Friday, August 29, 2008

Disney Live on Tour

Looking for a concert for your kid?

I would love to take my daughter to see Disney Live on Tour! From the Disney Live on Tour videos I have seen, there are a lot of fun Disney characters dancing, laughing, and singing. This show looks like a lot of fun!
Click here to see if Disney Live is coming to your town anytime soon!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Blogs With Great Songs

I love visiting the following blogs because of the great music played:

Laughing Leah Love Lilies is a blog about Leah’s family life. The following songs go well with her blog:
1. Baby Mine by Allison Krauss
2. Let Them be Little by Billy Dean

Ellyphant is a blog about being a working mom who rushes home each day to be with her family. The following songs go well with her blog:
3. I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
4. Lucky by Jason Marz

The Miles Family is a blog about how important family is. The following songs go well with this blog:
5. To Where You Are By Josh Groban
6. You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban
7. Ave Maria by Celine Dion

Everyone has a story to tell, this is ours is a blot about life as a marathon. This song goes well with her blog:
8. Calabria by Enur

Behind the Times is a blog about a woman who is afraid of turning grey and getting old. The following songs go well with this blog:
9. If I Had A Million Dollars by Bare Naked Ladies
10. Glory by Selah

The Albert Family is a blog about family adventures. The following songs go well with this blog:
11. Sunday Mornings by Maroon 5
12. Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Life from the Hilltop is a blog about family life from an elevated view. The following song goes well with this blog:
13. Three Little Birds by Bob Marley

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Getting Children to Practice Music

WFMW: Tips For Getting Your Children to Practice Music

Mom: Have you practiced yet?
Child: Mom! I don't want to!
Mom: Do you realize how much money I am spending on your private lessons, and you don't have enough courtesy to…

And we all know how this story plays out. Mom gets mad at child, child gets mad at mom, private teacher gets mad at mom and child, and no one is having any more fun! I have heard so many moms' complain about trying to get their children to practice. With all the money that is spent on a private teacher, I can see why mom gets frustrated when her child doesn't practice. Here are some ideas that work when it comes to getting your child to practice:

1. Sit down with your child and make a weekly schedule. In the schedule set some time aside for daily practice. Post this schedule by your child's bed or in a place your child will see the schedule everyday. When your child sees this schedule that he or she helped make, the child may be then more willing to abide by it.

2. Make a clean and inviting space in your home for your child to practice. I remember growing up we had our piano in a room that we walked through a lot. The room was open with lots of windows and light. The piano was also easy to access, so I could plop right down and play. Because of the inviting environment the piano was in, I wanted to sit down and play. This was a space that I loved going to.

Make sure this space is free from distractions. The TV should be off, and brothers and sisters should try to be quite while practicing is going on so your child can concentrate.

3. Have your child fill out a practice log. Have your child's music teacher write down his or her weekly assignments in the log, and then have your child fill out what he or she practices in detail every day.
Make sure your child writes down how long he or she practiced, and questions they may have for the music teacher for the next lesson. This is a good way to keep track of your child’s progress.

4. Have your child tape record his or her self playing and then listen to the recording. This is an excellent way for your child to listen to what he or she needs to work on, and it could be something fun and different for your child to try.

5. Support your child by going to his or her performances and recitals. There is no better way to get your child to want to keep learning if he or she knows how important music it is to you, also.

6. Keep your child's instrument in good shape. If the instrument needs tuning then get it tuned. If something needs to be repaired, then have it repaired. It is hard to want to practice on an instrument that isn't working right.

7. Have rewards for daily practice. For example, your child can watch his or her favorite show if he or she practices for 30 minutes first, or your child can have a friend over if he or she practices everyday this week.

8. If rewards don't work, try asking your child why he or she does not want to practice. Is it because your child's music piece is too hard? Does your child not like the music he or she is playing? Is the set practice time not a time your child wants to practice during? Or, does your child not like playing the instrument he or she is playing? Once you find out what the reason is, then you can help your child solve the problem. Asking your child’s music teacher to get your child some music that will teach your child what he or she is suppose to be learning and music they will like to play. Or if your child doesn't like his or her teacher, then you can find your child a new one. This is a time to really listen to your child and get to the real reason to why he or she does not want to practice. You could be surprised at how easy the problem might be to fix.

For more information on how to get your child to practice visit:

I am participating in Works For Me Wednesday.

Wordless Wednesday:

What instrument am I?

Answer to last week's Wordless Wednesday:

I am a contrabass clarinet. I am one of the largest members of the clarinet family.

I am participating in Wordless Wednesday.

I am participating in Wordful Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Songs for Children: On Top of Spaghetti

On Top of Spaghetti

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball,
When somebody sneezed.
It rolled off the table,
And on to the floor,
And then my poor meatball,
Rolled out of the door.
It rolled in the garden,
And under a bush,
And then my poor meatball,
Was nothing but mush.
The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be,
And then the next summer,
It grew into a tree.
The tree was all covered,
All covered with moss,
And on it grew meatballs,
And tomato sauce.
So if you eat spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball,
Whenever you sneeze.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Music Craft: Rainstick


A rainstick is a long hallow tube filled with beads or beans, and has small pins arranged helically inside. Rainsticks were originally made to create the sound of a rain storm and it was believed that they could bring rainstorms.

A rainstick is held at a 45 degree angle allowing the beads to fall gradually to create the sound of falling rain. Rainsticks can also be tapped to make a more controlled sound and can be used as a shaker to create percussive rhythms. (

Rainstick Craft:

Materials Needed:

1. Aluminum foil
2. Glue
3. Scissors
4. Crayons
5. Paper towel roll
6. Small dried beans


1. Trace two circles around the paper towel roll on construction paper (as seen in photo).

2. Draw a bigger circle around each circle just drawn (as seen in photo).

3. Draw spokes connecting the inner and outer circle (as seen in photo).

4. Cut out the circles along the outer circle lines and cut along each spoke up to the inner circle line.

5. Cup one circle along inner circle line and glue it on to one end of the paper towel roll.

6. Cut out 2 pieces of aluminum foil 6 inches wide, and 18 inches long. Twist the aluminum pieces into a spring shape (Most foil rolls are the perfect width when cut in half).

7. Put the aluminum springs into the roll.

8. Pour beans into the roll.

9. Cap off the other end with the other circle as done in step 5.

10. Decorate the tube as desired.

Have fun making rain!

This craft idea was from .

I am participating in Family Moment Monday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Rock Band and Guitar Hero Game Reviews

Recently, I was introduced to Rock Band and Guitar Hero from my brother in-law. I have to say these games are addicting and fun!

Looking for something new?

If you are in the market for a fun and new game for your kids, and you are okay with the music on these games, then Rock Band and Guitar Hero may be for you! However, if you are in the market for a game to teach your kids music, it would be better to go out buy your kids a real guitar or drum set and set up your kids with a music teacher because then your kids could actually learn how to play the real instrument.

Although Rock Band and Guitar Hero do not help your kids learn play the music, they may help your kids become interested in playing music. My brother-in-law told me that after playing Rock Band, he is in the market for a drum set; he also told me he probably would have never been interested in playing drums if he didn't get hooked on Rock Band and that many people he knows became interested in playing guitar and drums from first playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

Technically speaking:

From a musical point of view, Rock Band and Guitar Hero neither teach a gamer how to read music nor how to play a real instrument. However, they do teach the gamer how to play some basic rock rhythms. This is accomplished as the game player strums or drums to different-colored lights as the lights pass by. The action of keeping the beat helps the gamer feel what it may be like to keep the beat in an actual band. This is why people who play this game may become interested in learning to play a real instrument!

A word to the wise:
Last week, I read of a teenager who had dropped out of school just to play Guitar Hero. To avoid such addictions, like all games, it would be a good idea to enforce game-playing time limits.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rhythm Lesson #2

Lesson 2: Learning Meter

Learning Objective:

Children will be able to clap different meters. It is important to learn about meters because understanding a meter is one of the beginning steps to reading music.


Explain to your child what a meter is by telling your child that in most music there is a pulse, and some pulses are stronger than others. When you have a pattern of strong and weak pulses, you get a meter.There are 3 common meters (A Creative Approach to Music Fundamentals, Duckworth):

1. Duple meter (one strong pulse and one weak pulse, first line)

2. Triple meter (one strong pulse and 2 weak pulses, second line)

3. Quadruple meter (one strong pulse and 3 weak pulses, third line)

Copy the image above onto paper and show it to your child. Tell your child that there is an accent under some of the notes distinguishing the differences between the meter patterns. (An accent is a musical mark telling the person reading the music that the note should be stressed more than the other notes.) Now clap the 3 examples with your child. Every time you see an accent under the note, clap a little harder. After clapping the examples with your child, explain to your child that by doing this exercise, he or she can feel and hear the differences between the meters.


Can your child clap all three examples with the accents? If not, help him or her until they can.

Adapting to younger children:

Clap your child's hands for them to the 3 examples shown above (make sure you stress the accents.) By doing this your child will be able to feel the difference between the meters.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

What musical instrument am I?

Answer for last week's musical instrument:I am a percussion instrument called a vibraslap. You use me by holding the handle with one hand, and with the other hand hitting the ball against your palm. When you hit me you will hear a rattling sound. Click below to hear an example of what I sound like!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Songs for Baby

Lullaby and Goodnight

Johannes Brahms Lyrics

Lyllaby, and good night,
With pink roses bedight,

With lilies o'erspread,

Is my baby's sweet head.

Lay you down now, and rest,

May your slumber be blessed!

Lay you down now, and rest,

May thy slumber be blessed!

Lullaby, and good night,

You're your mother's delight,

Shining angels beside

My darling abide.

Soft and warm is your bed,

Close your eyes and rest your head.

Soft and warm is your bed,

Close your eyes and rest your head.

Sleepyhead, close your eyes.

Mother's right here beside you.

I'll protect you from harm,

You will wake in my arms.

Guardian angels are near,

So sleep on, with no fear.

Guardian angels are near,

So sleep on, with no fear.

Lullaby, and sleep tight.

Hush! My darling is sleeping,

On his sheets white as cream,

With his head full of dreams.

When the sky's bright with dawn,

He will wake in the morning.

When noontide warms the world,

He will frolic in the sun.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Music Game: Musical Chairs with a Twist

Original Game of Musical Chairs
Musical chairs is a game in which chairs are arranged in a circle with one less chair than people who are playing (e.g. 5 chairs and 6 people). The game starts with the people walking around the chairs while the music is playing. When the music stops, the people hurry and try to sit in a chair before all the chairs are taken. The person who didn't sit in a chair is out, and one chair is taken out of the circle for the next round.

Musical Chairs with a Twist!
Although the original musical chairs is a blast, my children and I like to play musical chairs with a twist, a game we made up! Musical chairs with a twist is played the same way as musical chairs but one change.

The person who didn't sit on a chair fast enough must answer a question, get the right answer, and then he or she can be back in the game.

The adult running the music will ask the child the question. (The questions can be about anything.) Here is a sample list of questions:

Music history questions: Name a composer from the Baroque Era.

Biology questions: Name the parts of a cell.

History questions: Who was the 4th president of the United States of America?

Music listening questions: Who sang the song we just listened to?

Enjoy playing musical chairs with a twist!
I am participating in Family Moment Monday.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Fridge Phonics by Leap Frog

I recently bought Fridge Phonics by Leap Frog after hearing friends say how great it is. Fridge Phonics is a durable and magnetic letter reader that sticks to your refrigerator. It comes with all the letters of the alphabet, and it will sing the names and the sounds of the letters when you press the letters in the letter reader. Fridge Phonics also sings the ABC song.

I really like fridge phonics because it teaches my child the alphabet in a fun and new way.
The only negative thing I can say about Fridge Phonics is that the ABC song is to fast for children who are first learning how to sing it. I would like Fridge Phonics better if Leap Frog made a setting to play the ABC song slow, medium, and fast. Then, children could learn the song (and each letter) really well at the slow speed and then work their way up to the fast speed.

You can learn more about Fridge Phonics here.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Music Lesson: Importance of Using a Metronome

What is a metronome?
A metronome is a musical device that keeps a steady pulse.

Who should use a metronome?
Everyone! Even professional musicians use metronomes.

When do I use a metronome?
A metronome should almost always be used when practicing.

What type of metronome should I use?

There are 3 types of metronomes:
1. Digital
2. Analog
3. Mechanical

One of my favorite metronomes is called Boss. These can get pricey but are great for musicians who are playing a lot of complex rhythms. For beginning music students I would recommend an analog metronome because it is easy to use and easy to pack around. You can read more about the differences between the 3 types of metronomes here.

Where can I get a metronome?
You can get a metronome from a local music store or on-line. You can find good prices at

Why should I use a metronome?
I cannot over emphasis the importance of using a metronome! If someone does not practice with a metronome, he or she will not play with a steady beat.

Using a metronome is a MUST because a metronome helps you to do the following:
1. Play with a steady beat
2. Feel the tempo of the piece
3. Play at your tempo goal (e.g. if a piece has a “difficult to play” tempo, starting slowly and gradually speeding up with a metronome will help you to play at your tempo goal.)

How do I use a metronome?
There are a many ways to practice with a metronome when trying to learn a new piece. Here are some ways I have my students practice with a metronome:

1. Set your metronome to the speed of the piece, and play the whole piece with the metronome on. Can you play the whole piece without making any mistakes? If not, slow down the metronome to a speed you can play at without making any mistakes. Once you can play the piece with out making any mistakes at the slower speed, then speed up the metronome a few clicks. Gradually speed up a few clicks (only if you can play at each speed with out any mistakes,) until you reach your goal speed.

2. Practice playing through your piece a few measures at a time with the metronome on. For example, let’s say your piece is 8 measures long. You can repeat measures 1-2 until you make no mistakes. Then, go on to measures 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8 repeating, these measures with out any mistakes. Now play measures 1-4, and then play measures 5-8. Once you can play these sections without any mistakes, play the whole 8 measures until you make no mistakes.

3. There is a GREAT website that contains information about metronome use: . This site has a free, on-line metronome and has articles on how to use a metronome, on tempo markings, on how to practice music, and on timing.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Music Instrument

What musical instrument am I, and what am I used for?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Songs for Children: Funiculi, Funicula

Funiculì, Funiculà
Some think the world is made for fun and frolic,
And so do I! And so do I!
Some think it well to be all melancholic,
To pine and sigh; to pine and sigh;
But I, I love to spend my time in singing,
Some joyous song, some joyous song,
To set the air with music bravely ringing
Is far from wrong! Is far from wrong!
Listen, listen, echoes sound afar!
Listen, listen, echoes sound afar!
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Echoes sound afar, funiculì, funiculà!

Ah me! 'tis strange that some should take to sighing,
And like it well! And like it well!
For me, I have not thought it worth the trying,
So cannot tell! So cannot tell!
With laugh, with dance and song the day soon passes
Full soon is gone, full soon is gone,
For mirth was made for joyous lads and lasses
To call their own! To call their own!
Listen, listen, hark the soft guitar!
Listen, listen, hark the soft guitar!
Funiculì, funiculà, funiculì, funiculà!
Hark the soft guitar, funiculì, funiculà!

How to pronounce funiculi: fyŏŏ-nĭḱyə-ləs

Music by: Luigi Denza
Traditional English Lyrics From:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Music Craft: Painting

Art Project: Painting to Music

Materials Needed:
1. Paints
2. Paint brush
3. 2 blank pieces of paper
4. 2 paper plates
5. 1 classical song
6. 1 rock song (can be any style of music as long as the 2 styles of music contrast)
7. CD player


For this project we will be painting to 2 different styles of music and comparing the differences between the paintings.

1. Give your child a paper plate with some paints squeezed out on it, a blank sheet of paper, a paint brush, and a cup of water. (As shown above.)

2. Let your child paint to the first song for 5 minutes. (Time can be shortened or lengthened depending on your child's attention span.) Make sure to let your child paint to each style of music for equal amounts of time.

3. Put the first painting aside when the 5 minutes is up.

3. Have your child paint to the rock song on a blank piece of paper with a new set of paint for 5 minutes.

4. Note the differences between the two paintings, and discuss the differences between the paintings with your child.

5. Tell your child that different styles of music can move us in different ways and can sometimes be shown through painting.

My Daughter's Results:

For both trials, my Daughter painted to the same classical and rock song for 3 minutes each.
For trial #1 she painted to the classical song first. For Trial #2 she painted to the rock song first.

Trial #1: Classical Painting, Rock Painting

Trial #2: Classical Painting, Rock Painting

Note: This project is not implying in any way that one musical form is better than the other.

I am participating in Family Moment Monday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Music Craft: Box Guitar

Box Guitar Craft

About Box Guitars:
To the left are examples of box guitars that were made in the 19th century. Box guitars were made out of discarded cigar boxes with a broom stick inserted in the end. Box guitars were popular and cheap to make.

Box Guitar Craft:

Materials Needed:
1. Kleenex box
2. Paper towel tube
3. Paint (optional)
4. Paint brush (optional)
5. 3 rubber bands
6. Pencil/pen
7. Scissors
8. Tape


1. Paint the Kleenex box and the paper towel tube (optional).

2. Put the paper towel tube on the end of the box and draw a circle on the Kleenex box around the tube.

3. Cut out the circle in the Kleenex box.

4. Push the paper towel tube through the Kleenex box hole and secure it with tape.

5. String rubber bands around the Kleenex box.

6. Secure a pencil underneath the rubber bands on one side as shown below.

7. Now you are ready to rock!

This great idea was from:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Review: Vtech Classic Rhymes and Discover Book

Vtech Classic Rhymes and Discover Book
Story time in our house is one of our favorite times of the day, but with how much my kids love me to read to them, I sometimes need to take a break to get some things done around the house. So, I finally found a book that my kids absolutely love that they can look at by themselves! It is the Classic Rhymes and Discover Book by Vtech.

This book lights up, is colorful, and contains six different nursery rhyme songs. It is a plus for a mom like me!

I highly recommend this book for babies and toddlers. You can read more about the book here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How to Get Children Interested in Music

First Steps to Starting Your Child in Music

Recently, I had a great visitor, Angie@keepbelieving, comment on my blog. This is what she said:

“…I don't even know where to start with my kids. We have no instruments. My husband and I have never played anything. I can't read music and I don't know what first steps to take with my 5 and 6 years old boys.”

I have received many questions like Angie’s, so I have compiled a list of the first steps to take to help your child get integrated in music:

1. Listen to music daily. Play a CD for your child everyday as part of his or her daily routine. I like to play different styles of music everyday for my children during their snack time. I tell them who the musical artist is and what style of music they are listening to.

2. Take your child to a music concert.

3. Expose your child to many styles of music. For example, your child may be more interested in one musical style over another.

4. Make musical instruments/crafts. This is a great way to get your child interested in music at a young age.

5. Sing to your child. Teach your child a new song often. I hear many a parent comment that they don’t want to sing to their children because they don’t like the sound of their own voice. That is okay! I promise you that your children would rather hear you sing than not at all. For many children, singing time is a favorite part of their day.

6. Turn on music and dance with your child to the beat. This is a great way to bond with your child and to help your child feel the music.

7. Give your child musical toys. Some examples (although there are many) are as follows: a play keyboard, drums, maracas, tambourines, radios, xylophones, and guitars.

8. Learn about music. It’s never too late to start! Since the best way to teach is by example, if your child is seeing you learning about music, then he or she may want to learn about music, also. For example, you can take music lessons or teach yourself how to play an instrument by going to a music store and buying an instructional book.

9. Enroll your child in a school band, choir, or orchestra program. These programs start as early as 5th grade and are a great way to start your children in music. Even if your child is in home school, most public schools will let your child participate in their music programs. The great thing about school programs is if you don’t have an instrument for your child, they have instruments to borrow.

To enroll your child in one of these programs, go to your local public school and talk to the music director about signing up!

10. Find out about music store programs. Many such stores have programs your child can participate in. For example, a local music store here in Alaska has a summer band program. This program has weekly rehearsals and a concert they put on at the end of the summer. Check out your local music stores to see what they offer!

11. Start your child in private music lessons. This is an excellent way to help your child become interested in music. Sometimes private music lessons can be pricey, but the price is well worth it!

When do you start private music lessons? Some private music teachers will start children as early as 3 years old. Generally, a good time to start private lessons is when your child learns to read.

Finding the right teacher is essential when getting started in private music lessons. Make sure you do your research. To do the research, you can ask other students, moms of students, public school music teachers, and local music store personnel their opinion of who a good teacher is. Once you find a teacher, ask him or her if you can sit in on a lesson before you sign up to see if you are a good match. (Many teachers will let you sit in on a lesson.)

If you feel private music lessons are too costly, local colleges and universities have upper-class music students who give lessons. Most of the students are great and cost a whole lot less. Make sure you do your research. Ask the music professors at the college or university who they recommend.

12. Rent a musical instrument from a local music store. Most music stores will let you try different instruments before buying or renting. Some music stores even offer a free music lesson with your rental! Depending on the instrument you rent, most rentals can run between $20.00 – $60.00 a month.

Have fun!

For more information about learning music, check out my post 10 Reasons Why Children Should Learn Music.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Songs for Children: Loop de Loop

Loop de Loop


Here we go loop de loop

Here we go loop de lie

Here we go loop de loop

All on a Saturday night

You put your right hand in

You take your right hand out

You give your hand a shake, shake, shake

And turn yourself about

Here we go loop de loop

Here we go loop de lie

Here we go loop de loop

All on a Saturday night

You put your left foot in

You take your left foot out

You give your foot a shake, shake, shake

And turn yourself about

Here we go loop de loop

Here we go loop de lie

Here we go loop de loop

All on a Saturday night

You put your right hip in

You take your right hip out

You give your right hip a shake, shake, shake

And turn yourself about

Here we go loop de loop

Here we go loop de lie

Here we go loop de loop

All on a Saturday night

You put your whole self in

You take your whole self out

You give yourself a shake, shake, shake

And turn yourself about

Lyrics and musical example from:

Monday, August 4, 2008

Rhythm Lesson #1

Learn to Feel the Beat/Pulse

Importance of feeling a pulse:
Most music we hear has a steady beat, or pulse. Learning to feel the pulse is the first step your child will need to learn before he or she can begin to read rhythm.

Learning objective:
Children will be able to clap or tap their feet to the pulse.

Equipment Needed:
Examples of fast, medium, and slow paced music with a steady pulse.

1. Tell your children that most music they listen to has a steady beat, or pulse. The pulse can be fast, medium, or slow. There are many ways to feel the pulse. You can clap your hands, tap your foot, or even nod your head.

2. Turn on an example of the medium-paced music. Clap (or whatever your child prefers to do to feel the pulse) your hands to the music's pulse/beat, and explain to your child you are clapping your hands to the pulse. Let your child try to clap his or her hands to the pulse. Your child might need help, so you can help your child clap. This may take some practice, especially if your child has never clapped before.

3. Now do the same activity for the slow and fast songs, and have your child clap to the pulse.

4. For fun, you can have your child try to jump, tap his or her foot, or his or her head, march, or dance to the pulse.

5. You can also try doing this with a metronome.

Adapting to younger children (toddlers/babies)
Turn on a musical selection, and clap your child’s hands to the pulse/beat for them. Tell your child he or she is clapping to the pulse. Do this activity for the slow, medium, and fast paced music.
Now let your child try to clap to the pulse by themselves.
For fun, you can let your child hit 2 blocks together, or bang a stick on the ground to the pulse.

Can your child do this next time with out any instruction? If not, help your child until he or she can.
I am participating in Family Moment Monday. Check it out here!