Thursday, April 26, 2007

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Self-taught musicians

Richie Havens was so impulsively inspired by the musicians in GreenwichVillage, he taught himself to play the guitar.

Monday, April 23, 2007

They're all little stars

But every once in a while, a celebrity is known to show up in Kindermusik. In, Robert Zemecki's wife, Leslie, talks about balancing career, family, and Kindermusik.

Husband Robert is the creative director mastermind behind reality-infused-with-imagination flicks like Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, though he has since diversified into more dramatic fare, including Forrest Gump, for which he won an Oscar.

Regardless, it's all about process, not performance folks. Even if your dad does have a tiny little gold man over the fireplace.

Hat tip, KI employee owner Careyanne Deyo.

Simply brilliant

I love a good logo, and this one tops the list. It was created by two of my favorite people: Neil and Cathy Moore. The Australian natives and high school sweethearts now help support each other's growing musical schools, as well as raise their children in Sacramento, CA.

Cathy is a Kindermusik Maestro, and Neil has developed a revolutionary piano teaching method.

At first, I only saw the smile in the logo. But when I turned the monitor towards Erin to show her, she saw the music notation first.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Believe in Music

By now, you've seen the logo and the Web site for the 2007 Kindermusik Convention in Chicago. And I've been chomping at the blogging bit to post a picture of the logo. But when Erin Mazzeo's beautiful brown eyese blinked a look of disappointment when she saw a premature post on the blog, I agreed to wait.

What can I say about the logo? I love it.

Designer Dan Halpern spelled the word music using musical symbols. Here's a rundown of the musical symbols in music.

M is for Mordant―in music, a mordent is an ornament that means that the note is to be played in rapid alternation with the note below.
U is Fermata—indicates holding a note for a long time.
S is a Turn—It’s a kind of ornamentation in which you play the original note, then the note above, then the original note, then the one below, and then the original note again. You can play the Turn at any tempo you wish.
I is a Natural clef—used for pitchless instruments, such as percussion.
C is Cut time—indicates 2/2 time, also called Alla breve.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Please sit down

Someday, I'll learn the story behind "Super Simple Songs." This very creative early education-duo somewhere-not-in-the-United-States puts out some very creative songs and teaching tips on their You Tube channel.

This one does for sitting down for storytime, what the "Clean Up" song does for clean up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

Can you find the four-leaf clover?

Mollie Greene once wrote that her husband Ernie has a particular affinity for finding four-leaf clovers. Since then I've been trying to cultivate the skill myself, with no luck.

Jessi, who works here at Kindermusik, apparently has the talent, and posted proof on her blog. Jessi has been snapping pictures a lot lately, and we all benefit from seeing things her way.
Every once in a while she bugs me to write her a song. It would likely take 1,000 words to sing of such a picture like her.

Friday, April 13, 2007

John is The People, Yes

Voting was supposed to close today for The People, Yes. Due to technical difficulties, they've extended the deadline to Monday, April 16.

If the funding comes through, people like John will have a place to share their stories.

Vote here.

Eddie Condon on You Tube

"We're going to kick this off, now are you ready boys?"

My great, great, something or other, Eddie Condon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's still humor, even if it's dark: Kurt Vonnegut

"People are waiting to find out what your computer can do next year. To hell with it—find out what you can be."
Kurt Vonnegut

What's another word for no?

"The average toddler hears 'no!' or receives a stern look or swat about every 9 minutes of their waking day. Those particular adult reactions to toddler behavior sends the toddlers hind brain into action. The prefrontal lobes do not get enough practice. Those new neural connections aren't being used much.

"How can you say NO! without saying no?"

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sing your story; save your culture

"Today, the Garifuna people live in isolated communities in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Palacio's latest album, Watina, is an attempt to document and spread his people's unique culture."

Listen to the sounds, and read the story, on

In good company: Ladies Sing the Blues

I once said that Kindermusik saved my life. No joke. Almost 5 years ago I was in a 2-year slump. Not playing music, not writing, not creating. Just sitting on my couch watching Fox 8.

Somehow, I had surrended to the notion that if I couldn't perform music perfectly, and better than anyone else, I may as well not do it. When they hired me here, at Kindermusik, I discovered a new musical philosophy--that it's better to love music than to master it. Only then did I find a well of creativity that I hope to draw from the rest of my life.

Here's more proof. In May, I'll stand shoulder to shoulder to some fantastic local musicians--all women, for the "Ladies Sing the Blues" event: Laurelyn Dossett, and Martha Bassett.

Good thing I got off the damn couch.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I need your help

"If I had more time
I could do more for myself
and maybe for others.
I could read and study
and talk things over
and find out about things.
It takes time.
I wish I had the time."
--excerpt, Carl Sandburg, The People, Yes

Many people in Greensboro (your city, too) don't get a chance to sit at their computer keyboards, wrists raised like a piano-player, and compose. They don't share pictures of their grand-children. Put their music online. Make friends. Write a business plan. Write poems, or get involved in the online conversations that could, and will, change the course of their lives.

Until now.

A new initiative, The People, Yes, is working to do just that. Sean Coon is currently applying for funds to make such a project possible. Only the funds will be granted with the help of a voting process. Please go online, register, and vote for the TPY.

The whole point is to provide a place that will bridge the digital divide, and provide technology to give a voice to the voiceless. Not only the homeless, but people too caught up in the day-to-day, too time starved and discontent, to benefit from the world of technology that is changing the world and going on without them.

For inspiration, watch the video, and heart felt reading of the Carl Sandburg's poem that inspired it all, The People, Yes.
You can vote here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Red Raven

These were cardboard children's records with the animation printed right onto the disc itself (later versions like the one above had the animation on the label of regular colored vinyl). The Red Raven included a little mirrored device that you pop onto the turntable's spindle that reflected the animation in such a way that while the record plays you get to see a little cartoon.

The effect is rather hypnotic (the mirrored device is an ersatz praxinoscope for all of you optics junkies), and a neat addition to the typical children's fare on the record itself. Sixteen Magic Mirror Movie records were released by Red Raven (making for 32 animations of course).

Hat tip: Debby Long

Irresistible Principles

"Don't take life so seriously. Nobody gets out alive."

Have a great weekend.
Hat tip:

We'll help save you a spot by May 9

Months ago, I hit a local Babies 'R Us store and headed straight for the "Baby Registry" terminal.
In the pursuit of a gift for a friend's new baby I had the idea: What if I could buy a semester of Kindermusik on here? Better yet, what if new moms could register for a Kindermusik class just like they do the onesies, or twosies, or threesies.
We're working on it. And with May 9 fast-approaching as the deadline for Educators to sign up and save a spot for our 3rd national promotion with Babies 'R Us, there are a few stores yet with an open spot.
Check and see if a store near you is open for this event, and learn more about it here.

Electric guitar made from Nintendo NES

An old Nintendo NES is reborn as the NESPaul. See the transformation.
Hat tip, all day long to Debby.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

If Kindermusik were KIndy rock

From the Smithsonian music label: Elizabeth Mitchell, You are My Little Bird. (I still, really like our version of "Little Liza Jane" best).

It holds a collection of folk songs that one researcher warns are fast-disappearing from the mouths of today's babes. Why should anyone care? Because America's folk songs tell the story of our ancestors, their struggles, their plight, and their delights. It provides a connection to the past that you can't find in a history book, or a oral report.

Plus, I appreciate the CD's simple arrangements, laid back vocals in a key I can sing: A flat.

Two full months of kite-flying weather ahead

Smithsonian for schools

Smithsonian introduces a new site where teachers can access local and national resources on education. With mandatory preschool and No Child Left Behind, states are tasked with writing their own guidelines to determine if their pre-k programs are successful.

See what preschoolers in your community will have to be ready to learn in kindergarten when you search your own "State Standards of Learning."

If you blog, or send newsletters, this is great information to share with parents in your program.

I can't help but feel squeamish over the whole thing, though. I'm torn somewhere between feeling sympathetic for parents who may feel overwhelmed by pressure to get their kids ready for school. At the same time, reality is, these standards are putting a lot of pressure on the schools themselves.

The balance, for me, is found in giving parents good information about what's ahead so they can truly be their child's first and most important teacher. Then, giving them access to programs and information that lets their child be a child, while preparing them for the world of idiots that lay ahead.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Homemade guitars

Basic instructions:

1. Take a shoebox and cut a hole in the top.

2. Place several large rubber bands of various widths around the box to make a guitar.

3. Keep in mind: Plucking of the rubber bands causes them to vibrate producing various sounds. The thicker the band, the lower the note. The thinner the band, the higher the note.

Other ideas:

Oil can guitar.
Another option.
Who knew? HGTV.
My favorite.
All the pretty flickr pictures tagged homemade guitar.

April is International Guitar month

That could very well be the most un-cool looking picture of a woman playing guitar that I've ever seen.

Celebrate with a guitar near you.

Bo Diddley on Ed Sullivan

Bo Diddley

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There isn't a toddler in the world who could resist jamming to this rhythm.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Nanci Griffith and John Prine

A friend sent this to me. Both are singer/songwriters that I've been trying to avoid. Don't know why. But the lyrics in this song have changed my mind.

See any eggs?

Kindermusik with Katy and Kathy post pictures to their blog and flickr account from their Easter Egg Hunt.
I'm not sure the eggs here, quite qualify as "hidden," but I'll bet she had fun.

Spring is here

Has this email arrived in your email inbox yet? If so, check it out.
FREE Enhancement Activity Guide for Creatures in My Backyard
Enhancement activity ideas for all summer camps
Shop new Enhancement product bundles to use this summer in the classroom. Look in the "Instruments, Replacements, and Extras" under each curriculum to find the new ideas.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Music and sports

1931: Louis Armstrong sponsors a New Orleans semipro team called Louis Armstrong's Secret Nine.

1938: Fred Astaire tees off a series of golf balls in rhythm, pausing only for a fast shuffle between strokes as Dr. Tony Flagg in the musical Carefree.

1963: Before becoming heavyweight champion, Cassius Clay releases an album, “I am the Greatest,” singing, “Here I predict Mr. Liston's dismemberment. I'll hit him so hard he'll wonder where October and November went.”

1970: After winning the heavy weight championship, Olympic gold winner Joe Frazier hits the road with a Memphis-style soul revue, Smokin’ Joe and the Knockouts.

1974: Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley promotes 11-year-old batboy Stanley Burrell to honorary vice-president of Oakland A’s. Sixteen years later, Burrell records top-selling rap album of all time “Please Hammer Don’t Hurt ‘Em,” under name M.C. Hammer.

1985: Country musician Mike Reid, a former Cincinnati All-Pro defensive lineman, is named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year.

1994: Rod Steward pays $100,000 to have a soccer field built next to his home.

1995: Critically acclaimed jazz bassist and NBA veteran power forward Waymon Tisdale signs a 7-album deal with MoJazz records.

1996: Project Rhythm blends sports and music and is sponsored by Rogerick Green, a corner back for the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars.

1997: Music and sports camps are turning up with the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s program, Jazz Sports.

1999: Jose Carreras, one of three tenors with Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, jokes shortly before a performance preceding the World Cup in France, “We’re singing in Paris in the hope of getting seats at the final.”

2000: L.A. Lakers play Kobe Bryant releases “Visions” in 2000.

Sports psychologist, Don Greene prepares musicians to audition to the New World Symphony

2001: The first African American to claim a United States vaulting record, Laurence Johnson, releases jazz vocal CD “It May Be Right.”

Sources: Sports Illustrated, 5/24/99 Vol. 90 Issue 21. Rock ‘N Roll is Here to Play
Saturday Evening Post, July/August 1996 Vol. 268 Issue 4 p. 15
Rolling Stone
No Fear: Sports Trainer Don Greene Demystifies the Stage Jitters, Strings, April 2000, p. 60, 62.)