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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Twin Sisters Productions -the leader in childrens educational musicThis is a terrific place for parents and educators to shop for quality educational and inspirational music resources for children. I’m happy to share my review of two products available from Twin Sisters-

Spanish CD/ Book Set


Great Value & Excellent Quality. I don’t usually mention price in my reviews, but $4.99 is such a good price for a great workbook. There are several other workbook titles available on their website. This 48 page workbook is reproducible; the CD is high quality audio of ear-pleasing singing voices and catchy songs. Perfect for ages 4-99. Grandpa (Abuelo) might just learn some Spanish with this book 🙂

Scripture Memory Christian 50-Count Game Cards


I think a flashcard scripture memory game is pretty neat. This game – only $2.99 – also includes a free song download.

“God’s Word is fun, challenging and a great family time activity with these Scripture Memory Game Cards! Kids will love learning scripture verses with this fun game designed for the beginning learner as well as the advanced Bible scholar! Perfect for Sunday school, home educators and family time!”

This game uses the NIV translation. The website doesn’t mention the translation used. Not a big deal, but here’s an example of how the answer for Deuteronomy 6:5 varies:

NIV Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.

KJV And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

I like this game but do have two recommendations for it. The 1st is to have the cards two sided. The verse on one side and the answer on the other side. This would allow the player to “see” the verse instead of relying solely on listening to someone read it. And it would also make the game single player friendly. The 2nd recommendation is to have several blank lines representing each word needed to complete the verse. The game cards now only show a single blank line for answers with several words. 

♪Enjoy shopping for fun learning products at the Twin Sisters website♫

Our Awards Must Mean We’re Doing the Right Thing

Twin Sisters Productions’ educational audio products have received over 150 awards for quality, durability, safety, learning value, and overall excellence. Every award reflects our commitment to producing educational audio of the highest quality and value.

Notes From Dawn received the Spanish Workbook/CD and the Scripture Memory Game from Twin Sisters Productions 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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