Review: “Rhythm Bears” children’s music CD

Groove Kid Nation sent me their “Rhythm Bears” CD to review.

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Rodney Lee, founder of Groove Kid Nation, believes music is important for early childhood development. Lee has created award-winning CDs that expand “a kid’s musical journey with fresh age-appropriate concepts.”

“Rhythm Bears,” Lee’s third Groove Kid Nation album, features 11 tracks with instruments like the harmonica, fiddle, acoustic guitar, acoustic bass, clarinet, kalimba, ukulele, and didgeridoo.

Ten percent of the wholesale price of “Rhythm Bears” will be donated to to aid in the fight against global poverty.

Our Experiences:

As a cellist, I can appreciate Rodney Lee’s desire to expose children to “real” music as opposed to the manufactured, imitation sounds that toys produce. I suppose I’m a snob where music is concerned. For example, I have no idea what the “popular” songs are these days, because I only play classical music or traditional hymns (sung by children) when I’m driving with Baby J. Yes, I’m THAT mom.

I enjoy the music on this CD and always find myself tapping my foot along with the beat. It’s pleasant to listen to, and the musicians on this CD really are talented and proficient on their instruments. For more on the musicians, click HERE.

The CD uses call and response to teach kids rhythm. The artist claps and then the listener is supposed to echo the clapping. Baby J quite happily claps along with the music (big grin on his face). I wish I could say he gets the rhythm right, but, well, he is only 15 months. He does actually clap on the beat occasionally, and I convince myself it’s on purpose. =D

Memphis the bear

I appreciate the extensive list of child-appropriate musical instruments that Lee has posted on his site. Besides the booklet included with the CD, the website and Lee’s YouTube page contain additional resources to complement the disk.

Want to know more? Visit Groove Kid Nation on the web.

Note: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Surviving as a Woman in a Man’s World: Mozart’s Sister

Once the baby’s asleep at night, I like to watch foreign films, specially French, on Netflix. I came across a movie called “Mozart’s Sister.” As I watched it, I became increasingly interested for several reasons. I have a background in music, as I started playing the piano at 7 and the cello at 9. Music education was my minor in college. I’m also enthralled with stories about women succeeding (or trying to succeed) in a “man’s” world. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed and suffered sexism firsthand while serving in the military, so this is an issue near and dear to me. Finally, I love history. Frankly, I can’t understand people who say they don’t like history. How can you not like history? Why wouldn’t you be fascinated to hear about your family, your culture, your heritage? I do believe that history repeats itself. I think it’s important to learn from the mistakes made by people in the past, so they’re not repeated.

Maria Anna Mozart

Maria Anna Mozart was sister to the famous composer Wolfgang Mozart. Maria Anna was a prodigy like her brother. She composed her own music, which her brother praised but her father never mentioned in any correspondence. She played harpsichord beginning at age 7, and was reportedly excellent at it. As a child, she performed all throughout Europe. But once she reached a marriageable age, her father no longer permitted her to perform. She was made to stay at home, as her brother continued to tour and perform. When Maria Ann fell in love and was proposed to, her father forced her to refuse the proposal.

When she was 32, she married a man in his 50s who already had five children. She let her father raise her only surviving child, a boy named Leopold. There’s speculation about why she more or less gave her son away. Possibly, her father wanted to cultivate another prodigy, since he was on poor terms at the time with Wolfgang.

According to my research, the above is true.

The movie, “Mozart’s Sister,” is fictionalized. In the movie, the Dauphin (crown prince) of France takes a special liking to Maria Anna and her talent. Despite her father’s disdain over her compositions and ability to play the violin, the Dauphin encourages her, and even officially commissions her to compose and perform for him. There is definitely a connection to the recently widowed Dauphin and young Maria Anna. But as the heir to the throne, he is ordered to marry a princess from another country.

It gets a little bizarre when the Dauphin invites Maria Anna into his bedroom (dressed as a man), and then has Maria Anna play the harpsichord and sing for himself and his new wife. After sending his wife away, he orders Maria Anna to kiss him. Then he starts yelling at her, threatens her, and throws her out of his room. Someone felt guilty, me thinks.

She later burns all her compositions that she’s written, and commits to following her father’s advice and directions completely.

This film is beautiful. I’ve always thought French to be a lovely, smooth language. The costumes and hairstyles in many of the scenes are exquisite. If you enjoy classical music, this film is worth watching, even if you don’t like foreign films, subtitles, or dramas. As near as I could tell, there was music in the background of every scene. Music (singing, playing, or both) was center of many scenes.

However…I should warn you, that I have yet to watch a French drama that left me feeling happy. I found them a little depressing!

Do you like to watch foreign films? What are your favorites?
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