Jazzy World Tour – New Version!

We are excited to kickoff 2017 with a new version release for

Jazzy World Tour – Musical Journey for Kids

and

Jazzy World Your FREE – Musical Journey for Kids

“Join our two kittens on a magical journey as they travel the world in a hot air balloon. Visit Brazil, Japan, Spain, India, Australia, Ireland, Russia and more, as we explore each country’s unique music and culture.”

The new version is packed with new features. A few highlights are:

– HD video capturing for the create page.
– A new quiz section for each country. Test your knowledge and share the results with your teacher or parent.
– New info and images for the learn page.

We are big believers of culture and music studies as a learning tool to teach kids about diversity and love for our planet. Jazzy World Tour was created with this vision in mind. As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts about our apps. Enjoy!

 

Get your T-shirts, cases and stickers. We’re on Redbubble!

cars_bicycleWe’re excited to announce that The Melody Book designs are now available for print on Redbubble!
You can find your favorite animal characters, city vehicles and music instruments on our Redbubble online store and have them printed on T-shirts, cases, bags, notebooks, blanket covers, stickers and many more.

 

If you are not familiar with Redbubble.com, we recommend visiting their website and browsing through thousands of great artwork and designs. The search, checkout and delivery process is simple and you could have one of our fun jazzy designs on its way to you in a matter of minutes.

 

To make things even sweeter, we’d like to offer a FREE promo code to any one of our apps for every purchase of The Melody Book clothing items on Redbubble. Just email us or message via Facebook/Instagram/Twitter as soon as you checkout.

 

We hope you visit our new Redbubble page. If you do, please send us your feedback, and let us know if there are any designs you would like us to add.

 

Wishing you a happy Autumn season,

The Melody Book Team

“It Must Be Love” – Music lesson/activity for Valentines Day

This lesson can be an activity that is fun and suitable for a wide array of ages, from middle schoolers to adults.

Intro:

Ask students, can they share their favorite song? In short, can they tell the class what that song is written about?

Studies in recent years have shown that more than half of the pop songs on the billboard charts are about love. Yeah, that’s right, Love is the most popular theme in songwriting!

Tell the students that in celebration of Valentines Day, you’ll be doing a fun musical activity. You will need laptops/tablets and a wifi connection for this lesson. The lesson is divided into two parts (each should take 45 minutes to 1 hour):

 

  1. Either individually or in pairs, ask the students to research and find one top of the charts pop hit song that is about love for every decade from 1960s until today (70s, 80s, 90, 2000, 2010). This is easily found when searching online for “Top 10 songs 1960s”, “Billboard charts for 1960 pop songs” or “Best songs from the 1960s” and so forth.
  • For each love song, the students should listen to the music, write the name of the song and composer/band and share the link. You can use any form of shared document for this, or just a piece of paper.
  • Next, the students should answer these questions:

a. Of the love songs you chose to list, which is your favorite? Why?

b. What are some differences you noticed between the songs in terms of sound or musical style/genre? Explain.

c. Do you think your chosen songs from different decades would be top selling today? Explain.

 

2. Once everyone is done with their research questions, go over and listen to some songs with the         class and discuss the answers to some of the questions. Next, tell the class that it is time for them to write their own original love song!

  • Every student, individually or in pairs, will write a chorus of a love song based on their previous research. The students must use at least one sentence from every song they researched in their lyrics (be flexible, the students may need to tweak the sentences a bit).
  • To further explain, the students will be composing the melody to a chorus of a song, using mixed lyrics from the love songs that they researched.
  • Give the students some time to work on these songs. Then, get together and have them present their creations. This part is always a lot of fun, enjoy!

10 review questions for A Jazzy Day music app

A Jazzy Day app can be used in many ways as part of your early elementary music curriculum. Whether it’s in the classroom or at home, individually or in small groups, review questions are very useful in reaffirming the material presented in the app. Here are ten questions you can use with your students:

 

1. Which instruments make up the rhythm section? (Bass, drums, piano and guitar)

2. Name three different saxophone sizes. (Alto, Tenor, Baritone and soprano)

3. Which instrument has keys like a piano, but we play it with sticks called mallets? (Vibraphone)

4. Which brass instrument sounds lower and more mellow than a trumpet? (Trombone)

5. What is the role of the conductor? (Tells the musicians when to start and stop playing. Controls dynamics and tempo of the music)

6. Which instrument has a low plucking sound? (Bass)

7. Name the instruments in the Big Band horn section. (Trumpets, trombones, saxophones)

8. Which woodwind instruments are the saxophone players sometimes asked to play? (Flute and Clarinet)

9. Do the Big Band musicians always play at the same time? Explain. (Playing jazz music is like having a conversation. Sometimes you play and sometimes you listen)

10. Name the instruments that our kitten family plays. (Girl kitten – flute, boy kitten – saxophone, dad – bass)

 

We’d love to hear your experiences with this lesson plan, enjoy!

 

Elementary Music/Geography/Social studies Lesson plan #3

Target age – 6-10 (1st to 4th grade)

Lesson time : 45 minutes, can also be split into two 45 minute lessons.

Materials – An iPad for each pair in class, with the Jazzy World Tour app installed.

 

Objective :

The students will be introduced to countries around the world through technology music, food, animals and culture.

Students will learn about the cultural highlights of their assigned country and be able to present these in a creative way.

Teachers should take time familiarize themselves with the Jazzy World Tour app in order to better facilitate the lesson.

 

Lesson plan:  

1. Give your students have 5-10 minutes to familiarize themselves with the Jazzy World Tour app. Make sure to explain that each country in the app is divided into three main areas: Learn, Play and Create.

  • Explain to the students that they will be using the “Create” feature to make videos.
  • Make sure they understand how to create a video and find it in the travel book.
  • Before moving on, it is recommended that you ask each student to record a 2 second video and show you how they find it in the travel book.

2. Divide the class into teams of 2-3 students. Assign a different country for each group.

  • Each team must create a 20-25 second tourism video commercial for their chosen country. The video must be fun and comprehensive, encouraging tourists to visit the country. It should contain information about the countries’ music, culture, animals and food.
  • Within the groups, it is helpful for students to assign different roles (camera person, narrator, actors/voices, researchers etc).
  • Remind the students that they can make as many video drafts as needed. It is easy to erase videos and retake them on the app.

3. Each group shares their video commercial. If  possible, connect the iPad to a large screen or projector with speakers for the students to see.

Elementary Music/Geography/Social studies Lesson plan #2

Target age – 8-10 (2nd to 4th grade)

Lesson time – 45 minutes, can also be split into two 45 minute lessons.

Materials – An iPad for each pair in class, with Jazzy World Tour iOS app installed.

 

Objective :

The students will be introduced to countries around the world through technology music, food, animals and culture.

They will be able to locate each of the 10 countries on the map page of the Jazzy World Tour app.

Students will know 3-5 different facts about each of the countries in the app. They will also be able to recognize music instruments from each country by sound.

Teachers should familiarize themselves with the Jazzy World Tour app in order to better facilitate the lesson.

 

Lesson plan:

1. Give your students have 5-10 minutes to familiarize themselves with the Jazzy World Tour app. Make sure to explain that each country in the app is divided into three main areas: Learn, Play and Create.

2. Ask the students a few questions to determine that they are familiar with the functions of the app.

“How many countries are In the area page?”

“What does the learn feature offer?”

“What does the play feature offer?”

3. Ask the kids to split into pairs or groups of three and assign a country to each group.

  • Each group has 10-15 minutes to prepare a questioner about their country of choice. The questions must be based on information that is in the app and not from general knowledge.
  • When time is up, each group presents its questioner and challenges the others to answer quickly while using the app as reference.
  • The first team to get all the answers wins. Competition always gets the kids engaged. Have fun!

Elementary Music/Geography/Social studies Lesson plan #1

Target age – 6-8 (1st and 2nd grade)

Lesson time – 45 minutes, can also be split into two 45 minute lessons.

Materials – An iPad for each pair in class, with Jazzy World Tour iOS app installed.

 

Objective :

The students will be introduced to countries around the world through technology music, food, animals and culture.

Students will be able to locate each of the 10 countries on the map page of the Jazzy World Tour app in addition to recognizing each country’s flag.

Students will be able to recognize music instruments from different countries by sound.

 

Lesson plan:

*Teachers should take time to familiarize themselves with the Jazzy World Tour app in order to better facilitate the lesson.

1. Ask the kids to list names of different countries that they know.

2. Ask the kids if they have ever traveled anywhere outside of their country. If time allows, share some travel experiences.

3. Tell the kids that together with the jazzy cats, they will be exploring and learning about different countries around the world.

  • Divide the students into pairs.
  • Assign each pair to a different country and tell the students they are free to explore its learn, play and create pages within the app.
  • When you say “switch”, they need to shift and explore a new country in the app.
  • Repeat this until each pair has seen all countries, or for as much time as your lesson allows.

4. Ask everyone to go to the world map area page. We’re going to play a game in order to summarize what we’ve learned.

  • You say the name of a music instrument/animal/food/etc. The kids will need to find the item in one of the countries in order to win a point.
  • Repeat this and let the kids take turns and challenge each other as well.
  • Another option is to ask “Which instrument is this?”. Play one of the various instruments in the app and let the kids search for the answer. Have fun!

Early Music Lessons Benefits

Last month the New York Times published an article, “Early Music Lessons Have Longtime Benefits” by Perri Klass, M.D.

Dr. Klass is a pediatrician and writer, and is well known for her writing about children and literacy. She also happens to be the Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, a national childhood literacy program that works through doctors and nurses to encourage parents to read aloud to young children, and to give them the books they need to do it.

The article was especially interesting for me at this point of my journey as a mother, because as I wonder about the millions of options out there for my daughters in terms of extra-curricular activities, I can’t help but think about what would be most beneficial to them, short-term and long-term.  Fun is always my first priority when choosing an activity for my girls, but I do want there to be some kind of educational benefit as well. Since they haven’t had any formal musical training yet, I have been able to introduce them to music through various apps on the iPad. My girls have quickly become fans of Jazzy 123, Jazzy ABC and A Jazzy Day apps. What I love most about these apps is that they combine music and education. So while the girls get to learn their numbers and the alphabet, the added bonus is that they are also listening to musical instruments and learning the names of various musical instruments at the same time!

 

In the New York Times article, a Northwestern University study showed that children who studied music, not only improved their auditory skills, but the benefits lasted beyond their lessons. “To learn to read, you need to have good working memory, the ability to disambiguate speech sounds, make sound-to-meaning connections,” said Professor Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University. “Each one of these things really seems to be strengthened with active engagement in playing a musical instrument.”

I strongly believe that music lessons can only help a child, whether it is in attention building or even learning to focus on something, it can help them later on with their academics. “If you get a kid who is maybe 3 or 4 years old and you’re teaching them to attend, they’re not only working on their auditory skills but also working on their attention skills and their memory skills — which can translate into scholastic learning,” she said. (Alexandra Parbery-Clark, a doctoral candidate in Dr. Kraus’s lab and one of the authors of a paper published this year on auditory working memory and music.) The article also mentions that if a child continues with musical instruments, the long term affects are greater because they can preserve brain function.

 

So having read this, I began to think about my girls. Both have been attending music classes since they were babies. As I mentioned earlier, they have never had formal musical instrument training, however, they have been exposed to various instruments, such as the guitar and piano. In our home, my husband happens to be a musician, playing both the piano and guitar. We have an upright piano in our home and my daughters have enjoyed sitting with my husband listening, playing and singing since they were born. Now as my older daughter approaches 5 years old, I am considering piano lessons for her next year.

 

Maya and Shayna and their Dad, David playing the piano at home.

Finally, I loved the last part of the article where Dr. Parbery Clark says, “We want music to be recognized for what it can be in a person’s life, not necessarily, ‘Oh, we want you to have better cognitive skills, so we’re going to put you in music. Music is great, music is fantastic, music is social — let them enjoy it for what it really is.” Having read that, if they enjoy their musical lessons, that to me is most important.

 

And on a completely other note (no pun intended), I wanted to take a moment and acknowledge the recent Hurricane Sandy that affected so many thousands of people on the East Coast. We are sending prayers for a speedy clean-up and restoration of electricity and power.  Living in upper Manhattan we were lucky not to lose power, except for no internet access and no land line. Other than that, we were safe and sound, and as a little ray of sunshine in the midst of the storm, we celebrated my daughter Shayna’s 3rd birthday on October 30th.  She is very excited to be “big” now.

So from our family to yours, we wish you a safe and happy Halloween and for those still dealing with the aftermath of the hurricane, we send prayers and support for life to get back to normal as soon as possbible.

Here are the some of our favorite costumes from over the past few years….

Wishing you all a safe and happy, candy-filled Halloween and if you want to read more about the benefits of music lessons, click on the link to the New York Times article. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/early-music-lessons-have-longtime-benefits/

Sharon Marcus is a Graduate Student at Hunter College, where she is getting her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She and her husband David live in New York City with their two adorable daughters, Maya and Shayna.
 

A Week of Firsts

Meet my daughters. Maya is 4 years old and Shayna is 2 years old.

We had a very exciting week as it was a week of firsts! Maya began her last year of preschool and Shayna began her first year of preschool.

Both girls had been talking about the first day of school since before the summer had even begun, so you might imagine this day was BIG. My girls love all things related to school—school supplies, books, and writing. They are so eager and curious about everything, I sometimes think of them as “sponges”, ready to absorb and soak in anything new. Our week of firsts went great! Maya was so happy to see all of her friends return to school and begin their “senior” year of preschool, while Shayna did so much better than I expected. She only cried for a few minutes when I left her in school and then after I arrived a few minutes early to pick her up and spy on her through the tiny window on the door, I was so pleasantly surprised to see her laughing, and chatting away. I was so proud of my little koala bear.

Aside from first days of school this past week, we also discovered some great new apps for the iPad!

But before I get into that, here’s a little background on us; We are a very musical family. My husband, David is a pianist and singer, and he can play practically any instrument. He plays everything from classical to pop music. My children are constantly surrounded by music, whether it’s listening to their dad play the piano at home (which they love), to listening to the radio, and now to their latest obsession, listening to the soundtrack of Annie the musical. This summer during our drive to Cape Cod, guess what we listened to the entire time? Yes, the soundtrack to Annie for SIX hours played over and over and over again….

My girls also have another obsession; the iPad. If you were to open my iPad you would find over 50 downloaded apps for my kids. They range from lots of cooking apps, to puzzles, to the alphabet, and of course music. Recently, I was lucky enough to discover the www.TheMelodybook.com and I downloaded the “A Jazzy Day”, “Jazzy 123” and the “Jazzy ABC” apps. They absolutely love both.

That’s Shayna with the iPad playing with a “A Jazzy Day”, while Maya eats her breakfast.

Maya, my older daughter really enjoys the games, while Shayna (2 years old) loves repeating all the names of the instruments. Today she learned the word “oboe” and then said it out loud, pointed to her elbow and said “Mommy, my oboe”. I guess “oboe” and “elbow” do sound very similar! Maya also loves touching the animals in the story portion of “A Jazzy Day” and listening to them speak or play their instruments. She comments on the bright colors and asks questions, making it a really interactive experience for patents and children—and I happen to love this aspect of these apps. Another wonderful aspect of these apps is that you can change the languages! My daughters changed the language from English to Hebrew and to French and would repeat the words in other languages. Even for me, as the parent it was great to learn how to say the instruments in other languages. But one of our favorite things about all the “Jazzy” apps is that when you touch on the instruments, they make their unique sound, so for instance, I had never heard a lute before, but when I touched it, it made the most beautiful sound. I think it might be my new favorite instrument! It just goes to show you that these apps not only teach children, but us parents can learn a thing or two as well.

Finally, while I think the iPad is such a great tool and has wonderful educational benefits, I am definitely more drawn to the apps that promote communication between a child and their parent/caregiver/sibling. Both a “A Jazzy Day”, “Jazzy 123”, and “Jazzy ABC” do that. It’s not just about touching the screen and moving images, there are stories, and sounds, and interaction, which make it a true educational experience.

Both girls did get very excited when they saw the piano on the screen because we have one at home, and it’s so familiar to them. When I asked them each what their favorite instrument was, Maya said flute and Shayna said guitar. Both answers were unexpected since I had never heard them say those instruments before having used the Melody Book apps. But they had retained the information, without me having to do a thing!

So as we now head into the second week of school, I am so excited to see what other “firsts” lay ahead for my little girls! I know one thing for sure—music and education will continue to be a huge part of our lives. The possibilities are endless and I am loving every minute of this journey.

Sharon Marcus is a Graduate Student at Hunter College, where she is getting her Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She and her husband David live in New York City with their two adorable daughters, Maya and Shayna.