We, at Rockness Music have a new ORIGINAL ROCKIN’ Christmas song for you to enjoy! With more music from your favorite Mommy and Me Music class, Rockness Music brings you the joy of the Christmas season with a family song for children of all ages! Check out our interview Michael Napolitano- if you keep reading, we have a free download for you.
Tell us about the NEW Rockness Music Christmas song. What was your inspiration for this?
I think I have to start with a little personal history. Christmas music is a beautiful and a very specific art form. What I mean is, Christmas music needs to be listened to in the right context. Honestly, I can’t bear it before Thanksgiving or after New Years. Even during the fuzzy christmas season too much of it gets on my nerves – so I spread it out – I have about 100 christmas LP’s ranging from children’s to classical. My favorites are Dean Martin, Perry Como and Burl Ives- super smooth singing with angelic choirs of voices in the background, strings, bells and all the trimmings for a wintery soundscape.
I never imagined writing a Christmas song. Someone actually suggested it. I wrote this song last year a couple of days before Christmas – I feel like you cannot capture a “fake” feeling, I needed to be in that drowsy, hot cocoa-induced Christmas mood.
The song itself, like many of the songs I write, developed quickly – a stanza popped right out followed by a catchy chorus. The kids, my wife and I sang this tune all week.
This year I wrote the remainder of the lyrics. All I had at first was “Deck the halls with boughs of holly, rock n roll with Dad and Mommy” – which is an awesome line, but not quite enough to fill a song.
What was it like creating your own Christmas song? Were there any challenges putting together the lyrics and laying down the rhythm?
This song was most definitely challenging. My goal for children’s music, is to make it family music. Music that parents not only tolerate, but enjoy, and find themselves singing along or after they turn the track off. Christmas songs are the same way. The topic of Christmas gives a writer so much to work with, yet it’s so specific and it’s been done so many times its hard to be different and it’s hard to balance on that line of cheesy or good. Being that children’s music hosts the same issue for me this became a really fun challenge.
I took phrases from some of the most well-known Christmas songs and put them together to write a new song all together. After the fact, I realized I was inspired by Build to Spill’s song “You were Right” (an amazing song using lyrics from classic rock artists like Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and John Cougar Mellencamp).
The song started with guitar and vocals, I thought it was too normal, sounded like anything else. I don’t usually have this problem, typically the ideas flow. I’m a drummer first so I did just that. I kept the vocals, and played a drum pattern over the melody with no accompaniment, just drums and vocals. EUREKA! A catchy bass line followed and what we now here is a real rock Christmas song. There are some really neat sounds I was able to conjure up to give an overall christmas feeling. Listen for the melodica, chimes, palm muted guitars, and of course sleigh bells.
What was it like having your family get on the track with you? Should we anticipate a whole Napolitano Holiday album in the future?
Yes, that is the plan. We most recently had a pick up drum circle after my daughter’s birthday, it really rattled my creative cage. We are working on a bunch of Napolitano family creations at the moment. Music is so special to me, and anytime I play music with my friends or family it is just that much more special.
What was the first Christmas song you remember listening to and loving as a kid?
There are two, first is what you hear at the very top of this track, there is a music box playing ‘White Christmas’ – this was a gift from my grandfather – I listened to it over an dover. It’s an emotional melody and song. A lot of these christmas songs are in minor keys and pull at the heartstrings, this one does that to me.
My all time favorite songs is Jingle Bells by Frank Sinatra.
“I love those J-I-N-G-L-E Bells, BONG”…..great song!!! Everything about this. It’s fun, it’s light and it’s so very happy. The production, the swinging vocals, the choir singing – it’s just an incredible piece of work.
You said that in your family a huge Christmas celebration is a tradition- what makes family such an important part of Christmas for you?
I think it may be the other way around. Christmas is an important part of our family.
That time we all sit together and talk, and eat. Like any holiday, it’s special. You take those moments, forget about all your worries and embrace in the love and laughter of your family. Now don’t get me wrong, the food is a huge part of it! We are a big Italian family, the food is fantastic!
Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?
I love watching people open the gifts I buy them. I really do. But my favorite Christmas Tradition is singing the Twelve Days of Christmas with the entire Napolitano Family. Which includes my father, his 6 siblings and their children and children’s children. All 50 of us, Old uncles and aunts, the little kids – everyone has their part (and have for years) Myself, my brother, and my Uncle Mauro & Aunt Ida are Four calling birds.
My father and I dress in ruffle tuxes and conduct the song, we draw on fake mustaches it’s hilarious.
If Santa had a favorite christmas song, what do you think it would be?
Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
With April in full spring and warm weather approaching, what better way to bond with your little one than to make music? We all know the saying, “April showers bring May flowers”, but before we can have picnics in parks and beach days, we have to sit through a few sun showers to let that green grass grow! When April decides to shower, there are a bunch of activities you can do with your bundle of sunshine to keep them shining.
The rain dance activity is a great way to keep the spirits up and make great music with your child. If you find that your child is afraid of thunderstorms, this could also be a great way for them to understand his or her fear.
Start by sitting down with them in some chairs (so you can face each other). Have your child mimic your movements as you mimic the sounds of the rain. First, rub your hands together, as if you’re trying to warm them, to make a soft sound. The storm is starting! Next, transition into snapping. If your child doesn’t know how to snap yet, this is a great time to try! If snapping is a bit of a reach, have them clap softly. These are the first few raindrops. Then, pat your thighs like a drum, starting out soft but getting louder overtime. The biggest part of the storm is coming up! Now you’re patting your thighs and stomping your feet because it’s raining hard out there! We all know the rain doesn’t last forever, so we have to finish the storm so the sun can come back out. Slowly retrace your steps through the rain dance, from stomping to patting to snapping/clapping and back to rubbing your hands. At the end start low and stand up, stretching your arms out wide, because you are the sun coming back out! The rain dance is a favorite of music lovers both young and old!
Drip Drop Orchestra
When it’s expected to rain for the whole day and you’re home with your little one, making rain instruments can be a rockin’ way to make the time pass. The best thing about these instruments is that you can make most of them with stuff at home!
The Rain Stick
One of the most common homemade instruments is the rain stick. What you need: an empty toilet paper or paper towel roll, uncooked rice, aluminum foil, rubber bands, and markers, construction paper, glue, glitter, etc. to decorate. How to make it: 1) Have your little music maker design his or her paper towel roll with markers and other decorations to his or her liking. 2) Cover one end of the empty roll with aluminum foil, securing it with a rubber band. 3) Pour some uncooked rice into the paper towel roll, enough to make a swishing sound if shaken. 4) Now cover the other end with foil, also securing that side with a rubber band. 5) Enjoy your now finished rain stick! Have your child turn the rain stick upside down to hear the swishing sound of the rain.
Drum Bowl, Please…
A bowl drum is another great idea for an impromptu rain band! What you need: two paper bowls, a stapler, and decorations like markers, glue, glitter, etc. How to make it: 1) You along with your rock star can decorate the bowls with markers or crayons, making cool designs. 2) (Optional) You can put some uncooked rice or beans in the bowls to double the drums as shakers. Whether you put in rice or not, still staple the two bowls together after. 3) Have your little one hit the bowls like a drum or shake them like a tambourine. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
Thunderstorm Tap Shoes
If your young dancer has tip tap fever, these easy-to-do tap shoes can be a great way for them to dance the rain away! What you need: some elastic (about ½ inch wide), some metal washers (about 1¼ inches across). How to make it: 1) Cut two pieces of elastic about eight inches long. 2) Weave the elastic through the metal washers 3) Wrap the elastic around your child’s shoe, tying it securely on the top, but not too tight to make him or her uncomfortable. 3) Your little one is ready to dance! Along with your instruments, you both are now ready to have a rockin’ party!
If your child is worn out after the music making, a great way to cool down can be reading one these awesome books: On Monday When It Rained by Cherryl Kachenmeister, Rain by Robert Kalan, or It’s Raining, It’s Pouring by Kin Eagle.
Don’t let the weather rain on your parade!
I received my Loog guitar this week. This guitar gets a Rockness Music: A+
I’m always saying in our preschool music classes…..the cheap imitation guitars are not worth a dime.
The metal strings are too hard, they do not keep their tune – we all know how hard it is to tune your child’s six string guitar ten times a day (or at least to keep the strings from breaking). In the past I have always recommended the ukulele for preschoolers.
But now the Loog Guitar. This is the answer. A Ukulele is still a great option for a child’s first instrument (and potentially more cost effective). That is the only tough part. The guitar retails at $149.00. Any professional will tell you it is well worth the money.
A perfect design for little people. Nylon strings, THREE, not six. A slender neck and an easy body to hold.
You will find yourself strumming on this monster in no time. Easy to play, easy to fret and (make up) chords. Thats right! It’s kind of difficult to make it sound bad. The way the strings are laid out really makes the performer at an immediate advantage. You and your child will benefit from this instrument. Welcome to the future. Loog Guitars!
The Loog Guitar started as an academic project in 2010 when Rafael Atijas developed the concept as his Master’s thesis at New York University. The fact that The Loog Guitar was conceived in a university actually explains a lot about the company’s culture: their main goal is not to make the most profit, but to offer a product that is unique and well-designed.
In March 2011, The Loog Guitar was launched via Kickstarter, a fundraising website for creative projects. We set the goal to raise $15,000 and instead ended up raising $65,618 from people all over the world who believed in the project and wanted to play a part in bringing this idea to life.
Loog Guitars is driven by a passion for music and sustainable design. They source their wood only from responsibly managed forests and are committed to quality and safety standards that meet or exceed government regulations.
They started this company because they love guitars and believe that building them is an essential part of understanding and loving the instrument. When you build your own guitar you develop a deep connection with it. They want to share this experience with their customers and that is why The Loog Guitar ships unassembled for parents and children to build them at home.
Following 11 and preceding 13 comes the number of the day, 12.
I did not realize, or never thought very deeply about the significance of 12 in our world. Lets take a quick look.
12 B.C, 12 A.D., 1812, 1912, 2012
What does 12 mean: Two remaining after taking ten, or twalif “two-leftover”.
Facts about 12.
The volume we listen to Rockness Music. The number of times we listen to Rockness Music records in the car (sorry Moms and Dads!). Ok, now some real facts –
• 12 is noon, 12 is midnight.
• 12 months in a year
• 12 inches in a foot
• 12 zodiac signs.
• We have 12 cranial nerves in our body
• 12 pairs of ribs.
• The atomic number of Magnesium is 12.
• 12 is the maximum speed of winds in a hurricane according to the Beaufort scale.
• In Orthodox Judaism, 12 is the year of maturity.
Religion: What a huge number for many religions. There were 12 legitimate successors of Muhammad, Twelve Olympians, Twelve tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 Rebel princes of King Arthur, the sun god Surya has 12 names. This is just the tip of the iceberg – and there were twelve icebergs (just kidding).
Sports: Famous athletes wearing the # 12?
Wade Boggs, Joe Namath, Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw.
Twelve is the number of pitch classes in an octave.
The 12-inch single is a vinyl record format.
She and Him, featuring Zooey Deschanel (piano and ukulele) and M. Ward (guitars and organs). This record features the old style look (circa Frank Sinatra holiday records) and an old style sound. Great harmonies and wonderful song selection. They’ve discovered some fresh arrangements (which can be hard with these songs that have been recorded thousands of times), yet the songs keep their original form and overall wintery vibe. This is great music for your children and the entire family.
You know Zooey from the Fox comedy, New Girl.
M. Ward has become a household name among indie music fans. Hipster moms and dads, sink your teeth in. I’ve seen M. Ward live at Webster Hall in 2009, very pleasing indeed.
Check this record out, it’s worth the listen. You can check out clips on Merge Records Website.
Finally a contemporary Jewish music video. Although not 100% a rocker, still this is a very positive message and some great talent from these young men. You will dig it. The big plus is – its not a comedy – I love Adam Sandler’s funny parody, but this song is for real, these guys are for real and the deserve some love.
This is a feel good family song. And you know we LOVE family at Rockness Music.
Check it out:[youtube=http://youtu.be/oHwyTxxQHmQ]
They visit NYC on December 10th if you are looking for a great way to celebrate and extend your family tradition to live performance.
Check their tour schedule and other info: The Maccabeats
This is a breath of fresh air. This is done in a record factory that this gentleman and his wife took over in Dallas, Texas. Do you have a record player yet? Vinyl is definitely making a huge comeback.