Finale composition software. Ian has used Finale for several years now, and has composed and arranged everything from full jazz band charts to orchestral pieces, to simple marimba solos and duets. This is a resource for the serious composer, as it can be a little intimidating to a new musician. However, Ian has found that this software is very useful when he wants to share his music with music and band teachers, as they tend to own it as well.
Baby Loves Jazz (Series) by Andy Hurwitz. Ella Elephant, Miles the Crocodile, Duck Ellington… this adorable oversized board book series features different jazz legends as spunky animals. The rhythmic text and accompanying CD are sure to please any toddler or preschooler (and their parents too). Truly these were some of my absolute favorites when my kids were younger. Love ’em! Titles include Charlie Bird Counts to the Beat, Duck Ellington Swings Through the Zoo, Ella Elephant Scats Like That, and so many more, including collections and holiday themes. They have CDs too. To take a look at all of their stuff (and you should), go to their website.
Marsalis on Music, DVD set by Wynton Marsalis. A great four-part eduational series for children ready to dive into music appreciation. Topics include rhythm, form, practice, and jazz bands. I’ll be honest; it’s been years since we watched this, and I don’t have clear recollections except for the fact that we enjoyed them. The episodes include Why Toes Tap – Marsalis on Rhythm, Listening for Clues – Marsalis on Form, Sousa to Satchmo – Marsalis on the Jazz Ban, and Tackling the Monster – Marsalis on Practice. If the $85 price tag is too steep, ask your local library. If they don’t have it, ask them to expand their search to other libraries, or to add it to their collection.
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka. This book has always been one of my favorites. Raschka takes words and makes them sing Parker’s melodies and beats. You can’t help but feel the music as you read this one aloud (and you should definitely read this one aloud!). The illustrations are funky too, making this an all around keeper. Even though I haven’t read the book in years, I can still quote/sing a good bit of it. It’s fun to perform.
The Usborne Art Treasury by Rosie Dickins. I have always enjoyed this book for its organized exploration of the great artists, pairing visually stimulating informative text with hands-on activities to further explore the artists’ styles and subject matter. Our whole family did the Vincent van Gogh exercise years ago, and even the members (not naming names here) who don’t think of themselves as artists created some beautiful work.
Isabella Taylor, tween fashion designer. Born in 2001, Isabella began creating breath-taking art pretty much as soon as she could pick up a brush. Or pencil. Or charcoal – she does it all. We got to know Isabella and her lovely family in 2009, and have been great friends since, supporting each other as we educate our artistic and driven children. Several years ago, Isabella discovered fabrics and dove head-first into fashion design, blending her prodigious artistic talents with her love of clothing. In her words, “if art had legs, it would be fashion.” In just a few short years, Bella has taken the fashion world by storm, gathering national awards up by the armful and appearing on national media, such as the Today Show, Huffington Post, and Newsweek. She’s released several clothing lines, and continues her work on both canvas and the sewing machine as she balances her art life with college life (yep, she’s in college now). Get to know Isabella and her work, and be inspired to pursue your own passions. And buy her clothes too – they are as well made as they are beautiful.
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