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Music Storytime 2014

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M is for Music! One of my favorite storytimes ever was last year’s Music Storytime. This year, I knew I wanted to do something similar but with a little more emphasis on singing because, you know, 5 practices and whatnot. Just like last year, we skipped the Hello Song and made cardboard tube kazoos instead.

We read:

Valentine and His Violin by Philip Hopman

Valentine is so bad at the violin that his playing spooks horses, drives out dragons, and puts enemy armies into retreat. For this story, I used the CD I made last year of the pieces named in the book. When Valentine played a piece, we would listen to what it should sound like, then play it on our kazoos to demonstrate what it sounded like when played by Valentine. I love this book because Valentine (albeit naively) believes in himself and becomes a hero, even though he’s actually terrible at what he’s doing.

I skipped the scene with the wolf diarrhea, though. No defecation in storytime.

Concepts: Um…Self-confidence? Music appreciation? Okay, I admit it. I just really like the kazoos.

A Soup Opera by Jim Gill

A man walks into a restaurant, orders some soup, and (in song) tells the waiter he can’t eat it. The waiter gets the chef who gets a cop who gets the mayor who gets the President (you can tell she’s President because she has a teeny US flag on her Wagnerian Viking helmet), who finally establishes (punchline alert) that the man cannot eat the soup because he has no spoon! The book comes with a CD with three options: full narration by Jim Gill with opera singers performing the sung parts, a half-and-half that lets you read the text but still has the singers for lip-synching purposes, and a plain soundtrack version so you can sing it yourself. The music has plenty of extra space so you can get masks and dramatize the whole thing instead of using the book, too. We used the plain soundtrack. I assigned the storytimers the “I can’t eat the soup!” line, and I sang the “What seems to be the problem here?/What did you say?” parts. The moms were wowed by my impression of a first soprano. Okay, wowed isn’t the right word. More like, extremely amused. I, in turn, was amused by the kids’ fake opera voices. If you choose to take this on, practice with the music a few times so you have the timing of when to skip tracks down pat. If you actually dramatize it, you’ll need the extra time, but if you just read it, you will have millions of awkward pauses if you don’t skip ahead when you are ready. You definitely want to use some version of the music, because the pictures aren’t exciting enough to carry the day.

Concepts: Singing. Music appreciation.

Mole Music by David McPhail

This Reading Rainbow selection makes a nice counterpoint to Valentine. Perhaps bad music drives away the enemy, but great music turns war into peace and enemies into friends. I used a CD of violin sonatas I snatched out of the adult collection as background music.

Concepts: Music appreciation.

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss

This year, this book is an honorable mention. I don’t like it on its own for music storytime because toddlers and preschoolers have no idea what a trumpet sounds like versus a trombone, or a cello versus a violin. Why read a book that just has pictures of musical instruments? The appearance doesn’t matter. The sound matters. This book really should come with a CD of sounds of the orchestra. Since it doesn’t, I planned to play the sound samples on the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids page. (If you ever get a chance, go to a DSO performance. You may not equate Texas with symphonies, but they are SERIOUSLY amazing, y’all.) I didn’t want to bring my laptop, so I planned to use my Nook tablet, but as it turns out, the DSO page uses Flash. Boo! I had to sub Mole Music in session one. For session two, I was all armed and ready with an instrument sounds app, but by the time I got through Soup Opera and Valentine and kazoo making with that group (the Chatty Cathy group), we were out of time. Maybe next year.


We did the Peter and the Wolf match-up again this year. Everyone got the Cat and Duck backwards and we once again talked about how there are no right and wrongs in the game. If the Duck song sounds like a Cat song to you, you’re right. Music is personal! Sorry, Prokofiev, but if it makes you feel any better, I did have little children telling me they were afraid of the Wolf just from hearing his theme song.

Action Song

We learned what “tempo” means and then marched==>jogged in place with Jim Gill’s The Tempo Marches On. By the way, it’s not that I’m obsessed with Jim Gill, it’s just that everything he does is amazing and therefore his material is slowly taking over my storytimes.


I TOLD you, we made kazoos! No, seriously, we still needed craft time, so we decorated the kazoos after storytime just like last year.

How It Went

If you’re going to try something with a lot of kazooing and singing and CD/track changes, get a partner if you possibly can. However, I didn’t have one, and I made it through. Both sessions were very fun, although after today’s, I regretted encouraging singing in storytime when all of the female storytimers had an impromptu “Let It Go” singalong during craft time. Honestly, folks, take the song’s advice and LET IT GO.

Next week is our last storytime before my May break, during which time one of our talented circulation assistants will take over for me, bless her. So, next week will be Reading, and then I’ll be gone for four weeks before returning with a science series.


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