Archive for May, 2014


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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Lishy Lou’s Fabulous Fiesta Tips – Make It Musical – An idea to help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Lishy Lou’s Fabulous Fiesta Tips – Make It Musical
By Alisha Gaddis of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

I’m not Mexican, but my husband is- so our home is bilingual and multicultural, like so many of you out there.

But it doesn’t matter where you came from, or what your home celebrates- EVERYONE loves a party (and who doesn’t like burritos?!?!) Why not throw a Cinco de Mayo shindig with us- Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band?! We are celebrating the release of Aqui, Alla.

Here are the tips I use in our own home for the perfect fiesta:

1. Invite your most fun friends AND your most interesting friends. Sometimes, these are the same people, but oftentimes, they aren’t. Shake things up and invite different friend groups. Your kid’s soccer team would love playing with her Girl Scout troop. Mingle with magic!

2. Prepare delicious food and lots of it! Everyone loves to eat yummy treats! It doesn’t have to be pricey. Throw some chips in a bowl and use Lucky’s salsa recipe (see below).

3. Serve up something bubbly and make lots of toasts! Sparkling cider, fizzy water, champagne – anything that screams- LET’S CELEBRATE!! Toast people, events, and happiness.

4. Go for the theme. Hang lights and festive banners. Buy a piñata. Wear a fresh flower in your hair. Give the kids some maracas to shake (the adults will love those too!). Fiesta!

5. Always, always, ALWAYS have a dance party! Put one of the new songs from Aqui Alla (soon to be available via – and available right now on iTunes on your player of choice (“Viva La Pachanga” is my fave; it means “Live the Giant Party”), and dance your booty off. Not only is it a way to really feel joy surrounded by your family and friends, but it counts as your daily cardio, so you can eat more chips and salsa. ÓRALE!!

Lucky Diaz’ EASY Fiesta-ready Salsa Recipe:
1 1 1.5 oz. can Mexican stewed tomatoes
2 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 1 fresh Serrano or jalapeño chile
4 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
5 Dash salt and pepper

Add ingredients to blender or food processor – and you’re done!

Editor’s note: Alisha is an author and comedienne, married to Lucky, who was born in Miami, raised in San Antonio, and now lives in Los Angeles with Alisha and daughter ella.

Kidzmusic note: If you want to hear and purchase more great kids music, click here.

Aqui Alla

Aqui Alla

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