CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 15 . . . . March 31, 2006
Each of the four packages includes two discs, one vocal and one instrumental, plus an accompanying booklet for adult use. In Some Drum!, young listeners meet the family of percussion instruments, drums, triangles, marimbas and bells, whereas in String Things, they are introduced to various string instruments including the violin, cello, viola, harp and banjo. Blast o' Brass features the brass family: the trumpet, French horn, trombone and tuba, while Where the Wind Blows focuses on the flute, oboe, clarinet bassoon and saxophone, members of the woodwind family.
Monika Tusnady, the gifted author and producer of the “handsONmusic” series, holds degrees from Canada, Germany and Hungary. The extraordinary range and richness of ideas contained in each booklet testifies to Tusnady's ability to merge current educational research and learning theory with her long experience in teaching.
Each booklet begins with the Chinese proverb, "I hear and forget/ I see and remember/ I do and I understand." Inside are a whole host of activities for adults and children to do together which provide both bonding opportunities and tremendous learning experiences for the listeners. Each selection has suggestions which draw on the theory of multiple intelligences, thereby integrating music, movement, drama, science, art and literature.
The discs run for approximately thirty minutes with each of the 23 or 24 selections taking around a minute to perform. "Starters" are always included to help the adult introduce the musical selection by getting youngsters to engage in movement, rhythm or drama as they listen. There are many suggestions for sound experiments which introduce children to the "physics" of music by helping them construct simple musical instruments. Movements and dances, some a bit more complicated than others, are included on each page. It is worth noting that a fair bit of preparation is needed if the adult in charge is to take full advantage of these excellent lists of accompanying activities. A real bonus is to be found in the "Read Me" section which appears after almost every selection. Children's librarian Katha Kerr has put together a particularly fine list of children's books which will enhance the enjoyment of all who participate in the handsONmusic series. Artist and art educator Claire Cilliers has made a marvelous contribution to the program in the many creative artistic activities which are found in the pages of each booklet.
Tusnady has provided a splendid mix of traditional and classical tunes in each series. The orchestration is simple and clear, giving the listener every opportunity to discern the different sounds of each instrument. The singers have captured the flavour of traditional children's songs or chants, their perfect tempo and clear articulation ensuring that no words are lost.
Each package with 2 CD's and a booklet costs $25, or all four may be purchased for $90. It is a reasonable price for a series of such high quality and should prove a great boon to parents who are home-schooling their children, as well as to day care and playschool centres. The discs would also provide an excellent supplementary resource for kindergarten and music teachers. The beauty of the handsONmusic series is that it encourages active rather than passive learning and gives adults and children the means to achieve such learning.
A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.