One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about being a Mummy to small children is the chance to revisit the music, books and TV of my childhood.
My kids have discovered Bagpuss, the Wombles, Sesame Street (1970s style), Ivor the Engine and Paddington alongside great content from today’s CBeebies, We’ve listened to Captain Beaky, Peter and the Wolf and A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra as well as modern compilations of world music and some great worship music created with kids in mind.
Sometimes an old favourite seems hopelessly dated (although I actually value the slower pace of 1970s TV classics as they don’t hype my kiddos up quite as much) but some seem, if a bit retro, still as vibrant and valuable as when they were made.
The Music Machine is one of the latter (this is not an affiliate link) and, with Pentecost coming up, I thought it would be a great chance to introduce it to you. Recorded in the US in 1977, it tells the story of Nancy and Stevie who are mysteriously transported to ‘Agapeland’ where they meet the Conductor and his Music Machine. There follows a collection of songs, each one based on one of the fruits of the spirit.
My brother had the tape of this recording and we listened to it almost continuously in the car. I wasn’t surprised to see when I finally found this on Amazon for my own children that most people buying it had had the recording as a child and, like me had not only memorised the lyrics to each of the songs but had felt their impact on their lives over the years.
As I listened to it again I was impressed by the quality of the recording, the skilled arrangements and superbly varied orchestration. There is a wide range of musical styles, tempos and moods. Some are quirky like the song about Herbert the snail who learns about patience from his Dad, some are more like lullabies like the songs about Peace and Gentleness and some are full on rousing shouts in marching band style such as “Without Faith, it’s impossible.” The music is played by a full symphony orchestra and a range of adult and child voices sing the songs.
Suffice it to say, my kids love it as much as I did and know most of the lyrics aged 4 and 2 (well, OK, not all in the 2 year old’s case). I think it would be fine for kids up to about 8 or 9. I don’t mind listening it at all because, unlike many cheap nursery rhyme CDs, the music is actually professionally executed – some serious resourcing went into creating it. My husband wouldn’t say the same but we have yet to find a CD aimed at kids that he enjoys – each to his own!
Here are some links to the songs on Youtube – I suggest starting with “Patience”, “Smile” (one of the songs which isn’t a fruit) and “Faith”.
Sadly I can only find the CD on Amazo in the UK but I do urge you to investigate it for your kids. There is also a movie that goes with the recording which I’ve never seen and a book but, having just found the book at my parents’ house, the pictures are really dated (and slightly freaky!) although it’s lovely having the lyrics written down.
So, I’ll be gathering some more ideas about Pentecost over the next few weeks but this is a great all year round resource.