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    Holidays Tunes Help With Literacy Skills

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    By now it should be no surprise to our readers how much we love this time of year with the music, live performances and general goodwill.

    Yet, we understand why others may not be fans. We know that the same 15 songs get played over and over and over again, which is enough to drive some people crazy. So, if you’re about to hear “Sleigh Ride” for the 30th time, try your best not to run away. Southern California Public Radio and other organizations suggest that holiday music may be good for your child’s development.

    Here are a few reasons why:

     

    • Singing Helps With Reading Skills: There is a good reason why early education is filled with songs and nursery rhymes. Singing builds vocabulary and sound discrimination, which are essential elements to reading.

     

    • Song Repetition Is Good: As we previously mentioned, this time of year tends to play the same songs again and again.  SCPR talked with Susan Canizares, the chief academic officer Learning Care Group, who says repetition is good for young children. “By singing those songs over and over again, they’re beginning to listen to the different sounds that are in words,” she says.

     

    • Improvisation is Important: One way to have an old song sound new again is to insert your own lyrics. Children especially love when their names are mentioned in lyrics and you can encourage them to let their imaginations run wild with new phrases and storylines for the song. And, improvising lyrics is yet another useful way to encourage literacy.

     

    • Use as Family Bonding Time: Singing and dancing with your child can strengthen “emotional bonding” and creates a positive home environment, something that is essential for learning.

     

    So, start singing before the season ends! If you do not know the words to some popular songs, visit this website.

    Happy holidays!

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    Celebrating The Holidays With Music and Jammies

    You know it is the holiday season when local radio stations play Christmas music 24 hours a day and the malls are filled with Santas ready to hear what’s on children’s wish lists. A new tradition has spring for those who follow YouTube viral videos.  You know it’s Christmas when the Holderness family creates their holiday video.

     

    And what a treat it is this year!

     

    The North Carolina family, which includes a mom, dad and two children, became Internet famous last year with their holiday video “XMAS Jammies.” In a video they intended for family and friends, the Holderness family donned matching pajamas, sang and danced together and generated more than 15 million views on YouTube. This year, their holiday video “card” is  “#JammieTime” and is set to the tune of REM’s “It’s the End of the World”

     

    While throwing fake snowballs and jumping on trampolines with guitars and cowbells, they sing “It’s the end of the year and we love it.”

     

    We wrote a blog post about their back-to-school video “Baby Got Class,” which we thought was hilarious and spot on about what it is really like to get children ready for school. Again, we cannot help but like this family who likes making music together and having fun.

     

    Watch the video and enjoy the holiday season!

     

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Live Holiday Entertainment for the Family

    There are so many reasons to love the winter holidays: the twinkling lights on houses, a free excuse to drink hot chocolate (regardless of LA temps) and the music. As an added bonus to families, this is also the best time to go to the theater. We’ve picked some local productions that intersperse art and music that we think you will like.

     

     

    SLEEPING BEAUTY and Her Winter Knight — Pasadena Playhouse from Dec. 10 – Jan. 4

    With a live pony, Pharrell’s “Happy” playing the background and Xena, Warrior Princess making an appearance, this is not your ordinary play. This kid-friendly production offers a unique take on the fairy tale classic in the style of British Panto, which means you should expect comedy, audience participation and lots of physicality …just what young kids love!

    Before every performance, the playhouse offers crafts, activities, even an appearance from Santa Claus.

     

    Rogue Family Series — Atwater Village Theatre from Dec. 20-21

    This series has two shows — Zen Shorts and The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone — which offers puppets, original music and video projections that are sure to keep the youngest theater-goer on her toes. At $10 a show (or $15 to see both), it is also one of the more affordable holiday theater outings. Between shows, children can decorate cookies and participate in other activities.

     

     

    Nutcracker— The  Bob Baker Marionette Theater,  now until Feb. 1

    Everything about this show is like taking a step back in time. The marionettes, which seem to magically come to life with just a few wrist movements from their puppeteers, are unlike most puppets you see today. The theater which is red and ornate is also something to be treasured. This is a very kid-focused production in which the chairs are only in the back for adults. The kids sit up front, all the better to view these magical puppets.

     

     

    A Christmas Carol — Glendale Centre Theatre, now until Dec. 24

    For a more traditional theater experience see this Charles Dickens classic that is mean to renew the human spirit. The production sold out its first weekend so get tickets as soon as you can!

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Celebrate The Season With Live Music

    There is a reason why the next few weeks are called “the most wonderful time of the year.” It is a chance for people honor their faith, spend time with loved ones and enjoy all the goodwill and high spirits from friends and strangers.

    We also love that this is the best time for music and singing! There is so much music associated with the winter holidays and it is one of the few times of the year that people feel confident enough to sing.

    Take advantage of this season and enjoy or make music!  We’ve listed a few events in the Los Angeles area. Enjoy!

     

    The Christmas Caroling Truck: If you live in North Hollywood or Toluca Lake, chances are you have heard of the Christmas Caroling Truck, a brightly lit vehicle full of hundreds of carolers, dancers and, of course, Santa Claus. The truck usually rolls around Magnolia Boulevard and Riverside Drive on Christmas Eve. This year, they have a special open house on Dec. 5. Don’t miss it!

     

    Holiday Sing-Along at The Music Center: What better way to put those singing lessons to the test than at a sing along. At this annual (and, luckily, free) event, carolers are handed music sheets to songs such as “Silver Bells” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” and sing under the stars with live accompaniment.

     

    Honor Hanukkah with The Klezmatics: This year Hanukkah begins on Dec. 16 and ends Dec. 24. Celebrate the season with an all ages show by The Klezmatics, a Grammy-award winning who fuse traditional klezmer music with Latin, Afro-Caribbean and folk beats.

     

    The Nutcracker: For us, the holiday season is synonymous with The Nutcracker. Appreciate both music and dance at Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballet. There are so many different productions of The Nutcracker and, thankfully, the Los Angeles Times has compiled a list.

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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    Gift Guide For Musicians and Music-Lovers

    It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your holiday shopping list. Why not give the musicians or music-lovers in your life a gift that supports their interests?

    We’ve compiled a short list of some thoughtful gifts. What kind of gifts music-centered gifts do you like to give? Let us know in the comments section!

     

    Tab Station: What we learned from our review of the Ireal Pro app is that carrying piles of sheet music will soon be a thing of the past for advanced musicians. Now that so much information can be stored on a tablet or smartphone, why not give a gift that caters to our tech-focused world? The Tab station is a music stand that is designed to fit an iPad and can also be repurposed as a podium for making presentations.

     

    USB Mix Tape: Way, way back in the ‘80s (and maybe some of the early ‘90s) making a mixtape was a thing. People labored over selecting just the right songs for a crush or best friend. Then, mix tapes disappeared. Bring back some of this nostalgia with this gift. It comes with a USB drive to create your own playlist and place it in a box with wonderful designs of a tape.

     

    Song Reader: Beck’s song reader came out two years ago but we still think it is a wonderful gift. The genre-breaking artist created a set of 20 songs that had never been released or performed.  It is a great way to get in some extra practice time. Since its initial release, people have been posting their renditions of Beck’s Song Reader on this website. We love the different interpretations and skill levels. It is a real treat!

    The Music Junction offers piano and voice lessons at our Burbank and Hollywood locations. Call us today to learn more.

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