Today, I asked my special friend, Jennifer Bush, Please Touch Museum’s Education Director (aka the “Princess of Play”), some questions about jazz music and the importance of music in children's lives.
Pinky: Why is listening to music, particularly jazz, important for kids?
Princess of Play: Well Pinky, it’s important for children to be exposed to music as a way to help develop their listening skills and foster their creative expression. We celebrate jazz music at the museum because jazz musician’s use something called improvisation in their music. Improvisation means that they make the music up as they are playing it, almost like they are playing with sounds. There’s no wrong way to play with sounds, so anyone can do it! And of course, jazz music is great for dancing!
Pinky: What kind of activities are part of the Junior Jazz Festival at the museum?
Princess of Play: We are doing a variety of fun activities, which focus on musical expression and the history of jazz in the Program Room this month. Kids can make their own ‘Kitchen Concert’ while playing all kinds of instruments, and they can dress up in jazzy costumes. There is also a special painting activity called ‘I Got the Blues’ where you can paint pictures with different shades of blue, while listening to blues music. This activity promotes color recognition and fine motor skills by working with a paintbrush—plus, it’s a ton of fun!
Pinky: Do you have any tips for parents about kid-friendly jazzy books and CDs?
Princess of Play: Jazz is a wonderful musical form for children! However, some jazz lyrics contain decidedly adult material, so it’s important for parents to listen to all lyrics first, or else stick to instrumental versions. Here are a few of my favorites:
Jazz CDs for kids:
Various Artists–Jazz Baby Sessions Volume 1, 2, & 3
Cathy Fink/Marcy Marxer–Scat Like That
Lisa Yves–Jazz For Kids: Everybody’s Boppin’
Various–Jazz For Kids: Sing, Clap, Wiggle
Mother Goose Jazz Band–See How They Run
Jazz books for kids:
Jazz A-B-C-, An A to Z Collection of Jazz Portraits by Wynton Marsalis
Philadelphia Chickens (with CD) by Sandra Boynton
This Jazz Man by Karen Ehrhardt
Theo and the Blue Note by Peter Kuper
Stompin’ on the Savoy by Bebe Moore Campbell
For a complete list, please visit http://www.pleasetouchmuseum.org/exhibits/theater/documents/JuniorJazz09TheaterFlyer.pdf