My son has just started school and, having tendencies towards the the slightly neurotic, perfectionist alpha-mum type, at the back of my mind I’m thinking ‘what don’t they cover at school that I need to do at home?’. Apart from letting the boys run like dogs, it seems to be music. Apparently there’s not a lot of room for music in the curriculum which seems a darn shame. So I started to dig out my children’s music.
Now let me explain, I’m no chintzy nursery rhyme freak, I am talking decent children’s music. The Wiggles may have stolen the limelight but if you look hard enough there’s some brilliant independent music around.
Now I’m really no musician (despite my grandmother being a well-known organist for Welsh Male Voice choirs) but I could wax lyrical about this. An educational musician – Phil Davis – I know and author of the ‘Beat It’ series talks about beat competency (the ability to keep a rhythm, learned from hearing music with a strong beat and singing themselves) is one of the strongest indicators of future academic performance. I’m not educator so I couldn’t comment but since music and maths are so closely linked, I’m hedging my bets and playing Drum and Base really loud before school… No seriously but let me walk you through my kid’s music collection:
- Tatty Bumpkin– OK so I’m bound to say this as it’s the class I teach but really, lots of songs related to animals in different tempos, some drumming tracks to march/ play instruments along to, songs for jumping, relaxing, doing yoga to, snuggling with your mummy and all so adult-proof you could hear them several hundred times or more and still be as happy as a clam!
- Johnny Cash’s Children’s album – apparently very good…
- Charlie and Lola’s Favourite and Best Music Record
- Barefoot Books with music CDs – many of the books come with music CDs so you can hum along to Animal Boogie (down in the jungle, come if you dare, what can you see shaking here and there…). Magic Train Ride – folksy number, Port Side Pirates sea shanty, Farmyard Jamboree Chilean folk song…
- Putumayo Kid’s Range – world music around themes especially for kids – World Playground, Animal Playground, Asian Dreamland, Caribbean Playground etc tc
- Look around for independent artists – I found a great American one called James K with a great song about the seasons called ‘The Sun Comes up’, we also have a local musician with a CD called Music Fun with Play It
- Jack Johnson wrote the music for Curious George – the movie, it’s amazing, absolutely gorgeous for adults as well as kids
- ‘No’ by They Might Be Giants – these guys do kids concerts – at first they were put off by the fact that the preschoolers wandered about picking fluff off the floor during the performances! Quite American in feel but hilarious and ‘Where do they make balloons’ is a favourite… along with ‘Don’t Cross the Road in the Middle of the Street’
- School Building by Lympsham Preschool Fundraising team – a CD a friend produced to raise money for a school bulding for their preschool. Donated by artists around the world, it’s great and available on Amazon…
- Don’t forget you can (legally of course) download tracks from ITunes and the like for all your favourite films like Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz etc
- Singalong Songs with Names – bizarre CD my step-mother-in-law bought in a shopping mall stand which has famous nursery rhymes sung with your child’s name littered throughout!
- Hello Children Everywhere – cracking tripe (on second thoughts, make that ‘triple’) album with lots of old classics like The Runaway Train, Grandpa We Love You etc
- Music to Watch Girls By – not technically for children but which child doesn’t enjoy ‘Magic Moments’ or ‘Fly Me To the Moon’??
Please let me know which kid’s CDs you like!