Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Hope you all had a chance to stock up on you Guinness and Tullamore dew.
I wanted to share with you some of my Favorite St. Patrick's Day/Irish songs. I have no Irish in me at all, I'm 50% Italian and the other half French and German. I always looked at St. Patrick"s day as (other than an excuse to drink Guinness) a new crop of music to discover for a few weeks out of the year, kind of like Holiday music. Irish music comes from a deep, rich tradition with some amazing songs and artists. Here are a few of my favorites.
As you probably know the Irish have had a long history of "Troubles" both at home and with England,
Much of traditional and current Irish music is based on the history relating to those events.
This is a great song recorded by so many artists but this version is really haunting, it's with Sinead o'Connor, the song is called "The Foggy Dew" and is about the "Easter Rebellion" in Ireland in 1916
The song is from the Chieftains 1995 album "The Long Black Veil"
the album features traditional Irish and American folk gems performed by the band with guest singers, Sting, Mick Jagger ect.
if you have Spotify or Apple music look them up and listen, you won't regret it.
another great one from this album is with Sting
The second artist is The Pogues who really brought traditional Irish music to a new audience in the early 1980s and really started the "punk" Irish movement of bands like "Flogging Molly" "Drop Kick Murphys" (who are actually from Boston)
I saw The Pogues at The Chestnut Cabaret in Philly years ago and I think they drank more Guinness on stage than the audience did, they were amazing though.
Last for now are "The High Kings", formed in Dublin in 2008 as kind of an Irish "boy band" they do more orchestrated versions of traditional Irish music, kind of what you would expect to hear from a "Disney" production, great arrangements and performances!
I hope you enjoy these songs and are discovering great Irish music on your own,
There is so much out there especially this time of year,
Thanks, and I hope to see you all in class soon,
Hey Everyone, I wanted to share a really good article on the benefits or Arts Education for Children in Schools by Neve Spicer
Website is https://wetheparents.org/
Arts Education in schools is being backed towards a cliff edge.
The problem is that schools are under intense pressure to funnel their dwindling resources into whatever "improves academic results". This is forcing arts educators to demonstrate that learning arts also enhances outcomes in non-arts subjects, like Maths and English.
But here’s the thing:
While it seems that music, art and drama do have positive effects on academic results, it’s often hard to prove this beyond all reasonable doubt. Sadly, this means that Arts Education is being placed on the chopping block.
But hang on just a minute!
Is the purpose of the arts simply to boost academic results? Emphatically, no!
Arts Transform Lives when kids are immersed in the arts they cultivate cognitive abilities, nurture positive character traits, and foster critical thinking. Arts Education expands awareness, increases empathy, and develops a myriad of social skills. And that’s just the start.
This visual guide by We The Parents highlights an incredible 51 ways that learning arts benefits children and young people.
It’s time to confidently shout about the benefits of Arts Education.
The arts don’t exist as fluffy extras there to “possibly” boost academic outcomes. No, sir. As Holly Donagh of Arts A New Direction puts it:
"When you ask somebody about the impact of the arts on their life and the relevance of the arts within their schooling they rarely talk about the fact that music helped them unlock maths or art helped with their English. They talk about finding a lifelong passion, developing a sense of self and identity, maybe they speak of gaining confidence and a sense of the world outside of their immediate environment. Which is not to say that arts engagement and academic attainment have no relationship, but perhaps it is time to reconsider what that relationship is and how does it work?"
The fact is: arts transform lives. If we are to preserve their rightful place at the heart of our children’s education, then we need to be bold. Let’s unite during Arts in Education Week and beyond. It’s time for all of us who have experienced the profound, positive impact of arts to shout about it from the rooftops. Ideally, loudly and in harmony.
Neve blogs with her husband at WeTheParents where she empowers new moms and he has a blast reviewing kids toys (please, someone remind him he’s a grown up!)
I have parents and adults all the time tell me how much they regret quitting an instrument when they were younger. Here is a good article by Julie Morris about staying mentally challenged as an adult, dust off the old guitar, I can help you put new strings on and give me a call, we’ll get you playing Metallica in no time!!
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into a Better Brain and Body
Ever feel like your brain and body are starting to let you down? You can’t remember words the way you used to, and a walk in the park no longer feels like such a walk in the park? New research shows that taking up a new hobby or learning a new skill goes a long way in sharpening your brain’s ability to fight and prevent memory loss, especially for those in addiction recovery. If that new hobby or skill includes physical exercise, you’ll be doing double duty by also enhancing your physical health.
According to research published in Psychological Science, it’s important to get out and do something unfamiliar and mentally challenging to provide broad stimulation mentally and socially. Doing crossword puzzles and taking ginkgo biloba supplements can only do so much. You need to step out of your comfort zone and learn a new skill or take up a new hobby to get those synapses firing. Learning a new skill can even improve your self-confidence. Here are some great activities to check out.
Learn a Musical Instrument
Research shows that the brains of musicians are different than others -- as in smarter. Learning to play an instrument is one of the most effective ways to improve your cognitive abilities. You’ll especially be giving a huge boost to your memory function. Thanks to the internet, you can find online courses for learning how to play everything from the piano to the Native American flute.
Join a Choir
Singing has been shown to provide several health benefits, such as improved mood due to the release of pleasure endorphins, lessened stress/anxiety, and improved memory. In addition, singing with others fosters social connections. However, singing can be done anywhere such as in your home, car, or on a jog.
Whether you’re interested in drawing, sculpting, photography, or even knitting, learning any of these activities has been shown to stimulate the brain. Many of these activities are also great fun when done as a social activity. Search online to find classes in your area, as well as in arts and crafts and home improvement stores.
Get Up and Dance!
Dancing is a social activity and gives you a workout as well. Beyond burning calories and getting in shape, dancing may also lower your risk of dementia. According to a study from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, researchers found that the mental challenge of following dance steps and moving in time with the rhythm may be responsible for lowering the risk of dementia. Whether you’d like to learn how to salsa or do the Cowboy Hustle, plenty of free dance classes can be found on YouTube.
Learn a New Language
Research supports that learning a language as a senior helps the brain resist some of the common problems that come with dementia and other age-related cognitive issues. With websites like Duolingo, you can learn for free. Spanish is the second most-spoken language in the world, which makes it a practical choice, but then there’s French, with the motivation of visiting Paris. If you’re looking for the easiest languages to learn, check out this article.
Improve your computer savvy or brush up on the basics. Whether you simply want to navigate social media with more ease or create your own website, embracing new technology will not only help you cognitively, but it will also enrich your life immensely. Keeping current on the latest apps and programs will help you save time and money and make communicating with your loved ones so much easier.
This is your time to pursue that skill or hobby you put on the backburner when you were building your career or tending to young children. Just think of how you’ll benefit your brain if you trade in just one hour of TV per day for learning a new language or taking a dance class. Instead of bingeing on Netflix, binge on your new learning goals. May you be that 90-year-old who is still going strong and having the time of your life. Have fun!
The Benefits of Introducing Music to Babies and Young Children
Jenny Silverstone has a great blog about parenting called momlovesbest.com
link here to her blog post about the benefits of introducing music to children
She asked me to write a small post on my experiences with Music and Child Development so here it is...
There has been so much written about how music is helpful to young children and babies. You only have to google the subject and hundreds of articles appear. University and pediatric studies, focus groups and mom’s blogs all outline in detail the benefits of music on child development.
My experience has been from the perspective of a musician and performer. I am the founder of a children’s music program called We Kids Rock in the Delaware/Philadelphia area. The program consists of music classes for children from birth to 5 years old with their parents/care-givers in 3 locations as well as appearances in preschools, libraries and music venues. I teach guitar lessons for children to adults and have produced and recorded 6 CDs of kids/family music.
The first thing I think about when I see new babies and toddlers come to my classes with their parents is how valuable that time spent together is. We Kids Rock may be the very first activity in a long list to come that these parents and children will experience together. This class will hopefully be something that they will remember and cherish for the rest of their lives. I watch the children start out shy and maybe a little overwhelmed to fully participating. By the end of the session, they are clapping, moving, dancing (and singing for some of the older kids). It’s great to watch the progress in such a short time.
As part of our music program the participants receive a cd or an online playlist of our home-grown material which features originals and traditional children’s music. After listening to the playlist at home or in the car with their parents, some of the kids have favorite songs that they must hear us sing in class. Some know the words to the songs better than the teachers do!
Another thing about the classes that I love to witness is when the babies start to clap and make sounds that resemble singing. It’s like they’re imitating the song in their own way. It is magical and hysterically funny at the same time. Moms and dads send me videos frequently of their kids singing and rockin’ out in class or at home to our music.
While this may not be the most technical read about music and child development, the bottom line is that what I see from the parents, babies and toddlers in my classes is joy, discovery and so much love. I truly feel fortunate to be a part of their experience as parents and to be a positive force in the life of so many children.
My emphatic advice to all new parents is to include music in their children’s lives as much as possible in every stage of their development.
June 13, 2018
My name is Bill Currier and I'm a working musician and songwriter in the Greater Philadelphia area. I've played (and still play) original and cover material all over the country in several bands including “The Numbers” and “The Flamin’ Caucasians”. In addition to all of that I play music for small children and their parents.
That all started when my sons were toddlers and I took them to a local children's music class.
I was skeptical but soon saw how much they loved it and how they really wanted to go to the class each week. They got so much out of it and we really had fun together. It turned out that
I knew one of the teachers from playing in area bands and she offered me a part time job teaching the classes. I was really excited to do it especially after seeing the reaction in my boys.
A few years later I started my own program called We Kids Rock for small children and parents. Along with doing the classes I recorded 6 CDs of original and traditional Children’s songs arranged in classic rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues, punk and reggae styles. I had a blast and got to play and record with allot of great musicians. Some I knew already and some I met through recording the material. The CDs were a huge hit with the kids and parents. We won 3 national awards and got some really nice reviews.
You can check out the CDs at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/WeKidsRock. For more info go to www.wekidsrock.com let me know what you think.
The We Kids Rock band is me and 3, sometimes 4 gifted musicians that I'm lucky to be able to play with. Our main goal is to play the songs from our CDs live among others and put on the best show that we can for kids and families.
In addition to the songs on the CDs, we play songs by the Beatles Bruce Springsteen, Michael Franti and even the Black Keys. We love it when the kids get to see their parents have a little fun.
Please come out and see the band. We think you'll enjoy it.
Here are some of the people who played on the CDs.
Guest musicians on We Kids Rock's cds include: Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers, Johnny Neel Band), Skip Dennenberg (“Having a Ball” released and sold by the Philadelphia Phillies), Simon Illa (R&B Producer) and Marc Moss (production credits include David Bromberg, Nik Everett and Cliff Hillis). Cliff Hillis of Cliff Hillis and “In The Pocket” and one of the best songwriters anywhere. Wally Smith of Quinc and Hank Carter from George Thorogood and The Destroyers
We Kids Rock’s first cd, "Everybody Clap Your Hands" was released in January 2007. We Kids Rock's NAPPA award winning second cd, "Let The Sun Shine" was released in 2008. "There's A Train..." Released in 2009 Winner of NAPPA Gold and Parent's Choice Award. 2011’s 5 songs About Stink Bugs, Monkeys… is one brand new unreleased track “Stink Bug” and 4 of the most loved songs from our previous three cds. We released our 4th official CD called "Old MacDonald Family Band" in June of 2014 and a 4 song EP in 2016 featuring the classroom favorite “Don’t Touch The Guitar”
For Booking Info. Contact us at 610-490-0695
or e-mail at email@example.com