Archive For The “Z Music Reviews” Category

Valentine’s Day Songs for Children plus Giveaway

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Photo Credit: Phil Onofrio

Photo Credit: Phil Onofrio

Happy Valentine’s Day

Let’s celebrate in Song and with a Giveaway!

So while some might be snowed in and celebrating Valentine’s Day in pajamas and sweats, other families are off to normal routines of school and work but we can agree that whichever scenario we’ve been blessed with – we all want to make Valentine’s Day special for our children.  So between cupcakes and lollypops, consider these really cute songs from Laura Doherty.

“Valentine” is offered on her “Shining Like a Star” album with other catchy kid’s tunes as “Rocket Ship” and “Hula Hoop” and a favorite of ours – “Ferris Wheel” taking us through all sorts of carnival or amusement rides.  Fun stuff.  Laura Doherty’s new collection is called “In a Heartbeat“.  And just in time for Valentine’s Day, the title track fits perfectly with a chorus that describes “when you love someone your heart beats like a drum”.  Love It – but have a listen for yourself, then hop on over to Amazon or CDBaby.com to purchase a copy for your family.  Check out the video – I couldn’t resist smiling with all the amazing photos folded into her message of love.  Awesome.

Laura Doherty is from the Chicago area but will be on tour in Philadelphia on March 1st.  We have a giveaway for a family four pack of tickets to her show at World Cafe Live in Philly.  Entry is simple:

1. Required: Leave us a blog comment telling us your favorite song from her “In A Heartbeat” CD after listening to the samples on her website.

2. Optional for additional chance: Tweet this giveaway and leave us a comment that you’ve done such.  #GIVEAWAY Enter to win 4 tickets to Laura Doherty children’s concert – #Phillykidsconcert @LauraDaura @HomeroomAtHome http://blog.homeroomathome.com/?p=1021

3. Optional for additional chance: Follow our Facebook page and Laura Doherty‘s Facebook page. Leave us a comment here that you are following Homeroom At Home and Laura Doherty.

4. Return tomorrow and everyday until Feb 22nd to retweet the above. Be sure to leave a blog comment that you’ve done such… each day. (Limit one additional chance per day for tweets.)

One winning family will be drawn at random on Feb 23, 2014.  Our giveaways are never sponsored by Facebook or Twitter. You increase your chances of winning by participating but are not required to “follow”, “like”, “tweet” or subscribe to be entered in the giveaway.

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post and contains affiliate links.  We were either compensated for this article or given complimentary product or tickets for review.  The giveaway is also sponsored.  All opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.
 

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Children's Music Review: The Cat's Pajamas

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Looking for an upbeat kid’s CD with a hint of more? The Cat’s Pajamas’ Backseat Driver album offers a variety of silly, dance-happy tunes.

From Drop Box

Funky Bear is a jazzy version of the Three Little Bears story and Humpty Dumpty makes it easy to sing along with traditional nursery rhymes. Driving In My Car and Just An Old Jalopy are care-free bop-along songs for fun.

Alphabet Soup is cute going through the alphabet with ingredients for soup and a nice alternative to the traditional ABC song. Building A Better World is a simple song with a strong message of community.

My two favorite tracks on this CD are “Take Time Out” and “How Many People in a Family”. “Take Time Out” holds a great message about staying in control of emotions in frustrating situations (ex: losing at baseball). Kids should have a release outlet for frustrations and this song offers a perfect backdrop for holding such proactive discussions – not that parents couldn’t use a small reminder too. I also really took to “How Many People In A Family” for a very personal reason. When my ex and I separated, I often viewed my single parent household as “broken”. And while this was heartbreaking and difficult, it wasn’t until I finally resolved that our mother-child status was in fact a complete family, were we blessed with the perfect addition to our family. Designed for children, but it sure brought me back and I wish I had come across this song many years ago, and perhaps it would have saved a couple buckets worth of tears.

The Cat’s Pajamas’ Backseat Driver CD can be purchased via Amazon or download individual songs here. Look for additional mention of their albums on Homeroom At Home.

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Inspiring Children's Art Appreciation Through Music

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Our mission started many years ago with the idea to introduce my five-year-old to fine art. He had an interest in US history, so I found ways to combine his curiosity with my desire to teach him some art appreciation. Of course, the idea grew from there and the seedling of Homeroom At Home was planted.

Many years later, as I continue to expand on this concept I’m overjoyed with the varying resources available to parents wanting to introduce fine arts to their children. One vibrant example is Hope Harris’ Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!) album, where eleven tracks keep kids entertained and curious about art and famous artists. Simply ingenious!

From Drop Box

You’ll find excellent dance rhythms and meaningful lyrics to engage and teach children. The title track is a favorite with its Spanish tone and emphasis on art being a true means of expression with lyrics such as “He painted his own way. Didn’t care what they might say. He painted from his heart. Making magic through his art.” A piece worthy of being named the cover. Find a clever Picasso online activity here for the kids.

Ms. Harris delivers a diversified collection of music and artistic focus. Artists include Georgia O’Keeffe, Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet among others. Each song will peak the curiosity of children and as such I’ve included some additional links to assist parents with introducing these artists and their famous works of art to kids. I particularly like the interactive site on Matisse and the cross-word puzzle for Grandma Moses.

As far as my favorites here, boy it’s hard to say but I love the soft flow of song 10: “Impression, Monet” and I particularly enjoyed “A-C-T-I-O-N” (track one) and just HAD to look up Jackson Pollock with the idea of “drip it, drizzle, flick it all the time”. Her song titled “Grandma Moses” was interesting in that at such a late age Grandma Moses just started painting, again Ms. Hope inspires with such an encouraging piece. Her eighth song introduced me to Romare Bearden and his unique collage technique. I love the song and this artist. From track to track you can’t go wrong and the diversity in artists Hope features is refreshing.

Sweet and simple, every child should hear “Paint a Picture, Too” encouraging them to try something new and believe in their talents. And in Hope’s words, “With Picasso, that’s Who! (And So Can You!) my goal is to spark curiosity and inspire creativity. I want kids to look at the world around them, be motivated to visit art galleries and museums, and to realize that artists are everywhere, making all kinds of art. I’d like to say to every child who hears this music, ‘Now it’s your turn…paint it, glue it, draw it, mix it, try it! All the artists on this albums did, and you can, too! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Use your imagination and have some fun.’”

Picasso That’s Who (ANd So Can You!) can be purchased via Amazon or downloaded via iTunes.

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Lessons of Respect and Differences

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“Someone Else’s Shoes”

Recess Music

With so much recent publicity on anti-bullying and harassment, I was so pleased to come across this Recess Music CD in the Best Foot Forward Series. “Someone Else’s Shoes” is an amazing compilation of 15 tracks with focus on being neighborly, kind and having self confidence. The title track sets the stage for the entire experience and remains my favorite song on the album. The lyrical variety and change in tempo and style from track to track makes for a very entertaining CD with a consistent and positive message. Song to song – you can’t help but tap your foot, sing along and feel genuinely warm.

As you move through the songs you’ll encounter a variety of themes, including anti-bullying, teamwork, differences and respect. The second track, Teamwork” speaks to being important; a song for emphasizing community and partnership with a great beat. For more good beats check out “Say Something Nice About Someone” surely a head-nodding kinda song and “There’s No Such Thing As Normal”. Nothing like dancing around to songs with such good meaning.

Personally, I enjoy the jazzy feel of the third song “You Hurt My Feelings” but more than that I appreciate the straight-forward approach to standing up for oneself. Along the same lines… “Please Stop Hurting My Feelings” lays it out there with focus on saying that even jokes hurt. From a message standpoint, my absolute favorite song is “Everyone Can See A Different Me” addressing the idea that people can change their ways. With so many conversations, news articles and policies addressing the victims and intolerable actions of bullies, this song sets the tone that one can change, apologize and become a better person. We just don’t hear enough of kids who’ve turned the corner and this is just as important a concept as prevention and reporting. I love this song – and will use it as a teaching point that everyone makes mistakes but those mistakes don’t have to be defining.

And for more perspective… check out “Be Nice To Old People” an adorable song reminding our young that older folks were once in there shoes. Kids don’t necessarily appreciate the older generation and certainly don’t think that they’ve shared experiences. This is a fun reminder. And lastly, let me mention my second favorite piece on this CD, “Just The Way You Are” an artistic song balanced with excellent vocals and simply pure message.

“Someone Else’s Shoes” belongs in every household with children. The CD hits the nail on the head in terms of understanding and appreciating differences and conveys this in a most entertaining manner. We toggle between listening in the car and listening in our playroom. Good tunes are a necessity for the car, but sometimes you just want to dance and I couldn’t think of a better message to bop around with and share. Amazon sells the CD for approx $10 or you can purchase individual songs.  Click here for listening samples and purchasing options.  Enjoy.

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Hullabaloo Review of "Raise A Ruckus" CD

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Hullabaloo’s new CD, “Raise A Ruckus” (set to release September 4th) is an awesome addition to any children’s music collection.  Right from the start we loved this collection.  The third song mentions chimpanzees and so was perfect for our recent Monkey Madness play date.  We played all sorts of songs having to do with monkeys, chimps, apes, etc and so naturally I was excited when I discovered that Hullabaloo’s “Look At You” would be a perfect fit and of course a playful hit.

I love the title track “Raise A Ruckus” as it is catchy and fun.  Sometimes (and especially at the tail end of summer) kids need to just let some energy loose. Actually most of this album serves that purpose… to just have a silly great time.  “Bit Her” is about a brother who bit his sister’s toe – just silly.  “Trash Is My Treasure” is an adorable story of a seagull that recycles food scraps for his meals.  He finds yum-yums in dumpsters and local trashcans – again silly fun nonsense.

“Out Standing” is a cute song about playing in the rain.  Great for a rainy summer day when kids are stuck in the house, although be fore warned… they might just prefer to follow the lyrics and stand in the rain.  haha

“Rocket Shoes” will be added to our Solar System lesson as an entertaining song to keep the theme light and fun.  It’s exactly the kind of thing I look to play while doing art and crafts, or to stay with the theme without being overwhelming. It is essential to mix things up between stories, crafts, music, museums and this little number is perfectly upbeat and entertaining to keep their interest.

“Raise A Ruckus” is just fun and appropriate for kids of all ages.  I’ll be swapping out some favs in the car for this one…. yeah it’s that good!! Hullabaloo has some upcoming concerts (although on the west coast) but be sure to check out their website for information on performances and the their other CD’s. Their website is http://www.Hullabalooband.com.

(Disclosure:  I was given a complementary copy of this album for review.  The opinions expressed here are strictly my own.)

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