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A steel pan is a chromatically tuned percussion instrument that was originally made from a 55 gallon oil container.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