There is a long history of creating music to be used in early childhood education
classrooms, and Hap Palmer
's Learning Basic Skills Through Music
is a great example of one of the better results of the genre. Not as multicultural as Ella Jenkins' Call and Response: Rhythmic Group Singing
or as weird as Bruce Haack's Dance Sing and Listen
, Palmer's contribution to classroom-based music is quiet and gentle, easy for young children to follow lyrically, and fun for home listening and participation, as well.
has been making music for children for almost four decades. His specialty is songs for use in early childhood education
classrooms, although most of his albums and CDs can also be enjoyed at home. His first album was Learning Basic Skills Through Music
, released in 1969 on his own Educational Activities recored label. Over the years, the Southern California
-based Palmer has released about four dozen albums and CDs, as well as nine DVDs full of performances. His latest CD is 2011's Learning In Two Languages: Aprendiendo en dos idiomas
, released on his own Hap-Pal Music label.
Music from 'Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 1'
Palmer keeps it simple on Learning Basic Skills
, using only his acoustic guitar
, an occasional recorder or saxophone
, and the sparest of percussion instruments, accompanied by engineer Tom Perry's bass guitar. The album starts off with "Colors," a great, warm tune that will help children practice their listening skills
, identify colors, and follow directions. "Put Your Hands Up In The Air" again gets students to practice listening and follow directions
, this time while identifying different body parts. The tempo of the movement song "The Elephant" ebbs and flows as various animals of the jungle are described and children are encouraged to emulate the rumbling movements of an elephant
. "The Number March" is sort of like a slow and gentle, non-competitive cake walk, as children practice number identification and follow a leader as they walk in a line of a certain number. The upbeat and energetic "Marching Around The Alphabet
" again invites your students to walk in a circle, this time listening for a specific letter and picking it up as they pass it.
More Music from 'Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 1'
Children are encouraged to stretch
and sway during the song "Growing," while "This Is The Way We Get Up In The Morning" describes the kids' routine as they start their day at home. "The Birds" is easily the quietest, calmest tune on Learning Basic Skills
, as the gentle, swaying song has one student act out the gliding flight of a bird
, followed by all the other students. The super cheerful "What Are You Wearing?" is another great listening and following directions song, where students identify the types of clothing
they're wearing and stand up as instructed. Learning Basic Skills
ends with "What Is Your Name?", another circle time activity song
during which Palmer offers a fill-in-the-blank chorus that has each child state their name.
Hap Palmer's Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 1 is a charming, simple, and effective little album for teachers to use in their early childhood education classrooms. The tunes and production are uncluttered, Palmer's sung questions and instructions can be easily understood by the intended young audience, and it's fun enough to listen to and follow along with at home. Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. 1 would make a great addition to any classroom or living room music collection.
Released 1969; Educational Activities
"Put Your Hands Up In The Air"
"The Number March"
"Marching Around The Alphabet"
"This Is The Way We Get Up In The Morning"
"What Are You Wearing?"
"What Is Your Name?"