Saturday, May 27, 2006

Oh, how my fingers ache for thee

No guitar. No blog. I do, however, have a harmonica and a journal and lots of work to do.

Still. Almost a week since I've blogged and I've actually missed it! (Even odder is the exclamation point, I never use those. I like the sound of "even odder" together.)

Travelling this last week through Seattle, and now, in British Columbia, seeing Kindermusik Educators and talking with parents about the Kindermusik experience and how we can improve it--definitely has some up times. Downside, is well, the downtimes. That natural swing of the pendulum leaves behind a lonely feeling.

Those lonlier times were dashed and gone when I logged on and saw that Mollie, Darcie, and the other Educators were still blogging, posting this and that's about whatnot and whosenot. I've been talking to so many new people, that I've craved a little familiarity without the cost of a long distance phone call. I had no idea I'd develop such an ethical addiction to information.

Anyway, I've had some fun too, and I'll blog about the things I've learned about Kindermusik this last week because you'll find them very helpful to your teaching, and your business.

Check out a few of the things I've seen along the way:

Monday, May 22, 2006

Stuff that makes my heart race

More fun stuff on kiddley, via Mollie Greene.

Family Time video

Go to this YouTube page for a Web link and look in the "About this video" section on the right side for code you can use to imbed this video to your blog, or just copy and paste the links below.

Psst. If you're using blogger, click the "Edit Html" link, right next to "Compose" in the upper right corner of your Create page. Post the "Html" code directly on to that template, then publish.

Send more music (sites)

This morning, this email popped up in the Music4Kids email group.

"I live in an isolated area of Mexico and will be homeschooling my children, boy 10 and girl 16, for the first time next year. I bought several of the Classical Kids series to use as a music curriculum for my elementary students. Unfortunately, this is a very weak area for me and I need to supplement the series with some kind of introduction to music, e.g. vocabulary, reading notes, instruments, etc. Does anyone know of anything that might be helpful? Internet sites would be greatly appreciated. "

Richie Havens. He posts pictures and instructions for his self-taught chord shapes--a method he created by watching musicians in Greenwich Village. He shows tuning and chords for a beautiful version of "Here Comes the Sun" with one finger, in open D tuning. It's not theory, but it shows just how beautiful a sound can be when the learning is inspired by wonder.

Know any more? Link me up, or post links in the comment section. Also, the photo here was taken by Kindermusik CEO& President Michael Dougherty at a recent Family Time class.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Simply the best

So you know the theme for this year's Kindermusik Convention, right? Simply the Best. Well that's because, and forgive the marketing speak, but it's true, you're about to have the best possible experience ever. Life-changing stuff. Seriously. From "ballet lessons for your voice," to "music lessons for your soul."

So to kick things off we've started this new blog "Simply the Best." And over the coming weeks we'll ask you and other Kindermusik employee owners to make your own submission. Instructions are on the blog.

Have fun. Oh, and that's me playing ukulele, because I'm simply the best sidewalk laughing-ukulele player.

This is for you Xander

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Henry and Natalie: "I feel [my Dad's] spirit in me when I share this art with my children"

All I could see was a little face mashed against this huge camera. The six-year-old photographer, Henry, moved in with expert precision for a shot of a fish in a big blue tank at a local coffee shop. Mom, Natalie, stood quietly behind. She and Henry take pictures together all the time, she explained, while he handed her the camera and disappeared down the hall for the bathroom.

"He's had a camera since he was 3," she wrote today when we followed up over email. "He has a film Nikon N65 and he uses my digital D70s pro. He likes film because we process film together in our home darkroom. It is magic when pictures develop in the chemicals. My other son Joe, 8, loves shooting digital because he enjoys the Photoshop editing on the computer.

"I love spending time with them wandering, shooting, traveling and meeting people. My father was a photographer and I did the same type of thing with him. He died when I was young, and I have been professionally shooting for only a short time, but I feel his spirit in me when I share this art with my children."

Natalie is a professional photographer for a portrait studio in downtown Greensboro.

Idea: Next time you have a picture day in class, hand the cameras over to the kids. See what musical learning looks like from their perspective. Upload your pictures to flickr, and tag them Kindermusik, and post them on your Web site, or other places parents can see and share them. If you upload them to flickr, you can add to the growing number of Kindermusik photos now online.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entertain us: 2006 Kindermusik Convention

We've been talking a lot about this year's Kindermusik Convention and how it's going to look, and sound, a lot different than years' past. Pictured above is another example: Among the list of live musical performances you will hear in Greensboro this November is the UNCG Jazz Ensemble.

Not too long ago I'd hit the Green Bean coffee house on Monday nights when jazz players from UNCG, A&T would come and play. A straight-up jam where players rotated instruments, shouted page numbers from worn, dog-eared copies of the Real Book, and played real, loud, and sad. Trouble is the Bean canned the Monday improv session on account of not enough folks buying expensive beverages.

That's what I loved about the night. You could go in with empty pockets and leave full.

Register for Convention here.
Whether or not you buy expensive beverages is your choice. The band will play anway.

Helen, I've been waiting...

...and wondering when you'd start blogging again. Welcome back Kindermusik of the Valley.

Reassure a mother's touch

The greatest parenting power is at the tip of your fingers. Simply holding and touching your child has an emotional impact stronger than genetics, according to a new study.

Researchers at Columbia University wanted to know whether mothering tendencies are passed on through genes or experience. They found that through touch a mother can positively influence a child’s development of the love hormone—one that a child will later use when she nurtures and holds her own children.

Even if you think you’ve done nothing else right today as a parent, if you simply hold them, the rest will take care of itself.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Happy Mother's Day Mom

That's where the music comes in

My Dad would point out little doors like this and call them leprechaun doors. Now illustrator Jonathon Wright is making lots of little doors and calling them "fairy doors." Children in the Ann Arbor Michigan town "are leaving gifts for the fairies: pennies, candy, hand-knit socks made with tiny needles, teeny felt hats and fairy-sized coloring books," according to a story on

What about a music door? Make a tiny little door entrance near your studio and when the kids ask, "What's that?" You can say, "That's where the music comes in."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

fresh milk delivered daily

Mollie Greene's Kindermusik studio Web site and blog.

While cruising Technorati this morning Mollie's Web site popped up. I thought, "Neat-o." After a cruise through the links I noticed many a Kindermusik reference. Even neater was the sudden memory of meeting Mollie years ago, when I first started at Kindermusik. She was helping with a family night for Theresa Case in Greeneville. It was a big, huge family production and end-of-semester celebration featuring hoisery wizard and beloved dance caller Glenn Bannerman.

Good to see you Mollie.

Arranger profile: Jon Negus

When you listen this summer to new music from Tell Me A Tale, Kindermusik's newest camp for 4 to 7 year olds, you'll hear a familiar style. Jon Negus has been a longtime favorite arranger for Kindermusik. His distinctive sound animates children's songs and rhymes with comical percussion and clever woodwind accents. The sound overall is whimsical and delightfully musical. In this music clip, Jon explains in his own words the inspiration for the arrangement on one of "Tell Me's" more subdued tunes:

Go Well and Safely

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A new era

Now you can sample and download select songs from the Kindermusik archive in the new Kindermusik Tunes store. All songs are only .99

A few favorites:
The Water is Wide A standard in every hymnal (where Johnny Cash cut his chops)
Arkansas Traveller A little something for the toddlers
Rurru Spanish lullaby
Oh How Lovely Is the Evening A children's choir
That's An Irish Lullabye When my father was little, his father sang this song to soothe an earache

Play Mozart straight from his journal

Lisa Rowell, Kindermusik's Marketing Director, sent this today. You'll need shockwave to view it.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The sound of your voice

I've been trying to figure out how to work Audioblogger, but they're having some issues. It's basically a free feature where you dial a number, enter a pin, and record your audio message. It then converts your voice into a voice-podcast that posts automatically on your blog. That's the big idear anyway.

In a dreamy Kindermusik world: Imagine Grandma in Florida dials a number and sings "Frere Jacques" into a voice message recording. When she hangs up the phone, her voice message is converted to a .mp3 that automatically appears as a link on a Web site. Then every night, you and your kiddie, let's say you live in Verona, WI, go to that Web site where you can hear Grandma singing your little blinker to sleep. What if you could post that music to your slideshow on flickr., even better.

Know of any audio blogger sites? I've seen a few, but they all seem to cost something.

Idea engine cranking thanks to Sean Coon, a local activist and Web 2.0 visionary.


If there is a child in your house, I'd bet they'd like to see this.

Look! It's Kindermusik on Flickr!

Helen Peterson from Kindermusik of the Valley in Minnesota posted some of her Kindermusik pictures to flickr, a free, online photo sharing site. This platform lets you post pictures and put them into slideshows, flash badges, and share them online.

Check out some other Kindermusik pictures from around the world posted to flickr (including some pics snapped by Kindermusik's CEO Michael Dougherty at a recent Family Time class.)

Make your own flickr slideshow
Go to flickr.
Open a free account
Follow the instructions and upload the Kindermusik photos you have saved on your computer (with permission from the families).
Encourage families to post their own pictures from class.
When families post a photo, ask them to include “Kindermusik” in the tag.
Enjoy the show. You’ll see photos from families in Kindermusik classes around the world.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Indie-rock flavored kid's music

Welcome to Zooglobble, a children's music review blog that talks to the kid-heart in every adult. And three cheers for the new era in children's music that understands it's about helping parents and children find a common bond through music, not "when is she going to turn that crap off?" And thanks Darcie Brown for sending the article and just being an all around neat gal.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

One museum that never says "shhh..."

Right now its an online museum only with hopes for brick and mortar. Take a look and, of course, listen.

Kindermusik (and hope) floats

More about this float on The Partnership blog.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Photo tips

Sooner or later I'm going to ask you to send a picture of yourself. From experience, I know the idea sends you halfway around the world looking for a reason not to send one. You don't need to hire a professional photographer. Just a follow a few of these tips offered by Kindermusik Educator and fellow blogger, Darcie Brown. She ought to know, she's married to Jason Brown, photographer, musician, and fellow blogger.

Get nice and close ... focus on the face.

Have the subject angle her body away from you ... feet pointing away, but then turn her head towards you. It's just so much more flattering to not look like someone's doing a mugshot of you.

If you're feeling really daring ... you can try standing on something so you're looking down at her and she's looking up. It's great for bringing out the eyes and minimizing any potential double chins (most women are totally paranoid about that!). You could even have her crouch down and then shoot down at her.

Have fun being a photographer for a day.

Another creative reason to love the Web 2.0 Gen

The Logitech Web cam.

Thanks Ze.