made out of many types of wood. To play the double bass a player can pluck the strings or move a bow across the strings.

Below is an example of what a double bass sounds like playing jazz music:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Songs for Children

Thanksgiving Things
(Sung to Farmer in the Dell)

The turkey in the pen, the turkey in the pen,
All the children come and see the turkey in the pen.
The pilgrims on the boat, the pilgrims on the boat,
All the children come and see the pilgrims on the boat.
The Indians in the field, the Indians in the field,
All the children come and see the Indians in the field.
The pumpkins in the patch, the pumpkins in the patch,
All the children come and see, the pumpkins in the patch.
The corn on the cob, the corn on the cob,
All the children come and see, the corn on the cob.
The butter in the churn, the butter in the churn,
All the children come and see, the butter in the churn.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Berimbau

All of you made me laugh when you said this instrument looked like a fishing pole because it really does! The berimbau is a single-stringed percussion instrument from Brazil. The berimbau is used in the Brazillian capoeira (a Brazilian dance that incorporates martial arts movements). The berimbau has a wooden bow about 4-5 feet long, with a tightly strung steel wire, and a hallow gourd. The berimbau has three sounds: a buzz sound, a high sound, and a open string sound.

Below is an example of what the berimbau sounds like:

Below is an example of the berimbau playing in capoeira:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Songs for Children

Over the River and Through the Woods

Over the river and thru the woods,
To grandfather's house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh,
Thru the white and drifted snow, oh!
Over the river and thru the woods,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and thru the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh, hear the bell ring,
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day-ay!
Over the river and thru the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Music Activities for Kids

Dancing to Music

Dancing is a great way for your kids to listen to music and to get exercise. In this activity we will be dancing to music in many different ways:

1. Follow the leader. Turn on some music and imitate what the other dancer is doing. See how fun you can make this by turning on different styles of music!

2. Freeze Dance. Turn on some music and randomly stop the music. When the music is stopped, have your kids freeze in place. Now turn the music back on and have your kids dance again.

3. Dance to the tempo of the music. Have your kids move their bodies to slow and fast paced music.

4. Imitate different styles of music through dance. Play many different styles of music for your kids to dance too. For example, turn on a waltz and have your kids waltz around the room. Turn on the nutcracker and have your kids dance like a ballerina. Turn on a march and have your kids march around the house.

5. Have your kids wave scarves, streamers, or ribbons while dancing.

6. Let your kids leap and jump over tubs, cardboard bricks, or other safe objects while dancing.

7. Add on dance moves. Have a child make up a dance move. Have a second child copy the first child's dance move and then add on a second dance move. Have a third child copy the first two dance moves and then add on a third dance move, and so on. See how well the children can remember the order of the dance moves.

8. Turn on a dance video. Let your kids try to imitate what the dancers are doing on the screen. Ballet or hip hop is great for this exercise.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Clean Music for Teens: David Archuleta

If you are in the market for a clean CD for your teens, David Archuleta (former American Idol runner-up) has just released a new CD this month. And yes, the entire album is clean, I personally listened to and read every word to the songs myself! This album has mostly love songs on it and is avaliable at your local music stores or on-line. Click here to listen to clips of the songs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What Musical Instrument Am I?

Answer to Last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Contrabass Trombone

The trombone has been around since the 18th century and was originally called a sackbut (no kidding)! To play the trombone a player will buzz their lips and blow air through the mouthpiece while moving the slide. The contrabass trombone is the largest trombone in the trombone family and is a brass instrument. The contrabass trombone is similar to the the tenor trombone except a contrabass trombone plays lower and is larger than than a tenor trombone. The contrabass trombone is played in classical and jazz music.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanksgiving Songs for Children

Mr. Turkey
(Sung to "Frere Jacque")

Mr. Turkey, Mr. Turkey
Run away, Run away
If you don't be careful
You will be a mouthful
Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day

Song From DLTK
I am participating in FFM

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Anchorage Symphony Halloween Concert Review

If you are looking for a way to introduce classical music to your kids, going to the Anchorage Symphony Halloween Concert is a great way to do it! This year’s concert had an entertaining cast and a funny story line about trying to find the right style of music to wake the sleeping dragon.
The symphony played many different styles of music including pieces by Aaron Copland and Benny Goodman. There was even a vocal quintet that sung the 12 days of Halloween and 5 little pumpkins which my little guy loved! The concert was about 1 ½ hours long and had 4 floors of trick-or-treating for the kids after the concert. I would highly recommend this concert for families of all ages.

(Anchorage Symphony)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanksgiving Songs for Children

Did You Ever See a Turkey?

(Video from Cullen's ABC's)

For this song make 4 feathers out of construction paper:

Feather 1: Red

Feather 2: Orange

Feather 3: Yellow

Feather 4: Brown


Did you ever see a turkey,

A turkey, a turkey,

As he struts around the farm yard,

With feathers so bright.

With red ones,

And orange ones,

And yellow ones,

And brown ones,

Did you ever see a turkey,

With feathers so bright.

I am participating in FMM.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Songs for Children

Shivery Yells
(Sung to Silver Bells)

We're on the sidewalks, we're on the porches,
Dressed in costumes to scare.
Through the city we're ringing doorbells

Trick or treating, eating candy,
Gooey stuff in our hair,
But the most fun is shrieking out loud:

Shivery Yells, Shivery Yells
That's Halloween nitty-gritty
Moan and groan, leave us alone,
Halloween's just one night a year.

Deck the Patch
(Sung to Deck the Halls)
Deck the patch with orange and black,
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Take along your goody sack,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Don we now our weird apparel,
Fa la la la la, la la la la
To the ancient pumpkin carol,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

See the great ones rise before us,
Fa la la la la, la la la la
As we sing the pumpkin chorus,
Fa la la la la, la la la la

Follow him as he ascends,
Fa la la la la la, la la la
Join with true great pumpkin friends,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Visit their site to learn more great Halloween songs!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Teaching Your Child Solfege

Music Lesson: Solfege

(Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music)

What is solfege?
Solfege is an important part of learning to read music and is a technique used to teach sight-singing or sight reading. Each note in solfege is sung to a different syllable do, re, me, fa, so, la, ti, and each note has a corresponding hand sign (as seen in photo below).

To teach your child solfege do the following:

1. Sing do (doh) to the first pitch of any major scale (i.e. if you choose the major C scale, C would be your first note).

2. Now, sing and sign do with your hand (as seen in photo below).

3. Have your child sing and sign do. If needed, help mold your child's hand into the do shape until he or she can sign do his or herself.

4. Continue to teach your child every solfege sign and syllable.

5. Note: Solfege is a great way to introduce music to your baby!

Solfege Pronunciation:

Do = Doh (For the C scale you will sing C pitch)

Re = Ray (For the C scale you will sing D pitch)

Me = Mee (For the C scale you will sing E pitch)

Fa = Fah (For the C scale your will sing F pitch)

Sol = Soh (For the C scale you will sing G pitch)

La = Lah (For the C scale you will sing A pitch)

Ti = Tee (For the C scale you will sing B pitch)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wordless/ful Wednesday

What musical instrument am I?

Answer to last Wordless/ful Wednesday: Soprano Saxophone

The soprano saxophone was invented in 1840 and is the second largest instrument in the saxophone family. The soprano saxophone is a woodwind instrument and is played in jazz and classical music. Because the soprano has a small body, it is hard to keep in tune so experienced players will use alternate fingerings to keep the notes in tune. The soprano saxophone is also made with a curved bell like an alto saxophone.

Below is an example of what a soprano saxophone sounds like:

Brandford Marsalis on Soprano Saxophone

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Music Craft: Guiro or Cabasa

Today's music craft can be played as a guiro (first photo) or a cabasa (second photo).

Materials Needed:

1. 1 clean and dried 10 oz or 14 oz tin can
2. 6 inches of a paper towel roll
3. 100-200 plastic or wood beads (make sure the holes in the beads are big enough to be strung on elastic.)
4. Glue and scissors
5. Elastic
6. Aclyric paint
7. Sand paper


1. Lightly sand the rough side of the tin can.

2. Cut 4 evenly spaced slits in the paper towel roll (slits should 3/4 inches long).

3. Bend the edges down to form flaps (as seen in photo).

4. Glue the flaps to the bottom of the tin can and let dry over night.

5. Paint the tin can and paper towel roll (let dry).

6. Cut 4 to 8 - 10 inch elastic strips for the 10 oz can, or 4 to 8 - 15 inch elastic strips for the 14 oz can.

7. String 25 beads on each elastic strand.

8. String the strands around the tin can and tie the ends together.

9. Now you are ready to play!

To play as a guiro:
Hold the handle and brush a stick over the beads.

To play as a cabasa:

Hold the handle with one hand, and with the other hand move the beads back and forth (as seen in video below).

This great craft idea was from

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween Songs for Children


If there's something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?

If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

If you're seeing things
running through your head
Who can ya call?

An invisible man
sleeping in your bed
Who ya gonna call?

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

Who ya gonna call?

If ya all alone
pick up the phone
and call

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I here it likes the ghost
I ain't afraid of no ghost
Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah

Who ya gonna call?

If you've had a dose of
afreaky ghost baby
Ya better call

Lemme tell ya something
Bustin' makes me feel good!

I ain't afraid of no ghosts
I ain't afraid of no ghosts

Don't get caught alone no no


When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call

Who ya gonna call?

Who ya gonna call?

I think you better call

Who ya gonna call?

I can't hear you
Who ya gonna call?


Who ya gonna call?

Who can ya call?

Who ya gonna call?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Halloween Family Concert

Just A Reminder

The Anchorage Symphony's Halloween Family Concert is in one week, on Friday October, 31 2008 in the Atwood Concert Hall. Have your kids wear their Halloween costumes and get ready for 4 floors of trick-or-treating after the show!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Beethoven Lesson

Music Lesson: Ludwig Van Beethoven

Teach your child the following lesson:


Beethoven was one of the most influential and respected composers of his time and played a key role in bridging classical and romantic music. Beethoven was a composer and played the piano in the 1700’s. He was born in December, 1770 and grew up in Bonn, Germany where he lived with his parents and 6 brothers and sisters (although 3 of his siblings died after infancy).

At age 8 Beethoven had his first known public performance on the piano, and at age 14 he started playing the organ for a choir. When Beethoven was 17 years old he went to Vienna, Austria to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. After Mozart died Beethoven started studying with Joseph Haydn.

When Beethoven was about 27 years old, he may have gotten tinnitus (ringing in his ears caused by infection or loud noises) which caused him to eventually go deaf. Although Beethoven was devastated from his hearing loss, he figured out that he could hear the music through vibrations from his piano (which is why he was still able to write music).

Beethoven’s Music:
Scholars have divided Beethoven’s musical works into three periods:

During the first music period, Beethoven was finding “his personal voice.” He wrote: string quartets, piano sonatas, piano concertos, and symphonies. Here is an example of music Beethoven wrote during his first music period: Beethoven's Symphony No. 1

During the second period, Beethoven wrote: an opera, symphonies, piano concertos, and quartet music. The second period is known as Beethoven’s independent period because he was known as one of the best pianists and composers of his time. Beethoven became friends with some of the richest and noble families in Vienna. He gained prominent devoted fans such as Prince Lichnowsky. Beethoven would often make the Prince wait in the waiting room on purpose so he could compose music! Here is an example of Beethoven's second period music: The Eroica Symphony

During the last period, Beethoven’s music became reflective. He started to use variations (new rhythms, new meter, new tempos, new embellishments, and new figurations) in his music. Although Beethoven had bad health and family struggles during this period, he still managed to write some of his best musical works during this time. Here is an example of Beethoven's third period music: Beethoven String Quartet Op. 131

A History of Western Music, Grout and Palisca

Beethoven Coloring Activity:

Click here to print a coloring page of Beethoven.

Quiz on Beethoven:

Click here to give your child a quiz on Beethoven.