Author Archives: Carina Zimmerman

10 Relaxing Naptime Songs for Babies, Toddlers, and Moms-to-Be

10 Relaxing Naptime Songs for Babies, Toddlers, and Moms-to-Be

Listening to quiet music at nap time helps children relax and prepare for restorative sleep. In addition to singing a few lullabies, adding some classical music to your daily nap routine can improve the quality and length of your child’s sleep! A good nap means a better day for Mom and Dad too, so if you’re searching for a way to calm your child, music is the place to begin.

It’s never too early to start: Introducing music during infancy helps in “wiring” your baby’s brain for learning. Daniel Levitin, (cognitive psychologist, neuroscientist) elaborates in one of my favorite books, This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession: “Music’s function in the developing child is to help prepare its mind for a number of complex cognitive and social activities, exercising the brain so that it will be ready for the demands placed on it by language and social interaction… Music processing helps infants to prepare for language; it may pave the way to linguistic prosody, even before the child’s developing brain is ready to process phonetics.”

It’s a winning combination- not only does it release the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, soothing and relaxing your baby, but it also engages his or her developing brain!

Here are the Top 10 recommendations of relaxing classical pieces for naptime, including works by great composers like Chopin, Debussy, and Brahms.

NOTE: This is also a great list for expectant mothers.  A baby’s auditory system is fully functional within the womb about twenty weeks after conception, so make sure to fill your third trimester with a mix of gorgeous, soothing classical music and your favorite upbeat, feel-good songs. Alexandra Lamont of Keele University in the UK found that, one year after birth, children recognized and preferred the music they heard in the womb!

1. Meditation from Thaïs (Massenet)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

2. The Swan from The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

3.  Aquarium from The Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

4. Une Larme (Rossini)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

5. Songs My Mother Taught Me (Dvořák)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

6. Waltz in A Flat, Op. 39, No. 15 (Brahms)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

7. Clair de Lune (Debussy)
watch on YouTube | Listen to iTunes

8. Arabesque No. 1 (Debussy)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

9.   Songs Without Words (Lieder Ohne Worte) Op. 30, No. 1 (Mendelssohn)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

10. Nocturne No. 2 in E Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2 (Chopin)
watch on YouTube | listen on iTunes

Carina Zimmerman is one of the co-founders of TLB Music, a children’s music studio and indoor playspace located on the Upper East Side. She is also the author of The Bird Feed NYC, TLB’s blog filled with family-friendly music to share, free printables for kids, NYC history, product recommendations, and nostalgic photo collections.

Follow TLB Music on Facebook and Twitter
Follow The Bird Feed NYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Scavenger Hunt for Kids: Fall Finds

Scavenger Hunt for Kids- Fall Finds

In this era of rapidly advancing technology in education and communication, scavenger hunts for kids are a refreshing change of pace from screen staring and swiping. They are the epitome of the term “good, old-fashioned fun” that require children to interact with and explore their world in a way that can’t be replicated virtually. This Fall Finds scavenger hunt for kids, created especially for Kidz Central Station, is perfect for apple picking, an Autumn day at the park, or walking around your neighborhood!

Click on the link below to download, save, and print the PDF:

Scavenger Hunt for Kids- Fall Finds PDF

Carina Zimmerman is one of the co-founders of TLB Music, a children’s music studio and indoor playspace located on the Upper East Side.  She is also the author of The Bird Feed NYC, TLB’s blog filled with family-friendly music to share, free printables for kids, NYC history, product recommendations, and nostalgic photo collections. 

 Follow TLB Music on Facebook and Twitter
Follow The Bird Feed NYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

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NYC kids come from one of the coolest musical cities on the planet. Our city is home to a diverse history in so many genres: Jazz, Hip Hop, Broadway, and Punk are just a few styles that reached important milestones in the Big Apple. New York City is also the hometown of musicians such as Simon and Garfunkel, George Gershwin, Barbra Streisand, Jay Z, and the Beastie Boys.  Being surrounded by such a rich music history and culture gives NYC parents the perfect opportunity to raise musically inclined and diversely cultured kids.  So many options are just a subway ride away!

Here are 8 must-see music landmarks and locations in NYC:

8 NYC Music Landmarks & Locations to visit with Kids1. Apollo Theater
The Apollo Theater is located on West 125th street in Harlem. Many famous musicians got their start at The Apollo, including several prominent Jazz musicians. Ella Fitzgerald made her singing debut there at age 17! Other Jazz greats who played at the theater: Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and the Count Basie Orchestra. Motown stars to grace the stage: The Supremes, The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Little Stevie Wonder. The Apollo has an education program with shows and workshops designed especially for families!

2. New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center
The New York City Ballet makes it easy and affordable to introduce your kids to ballet. Visit Lincoln Center on one of their “Family Saturdays” with children 5 and under for only $20 per person! The program features short works appropriate for young audiences and teaches kids about music, choreography, and classical dance. The NYCB also hosts pre-performance children’s workshops for children ages 5-8.

3. Washington Square Park
The caliber of NYC’s street and subway musicians is extraordinarily high! Some of my most vivid music memories from my past 9 years in NYC are of subway performers, musicians in the park, or the a-cappella group that sings in my neighborhood. Washington Square Park is a vibrant hub for local artists and musicians: bagpipe players, bluegrass bands, jazz trios, pianists, sitar players and solo guitarists are just a handful of the types of musicians I’ve listened to in this Greenwich Village park. Visit on the weekends and you’re guaranteed to experience a variety of performances!

4. Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center
Although you should wait until your kids can comfortably sit through a long performance, don’t be scared to introduce opera to your kids! Explain what it is in this simple way: opera is a kind of theatre in which the story is told through music and song. Elements that help tell the story: stage and scenery, costumes, the lyrics that are sung, and the music played by the orchestra. Also, to make for the most rewarding experience, learn about the story of the opera with your kids before attending! Mozart’s The Magic Flute is an excellent first opera and returns to the Met this December.

5. Theater District
New Yorkers love Broadway and the passion starts early. There are so many kid-friendly shows to introduce musical theater to your children! A few great options out right now: Annie, The Lion King, Matilda, Peter and the Starcatcher, and Wicked. Musical theater elements to discuss with your kids before attending: the story, costumes, makeup, scenery, lighting, lyrics, and music. Also, don’t forget to explain what to expect at the show: finding your seats, the theater’s darkness, watching quietly, reading the playbill, intermission, and applause.

6. Lower East Side
The LES is home to many intimate performance venues filled with talented, emerging artists. In the late 1960s/early 1970s, the punk scene grew in Lower Manhattan in clubs like the famous CBGB on Bowery. Although CBGB is no longer open, there are still lots of places to check out live music with a low (sometimes free) cover charge and relaxed dress code.  The Living Room on Ludlow Street is family-friendly and offers special kids shows appropriate for all ages. They are moving in October- so hurry to visit them at their current location!

7. Carnegie Hall
Carnegie Hall is one of the most prestigious and celebrated concert venues in the world but don’t let that intimidate you! They have a special program called Carnegie Kids that presents shows that are appropriate for kids ages 3 – 6.

8. Radio City Music Hall at Rockefeller Center
Radio City Music Hall opened its doors on December 27, 1932 and has been one of NYC’s most popular entertainment venues since. The perfect show to attend with children is the famous annual Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. The Rockettes were originally formed as the Missouri Rockets in 1925 and in the early 1930s were brought to NYC by Samuel Roxy Rothafel to perform at his Roxy Theatre. When Rothafel opened Radio City Music Hall along with Rockefeller and David Sarnoff, the group followed, were renamed “The Rockettes” and even performed on opening night!

 photo Carina|TheBirdFeedNYC_zps2022d693.jpg

Carina Zimmerman is one of the co-founders of TLB Music, a children’s music studio and indoor playspace located on the Upper East Side.  She is also the author of The Bird Feed NYC, TLB’s blog filled with family-friendly music to share, free printables for kids, NYC history, product recommendations, and nostalgic photo collections. 

 Follow TLB Music on Facebook and Twitter
Follow The Bird Feed NYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

5 Classical Pieces to Share with Your Kids

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Listening to music with your kids benefits their development and allows you to connect and communicate with them, even before spoken language is learned! As infants and toddlers, it stimulates their brains, soothes nerves, and inspires creativity. When your children get a bit older, music is particularly helpful with verbal expression, emotional expression and auditory development.

Encourage imaginative thinking by creating music-inspired art or making a storyline to follow the music. For example, in our classes, our students listen to live classical music while drawing with crayons in response to what they hear! You can support verbal and emotional expression by giving your kids a music vocabulary. Begin with simple language to describe musical terms: is the music high or low (pitch), slow or fast (tempo), loud or soft (dynamics) happy or sad (emotion)? Graduate to trying to identify particular instruments and composers.

It’s easy to see why early introduction is so important when you look at all the parts of the brain activated when listening to and playing music:

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Remember: you don’t have to be a musician to introduce classical music to your kids confidently. You just have to love the music you are sharing! Here are my picks for five fantastic must-hear pieces of music to share with your family:

click on the links below each song to listen to and learn more!

1. In the Hall of the Mountain King (Edvard Grieg)

Heavily used in film and television, this song from Norwegian composer Grieg’s Peer Gynt is familiar to lots of non-musicians. The accelerating tempo keeps you listening on the edge of your seat in suspense and is perfect for creating music-inspired art or a storyline!
Featured instruments to listen for: Bassoons, Basses, Cellos, Violins, Clarinets, Cymbals
View on YouTube | View on iTunes | About the Composer

2. Arabesque No. 1 (Claude Debussy)

Debussy’s mesmerizing composition is ideal for relaxation, daydreaming, and naptime. To me, the trickling piano notes sound like a waterfall gently flowing into a babbling stream. Ask your kids to describe the types of nature scenes, animals, and people they imagine when hearing the music.
Featured instrument to listen for: Piano
View on YouTube | View on iTunes | About the Composer

3. Flight of the Bumblebee (Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov)

This orchestral interlude from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan is very fast and short- most performances last only about a minute and a half! A great way to use this composition is as a “clean-up” timer. See if your kids can clean up before the music ends.
Featured instruments to listen for: Violins, Flute, Clarinet, Horns
View on YouTube | View on iTunes | About the Composer

4. The Habanera (Georges Bizet)

You’ll easily recognize this aria from Bizet’s opera Carmen– it is one of the most popular and most beautiful of all time. In class, we use the setting of the opera (Seville, Spain) as inspiration and snap castanets and dance flamenco-style in response to the music. Teach your kids some basic flamenco moves- hand clapping, foot stomping, wrist twirling – and get dancing!
Featured instruments to listen for: Strings, Flutes, Horns, Bells, Triangle, Cymbal
View on YouTube | View on iTunes | About the Composer

5. Aquarium (Camille Saint-Saens)

The shimmering glissando in this movement from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals is completely entrancing and calming. It’s one of our favorite classical pieces to play in class! Before listening, ask your kids what they might see in an aquarium. (Fish swimming, sea grass swaying, coral, shiny rocks, bubbles rising, etc.) This is perfect for naptime and creating music-inspired art.
Featured instruments to listen for: Piano, Violins, and Flute
View on YouTube | View on iTunes | About the Composer

 photo Carina|TheBirdFeedNYC_zps2022d693.jpg

Carina Zimmerman is one of the co-founders of TLB Music, a children’s music studio and indoor playspace located on the Upper East Side. She is also the author of The Bird Feed NYC, TLB’s blog filled with family-friendly music to share, free printables for kids, NYC history, product recommendations, and nostalgic photo collections.

Follow TLB Music on Facebook and Twitter
Follow The Bird Feed NYC on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

 

“Music & The Brain” source