August 31, 2009

Making Music (Part 1) - A jazzy fly and some rockin' eggs

I'm not sure what it is about flies that makes them the subject of so many great songs. If you hang around us long enough you're sure to hear me belt out:
Shoo, fly, don't bother me
Shoo, fly, don't bother me
Shoo, fly, don't bother me
I belong to my mommy!
Or you might hear a very off-key version of...
Flies in the buttermilk - Shoo, fly, shoo!
Flies in the buttermilk - Shoo, fly, shoo!
Flies in the buttermilk - Shoo, fly, shoo!
Skip to my lou, my darrrrrrr-ling!
Just be grateful this is not a video blog! My horrible singing aside, I'm featuring musical books this week and am starting off with a book about a six-legged, flying virtuoso.

The Book - The Jazz Fly by Matthew Gollub

This eye-catching, mostly black and white book features a jazz musician who just happens to be a fly. Running late for an important gig, he asks some barn animals the way. "ZA-baza, BOO-zaba, ZEE-zah RO-ni?" The animals each answer with their own unique calls until the dog finally tells him the way. Safe at the club, the Jazz Fly performs but fails to impress the queen bee. Deciding to spice things up, he incorporates the animal noises he heard into his performance. Soon the whole club is rocking to the Jazz Fly's new sound.

The story is written to be performed like a jazz piece. The Jazz Fly scats his questions to the animals and all but a small section of the narrative is meant to be read to a beat. Don't know how to scat? Don't know what scatting is? Don't worry; I'm jazz-ignorant myself. Thank goodness the book comes with a CD. After listening to the story read, or rather performed by a jazz quartet, it's easy to read it out-loud yourself. What a great way to introduce your preschooler to rhythm, beat, and a different type of music!

The Craft - Egg Shakers

Got some plastic Easter eggs lying around? We do. I cleaned out and organized toys this weekend and found more Easter egg halves than I care to admit. Here's a great craft to teach rhythm to your kids.

What you'll need:
  • two plastic eggs
  • old sheet music (you can print your own off the web)
  • mod podge
  • rice, lentils/small beans
Fill 1/3 of an egg with rice and close. Fill 1/3 of the other egg with lentils or another type of small bean. Have your child shake both to determine which makes the higher and lower sound. Let your kids tear the sheet music into small pieces. Cover the egg with mod podge and apply the paper, smoothing as you go. Once dry, hand over to those musical prodigies and let them shake, rattle, and roll!


  1. What a fun idea, I'll be linking. This blog makes me want to head to the library and read kid's book all day long!

  2. I made these for my girls - they made great toys for the long summer car trips we had.

  3. I love the music sheets glued on! These turned out so cute!


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