Concoctions

Concoctions Dan Crow Kids Music Album

Dan Crow: Concoctions

Some time ago I heard Bill Nye The Science Guy say we need more engineers, and it got me thinking about the impact of this statement in today’s world. At the same time, by coincidence, a good friend entered college to study civil engineering, a niece began her studies in microbiology and a cousin is majoring in computer science. These are three outstanding young women pursuing careers in areas dominated by men.

Considering that most of my work as an educator and singer/songwriter is directed toward elementary-age children, I decided to create a project supporting the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum. It is intended to use music, and specifically songs, to excite the kids into thinking about how much fun it could be to learn about these fields and, who knows, maybe think about STEM careers.

The songs became a CD and the CD is transforming into animated videos hosted by a young scientist we call Anny Dallshouse. All this is directed toward children and their families. The goal is to help create a new batch of inspired boy and (especially) girl STEMSTERS!

The challenge in producing this CD was to write songs with catchy lyrics and musical arrangements that are sophisticated and still kid friendly. Thanks in large part to a masterful arranger and producer, Jimmy Hammer, I think we succeeded.

This is truly a labor of love motivated by some exceptional young woman. So thank you girls, and everyone please enjoy our tuneful CONCOCTIONS!

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Fun New Songs for Earth Day – By Beth Blenz Clucas

REPRINTED FROM NW KIDS MAGAZINE

If it’s spring, it’s time to clear out, clean up and generally get rid of “Too Much Junk.” A new single by New York electro-pop artist Elska might be just the inspiration you need to clear out those overfilled toy boxes.

The single was produced with Wilco artist Mikael Jorgensen and it is available HERE. The “Too Much Junk” music video was just released, too!

Another thing to think about now that the days are brighter and warmer is how to get all of those device-plugged kiddos outside for some good old-fashioned vitamin D. Portland tunester Cat Doorman has the right tracks to the outdoors, with her new digital EP “Calling All the Kids to the Yard.”

These poppy songs manage to be smart and sweet at the same time. You’ll be amazed at her rendition of the classic children’s song “All the Pretty Little Horses,” too.

A band I love from L.A., Earthworm Ensemble, is a group of alt.Americana artists who have played at Alberta Rose Theater as the band I See Hawks in LA.

Catch a sampler of their songs here, and check out the Earthworm Ensemble website and CDBaby.com for album release news on April 21st.

All of these are super song choices for your spring break road trips, too.

Guaranteed not to drive you mad.

Let us know what you’re listening to this season

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As The Crow Flies CAW # 23

Dan Crow

Dan Crow


As The Crow
Flies
Caw #23

Spent two weeks in Napoli
In Roma and Capri
A lovely time in Sicily
A place I love to be

Pam and I in Capri, Italy

Pam and I in Capri, Italy

In Naples I did several shows
And had good times with friends
The Eisele’s and de Luca’s
The meal never ends

Dinner with The De Luca's and other friends

Dinner with The De Luca’s and other friends

You start with anti-pastas
Linguine then some fish
More pasta then some barbecue
And I love every dish

And though they speak Italian
My Spanish helped me some
We all love to laugh and sing
No matter where we’re from

Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples

Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples


Went to Mount Vesuvius
And the city of Pompeii
Volcanoes are so common there
Like Etna by the way

I saw Monte Cassino
Where a Dad was in the War
The gray Volturno River
And the Bay of Naples shore

I like Italian culture
The language and the food
But most of all I love my friends
They help my attitude

Pam and Paul Eisele in Naples, Italy

Pam and Paul Eisele in Naples, Italy

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Big Block Singsong Volume One – A Review By John Wood

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A Comment from Regina Kelland – Owner of: To Market Kids

Reggie KellandThere are a lot of weird people out there and I’m proud to say I’m one of them. One of the best parts of being human is our differences – and that is what bullies try to take from us. October is Bullying Prevention Month spotlighting how to deal with and prevent bullying.  Supporting good character choices is a big part of averting bullying and I have had the pleasure of marketing Dave Kinnoin’s (a singular character if ever there was one!) last three CDs all focusing on this theme – his latest, The Best in Me, was reviewed here https://blogopottamus.wordpress.com/2013/09/.

But here, instead of writing about bullying itself, I decided to share some ideas on celebrating our distinctiveness, reveling in our own peculiarities and taking back our joy from those who would try to trample it.

Here are some ways, from the silly to the significant, to stand up, be counted and reach out – as a fellow oddball and as a caring member of the human race.  I have done most of them, some often.  I’m sure there are more each individual can add to their own personal list.

  1. Smile at a stranger. Some will wonder what you are up to and for others you will make their day.
  1. Dance in a supermarket aisle. A little boogie among the cereal boxes goes a long way.
  1. Put money in a meter that is about to expire (other than yours).
  1. Wear mismatched socks. (You do that already?  Good for you – even if it is by accident.)
  1. Compliment a stranger on their clothes, hairdo, tie, shoes, car, whatever.  The smile you get in return is often dazzling.
  1. Stand up to mean-spirited postings on social media.  We cannot expect that someone else will do it – we all must.
  1. Reach out to someone you think may be being bullied. A kind word of encouragement can make a big difference.
  1. Contact your legislators and ask them to support anti-bullying legislation and to not support other legislation that infringes or takes away the rights of others.
  1. Feel good about yourself. You’ve earned it – and some ice cream.

What, you were expecting 10?  That would be too – what’s the word – normal.

Regina Kelland is the owner of To Market Kids and has had the pleasure of promoting children’s music for the past, let’s just say, very many years.

For More Anti-bullying songs check out the artists at Kidzmusic.com

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The Top 10 Ways To Make Music With Your Kids – by Alex Mitnick!

I’ve been entertaining kids for 10 years and teaching kids music for even longer. I’ve been a Dad for 16 months, and according to my wife, I’m a serious noise maker! Needless to say, I like having fun with music.

Here are 10 easy ways that you can introduce music into your child’s life.

1) Get up and dance.
Kids can hardly sit still while music is playing. They just bounce and move and shake and spin to virtually everything they hear! Personally, I’m not a great dancer. I’m a really good side-to-side two stepper, and if there’s a good beat my head will be bobbin’ up and down as well — but that’s about it! The good news is, my limited dance moves can last a pretty long time with my son Miles. Getting up and moving to the music is a great way to connect with your child. Maybe a little dance segues into a quick hide-and-go-seek game, or an attack of the claw on the couch. Take it wherever it goes, but it all starts with moving your body. So get up, and get down!

2) Turn off the TV. Turn on the radio.
I definitely think there are some great TV programs for kids — including my own! — but we all know that it’s all too easy to just turn it on and leave it on. We are visual creatures, and the TV can steal away our spontaneity and creativity. So turn it off! There is no greater way to fill the air with something joyful than to put on some great music — audio only. It gives us the comfort we need and the connection we crave, while leaving us free to be active and engaged with our environment. It’s that simple: Turn off the TV, and turn on the radio!

3) Just sing! Make up songs without words and play games.
After mama’s heartbeat, the very first sounds that children get used to hearing are their parents’ voices. Your child will love your voice even if you don’t — this is the ultimate judgment-free zone — so sing your heart out! With really young kids, singing in a soft, quiet head voice can be very soothing. My son primarily vocalizes using baby talk, and I’ve gotten into the habit of making up songs using his sounds. When we go out for walks, I just start making funny, repetitive rhythms of sounds, and sometimes he starts mimicking what I’m doing. I’ll listen for any phrases that he’s really grabbing onto and repeat them. If he changes his sound, I’ll begin mimicking him. It’s a great way to get him ready for real conversations. Changing the pitch of my voice (or the dynamic and timbre) often cracks him up! I’m sure I seem like a nut job to those passing us by, so I usually do this when no one else is around. Kids love these fun echo games, which also foster language development at a very early age.

4) Play music that you enjoy as much as your child.
This is really crucial. For better or worse, children will learn everything from watching you, so what are they going to learn if you seem annoyed while they’re listening to music? There is no need to play music for your kids that you yourself can’t stand. (This is why I’ve always insisted on making kids music that adults can enjoy, too.) Anything with a fun beat and a sing-able melody will do! Kids will love what you love, so don’t kill yourself by listening to Old MacDonald over and over. Put on that P-Funk album or some old-time bluegrass. Rediscover the old classics, like Motown or the Beatles. Whatever you like, they will like. Start early, and save yourself from hours of musical torture!

5) Break out those old instruments.
I played the trumpet in high school, and I’m kicking myself now for selling my old horn. Not that I could play it very well now, but I wish I could dust off the old case and share it with my son today. If you play the guitar or piano, or if you have an old violin or clarinet laying around in the attic somewhere, now is the time dig it up! Your kids will have no idea that you can’t really play, and they’ll love seeing Dad march through the house with that old trombone, oompah loompah-ing his heart out! When the time comes for your child to choose an instrument to play, you’ll be glad you shared yours with them when they were young.

6) Go to concerts.
Summer is the best time to take your kids out to see live music. There are always festivals or concerts in the park or at the library. If you plan ahead, you can find events where kids don’t have to sit still in one spot, so they can play or dance or just romp around while live music is in the air. It’s great to take kids to a kids show, of course, but you shouldn’t hesitate to take them to see a Polka band or some fiddlers — anything upbeat and lively.

7) Recycle old materials into new instruments.
I’m not a very crafty person, but just about anyone can handle most of the craft ideas out there for making your own instruments. Take a paper cup and fill it with beans or rice. Tape up the top, and bam! — shakers aplenty. Old coffee can? Five-gallon bucket? Hello! Flip them over and bang away. Here’s a personal favorite: Take an old metal can and punch a tiny hole in the bottom. Thread a single guitar string through the hole, and screw on a narrow piece of wood, two or three feet long, to the side of the can. Attach the string to the top of the piece of wood and wind it tight around an eye hook (or a guitar tuning peg, if you have one). Pluck the string and change its pitch by slightly bending the piece of wood. Boing … Boing … Boing … Canjalele! Scissors and tape not your thing? No problem – just open up the cupboard, and you will find a plethora of interesting-sounding and -looking things to bang and play to your heart’s content. Exploring textures and sounds with different materials can be a really creative activity. What do wooden objects sound like? Metal? Plastic? Organize them into groups, or make up patterns that combine them. Here’s the easiest way to get started: Play a steady beat, and then stop! — like in a freeze dance. Simply learning to start and stop together is a big step!

8) Go to a music class.
In the last 10-15 years, music classes for babies and toddlers have popped up all over the place. These mommy-and-me-style classes either traumatize participants or introduce them to a lifetime of loving music. A lot of these programs are pretty great, but it really comes down to the individual teacher, so start asking around. Nothing beats a personal recommendation, and most of the classes out there offer a drop-in trial class, so go check them out and sign up! And when the teacher asks you to sing along, do it!

9) Turn everyday things into a jam.
After our baby was born, my wife made up this little song she would sing when she brushed her teeth: Brush, brush, brush… brush, brush, brush … brush your teethers … brush your teethers. Now, our little son Miles sings this little tune every time he sees us brush our teeth! More often than not, he happily grabs his little toothbrush and brushes his teeth to the song, too. By making everyday things into fun little jams, we can save ourselves a lot of stress, as our children learn to associate the mundane chores of life with something fun and expressive. Music makes everything more fun, so take advantage of that and get jamming!

10) K. I. S. S. – Keep It Simple, Sweetheart
With all of the top 10 lists out there it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. There’s no immediate need to fill every moment of your child’s life with musical activities or to go out and buy a ton of instruments. Like music itself, it should all feel easy and natural. So keep it simple. Pick one activity and try it just for a few minutes here and there. Wake up one morning and put the radio on first thing. Clean up the kitchen and bang out a little ditty with the serving spoon. Sing a song you know out loud! Do the twist to “The Twist”! Most importantly, have fun and enjoy yourself!

Check this out for more great kids music

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MAKE IT A MUSICAL MOTHER’S DAY – 5 TIPS FOR MAKING MUSIC WITH YOUR KIDS – by Suzi Shelton

Make It a Musical Mother’s Day

5 Tips for Making Music with Your Kids, by Suzi Shelton

 

As a working mom, it is really important to me to spend as much time as possible with my kids. On the weekends, sometimes this means going to the park with our puppy, and sometimes this means that they have to come to work with me.

 

Suzi and Sebastian

Suzi and Sebastian

My son Sebastian has been performing with me since he was a baby. Now at 15, he plays a variety of instruments, and was recently the emcee for my CD Release Party this past Sunday, where he charmed the audience with his style and finesse.

Suzi's band at Battery Park w daughter Emma

Suzi’s band at Battery Park w daughter Emma

My nine-year-old daughter Emma sings and dances with me as one of my backup singers, and my stepson Cole, at 6 years, plays harmonica and shouts out the words “Go, Fire Truck, Go!” for even the spectators in the back row to hear.

At these shows, I couldn’t be happier, or feel more proud that my kids are having fun with music.

 

Not every family shares this same opportunity to perform onstage together, but there are many ways to make music with your kids right at home. Making music with your kids fosters a curiosity and love of music, and also allows for real connections and family bonding.

Here are some fun and easy suggestions for making music with your kids.

 

1. Sing!

…and I mean sing about anything! Look around your kids’ room, or perhaps the kitchen or living room, and find things that are silly or interesting to your kids and – well, make up some words and sing! For example “I love peanut butter, I love cake, I love dumplings when they’re on my plate!”

 


2. Use Found Objects

We have used oatmeal containers as drums, chopsticks as great rhythm sticks, and plastic cups that make cool sounds when tapped on the table. Find some objects around the house and make up your own rhythm section to play along to your favorite music.

 


3. Down Time as Musical Bonding Time

The car is one of the best places for us to connect musically. When driving around from lesson to lesson, or while stuck in traffic, we always have a bunch of random CD’s on hand to pop into the CD player. Some of the music is my choice, and some of it (most of it) is what my kids want to listen to… but no matter what, try to connect with each other this way and turn down time into bonding time.

 

4. Keep Instruments Out

We have many instruments, such as a keyboard, drums, guitar, ukes, dulcimer and even a kalimba (thumb piano) that are always out and ready for someone to play. It doesn’t matter if you or your kids are not professionally trained – just having the instruments out to play is good for creating new songs and fostering musical curiosity. The lessons can always come when the time is right.

 


5. Have Fun!

Don’t think too much about it or try to plan too many goals for making music with your kids. Just go with the flow and have fun. The key is to connect with your family using music as your tool. Your kids will take your cues and will want to join you if they see that you are having fun.

 

A couple of Suzi’s songs are featured on this free download Mother’s Day playlist, too:

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