Instruments
I1
Makala soprano ukuleles
These ukuleles are beautifully made and have a bright, clear sound. They also stay in tune, even with constant pulling and plucking from little fingers! And the color options are great!
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I2
Hohner kids harmonica
Hohner is the brand that always comes to mind when we think of harmonicas - they are the best! And these are the perfect size for little hands and have a nice, clear and bright sound.
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I3
Kazoos
We love kazoos! We love them so much, we think you should have more than one! Check out this 8-pack from Amazon so your whole family can hum and buzz to their heart’s content!
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I4
Yamaha P45B Digital Piano
In my studio, I work with my students’ families to make sure they find the right fit for a piano. In general, I always start by recommending that children who are learning to play the piano should always be practicing on an actual piano, not a keyboard. In general, the sound production on a piano is far superior to that of a keyboard, no matter how fantastic the keyboard is. That being said, I also realize that purchasing a piano may not always be the best option for families. So I have done some research on finding three keyboards that I feel can meet my standards of quality and at three different price points. I have listed three keyboards that meet my specifications: all 88 keys, weighted keys (this gets close to feeling like an actual piano), it includes an internal speaker so that you do not also have to purchase an external speaker, and it includes a stand for the keyboard (this is extremely important so that the height of the keyboard is adjustable for your child.) See below for my recommended piano bench!
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I5
Yamaha P115 Digital Piano
In my studio, I work with my students’ families to make sure they find the right fit for a piano. In general, I always start by recommending that children who are learning to play the piano should always be practicing on an actual piano, not a keyboard. In general, the sound production on a piano is far superior to that of a keyboard, no matter how fantastic the keyboard is. That being said, I also realize that purchasing a piano may not always be the best option for families. So I have done some research on finding three keyboards that I feel can meet my standards of quality and at three different price points. I have listed three keyboards that meet my specifications: all 88 keys, weighted keys (this gets close to feeling like an actual piano), it includes an internal speaker so that you do not also have to purchase an external speaker, and it includes a stand for the keyboard (this is extremely important so that the height of the keyboard is adjustable for your child.) This particular bundle also comes with an adjustable bench!
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I6
Yamaha YDP143R Digital Piano
In my studio, I work with my students’ families to make sure they find the right fit for a piano. In general, I always start by recommending that children who are learning to play the piano should always be practicing on an actual piano, not a keyboard. In general, the sound production on a piano is far superior to that of a keyboard, no matter how fantastic the keyboard is. That being said, I also realize that purchasing a piano may not always be the best option for families. So I have done some research on finding three keyboards that I feel can meet my standards of quality and at three different price points. I have listed three keyboards that meet my specifications: all 88 keys, weighted keys (this gets close to feeling like an actual piano), it includes an internal speaker so that you do not also have to purchase an external speaker, and it includes a stand for the keyboard (this is extremely important so that the height of the keyboard is adjustable for your child.)
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I7
Keyboard bench
Having an adjustable bench at the keyboard instead of a chair is incredibly important. To ensure proper hand, wrist, and arm position at the piano right from the start, your child’s bench and keyboard height need to be adjusted for your child’s height. When your child approaches the piano, their forearm should be parallel with the floor.
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I8
Drum
Ooh, how we love this drum at our house! Both of our boys have used it from the time they could sit up and bang! It has a clear, deep tone when played with the mallets, but even sounds good when played with hands.
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I9
Hohner Soprano Glockenspiel
This little glockenspiel is just the right size for a young child to start making music. The bars are in tune and the instrument is well-made and can handle little toddler hands!
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I10
Boomwhackers
I used these in my classroom for years and they are pretty awesome - just be warned that they do require hitting them on the floor to make a pitch (think Stomp on Broadway…). These are perfect for older children (5 and up) and allow for great experimentation with melody, harmony, rhythm...AND great practice for gross motor skills!
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Musical Toys
T1
B. Symphony Toy
Love, love, love this musical toy. Kiddos can change the instrumentation to different children’s songs and learn about the different sounds and timbres of the instruments while orchestrating their own music. It’s fantastic!
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T2
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy
This little thing is awesome. We tend not to buy any toy that claims to play classical music, worried that the sound quality will be terrible. But this little toy does not disappoint! Our youngest son held this in his little hand and delighted in it’s music from infancy to toddlerhood! I may have been the only stroller-wielding mom walking down the sidewalk to Mozart! Awesome!
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T3
Munchkin Mozart Cube
Yet another fantastic musical toy for little ones to start hearing and internalizing some of the most beautiful music ever written...AND get to play around with adding and subtracting the different orchestral instruments within each piece. We love this toy for young kiddos! (To which any of our friends who have one year olds can attest...this is our go-to gift!)
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Music
M1
Caspar Babypants - Sing Along!
We love some Caspar Babypants at our house! His music is the kind of music that we all thoroughly enjoy - I’m not ashamed to admit I have listened to it in my car without the kiddos! You truly cannot go wrong with any of his albums, but here are the three favorites at our house.
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M2
Caspar Babypants - Rise and Shine!
We love some Caspar Babypants at our house! His music is the kind of music that we all thoroughly enjoy - I’m not ashamed to admit I have listened to it in my car without the kiddos! You truly cannot go wrong with any of his albums, but here are the three favorites at our house.
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M3
Caspar Babypants - Jump for Joy!
We love some Caspar Babypants at our house! His music is the kind of music that we all thoroughly enjoy - I’m not ashamed to admit I have listened to it in my car without the kiddos! You truly cannot go wrong with any of his albums, but here are the three favorites at our house.
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M4
Jill Trinka & John Feierabend - There’s a Hole in the Bucket
These CDs are probably the best sing-a-long CDs ever produced! All the songs are pitched perfectly for young voices and the accompaniments are simple and beautiful. I have used these in my classroom for years and now have them permanently in the car to listen to with the kiddos. These CDs are engaging and musically perfect in every way. We love these and know you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along!
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M5
Jill Trinka & John Feierabend - Old Joe Clark
These CDs are probably the best sing-a-long CDs ever produced! All the songs are pitched perfectly for young voices and the accompaniments are simple and beautiful. I have used these in my classroom for years and now have them permanently in the car to listen to with the kiddos. These CDs are engaging and musically perfect in every way. We love these and know you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along!
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M6
Jill Trinka & John Feierabend - Had a Little Rooster
These CDs are probably the best sing-a-long CDs ever produced! All the songs are pitched perfectly for young voices and the accompaniments are simple and beautiful. I have used these in my classroom for years and now have them permanently in the car to listen to with the kiddos. These CDs are engaging and musically perfect in every way. We love these and know you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing along!
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M7
John Feierabend - ‘Round and ‘Round the Garden: Music in my First Year!
Dr. John Feierabend is one of the most influential music educators we have today, specifically in early childhood music. I have been lucky enough to attend numerous workshops and master classes with him. In these three CDs, he has carefully curated a list of music perfect for your child to listen to from birth to age 3. These are amazing and a perfect resource for parents. Get them for yourself and your little one, and snag a few extra to have on hand for gifts!
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M8
John Feierabend - Ride Away on Your Horses: Music, Now I’m One!
Dr. John Feierabend is one of the most influential music educators we have today, specifically in early childhood music. I have been lucky enough to attend numerous workshops and master classes with him. In these three CDs, he has carefully curated a list of music perfect for your child to listen to from birth to age 3. These are amazing and a perfect resource for parents. Get them for yourself and your little one, and snag a few extra to have on hand for gifts!
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M9
John Feierabend - Frog in the Meadow, Music, Now I’m Two!
Dr. John Feierabend is one of the most influential music educators we have today, specifically in early childhood music. I have been lucky enough to attend numerous workshops and master classes with him. In these three CDs, he has carefully curated a list of music perfect for your child to listen to from birth to age 3. These are amazing and a perfect resource for parents. Get them for yourself and your little one, and snag a few extra to have on hand for gifts!
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M10
John Feierabend - First Steps in Classical Music: Keeping the Beat
This beautifully and thoughtfully curated CD is an unbelievable resource for all parents and music teachers. Not only does it include some of the best classical music ever written, but the pieces are also perfect for young children to really feel the steady beat. It is perfect for listening, but also perfect for all kinds of steady beat activities and dancing.
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M11
Jazz for Kids; Sing, Clap, Wiggle, and Shake
No music list would be complete without a little jazz thrown in - at least in my opinion! And this CD is a great introduction to some of the jazz greats singing kid-appropriate tunes. What I love most about this CD is that it’s just a compilation of the original recordings - not jazz that’s been watered down to make it appropriate for kids. Its the real deal, and its a lot of fun!
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Books
B1
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
This is a sweet little children’s book about a giraffe that can’t dance to the same music as everyone else. A wise little cricket helps him to see that “everyone can dance, when you find music that you love.” Ah, what a wonderful message to give to our children! Find the music that you love, and dance your heart out!
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B2
What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
This book does not have a musical theme, but it’s beautiful and empowering message helps us all to embrace our creative side and welcome the possibilities of what can happen when we have an idea.
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B3
The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
This book does not have a musical theme, but the story shows us how to have a positive mindset while working through a problem, allowing us to grow and create something beautiful. When children are learning a musical instrument (or anything new) it can be frustrating and hard sometimes. This book can help them remember to be patient with themselves and look back at all that they have accomplished already.
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B4
Welcome to the Symphony by Carolyn Sloan
This book explores all of the parts of an orchestra through the first movement of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It gives sound examples of almost all of the instruments, has nice illustrations, and because of all of the instrument sound examples, your child will hear the symphony theme numerous times. Win!
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B5
Zin! Zin! Zin! A violin! by Lloyd Moss
I used this book in my classroom for many years as a way to introduce my unit on the orchestra and the instruments. I especially love the rhythmic quality to the words and the beautiful illustrations. It was always a pleasure to read out loud, and my students loved saying the “Zin! Zin! Zin!” with me.
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B6
Meet the Orchestra by Ann Hayes
This book has some of the best descriptions of the different instrument timbres I have ever read. “The cello’s rich, mellow voice speaks of deep feelings like joy and sadness. It can remind you of the calm beauty of a drifting swan and of the color purple.” So amazing! Using words to describe sound and music is hard, and this book does it beautifully, ensighting your own imagination and creativity. Love it!
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B7
Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf: With a Fully Orchestrated and Narrated CD Adapted by Janet Schulman
Peter and the Wolf is such a wonderful piece for children to learn how music can tell a story and to hear how each instrument sounds so different - one like a bird and another like a grumpy grandfather! With the included narration CD, children can listen to the story being told while the story of the music is played out by the orchestra. The illustrations are lovely, too!
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B8
The Carnival of the Animals (Book and CD) by Jack Prelutsky
This book is the product of four brilliant minds coming together. First, the incredible music by Camille Saint-Saens that is filled with beauty and humor, while depicting many of our favorite animals (including pianists - ha!). Verses written by Jack Prelutsky, America’s first Children’s Poet Laureate, accompany each movement. The illustrations are done by Mary GrandPre, who also did the illustrations for the Harry Potter books. And there is a note to parents and teachers on ways to encourage active listening and creative movement by Judith Bachleitner, head of the music department at the Rudolf Steiner School in New York City. Um...win, win, win...win!
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