Monday, July 31, 2006

Buffalo Soldiers

About 30 minutes before the Do-Re-Me & You! reception began, I was standing in the marble halls of the Koury Convention Center when I saw this Buffalo Soldier coming my way. I had a camera in my hand. I couldn't resist.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ever consider posting a "kid review" of class?

This Web blog posts kid reviews of movies. How about filming some parents and kids, or just kids, talking about your Kindermusik class and putting it up online?

If you don't know how, give me a call and let's talk: 1-800-628-5687, Ext. 1905

(Thanks for the tip Jason.)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Looks like a megaphone to me

No new posts the next couple of days, off filming the Do-Re-Me & You! Convention with the camera you see pictured here. Still fresh off the press from the 48 Hour Film Fest, I say, "let me at'em."

Quick update: The team drew the mockumentary genre, which is good if you like Christopher Guest and Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman, The Mighty Wind, and Best in Show. No plot can be revealed until after the festival this weekend (which I'll miss, durnit) but I'll give you a hint: It's an East meets West picture about Richard Long, one of only three men in the United States who still practices an ancient Japanese custom.

Yuks all around, I tell ya.

Now, if I could just figure out how to use this camera....

Friday, July 21, 2006

What I do at Kindermusik

Hidden camera in my cube reveals what I do all day.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I promise, it's the cutest thing you've ever seen

Two-year-old Jessica's answer to this question:

Would you like to swim like a fish, or fly like a bird?

Are you teaching Sign & Sing this fall?

Rocking t-shirt? Check.

Session A & B? On sale in the Educator store.

Promotional videos? Check. (I recently uploaded a Sign & Sing video you can imbed to your blog or Web site).

Shop by educational philosophy

kido nyc. This online retailer of Montessori-inspired toys for children lets you shop by "educational philosophy." It's not cheap, though. This wooden music box costs about as much as an iPod. Still, all this open-ended searching and clicking and looking gave me a playful idea.

Make your own music boxes and have a montessori experience today (real cheap).

Produce recorded sound
This one is slightly harder because you'll need an old record. Take a sheet of paper, wind it into a cone and place a piece of tape on the seams. Tape a needle to the narrowest part of the cone. Set the needle onto your record, spin, and listen carefully. You can hear the sound.

Make a kazoo with a toilet paper tube and wax paper
Cut a small square of wax paper about one inch larger than the end of the cardboard tube. After doing that, wrap the wax paper over one of the ends of the tube and put a rubber band over the paper to hold it in place. Now, put the open end of your kazoo up to your mouth and hum a tune into it. Notice how the the kazoo buzzes and vibrates to amplify (make louder) the sound of your voice.

Water Chimes
Fill a set of glasses with different amounts of water. Eight glasses are enough to create an octave of eight notes.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"I love it when a plan comes together"

Only a few days until the 48 Hour Film Festival and a few "dream team" fellas gave the mighty "Heigh-ho" this morning. I've played with these guys in a couple of different bands, including a ska-funk-reggae band called "Mars Bound Mind," and the alt-country group "Jostle Lee."

The team:
Brett Beardsley.
Affable percussionist extraordinnaire. Brett does this grunt thing after every funny thing he thinks he says and it sounds like punctuation. He plays so loud he puts cotton in his own ears.
Brian Thacker. He has a doctorate in trombone from UNCG, and he also has studio in his backyard along with two bugling beagles. He makes his own didgeridoos out of PVC pipe.
Brad (I can never remember his last name). He's one of those funny pradoxes of a musician. He's a big, big man and he plays the flute. His main instrument is horn, though, and he teaches music at a middle school in High Point. He's a great music educator though, the kids are lucky to have him.
Jessi Hagood. She works here at KI and plays the clarinet, banjo, and smart remarks. Jessi will mostly be working on set as part of the crew, but we'll call her if we need her.

Introducing the new All Curricula brochure

Here's the cover of the new All Curricula brochure, available in late July (they have about 600 packs in the warehouse right now, so go ahead and order if you need them now).

We rewrote the new brochure to include offerings for Family Time and Sign & Sing. The headline reads "music to her ears," and features a genuine Kindermusik student from The Little Brown Music Studio. Darcie's husband, Jason Brown, took the photo. You can see more photos on Jason's blog, Revival Arts Studio.

PS--I've also uploaded this image to flickr so you can upload to your Web site. Did you know you can also order prints from flickr? Gee whiz.

Available for order on the Kindermusik store in late July.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Diorama drama: Arno Salters

Glimpse inside Arnol Salters world. The filmmaker incorporates a diorama style into his music-videos and the result is so nostalgic and quirky that I can't take my eyes off it.

Check out Arno's videos.

Make your own dioramas.
Have a video camera? A camera? Take pictures. Make up your own stories about what's happening inside and display your four-dimensional story-boxes on a nearby shelf. For musical story inspiration, check out the free story downloads from the Adventures camps.

FYI (for your inspiration)
Easy origami and color print-outs you can fold into butterflies, animals, and Hawaiian shirts for your characters. Print from a black and white printer and your little one can color in between the lines.

Fresh play-dough recipe.

Clean the pantry with these free materials ideas.

Neat dioarama designs to inspire you on flickr.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A study in Danny Elfman

Getting ready for the 48... now while I know I can't transform into Danny Eflman before then, I can dream.

I heart video egg, too: Videos over easy

Let's try something. If you blog using Blogger or Typepad, you can easily, automatically upload videos we've created here at Kindermusik. Try it out.

Here's how:

Go to
Sign on: kindermusik
Password: video

Click the video thumbnail
Click Share
Click the blogger icon
Enter your username and password
Click post
It automatically posts to your blog

Now I know that's a lot of directions. Enough direction to make my own eyes roll into the back of my head (I'm an experiential learner). So if you need help, call me:
800-628-5687, Ext. 1905

It can be done, you know. We tried it out this morning with Theresa's blog.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The sound of adventure

Over the next few weeks I'll be listening for the sounds of life, at least the ones captured in film, as a music writer for for the upcoming 48 Hour Film Festival. I've joined a talented team of writers, actors, producers, and production folks, and since we won't know what the film's genre will be until next Friday, I'm researching the sound of the possible outcomes.

One is adventure. I've accepted that I won't have a full-on orchestra for an Indianna Jones-style thing. Interesting, though, how Mission:Impossible gets it with bongos and a phased-out keyboard.

Here are the genres the team will choose from:
Holiday Film
Musical or Western
Road Movie
Sci Fi
Silent Film

I heart real rock art

I heart art, and I heart guitar, and I heart piano, and I heart Neil Young, and I heart Wolfgang's Vault. Arguably it's the largest, most comprehensive collection of vintage rock posters and tees.

You could get lost in there, so be careful.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Xander's Kwips

"The Book of Cool" captures on film the unmistakeable state of grace posessed by those who do truly cool things. The best part is that you can order the book, the 3 DVDs, and learn all 250 skills shown in all the little mini-videos throughout the page. And there's lots of skills to choose from: spinning pens, spinning ropes, breakdancing, skateboarding, card-tricking, bmxing, and rope-spinning.

Where do you stories come from? You.

Listen to, or share with your families, the musical story recordings featured in the new summer camps: Busy Days and Tell Me A Tale. One of my favorites is "Where Stories Come From," which is about a mother who rides a turtle all the way to the bottom of the sea to find stories to tell her own children.

You can copy and paste the links to these stories and email them to your families as free gift, or a special "thank you for spending your summer with me."

Golly-idea: Make it multi-media thank you when you add pictures, or videos, like the turtle video here. First, listen to "Where Stories Come From," then imagine you're riding underwater together when you watch a real turtle swim.

Where Stories Come From
The Bremen Town Musicians
The Clever Mouse Deer
The Six Blind Men and the Elephant
Lazy Jack
Busy Days

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I need a crayon. Or is it marker?

An article in Parenting online outlines the age-appropriate art materials you can put into a child's hand to develop drawing skills.

Um. Where's the pocket for the poopy pants?

Introducing the first diaper bag that doubles as a nifty zip-up vest.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Don't know what I'm saying? Read my mind.

"Words are the just the tip of the iceberg. Their meaning depends on the underlying social and emtional context. For example, 'Do you want a cup of coffee?' can mean 'Are you tired?' or 'Can we talk privately?' The meaning beneath the words comes from common experiences and the ability to 'read' a person's mind."

A multi-media explanation on language on leads me to wonder: Should robots take Kindermusik, too?

Imagine That

Enjoy new pictures posted to flickr, via the Kindermusik Educator blog, InJoy.

Psst, hey Injoy, want to comment about where you got the neat pictures posted on your Web site?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Crafty imaginations

I'm up early on a Saturday, checking blogs and what not before dropping myself into a carload full of surfers headed East for the beach. Ahh. Saturday. Sabado. By noon I'll be soaked in saltwater.

I found it irresistible, however, not to blog about this entry on Mollie's Greene's fresh milk delievered daily. She blogged about the craft blog whipup. Here, dozens of crafters all over the place share the blogging (the list of authors is on the right hand side) and the result is one of the most amazing collections of craft ideas and pictures I've ever seen.

Now, imagine this. What if you started a similar blog for the Educators in your program (if one or more teaches with you). What if your blog had several authors: creative moms, dads, aunts, and grandmothers in different towns. What if they shared some of the blog authorship. What if some of your families shared authorship? The Kindermusik blog injoy does this.

Enjoy your weekend, I'll be back on that day that starts with the letter M.

Gone surfing

Friday, July 07, 2006

Online music exhibits

"Maybe you’ve never really considered yourself very musical. Maybe you quit the flute three months after you picked it up. That’s okay. Music is in all of us, and even just by popping a CD into the stereo, you’re tapping into its power.These exhibits will let you mess around with music in ways you probably haven’t before. Headphones are recommended, or at least a decent set of computer speakers."


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Family Time Unit 2 - Here, There, Everywhere

If you want the code to imbed to your blogs and Website, email me: Also, what do you think of VideoEgg?

If we wanted perfect, we'd listen to the CD

"It's not, human," the singer said, pointing at the microphone, squirming on the piano bench at the one-woman concert last night at Greensboro's newest music venue, The Flying Anvil.

"She" is Cat Power, a Memphis soul-infused version of Patty Smith. At last night's show she and the sound man couldn't see eye to eye. She'd ask for more reverb, then it was less attack. What kept coming through the monitors made her absolutely sore in frustration. What's worse, she had absolutely nothing to hide behind on stage. It was only her, her piano, and what looked like a big brother's guitar she borrowed, but never returned.

She was clearly frustrated. The cement walls at the Anvil bounced the sound around and smacked her in the face again, and again, and you watched her wince every time it hit her. Crazy thing is she sounded absolutely beautiful. Even though she'd literally stop in the middle of the show and put her head down on the piano like Don Music, the frustrated puppet from Sesame Street, and apologize for it not sounding better.

"I'm ruining the show," she said and she'd nervously wipe the straight bangs from her eyes and smooth them back down again.

People shouted from the crowd: "You sound great!"

It couldn't appease her, though. No matter what you said she couldn't shake the critic in her head. All the shudders, winces, and contorted faces that it takes to hit that zone isn't always pretty, and I was grateful to take a seat to somebody's elses process. Reminds me how vulnerable music can be. Reminds me how it's more important to love music than master it.

Thank you Cat. It was a great performance. I'm sorry you didn't think it sounded better, but maybe Don could help you out.

Have a nice launch

Anybody in your house into rocket ships? This story with nostalgic illustrations includes instructions on making your own rocket.

Better idea: At $20 a pop for the book, you could make up your own story and follow these free instructions to make a rocket using water, a film canister, and fizzy tablets.

Xander's Kwips

Get ready to count down together from 10, 9, 8...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fourth of July

Just before it got too hot Tuesday, while the morning sun steamed every last bit of cool dew from the morning grass, I held my own musical service in honor of the Fourth of July.

I sat at my writing desk and taught myself Eric Merrill's version of "Blue Eyed Boston Boy," one of the best I've ever heard.

This old folk tune is about a promise made between two soldiers before a horrible battle. Whoever survived would write the other's loved ones back and home, and tenderly tell the news. Neither survived.

Something about the way this story is told, though, absolutely soars you above the whole scene, where you hover like an angel.

He was just a blue-eyed Boston boy
His voice was low with pain
I'll do your bidding comrade mine
If I ride back again.

But if you ride back and I am left
You'll do as much for me
Mother, you know, must hear the news
So write to her tenderly.

She's waiting at home like a patient saint
Her fond face pale with woe
Her heart will be broken when I am gone
I'll see her soon I know.

Just then the order came to charge
For an instant hand touched hand
They said "aye" and away they rode
That brave and devoted band.

Straight was the track to the top of the hill
The rebels they shot and shelled
Ploughed furrows of death through the toiling ranks
And guarded them as they fell.

There soon came a horrible dying yell
From heights they could not gain
And those that doom and death had spared
Rode slowly back again.

But among the dead that were left on the hill
Was the boy with the curly hair
The tall dark man that rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.

There's no one to write to the blue-eyed girl
The words her lover had said
Mama, you know, awaits the news
She'll only know he's dead.

Self-confidence in the scribbles

Is a great artist born or made? The question is on view in a new book, When We Were Young: New Perspectives on the Art of a Child, and exhibit at the Phillips Collection in Washington, where the childhood drawings of Picasso, Klee, and Van Gogh are on display. The picture here was drawn by 9-year-old Picasso.

“Early childhood is a formative period,” according to the story on “And Jonathon Fineberg (the book’s author) says that it shapes a personality, and that the preoccupations and interests in a child set a course for adulthood. That's something you can see in the work of American painter, Winslow Homer, for example.”

Fineburg says there is a subtle self-confidence in the line drawings and scribbles of the early works of famous artists. See for yourself on this online gallery of a child’s early works juxtaposed with the famous pieces later created in adulthood.

As for responding to a child's art, the best thing I ever heard was this: It's not so important to praise a child's work when they show you a picture. Instead, help them see the picture in a different way. Hold it up to a window, point out the colors, and name the colors. Say, "What do you think?" "Tell me about this." "Why did you use blue there?" "Thank you for sharing this picture with me." The point is to use the art for talking together, and listening, so the art produces a bond through discussion and a sharing of ideas, instead of praise.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July Parade

Kindermusik International employees celebrated the Fourth of July last Friday with a parade around the block. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream was served, with a heaping of creative displays of patriotic hilarity.

Pictured here are winners in the "Most Creative Float" category. I've uploaded a few more pix onto the Kindermusik flickr page.

48 Hour Film Festival

One thing you may not know about Greensboro is its growing reputation for independent filmmaking. Participation in national events like the 48 Hour Film Festival transform this little big city into a surreal scene. Filmmakers, actors, and crews drop onto the city sidewalks from seemingly nowhere, film a little scene, then pile back into the car like circus clowns and disappear.

There's good reason for comic chaos: Crews only have 48 hours to write, produce, direct, film, edit, and write the soundtrack for the film. No one knows what film they'll have to make until the first day of the festival, when crews draw little slips of paper that will define the genre and a few lines of diaolgue to get started.

The soundtrack is also composed right on the spot. Fun, huh? So if you or some musician you know may be interested in getting involved, see if there is a 48 Hour Film Festival in your town.

Greensboro's begins July 21.