With all the busyness of planning for the upcoming summer, our minds are filled with what books and other resources that we need. We all love books, don’t we? Our books become our friends, and we become so attached them that we give more and more space in our homes to accommodate them. We delight in enriching the mind, through exploring new places, people, themes. Consider building your music library the same way!
Music feeds the soul, even as books, and perhaps in an even more rich manner. Yes, our God is one who has spoken! The One who has spoken to us in His Word, the Bible. He is the one who spoke creation into being– yes, I would even argue that He sang creation into being! As mindful as you are about what you read, are you as mindful as to what you listen to? Does your music feed your soul?
Here is only the beginning of a music library, as these are selections which are specifically considered “children’s music.” Yes, this is all music which we own. Don’t flip. Just look through the list (yes, incomplete) and choose a recording from each category, purchase it, and soak in it! Choose perhaps one classical, one collection that’s more folksie, and one spiritual. Just start!
Three recordings stand out: “Why Can’t I see God?,” “Go to the Ant,” and “Teach Me While My Heart is Tender.”
We consistently used her Children’s Catechism songs from “Why Can’t I See God?” in our family worship and in our homeschooling. Michael used the Ten Commandments song with the children, having them sing it after our family worship Bible lesson, asking them to consider how God’s Word specifically applied to the passage which we had just read.
Bernstein’s Favorites: Children’s Classics; narrated by Leonard Bernstein, Sergey Prokofiev, Camille Saint-Saens, Benjamin Britten and Leonard Bernstein (Audio CD – May 3, 1991) “Peter and the Wolf,” “Carnival of the Animals,” “A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra”
Classical Kids Series Each one of these recordings deserves a full discussion! Perhaps in the future.
Each recording places the composer within his historical context, with the various influences of his life and on his music. You hear the music woven through the composer’s life and experiences, making the music come more alive. You can’t go wrong with these. Excellent teacher’s guides are also available.
*Beethoven Lives Upstairs
*Mr. Bach Comes to Call
*Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery
*Tchaivosky Discovers America
*Song of the Unicorn (Renaissance music)
*Mozart’s Music Fantasy: A Journey Through “The Magic Flute” An introduction to opera? Yes! And more than the other recordings, as these are sung, these pieces are more a part of us than the ones from the other recordings.
We own every single one of these, except for “Song of the Unicorn” which, being Renaissance music and how I love that era’s music, is probably just as spectacular as the other recordings.
John Rutter: Three Musical Fables, August 2004
Performed by The King’s Singers, The Cambridge Singers, The City of London Symphonia. Collegium Records.
John Rutter has charmingly created Kenneth Grahame’s timeless children’s novels, “The Wind in the Willows” and “The Reluctant Dragon” into delightful musicals. “Brother Henrich’s Christmas” is a fun, if a bit farfetched, Christmas tale. Each “musical fable” was specifically commissioned with children in mind for a series of Christmas concerts performed at Salisbury Cathedral.
Aaron Copland: Old American Songs, Thomas Hampson, Aaron Copland, Hugh Wolff, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, recorded May 1994
I bought this recording because I heard Thomas Hampson on the Minneapolis/St. Paul NPR station singing, “I bought me a cat.” I loved how Hampson created all the animal sounds in the song! The children who were with me in the car ate it up, so I knew that I had to get it! Also, “Simple Gifts,” “At the River.” The Emily Dickinson songs were not to my taste, but, hey, our daughter grew up to analyze Emily Dickinson in her Senior Thesis, so what can I say?
Peter, Paul, and Mommy, recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. July 1990.
Timeless! Fun to come across other folks who can still sing these songs with me, because they grew up with this music!
Our Favs: Puff, the Magic Dragon, a favorite of mine, as well as our now-grown children. “We’re going to the Zoo,” It’s raining, it’s pouring,”
“I have a song to sing-O (Gilbert and Sullivan)”
*Philadelphia Chickens. Our favs: “Faraway Cookies” “Please, Can I Keep It?” “Fifteen Animals”
*Blue Moo. Our favs: “One Shoe Blues” by B. B, King, “Singin’ in the Shower,” “Your Nose” sung by Neil Sadaka
Kids’ Stuff, The King’s Singers and Judy Dench
Want your children to learn to speak “Queen’s English?” Then have them listen to Judy Dench recite these children’s poems! In this collection you will find classic poetry, children’s nursery rhymes mixed with a touch of the Beetles.
This recording deserves its own review, but here are some highlights:
“Yellow Submarine” paired with the poem “Baby Sardine.” Heather says that it’s the best version of “Yellow Submarine” because they do more cool noises than the Beetles. Perfect for kids, right?She’s always loved, “The Snowman:” “We’re waking in the Air, We’re floating through the midnight blue…” Edgar Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussycat.” Heather and I can still sing this together. You have everything from classic poetry recited or sung, silly nursery rhymes in sets to tell their own story, to the Beetles, to a soothing lullaby. We were first introduced to this recording by our babysitter when the children were wee, and we have loved this music ever since!