New Music Perfect for the Classroom

Sing-a-Long History, Vol. 2: The Rocket Went Up! performed by The Deedle Deedle Dees
Target Audience: Grades 3 and Up

deedleReturning with their first album in five years, the Deedle Deedle Dees created another great collection of songs that are not only fun to listen to, but also teach something along the way. The 16 original songs in this collection span a variety of musical genres while celebrating real-life heroes. These heroes include Houdini, Ada Lovelace – the world’s first computer programmer, and swimmer Diana Nyad, as well as Charles Darwin and the early human, Lucy. Joining in on the fun is an ode to 3.14 in “Pi,” a fun sing-a-long honoring female astronauts in “The Rocket Went Up!,” and a rap battle for the ages in “Tesla v. Edison.” The songs on this album could easily be used as conversation starters, writing prompts or an introduction to the subject matters.

 

Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix Vol.1 Performed by The Whizpops!
Target Audience: Grades K to 5

whizpops-front-webWhile the focus of The Deedle Deedle Dees album is real-life heroes, The Whizpops! concentrate on songs filled with facts about some of the endangered wildlife of North America. Known for their science based music, The Whizpops! put their songwriting skills to work on 11 original songs that highlight animals such as the California condor, bison, the bull trout and the polar bear. Each song tells the story of a different animal, such as “Everything’s Better with a Mustache (Walrus Song),” with clever lyrics that weave facts about the animal’s habitat, life cycle and eating habits in in a way that feels like fun exploration. Adding to the revelry are several musical genres including a Bee Gee’s vibe on “Black Footed Ferret” and the reggae sounds detailing the life cycle of the “Monarch.” While this album is chock-full of facts and doesn’t shy from using words like carrion, metamorphosis and chrysalis, it never feels the least bit didactic. This collection would be a lively, informative addition to classroom units about animals.

Wake Up & Sing

Wake Up & Sing Performed by Red Yarn
Target Audience: PreS-Gr 5

red-yarn-wake-up-sing-hi-res-album-cover-495x400On his third album, Red Yarn proves once again what great music for children and families is coming out of the Pacific Northwest. For this outing Red Yarn, or as he’s commonly known, Andy Furgeson, brings the excitement of his stage show to one of his albums. Most of the songs in this collection are infused with an energy that is driven by Furgeson’s skillful way with the guitar and banjo. With a deft hand, Furgeson  takes traditional songs such as “Fourth Day of July,” and “Molly Cottontail” and adds a big dose of his own brand of folk-rock.

The album opens a little quietly with an original song, “Beautiful Day,” but quickly kicks into high gear with a cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Wake Up.” This is followed by several songs that would work well in storytime including, “If I had a Rooster” which kids will enjoy singing along with, “Clap Your Hands Together” which will get children moving and “Hop Little Squirrel” which will definitely help to get the energy out. Part of the beauty of Red Yarn’s music is the way that he takes songs that were often played for children using basic rhythms and crafts more complex melodies that challenge the young ear while still remaining accessible. It’s this fact that makes this album a great addition to any collection.

Take a listen to some of the songs mentioned above:

Check out some of Red Yarn’s puppet friends in his video for “If I Had a Rooster.”