Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Tuneables 'I Love Music' 2-disc set review {School Rules}

Pictured:  'The Tuneables I Love Music' 2 disc set
Music education is very important to my husband's family.  Once upon a time, my husband played violin, drums, a baritone, and others.  My Sister-in-Law is a music educator who plays the flute beautifully.  She plays so well that she often is asked to play at weddings (and played at my own 15 years ago).  Their father also plays violin, so I guess you could say that music and music appreciation is very important to that branch of the family tree.

It's important to us to enrich our children's music education, particularly because our school district is poorer and doesn't pay well, which means we have a frequent turnover of teachers.  We don't want our children to lose out on a rock solid foundation in music.  Budgets are cut at schools all the time and we know that teachers have to teach with less and less resources each year.  Music education is so important, not only from a cultural standpoint, but also for other reasons.  Music-minded kids generally do well in math.  So music education helps shape other educational experiences in life.

The Tuneables: I Love Music

Kids today (particularly my own) seem to pay more attention to educational videos if they're cartoony.  It's true... I can remember boring videos in music class from my grade school days!  I would have loved for some of those videos to be cartoony! The Tuneables introduces young children to music in a visually appealing way.  The characters all look like their instrument and their names are puns.  For instance, Snare, the drum, has a flat head that looks like the top of a drum.  There's even a little pun for us parents because Sonny the cymbal (who has a mustache) has a song with Snare, the drum.  Sonny and Snare (Get it: Sonny and Cher).  Well, I guess I just dated myself! 

The Tuneables video is only one-half hour long, so it's short, but jam packed with knowledge.  The video is divided into chapters, which is nice.  If you want to focus on one particular chapter, you can easily do so from the menu at the beginning.  So teachers (or parents, particularly home schooling parents) can grab the kids attention with a chapter to begin a lesson as an introduction to a concept.  The Tuneables is also sponsored by the Music Intelligence Project.  This is important to note since the MIP's function is to promote the best approaches for music education for children, which are derived from research and proven methods of teaching music to kids.

I viewed this video with my 6-1/2 year old two times.  I was concerned at first that it was "too babyish" for him since he seemed bored the first time we watched it.  However, the second time we watched The Tuneables it was HIS idea and not mine.  He specifically requested us to watch it again.  The second time, my 10 year old joined us.

The first time through, I thought that the age range listed -- 3 to 8 year olds -- was way off and that it would be better suited to a much younger crowd.  The second time we watched, he was more into participating.  I'm not saying he was singing along, but he seemed to enjoy the DVD much more the second time.  Though outside the age range, my daughter seemed to enjoy it too.  She patted along with the beats and sang a little too.

I found the voice range chapter to be really high pitched and hard to understand.  By the time we figured out what the character was singing, the chapter was over. However, this DVD is designed to be watched over and over again.  Kids will catch on to the words in the song and hopefully, with practice, increase their voice range.  Parents:  Don't miss out as there's a parent's guide that you should print out.  It does have the lyrics to all the songs, which makes it easier to follow along.  Be sure to read about the learning objectives too.  I found the School Outreach information very informative.  You and your children will get much more out of the DVD if you read through the material and know what concepts will be taught. 

I can definitely see the value in repeat viewings of this DVD.  Not only would a child learn the songs, but also it would reinforce the concepts.  Home schoolers with will find value in this DVD too as it does teach concepts in a fun way and children are encouraged to participate, rather than just sit there and stare at the screen.  When the Tuneables march, your child can join in too!  There are more DVDs planned that will build upon this first one, which will mean a more comprehensive program once other DVDs are released.

Though you can purchase the DVD/CD separately, I like the idea of buying them both at the same time. The song CD would be great for a car ride.  Speaking of car rides, the DVD would also be a nice addition.  We keep DVDs, both educational and entertaining, in the car.  A half-hour car ride can be an music education moment!

Overall:  I would recommend The Tuneables.   I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of Mo, Gloria, Snare, Sonny and the gang in the future.  Repeat viewing is the key, so don't be discouraged if your child doesn't seem to enjoy the DVD the first time.  Children learn by repetition so don't expect them to catch on to all concepts the first time through.

Disclosure:  I was provided with a copy of The Tuneables for the purposes of this review.  This blog post is not compensated and the opinions stated herein are 100% my own.  I encourage parents to visit the Tuneables website to learn more.
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