"Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature can not do without." ~Confucius

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"If All of the Raindrops"

Summer is a great time for this song... I find it in my head more-so in the summer anyway, even though one verse is about snowflakes...

So, if you don't know this song, head over and check it out HERE.
You can also spend a buck and get it on itunes!

I was highly discouraged in looking for a good rendition of this song online...  most of them are just ridiculous; this one from a benefit that Lisa Loeb did in Seattle was the best for its musical simplicity, although we sing the verses a little differently.
Beware... there are a lot from Barney.... but heaven forbid I would ever post a link to Barney on here.... No offense intended, Barney.

Here are the lyrics:

"If All of the Raindrops" 

If all of the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops, Oh what a rain it would be!
I'd stand outside with my mouth open wide and say,
"Ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah, ah ah!"

If all of the sunbeams were lemonade and ice cream, oh what a sun that would be!
I'd stand outside with my mouth open wide and say,
"Ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah, ah ah!" 

If all of the snowflakes were chocolate bars and milkshakes, Oh what a snow it would be! 
I'd stand outside with my mouth open wide and say, 
"Ah, ah ah ah, ah ah ah, ah ah!" 

In the pic above you can see the boys doing the motions for the "Ah, ah ah..." part. Other than that you can show rain and snowflakes by wiggling your fingers from high to low and the sunbeams by shading your eyes. 
This is a great song for imagination, as I think as a child I did want to have rain made of candy! My dentist would not have approved, but as long as I brushed my teeth afterwards, I'm sure it would have been fine. :-) 

For more fun with this concept, check out the ever-popular book, 
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judi Barrett. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What we're listening to... in the car!

Isn't our society amazing? Never before has there been such an ability to multi-task! A few-hours' ride to the beach can become an educational experience instead of just a "when will we get there????"-fest.

K will sit and listen to music, stories, etc. often, but in the car, he really seems to zone in on what is going on with the materials. Little J picks up what he can. He's a rather silly lad and will laugh out loud at a word or sound that he thinks is funny.

So, on our most recent rides hither and tither as we get the most out of these last few weeks of summer, here are three listening materials that are getting good mileage on our trips:

"Elmo and the Orchestra" by Sesame Street

 This Sesame Street CD has Elmo and Big Bird meeting up with an orchestra made up of "little birdies" who take them on a musical tour as Elmo tries to remember one very famous symphony he had heard before. The hubs and I appreciated the humor throughout... like the conductor, Leonard Birdseed and the famous pianist Barbara F. Seville... but this is probably the boys #1 requested listening in the car recently. K loves the "storm" piece (from Beethoven's 6th) and J loves the "fast drums" song (Khachaturian's Sabre Dance).   We got this out of the library, but will be purchasing it soon!

"Peter and the Wolf" (Book adapt. by Janet Schulman)

There is no shortage of adaptations of the story of "Peter and the Wolf." It is a tale set to music by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936 on a commission for him to create a 'children's symphony.' Although this piece was not received with much enthusiasm at its first performance (much to the composer's chagrin), it has continued to be performed and loved by children for many years and is one of the most popular pieces of music of the 20th century.

We've been listening to the narrated CD that comes along with this book. The illustrations are very folk-like and I love that the instruments assigned to each character are included throughout.
One spoiler for some will be that the story is adapted from the original... like, the wolf gets taken back to the forest, not the zoo; and the duck gets coughed up, rather than stay in the wolf's belly.
(I'll do a future post on more Peter and the Wolf options someday, I hope....)

"The Carnival of the Animals"  Text/Narration by Jack Prelutsky

Again, a very famous work for children, Saint-Saens "Carnival of the Animals" is a very creative piece with a variety of musical pictures that mimic the animals (or non animals.... like a piano). This book is narrated by the esteemed Jack Prelutsky (who also narrated the Harry Potter audio book series), with is admirable vocal inflections. The illustrations are intriguing and inviting, the rhyming text flows poetically, and the music is, as always, descriptive and joyful.

So, enjoy those long car rides and pick up a few of these to open up your kids' minds to the creative genius in these musical selections.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our National Anthem

We love the Olympics! The boys are especially getting more educated in the many varieties of sports there are out there. K's current favorite is water polo.... I think because it's a pool and a ball together in one event. Pretty exciting to a 4 yr. old boy.

As we watch the winners celebrate and take their places on the podium, I thought it would be a good time to introduce the boys to learning our National Anthem.

So, we had an Olympic morning...
During their reading time this morning we read a book or two about the National Anthem and practiced learning the last part of it by memory (Oh say, does that star-spangled banner yet waaaaaaa-ve.....  etc.  BTW, did anyone see Serena Williams' singles medal ceremony when the star-spangled banner did wave and flew away off the post holding it? That was funny.)

We also talked about why the athletes put their hand on their heart - to show their love and respect for their country. So, we practiced singing it with our hand on our heart (or wherever J thought his heart was...)

Then we commenced the events!

Making medals.....
 Having "super-fast" races...
Soccer shoot-outs....
 Throwing challenges...

And a medal ceremony!
 ...where we practiced our National Anthem
Isn't J's face hilarious? That kid cracks me up.

Here are the books I got out of the library to use for helping the boys learn the Star-Spangled Banner - they're both great!

The Story of the Star-Spangled Banner by Patricia Pingry
This is a great mini-history lesson on where our National Anthem came from.
 The Star-Spangled Banner by Peter Spier
This one is a classic and has the verses throughout with wonderful illustrations. 

Have fun! Enjoy the Olympics and teach those kiddos their national anthem!