Posts Tagged ‘personalized music for children’

“‘Bella the Baby Blue Whale’ Captures the Heart of a Child” by Ty Curtis

Friday, March 19th, 2010

She is the largest creature on the planet. At birth she is 25 feet in length, and she weighs more than 3 tons. This makes her the biggest baby in the history of life. This baby drinks 100 gallons of mother’s milk each day. She gains 200 pounds, and increases in length 1 and a half inches per day. When she is full-grown she will top 90 feet in length, and weigh more than 150 tons. When it comes to size, the blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived. It is also the loudest. It has the ability to make sounds as loud as 188 decibels. That is louder than a jet engine, which can be as loud as 140 decibels. When it exhales, it blasts a spout of water 30 feet into the air!

What better character to captivate a child’s imagination. That is what Ty Curtis was thinking when he composed the song called “Bella the Baby Blue Whale.” This would be the most complex song on the “Sea Animal Adventures” CD, an album of children’s personalized music. This was one of those songs where fantasy meets a hearty dose of personification. In this song, the infant blue whale named Bella has that same basic driving, emotional force that all children have; the desire to play.

Bella is one of the main characters in the song, but the other main character is the child whose name is being sung in this song. The recipient of this personalized CD of children’s songs becomes the captain of a wooden ship with billowed sails, filled by the wind. The captain searches for Bella, and lets the seafaring crew of playmates spend time with the baby blue whale. Bella’s large size serves to emphasize her bigger-than-life love that she has for playing with her friends. When it is time to go back home the captain calls to the crew. As they leave to return home, Bella waves farewell with her giant blue tail.

Because of its slow, dreamy melody, “Bella the Baby Blue Whale” easily doubles as a lullaby. Also, since many children use “Sea Animal Adventures” for an easy-listening bedtime CD, it was not a coincidence that Curtis placed this song near the conclusion of the album. This song was intended to help children “calm down,” while still holding their attention with a musically interesting story.

The musical instruments chosen for this song further contribute to its dreamy attitude. A fretless bass guitar solo was used near the conclusion of this string-laden song to imply Bella’s large size. The instrument almost has a liquid quality to it, which makes it flow beautifully in this song. The soft, accurate vocals of Emily Curtis, Ty’s then 13-year-old daughter, were also incorporated in the song. Her velvety voice, singing rounds of overlapping melodies infuse yet another layer of peaceful intricacies to the musical arrangement.

Together, all of the pieces unite to create a calm, beautiful song. “Bella the Baby Blue Whale” is a melody that moves children beyond the cares of the day, and lets them relax and enjoy a gentle sea animal adventure.

Copyright 2010, Tyson A. Curtis

“The Great Penguin Rally at Antarctica” by Ty Curtis

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Well they march out in the snow in black and white tuxedos, and they come together in an icy valley. The weather there is cold; about 45 degrees below. But that’s the way that they like it at the penguin rally. Almost sounds like a party in the snow, doesn’t it? Well it is a get-together of sorts, with lots of slipping and sliding, and cold birds colliding!

These natives of Antarctica have adapted to some of the harshest conditions imaginable. Oddly enough that is where penguins are most suited to survive. It is not that they don’t have any challenges down there. No, they do indeed. They are actually part of the food their chain. But you won’t find any complaining penguins. They seem to like their chances in this environment.

Penguins are equipped to handle the subfreezing temperatures of Antarctica. They have a thick layer of fat below their feathers. This layer serves two main purposes; to insulate their warm bodies against the cold temperatures, and to serve as a food store when locating food becomes difficult. So the next time you see a chubby penguin, don’t laugh. This guy is probably one of the most likely penguins to survive the long winters of the South Pole.

A great deal has been written about the way penguins travel through the snow. Some videos and documentaries refer to their movement as a march. However, if you watch them carefully for any length of time, you will see that most penguins move rather clumsily on the ice. The way they move would best be described as waddling. They walk on the snow at about 1 km per hour. Sometimes they even propel themselves along on their bellies. That’s alright by them. This type of movement saves precious energy. When in danger, Penguins can easily pick up their pace. A penguin in its home environment can easily move faster than a man through the snow.

Where this fine-feathered bird truly excels in movement, is in the water. All of its in-the-snow awkwardness is replaced with graceful flight when it is in the water. While in the water some types of penguins can swim at speeds of up to 12 km per hour. At these speeds they can leap out of the water and glide for about half a second. Most types of penguins will only do this when they are being pursued by a predator from below.

With all of its humorous peculiarities, the penguin was an easy selection when deciding which animal to include on our personalized children’s music CD called Sea Animal Adventures. From their unique, tuxedo-like appearance, to their awkward waddling on the ice, these birds of Antartica have no problem capturing the interest of adults and children alike. One of the personalized children’s songs on the Sea Animal Adventures CD is called “Penguin Rally.” In this personalized child’s song we have shown how much like us the penguins sometimes behave. Or, is it that we sometimes behave like the penguins? After all, who was here first, humans or penguins?

“Getting the Music ‘Right’ In the Car” by Ty Curtis

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

It’s kind of funny, but one of the first things we do when we finish a recording a project at ChildsPlayMusic.com studio is take the personalized children’s CD out to the car and listen to it on our car’s CD player. Doesn’t that sound silly! We have all of that fancy, good-sounding studio gear, yet we take the CD to a less expensive, just so-so sound system. There is a method to the madness at work here. You see, all of that state of the art recording gear can make the music sound really great in the studio, but the real bottom line is will the music sound good on an average car CD player? The neighbors get a real kick out of it when they see us running out from the studio to our cars to listen to another CD. It may sound like a trivial step in the recording process, but I can’t tell you how many times everything sounded just right over the studio monitors, and then when we listened to the project in the car, something needed to be bumped up or down in the mix.  The moment we hear something that needs to be adjusted we jot it down in a notebook, and continue listening. Once we have listened to the whole CD, and noted any spots that need to be adjusted, we head back into the studio. We make those little tune-up touches here and there and burn another test CD. More often than not we get it right the first time through. However, once in a while the car test reveals an area that needs to be touched up.

The truth is that we are some what of perfectionists here at ChildsPlayMusic. The things that we correct on a project, for the most part, would never even be noticed by our customers. But since we are the composers, singers, and the players, we notice even the tiniest detail that doesn’t flow the way we think it should. Then we get it right. We know that we won’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so we want that first impression to be a good one.

We take a lot of pride in our sound. So far in our young company’s three year existence we haven’t had one returned CD. Another statistic that we are kind of proud of is that over eighty percent of our customers are repeat customers. Many of those folks use us as a regular part of their gift-giving life. Our “Sea Animal Adventures” birthday CDs have been a staple for some folk’s “quick pickup” birthday gifts. They give us a call and we get it recorded and sent out right away. No problem.

So if you happen to be near our the studio one day, and you see a guy running out to his car with a CD in his hand, you know what’s up.  We are just making extra sure that when you order a personalized child’s CD from us that it is going to sound great when it gets to that special child in your life.

The Wonderful Effects Music Can Have On People

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

For many years now I have witnessed the positive effects of music on people. I have had a fairly unique vantage point from which to observe. You see I have been a bi-vocational type of person for quite sometime. I have been a schoolteacher for 25 years. But before becoming a teacher I was a young, professional musician. I played the guitar and sang. I performed for many events and occasions. I have played at more restaurants and bars than I care to remember. I have played in classrooms, dorm rooms, and hospital rooms. I have performed for birthday parties, wedding ceremonies, and divorce celebrations. I have played for christenings of newborn babies, debutant parties for young ladies, and for funeral services, as families said their final farewells to loved ones.

On a few rare occasions my presence playing music seemed to have a minimal effect on those listening. However, that was more often the exception, and not the rule. I understood very early on that music usually has some impact on people who are listening to it. Sometimes the effect is profound, and other times it is minimal. But nonetheless the effect is real.

I have noticed that little babies, sometimes before they can even talk, respond or react cheerfully to the rhythm of a peppy song. I have seen my on children, when they were toddlers, start bopping up and down as they interacted with the beat of the music of my guitar. The sight of them dancing around at such a tender age would never fail to put a big smile on my face.

One summer, when I was on school vacation I was asked to play for a group of elderly Alzheimer’s patients. I played for them for one hour every week during that summer. The effect of the music on those kind folks was both encouraging and therapeutic for them as they sang along with me. Somehow they could go beyond the bounds of their illness for a short period of time and fix their trains of thought onto happy melodies that they had locked into their memories many years earlier. During the songs you could see their faces brighten as they found a rare moment in which they could interact with each other in a group sing-along.

As a classroom teacher I have seen the surprised, delight on the faces of many of my students as I created personalized songs for them. I did this by singing their names into songs I made up for them. And at the end of each song, without fail, every other child in the class would always say, “Make up a song with me in it.” The reaction of the children to the songs was so popular that I later formed a small music business called ChildsPlayMusic.com. As you may have guessed the main thing that I do in this business is compose and record personalized children’s music. This has been very popular among my students. It has also provided an opportunity for parents to share special musical moments with their children.

I have seen clearly that music of all kinds certainly does have an effect on people, and the most profound musical impact that I have seen is when children hear their names sung in a song that was created especially for them. You can hear examples of personalized music for children at ChildsPlayMusic.com.