The Car Song

This is a favorite! Children love the car song activity when they get to drive the cars on the road and into the garage. Children listen to the song while they have a different color car in their hand. When I sing about the color of the car that they have in their hand they drive it on the road and into the garage.  Are they learning anything? Well, of course they are.  They are learning colors. They are learning to take turns. They are learning to time how long the verse of the song takes to allow them to enjoy driving their car into the garage. Most importantly, however, they are having fun! And this means that they are learning all the more.

This activity is so easy to make.  All you need to find is different color cars.  You could use cars as small as hot wheels or you may be able to acquire larger cars. I will point out that when I started doing this activity that I used a road that was not straight from one of the pre-manufactured mats. Because the road was not straight it offered too many options.  A straight road that takes the cars directly into the garage is best. It help keep little ones focused. The garage is very important and it is easy to make. Just use a box and cut off the bottom. Create an opening and voila you have a garage. I recommend keeping it simple for little ones as you have to keep them moving through the song. That they are staying within the time of the song is great as they are learning to pace themselves.  You will find some kids take their time while others will move along quickly and get the job done. Always watch children and help them with time issues if they need that help. Some love “their moment” and have a tough time quitting so just help them move along if you have a class. For one or two children this is even easier. It is also good to know that this song works best for 3-5 year old children as younger ones still are working on mastering their colors and focus issues. But don’t hesitate to try it if you have one super bright and focused toddler.

You can find this song on my CD, Clap Your Hands. I will provide an iTunes and Spotify link here or simply check out the album page for other options. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-car-song/1434357860?i=1434357872 and it is at Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/track/2ErCnrgfH5BBVTHU8R5o1b?si=O9jmPwK-Rai2DlsWuU_X9Q   I will point out that I’m also at Google Play and YouTube and many other favorite streaming sites.  Just look me up!

 

Color Song

This is one of the first songs I would sing with children when I started singing with them. I have adapted this song from another that I’ve heard and sing it to the tune of Skip to My Lou. The children absolutely love it. I recorded it on my first CD with a couple of other songs. The YouTube link that I will provide will provide you with the links to this song. I tell the children look at their pants, shirts, shoes and when I sing the color that they are wearing they will stand up and          

turn around.

I have carefully recorded it so that it is very useful in the classroom as I make it my goal to record my movement songs in real time. This video pictured is on YouTube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niyKoN23xqI      You can also find this song at iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/color-song/1434357860?i=1434357864    and on Spotify  https://open.spotify.com/track/6YusqE4e8v2iwOhXANHuAt?si=2ecSFqYSTke9AvyP3_iYwA and at CD Baby. https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/sharonnovak32    This is a fantastic song for teaching colors, self awareness, and waiting your turn. Your children will love it if you help them see the colors that they are wearing when they hear the color sung.

My Dinosaur’s Colors

In the year before I released my third CD, How Do You Walk Like a Dinosaur?, I wrote a few songs that involved dinosaurs. Why? Simply because little children love dinosaurs. I wrote the song, My Dinosaur’s Colors, so that children would have an activity where they were learning colors and shapes.  I then created a huge felt activity where the children put the shapes on Dennis.

This activity teaches them to listen for the name of the shape and the color that they are holding and respond by putting that shape on Dennis’s shirt. I find that they totally enjoy this activity. I purposely made the cover of the CD the way that I did so that any preschool or kindergarten teacher could use the picture on the cover to create the patterns to make this activity. I always encourage teachers to use felt. It lasts a long time and children love it.  When gluing felt I find that wood glue works! Download my song or buy the CD and use with your preschool class.  This is a fantastic activity to teach shapes, colors, listening and following directions.  I must point out that following the rhythm of music is so helpful for learning the pace and pulse of reading.  Here are a couple of links to this song.

iTunes  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/my-dinosaurs-colors/994601316?i=994601323

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/track/4Mt47UxJSH4X5Esc04ksfB?si=azscItafRV2lGIhnBkMfvg

 

 

Birthday Parties

Singing at a birthday party for little ones is one of my favorite things. The best birthday parties I do are for little ones who turn one year old.  Those little ones love the instruments that I bring. My music is most engaging and entertaining for these little ones. I am easily available in New Hampshire and Maine to personally do this. If you are not in one of these states I recommend a children’s musician who allows babies to play with instruments. Birthday party entertainment for little ones is one that frequently requires age appropriate interactive and engaging activities. I totally love doing birthday parties for this reason.

This particular party pictured is one for a little boy with special needs who turned five. I fell in love with him when I met him in one of my classes 3 years earlier. He loved the music, the instruments and the dancing. Such a special little boy.

Bumpity, Bumpity

Bumpity, Bumpity is a fun song that works very well as a bouncing song for babies. I wrote this song with the original intent to use with preschoolers to show slow and fast, and they love it!  I discovered when I started singing it for my babies that moms were enjoying bouncing their little ones to the slow to gradually speeding up tempos. It starts with my old brown dog who doesn’t walk too “fast” and gradually moves to my speckled grey horse, my little white rabbit and that pesky black flea who all move more quickly. Moms, babies and preschoolers are totally loving this song. The recording is really fun thanks to drummer, Eric Rollnick, who added really fun sounds.

You can listen to this fun song at iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bumpity-bumpity/1434357860?i=1434357870

I do have to add the fact that I wrote this in my sleep. It is the second song that happened this way. I woke up singing bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, bump and hippity, hippity, hippity, hippity, hippity, hippity, hop. So as is the best way to remember the content of a dream I began writing while I was still under the spell of what I had written in my sleep and of course it fell out of my thoughts very quickly and easily. And here is the totally awesome product!

The Number Song

All of the songs that I write for young children are specifically written to teach little ones skills such as following directions, listening for a turn or moving as instructed. I also am enjoying writing songs that teach knowledge like knowing colors, shapes, numbers and ABCs. The Number Song is one of those songs. Children are required to listen for the number about which I sing and then add the apple that I have given them with the correct number on it to the apple tree. This is the activity that I have chosen to create as I think that little ones love felt and they also love the fact that they have a real object that they understand, an apple tree. Any preschool teacher that uses this song could create any type of number activity where little ones are required to recognize the number they have and show their ability to recognize it by adding it to whatever the object is that the teacher chooses. This activity totally makes learning numbers fun. I have children asking me when we are going to have the toy activity meaning the activity with the object lessons with which they interact.

Now it is important to note that this is a number recognition activity not a counting activity. There is clearly a difference. That song still needs to be written.  Here is the song on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-number-song/1434357860?i=1434357877

There’s a Gorilla in My Alphabet Soup

I am going to write about a song I have just recently written but have not yet recorded. I realized about a month ago that I had not written a song for the classroom about the alphabet. Now that’s a tough one for me because everyone knows and loves the traditional alphabet song. How can a children’s songwriter improve on that.

Well, I don’t know if the song I finally came up with is an improvement, but it is definitely a song that can be used for a teaching activity in my preschool and kindergarten classes that I visit or for my shows that I do for young children. This song was so fun because the moment I finished writing it I was amazed how perfect it is. It tells the children that there is a certain letter in my alphabet soup and then proceeds to tell them that there is an animal that starts with that same letter in my alphabet soup. I was so excited about how perfect this song is that I immediately invested in purchasing some letters to paint and some stickers to put on the letters that showed the children the animal that is in the alphabet soup. And the animal being there is so perfect as that reinforces to the children who may be unsure about what letter they have in their hand is that indeed they have that letter. If I say there’s an A in my alphabet soup that may not be enough to tell them what letter it is that they have in their hand. But once I sing that there is an alligator in my alphabet soup, they know that is the letter they are holding and they will put that letter in the alphabet soup.  I think this is a fantastic learning activity.

I can’t wait to record and release this song. I’m already seeing more than one kindergarten age child laughing when I sing it

Cooper Caterpillar

Here is my friend, Cooper Caterpillar. I wrote this song this year (2018) and have been developing the activity that goes with this song. You will find this song on my sixth CD, Clap Your Hands. As you can see this is a very easy easy activity for you to create. Simply go on Amazon and find the caterpillar you like best. This one pictured is Mr. Tree. I also have purchased two Melissa and Doug Caterpillars that I may combine to make one large caterpillar for my more populated shows. I must always keep my music interactive.

This song teaches colors and also listening for the color that works for Cooper. If you look at this picture you will see that Cooper has felt shoes that this little girl has velcroed onto his feet as she heard the color in the song.  Young children totally love being involved in the song and look how much she loves that caterpillar. I use this song for larger preschool classes also and each child gets a different color felt shoe to velcro on his feet and when he or she hears the color in the song, he will put them on one of Cooper’s feet. As always if you listen to this song you will  hear that there is plenty of time for the children to go to Cooper to put the correct color shoe on his feet.

All you have to do is buy different colored pieces of felt, create a shoe pattern out of cardboard and and trace how many you desire on each color of felt that you have chosen to purchase.  I use a sharpie to draw laces onto my shoes to make them appear more realistic. This is such a fun way to teach colors.

If you listen to my CDs you will see that I have other songs that teach colors. You will soon find blogs about those. Look in my albums section to find my songs and download or purchase them whichever way is easiest for you. Here is a link to the song at iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/cooper-caterpillar/1434357860?i=1434357866

A New Rug for My Babies Class

That sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? I am always working on making my classes interesting and educational for my little children. Usually I am creating activities for my preschool and kindergarten classes. Today, however, I had a different idea.


For the next two years my songwriting will be specifically focused on my babies, and as I am focusing on my babies, I am creating more learning ideas in song for them. So today while I was singing my song, The Number Song, for my babies, I suddenly realized that I needed an activity to help my tiniest audience begin to absorb my concept of recognizing numbers. Now with babies I do not believe in forcefully trying to teach them. I always believe in simply having the visuals around so that the babies can slowly absorb concepts through osmosis.
I went home and began trying to figure out what I needed. Do I need letters for them to handle? I thought that was too complicated. I need a visual that they all can enjoy. And then it hit me—a rug! I need a rug with the numbers 1 through 10. So I began shopping online. That was not easy. My rug had to be bright and clear. After a few hours I found the perfect rug. It has all of the numbers 1-10 and it even has the ABCs. It is bright and it is perfect. I happily ordered it and am pleased to say that I saw a few of my babies trying to pick of the letters off of the rug. This is a wonderful educational addition to my babies class! I’ve already enjoyed singing my newest song, My Alphabet Soup, because I have this wonderful visual.
Now don’t get me wrong. Most of my songs for babies are movement songs and interactive songs to be done with their Grammies, mommies and daddies. But now, I am pleased to say, I can begin adding other learning concepts in song because of the visuals that I will be adding to my babies class.

The Process of Creating a CD

img_9553On my newest CD are 11 original songs. Here are the stages of writing and recording an original song. (I have written about 40 songs total.)

1. Write the song. Usually I sit down with my guitar and let ideas flow.

2. Voice memo my song in all stages. I like listening to how my song sounds. This tells me if I need to make changes. I will then save final and good copy into my Google drive so that songs are easy to find.

3. Sing with children in my classes. I want to see their reactions and I need to see how the song works in existing tempo and form. I sometimes edit and rewrite.

4. Continue to sing and learn well and observe children’s reaction. The more I sing the song the better it sounds. This is how I get it ready for recording. It will sound like a well known song. The vocals will be confident and good. I will also know at this time what instruments I’d like to see in the recording.

5. Go into the studio. Once I have written about 10 good songs I am ready to go into the studio.

6. Studio process starts with what Chad Cummings calls scratch tracks. These are the tracks that are simply sung to set tempo and form.

7. Lay down separate real and final tracks. Guitar, vocals, harmonies, drums, piano, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass, sound effects, spoken parts. This has taken me anywhere from 4 months to 9 months depending on time in the studio. Usually for me once a week for a few hours. I will hire different musicians to come in and lay these tracks. Shana Aisenberg, Craig Bryan Jr., Eric Rollnick often. I also have children come in to sing on 3 tracks. That is my formula. Familiar songs or easy ones that I think children’s voices will sound nice on.

8. Mix tracks.  When this is finally complete, Chad will go through each track and mix them.

9. Master tracks. Chad then goes through and masters each track.

10. Cover Design.  We have to deal with cover design. Discmakers has designed 3 covers for me. This time I had another friend, Jeari Czapla, design and submit. In the mean time I am pulling together all of the credits and tracks and performers and photos. Thank you Lisa Valleypromos DuFault

11. Submit materials to discmakers. In 2 or 3 weeks discmakers will create CDs for me. They submit information to CD Baby. I have had a lot of satisfaction using them so this is where I stay.

12. Get CDs ordered.  Discmakers sends me amount of CDs I order and some to CD Baby. CD Baby sets me up on iTunes, Amazon, Alliance Warehouse, and many different streaming sites. I go pro so that I can receive royalties for any possible purchases of my original music.

13. I then social network. Twitter and Facebook are my main social networks. I also use Linked in, Pinterest and Google plus but not nearly as often. I have a website, sharonnovak.com and a Facebook page. My Facebook page is my most personal and up to date networking site. I keep my audience abreast of classes and events.

14. Copyright!  I always make sure that I copyright all of my original songs. This provides extra protection not that the rule of if you write it you own it doesn’t apply, especially if I publish it on a CD.  But copyrights do insure ownership and protection. Better safe than sorry.

I have finished 4 CDs and have already begun writing for a sixth. Yes, the fifth will be all of my lullabies compiled into one CD.

I won’t mention the shows and getting myself out there.

Hahaha. This is my second job.  As you can see. Lots of work. I love every minute of it. These songs are my creation and they are for the children I love so much.