Music for Children

Music Review: Grammie's Greatest Hits

April 6, 2009

Grammie' Greatest Hits CDWhen it comes to music for small children, sometimes it's refreshing to listen to good old fashioned kids' tunes, the kind that have stood the test of time and remained popular for generations. Not that we don't love some of the edgier, more hip kids' musicians out there, but there are only so many alt-rock style song about cleaning your room that a parent can take. We were pretty happy to get our hands on a review copy of Grammie's Greatest Hits, a CD of classic children's songs performed by a real-life grandmother (Renee Longstreet, the "Grammie" of the CD title) and produced and recorded here in Marin by local producer/songwriter Ken Adams.

Book (and Music) Review: My First Classical Music Book from Naxos

March 23, 2009

My First Classical Music Book from NaxosOne of the best and certainly one of the most innovative classical music labels out there is Naxos, the producer of budget price (but definitely not low budget) recordings. I'm a big fan of Naxos—we often play their CDs here at home—as well as a classical music enthusiast who tries to instill an appreciation of it in my children, so when I got ahold of a copy of Naxos' new My First Classical Music Book , I was pretty excited.

In case you're not familiar with Naxos, they issue low priced CDs (and downloads, available via iTunes) of everything from the standard classical music repertoire like Beethoven's symphonies to cutting edge modern music to really arcane but wonderful period instrument performances of baroque and renaissance music. They eschew slick graphic design and fancy marketing campaigns in favor of great recording quality and top notch performances. I like them because you can build a quality basic music library for not much money, and can take a chance and explore new areas of music without investing too much capital.

It's a Holiday Concert with Tim Cain and More at the Marin Center

December 15, 2008

Bring the kids to the Dream Circle Holiday Concert tomorrow (Tuesday, December 16), featuring an all-star local lineup including Tim Cain, Judy Nee (AKA Miss Kitty), Cindy Cohen, and Christopher Smith. This holiday family performance will feature songs from their It’s a Holiday CD that includes music for a diverse lineup of winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year. There will be 2 shows, at 9:30 am and 11 am, at Marin Center’s Showcase Theater in San Rafael. Advance tickets are required: (415) 457-4878. The Showcase Theater is located at 10 Avenue of the Flags (off Highway 101) at the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael. For directions, go to the Marin Center's website. Read our review of the Dream Circle CD here.

One of Marin's Favorite Children's Musicians: Tim Cain

November 5, 2008

Tim CainOne of the most well known and popular children's performers in Marin—and Northern California—is Tim Cain. Tim and his guitar have entertained and inspired countless numbers of children and parents over the years, and he can be found performing at venues throughout the Bay Area. We asked Tim a few questions about his background, his music, how he got started performing for children, and his new CD with his band Dream Circle, It's a Holiday. (We'll review the CD in a later post.) You can learn more about Tim as well as sample and buy his music on his website, www.timcain.com.

Inspired "Little Songs" for Children

October 6, 2008

Brian Vogan: Little SongsWe recently had the chance to listen to the new children's music CD Little Songs, by Seattle-based songwriter, performer, and early childhood music educator Brian Vogan. It's a neat compilation of mellow, original, indie-rock-inspired tunes about the things kids care about, but, like all the cool kids' music we review, done in a style that appeals to both little ones and their parents. (In other words, it won't drive you nuts like some kids' music out there. In fact, you'll probably like it a lot.) It's highly recommended if you and your kids are fans of music from artists like Dan Zanes, They Might Be Giants, Mr. Oscat, and Frances England.

Favorites in our house include Racecar, the harder rocking Firefighter, and the catchy That's How a Pumpkin Grows, which of course is especially appreciated at this time of year. The songs on Little Songs were inspired by the interess and ideas of the children Brian teaches in his role as a music educator, so they're guaranteed to appeal to preschool-age children.

Family Concert at the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition

June 2, 2008

Renaissance faire musiciansEvery two years UC Berkeley presents the Berkeley Festival and Exhibition, a week-long celebration of early music featuring renowned musicians from around the world. Early music, if you're not familiar with the term, refers to music from the middle ages through approximately the end of the 18th century, played on instruments of the period and using period performance practice. While much of this may not be all that interesting to kids, they usually present at least one family friendly concert.

Betsy Stern: Unique and Fun Music for Children

May 27, 2008

Betsy SternIn our second in a series of interviews with Bay Area children's musicians, we talk to singer and instrumentalist Betsy Stern, who's  jazz- and world-influenced music for children and families can be heard at live venues throughout the area, such as Novato's Playtime Safari, and in her new CD Foyo. In fact, we're giving away a free copy of Foyo, courtesy of Betsy Stern, to one lucky visitor to this site. To enter the drawing, send an email to //contests@marinmommies.com">contests@marinmommies.com with the word "Foyo" in the subject line by midnight on Sunday, June 1, 2008. We'll select one winner at random on Monday, June 2. 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your new CD.

Musical Mornings with Enzo Garcia

May 9, 2008

Enzo GarciaOne of the things our family loves is music, and in the Bay Area there's no shortage of skilled and talented musicians who specialize in performing for children. One of the most popular performers in both Marin and San Francisco is multi-instrumentalist and singer Enzo Garcia, who has been delighting children and their parents with his "Breakfast with Enzo" for over five years. In what he hope is the first of a series of interviews with area musicians, we asked Enzo some questions about himself and his music and why he loves doing what he does.

Music Together: Nuture Their Inner Musician

April 28, 2008

Are you looking for a fun music class for your child? One popular music class is Music Together of Marin, a family music education program for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and their families and caregivers. Beth Crespan, a former preschool teacher, started her business 10 years ago, and offers ongoing classes in Ross, Mill Valley, Corte Madera, and San Anselmo. One of Beth’s goals is for students to bring the music home that they learned in class and share it with their families.

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