Posts Tagged ‘music’

Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album

Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album (CD+DVD)

Audio Cd (2 discs) 2016

Grammy Award-winning musicians who inspire families to get outside and get creative:

As childhood friends growing up in Denver Colorado, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were always exploring the outdoors. Whether it was rafting down their neighborhood creek, taking long bike rides into the country or discovering hiking trails through the Rocky Mountains, Joe and Justin were born adventurers. Now, as The Grammy Award Winning Okee Dokee Brothers, they have put this passion for the outdoors at the heart of their Americana Folk music.

Joe and Justin record and perform family music with a goal to inspire children and their parents to get outside and experience nature. They believe this can motivate kids to gain a greater respect for the natural world, their communities and themselves.

The two-time Parents’ Choice Award winners have garnered praise from the likes of NPR’s All Things Considered and USA Today, and have been called “two of family music’s best songwriters”. Their nationwide fan base is drawn to their witty lyrics, strong musicianship and unique folk style. By appealing to the musical needs of the entire family and recognizing that kids deserve quality music, The Okee Dokee Brothers are working full-time to advance the family music genre. 

Saddle Up, which was released May 2016, is the third in their Adventure Album series. This CD is our first listen to the Okee Dokee Brothers. We highly recommend (Yeehaw!) It is upbeat music that I feel good about having my little one listen to. A hit for both kids and adults, it has good lyrics and instrumental quality. Also, the songs are without any television connection. (Disney and the like)


The Okee Dokee Brothers/ Beth Blenz-Clucas – Sugar Mountain PR provided this CD to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.


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In need of some new music for your week? Let me suggest A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children

A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children

Product Description

Ben Rudnick and Friends most requested song, A Frog Named Sam now leaps onto the stage in A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children. The story begins with Sam returning to his pond after an exhausting world tour. Ready for a rest, Sam is distraught to find his pond in disrepair: overgrown and nearly waterless. As if that weren t enough, an alien, Tripp, crash lands into the pond. The sound track tells the story of Sam and Tripp, their new friendship and their intergalactic adventures to save the pond. Featuring songs from the bands many award winning recordings (Race Car, I Got a New Friend), it introduces new, sure to be classic, BR&F tunes (The Adventure Song, When Something s Got You Terribly Blue) and a reimagined and more fun than ever version of Macaroni and Cheese. A bonus track, Coney Island Crazy, features Ben and his pals bringing to life the thrill of the vintage amusement park in a must dance blast of rock and roll. Ben Rudnick and Friends, pioneers of the Kindie music scene, have produced eleven recordings, played hundreds and hundreds of concerts and have won a variety of accolades including seven Parents Choice Awards. The adventure continues.
This CDvis a delight for the entire family. A fun assortment of songs from a talented group of artists. The lively music and lyrics will stick in your head in a fun way. Kid friendly. Adult friendly. Don’t miss their music video. Dance on!


 Boom Boom Boom Boom-de-boom Ribbet-Ribbet Croak-Croak Boom Boom Boom
I received this music CD from Ben Rudnick to help facilitate the writing of an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.


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a woodworker’s original designs

“discover boxes that become puzzles,
puzzles that become chairs,
and chairs that become boxes.”

review of a Walnut Xylophone

Beautiful to eyes and ears. This is a handcrafted instrument to treasure. It’s fun to play and listen to. (as a mom/reviewer who is adverse to noisy toys, I promise this xylophone makes a lovely sound) All skill levels welcome! Have a “melody monkey” hanging around? He/She will go bananas with this. Perfect for home and classroom.

Choose an expertly made xylophone in either walnut or cherry. Contact Michael Hennessy for more custom selections – “A custom xylophone made exactly to your specifications. You can pick the scale, the range, the notes, the size, even the color.”

IMG_4549playing once more before bed. just so darn interesting.

The steps to making xylophone keys, (and eventually a whole Xylophone).

I start by cutting the wood to the correct size.  Depending on the scale a person wants I have to adjust the length of the bars.  Usually only within an inch or two either way.  Most times I start with a 9 inch bar for the lowest note and cut the rest of them continuously shorter by 3/8th of an inch.  Usually ending with somewhere around a 7 inch +- bar.

Next comes drilling the holes for the screws that hold it to the frame. There is a point on every key that doesn’t vibrate.  That is called the node.  If you think of sound as a wave, the xylophone key vibrates in the same way and the node is where the wave crosses the middle from high to low amplitude.  I have learned that this point is about 22.5% the total length of the bar (length X .225 = node). Since this point doesn’t vibrate it is ok to attach the bar to the frame at that point with out effecting the sound
Sine wave and the node

Next is the tuning.  I start by cutting a slice out of the middle. A long skinny crescent shape that extends from just inside of one hole (at the node) to the other. leaving about 1/4 to 5/16 of an inch of wood in the middle.  Then I check the notes intonation with a tuner.  I use a tuner app on my phone, but I also have a separate tuner that I can use.  Once I determine what the note is I decide if I am close enough to the desired lowest note to make this key the lowest or not.  For instance if someone wants a xylophone in the key of D and my first key come out as a B  I know that that it can not be the first note for this xylophone and I have to start over with a shorter key or make a smaller first cut.  For this reason my first cut is usually very shallow.  However, if I find that the first cut for a D scale leaves me with a C or an E, F or G I know that I can make enough adjustments to get this key to the right pitch.

The trickiest part is you never really know what pitch is going to come out of a given piece of wood.  It’s all based on density of the wood and other unknowable factors.  Even if I had an exact measurement for how to make a specific note it would end up being different for every piece of wood I used.  For this reason I try to make each xylophone out of the same piece of wood.  I think professional marimba and xylophone makers have a formula and method for this, but I don’t have the necessary equipment.

Then i cut the rest of the keys and make sure they are within a close enough range to get them to the desired pitch.  Once I have done then, I begin the fine tuning.  This is done by by taking a little bit of wood off of either the middle of the bar, or the end of the bar.  If a note is too high, I take some off of the middle, usually with a sanding drum, but sometimes with band saw or table saw.  If a note is too low I need to take some off of the end to bring the pitch back up.  However I cant take it directly off the end because that would shorten the key and change the location of the node.  Since the hole is already drilled and the first cut made, I can’t really re adjust to a new node location.  So I end up taking it off at an angle so the total amount of wood on the end is less but the total length is the same.

Once I have the xylophone tuned to where I want it I let it sit for a day or two.  Then when I come back it will have slightly changed it’s pitch and I have to re-tune it, but not as much as the first time.  I don’t exactly know why this happens, moisture, heat from sanding, something else, but it happens every time.  Then after this final tuning I let it sit another day and check it’s intonation one more time.  Usually it doesn’t change much this time and it is ready for the finish.

I have experimented with a variety of finished from no finish to a heavy polyurethane.  Lately I have been trying a more natural wax and oil finish usually used for food grade utensils. I like this one because it is easy to apply, totally nontoxic, kid friendly, and looks beautiful. However, some of the xylophones I have made with this finish have not kept their tuning as well as other.  So I am still looking for the prefect finish between too heavy and too light.

Then I build the base, made of wood and adhesive insulation strips (the kind you put in your windows and doors), screw on the keys and the xylophone is done.  The insulation strips allow the keys to “float” and vibrate better.

So that’s how the magic works.  Over all the process take about 3-4 hours of work over the course of 4-5 days.

Notes From Dawn received a xylophone from Kinderling Wood in exchange for an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.


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we love this Music!

A.J. Jenkins, singer/songwriter

Listen and watch on You Tube or visit the website.

Terrific songs for toddlers. Educational and fun in a soothing folk music style.

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LSTN (as in “listen”) 

They make headphones from reclaimed wood. And listen to this…each pair of headphones sold benefits the Starkey Hearing Foundation. 



Features: Beechwood housing, microphone for calls and voice recording, passive noise isolation, durable nylon wrapped cable, works with iPhone®, iPod®, Android®, Blackberry®, CD, DVD, spaceships etc. Comes with a carrying case and 3 pairs silicon eartips in small, medium, and large. View Techs Specs on the website.



Great sound quality but a bit of cord noise. I attribute this to the material of the cord which is a tangle free nylon. But the cord is tangle free which makes these earbuds hassle free. Bowery Earbuds work for me because they are the first that fit comfortably. The silicon ear tips come in three sizes for that perfect fit. And they look terrific. Performance & design!

Bowery Earbuds also available in Cherry, Ebony, and Zebra Wood. 


Notes From Dawn received a pair of Bowery Earbuds from LSTN in exchange for an honest review. A positive review is not guaranteed, and all opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Another art post (ARcTic post) that I’d like to share-

I want to offer ARcTic posts as a way to promote talented emerging and established artists and to share God’s word visually through art. The art that I will feature may or may not have been created from a Christian-minded artist. I want to share it here; to appreciate the work created as well as the talent that the artist demonstrates, always from a Christian perspective.



Patrick Bornemann, “globe trotter and world citizen”, has put his talent to good use and his discipline has resulted in great art. He currently resides in San Francisco and makes his art available at his Etsy store, Art California. His works are alive with color and I was instantly in love with “The Blue Cat”. Originally done on canvas, this print is captivating.

The Blue Cat came to me and sat on the piano. He said: Please play music for me and I will grant your dream. I played and I made this painting when I woke-up. -Patrick Bornemann


I like the look of the black mat. But love the look of the blue cat with a cream mat and cream frame. (my apologies: pics appear more white than cream)



The first time I read Patrick’s bio, his happiness comment stuck out: “I produce only when I am happy”. I’m glad that he has occasion to be happy because his God-given talent and the discipline required in turn makes others happy, too. A verse and a quote come to mind:

Proverbs 16:20

New King James Version (NKJV)

20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” – Leo Buscaglia

About Patrick

PATRICK BORNEMANN was born in Africa, raised in Europe, and currently lives and works in California. Residing on these three continents has made him a multi-cultural artist. His artistic training was accomplished in Marseille, Nice and Venice. While living in France he worked for the French government as a teacher for “The Council of Architecture Urbanism and Environment”. He later worked for the government of Monaco as a scenic artist for various international venues. His medium is all natural pigments and his paintings have been sold in auction houses in Paris and Monaco. He is referenced in the International Art-Price. I paint what I see with a magnifying glass and I play with colors.

I paint people and places that I love. I paint both with fantasy and reality. I love painting on large size canvases, and I produce only when I am happy.

If you are interested in purchasing any of the artwork featured on this ARcTic post, please contact the artist directly.

I’d like to thank artist Patrick Bornemann for his participation and for print #11 of “The Blue Cat”.


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Our lovely old piano has become more than just a lovely old piece of furniture. 

I know that nothing beats a good piano teacher; but, with the Piano Pronto books, we have self-taught our way to making music. While our living room isn’t a concert hall yet, the sounds coming from it are quite musical thanks to Jennifer’s books.

Many other books that we have attempted to learn from have failed us miserably. Piano Pronto delighted us and we highly recommend this incredible self-teaching book. (Applause)

It has made learning fun and practice times have been rewarding. The series of books start at Prelude and continue through to Movement Level 7. We have just finished Movement Level 1.

Movement 1 Essentials (Method Book & Teacher Duets)

Why we love it:

Theory is included throughout the book. The explanations are clear and are followed by a lesson that reinforces it.

“Pronto Prep” are practice pages that concentrates on the more difficult part of the next music selection.

The songs are enjoyable. Nothing kiddie-like or boring.  We enjoy listening to what we are playing and this is really important because practice means that you are going to hear it…. a lot. My favorites are the selections of classical music that are arranged to be played at my skill level. Our playing  sounds like music.

Lessons from a good teacher would add to the learning potential of these books. I purchased this book for my own home school use and wanted to share my opinion.

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