Musical Requests

The Oh Waily household is devoid of anyone with a clue about music, other than the ability to turn on the radio, set up the iPod (only just) and maybe, just maybe download music from the iTunes store.

So I am asking for assistance from you, if you are not tone deaf, do have a clue about music and as a bonus skill also have some experience of small children interacting with music.

We have had the same basic music for Miss Oh since she was a tiny tot.  She currently loves her version of Carmen from Baby Einstein – it’s a medley.  Please don’t cringe.  I didn’t know any better before I purchased the CD.  I wouldn’t do it again, I’d get the real thing since it has so much more depth than the stripped bare version for babies.  (At least is sounds stripped bare and slightly tinny to my ear – feel free to laugh if you think I’m mad and / or deaf.)

So, her current selection is Baby Einstein and a couple of London Philharmonic tracks – William Tell and Flight of the Bumble Bee.  We did have “Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens, but it appears to have gone missing in my move from PC to Mac.  It will be added back, should I ever discover where it has hidden itself.

My plan is to introduce different musical instruments to Miss Oh like we did with her animal families, so she becomes familiar with them.  To make that more interesting I would like to have pieces of music which reflect the unique sound of each of the instruments.   To begin with, I thought I would choose some very obvious instruments and work on from there.  Here’s what I had in mind, feel free to offer different suggestions.

– Piano
– Violin
– Clarinet or Oboe (Unsure which would appeal most)
– Trumpet
– Drum (Snare was my likely preference since it might have good appeal to small ears)

I thought that would be a fair starting point.  Do you agree?
Now the tricky part – finding pieces of music that reflect those individual instruments, and hopefully will appeal to a toddler.  This is where I need the most help.  I am open to music old and new, as long as it gives a clear and fair representation of the individual instrument.  I’d prefer not to have to buy CD after CD to achieve this, so iTunes here I come – one track at a time.

If you are able and willing to help, you can leave a comment, or if you feel that only a decently long email will do the trick to stop me corrupting my little one’s hearing and music appreciation for life then I am happy to hear from you that way too.

Thanks in advance from the Oh Waily children.

3 thoughts on “Musical Requests

  1. I like the idea of introducing different instruments. I tend to just have the radio on to different stations. We alternate between classical, jazz and rock ones.

    There’s a piece of music called the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by, I think, Brittain, which might be fun once she’s got her ear in a bit. I think the idea is that different bits of it showcase different instruments.

    Like your choice of instruments (except, what, no double bass?). I’d go for clarinet over oboe. Gentler and breathy and more of a contrast to the others perhaps. As for specific pieces, Chopin for piano? Mozart does some great violin bits. For the clarinet, either Rhapsody in Blue or American in Paris, or pehaps both, starts off with, or at least has some really fun clarinet slides. Star Wars Soundtrack was always a favourite with the brass section in the orchestra I played in, although I’m not sure about trumpets in particular. Brass band music or military type marches would also have lots of drums. Still, I’d probably just go for anyting that had ‘…for clarinet’ or whatever in the title.

    Also, hav you thought of the voice as a instrument? The star went though a phase of eing fascinated when any high voiced opera was on the radio.

    I think I shall pinch your idea anyway. And I must get hold of the flight of the bumble bee and carnival of the animals (incidently, not to influence you, but the elephant in that is a double bass piece…)


  2. Sol – thanks for all the great advice.

    Our choices of radio station are bit iffy, to be frank. We can do classical and rock easily but jazz or blues is considerably harder. That’s what you get with a small population and no real government funding – if it isn’t commercially viable it doesn’t play. But, saying that, we have access to migrant music through a couple of stations catering to niche parts of the population – that will prove to be interesting when introducing the different sorts of instruments between cultures.

    I had a listen to Brittain’s piece on iTunes – it may be a bit away for her just now. But while there I repurchased at a discount rate (it’s that upgrade thing they are doing) the Carnival of the Animals and we have started listening to that. It will definitely turn out to be a good source of instrument to sound matching. Will go with clarinet as suggested, especially since I will be able to access Benny Goodman and Acker Bilk for variety. Will definitely look at getting your two suggestions as well, my memory is dim, but I recall liking both pieces of music.
    Mozart is handy, I can raid my Mum’s CDs for that. Chopin I will have to go shoppin’ for. [couldn’t resist, even though it is a very bad attempt]
    Never thought of Star Wars for the brass – will have to look at that too.
    Military music was my thought for the drums, if I go with snares. Edinburgh Military Tattoo videos on YouTube here I come.

    I hadn’t given the voice any thought at all. Appalling. Not so sure about Opera, will have to choose something I can live with just in case she likes it and wants it on permanent repeat. It did spur the thought of finding Ella Fitzgerald (and others) doing scat though. I may be able to live with that.

    Goodness, lots of research and subsequent shopping in my future. I can see many hours spent at Wikipedia finding out about all of these instruments.

    As for the double bass, I sense a passing fondness…


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