Thursday, November 18, 2010

Musical Learning Playlist

I've noticed a lot of renewed interest in Tom Lehrer's The Elements song because a certain boy wizard sang it recently. While Daniel Radcliffe did a great job, I think I still prefer the original, which my kids have been trying to sing for years. Hey, you try singing lines like this to the tune of "Modern Major General":
And iron, americium, ruthenium, uranium,
Europium, zirconium, lutetium, vanadium,
And lanthanum and osmium and astatine and radium,
And gold and protactinium and indium and gallium

Anyway, all of the excitement got me thinking of all the wonderful songs I know that have helped us sing our way through various subjects. I decided to list a few of the songs and albums, just in case anyone is interested.


Grammar Rock: When Marina was young, I designed our entire English language curriculum after these videos. They fun to listen to, fun to watch, and they actually did help her grasp the concept of everything from nouns and pronouns to subjects and predicates. My all time favorite is the Interjections song.

Silent E: If you thought Tom Lehrer only covered science and math subjects, here's a cute little song about silent E.


Multiplication Rock: OK, so I have a thing for Schoolhouse Rock. I still love singing along to Three is a Magic Number and Ready or Not, Here I Come (the five table). Also good are many of the Money Rock tunes, although my son thought Tax Man Max was creepy. Just a note, I'm linking to Schoolhouse Rock's site here, which has the lyrics to all of their songs. You can probably find the videos on YouTube as well, I'm just too lazy to link everything.

New Math: Also from Tom Lehrer, but easier to sing along to, this song not only helps with understanding subtraction (kind of), it also gives a taste of base eight. Other math songs by Tom Lehrer include That's Mathematics and The Derivative Song.


The Elements Song: This is the Tom Lehrer version, which a librarian introduced me to about five or six years ago. There are many YouTube animations of this song. Look in the YouTube sidebar if you want to find a different one. There were a couple I liked, one strobed too much, this one seemed the most child-friendly.

Meet the Elements: For a slower paced introduction to elements, They Might Be Giants has this song. The video I linked to is also wonderful, by Boing Boing Video.

Science Rock: Again, by Schoolhouse Rock.

The Universe Song: This song by the Animaniacs is now slightly outdated (poor Pluto)

Brainstem: Pinky and the Brain teach about the parts of the brain.

Pump Your Blood: Not too long ago, I talked about this song from Happy Days. It's still stuck in my head.


Yakko's World: The Animaniacs were very good at educating us in a fun way. Challenge for this song--which countries does he mention that are no longer considered countries? (I'm just putting that out there, don't ask me for an answer.) Also check out Wakko's 50 State Capitals and Yakko's Presidents. The Presidents song is also out of date now. We need to add lyrics for George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

America Rock: Not a fan of all of these, since some are oversimplified, but they are a good starting point for American history. And everyone in my history class knew the Preamble to the Constitution thanks to Schoolhouse Rock.

Big Bang: Barenaked Ladies song that is now the theme song for the show Big Bang Theory. Wasn't sure whether to put it here or in science, but since there are a lot of historic references in the song, I chose history.

Beethoven's Wig: Love these songs, and many give a smattering of history in lyrics set to classical music. You can find the lyrics to the song Kings and Queens of England here. It's set to Purcell's Trumpet Tune.

I know there are a lot more out there, but I only have a limited amount of writing time today. Please let me know if I broke any of the links. Feel free to add some of your own favorites in the comments.


DFrank said...

JP, we really are twins! I love schoolhouse Rock and my favorite have always been Interjections, 3 is a Magic Number and Ready or Not, Here I Come!

Sravani said...

Hey, that is an awesome collection of resources. Thanks for sharing these.

schmobes said...

I am so glad you posted these! I am always looking for more music that teaches! Thanks!

Karen said...

Tom Lehrer has been a hit in our house since I was a kid, and so now it's doubly fun to hear snatches of his lyrics from my boys: "Hooooo - and iodine and thorium and thulim and thalium" has been very popular.

Thanks for sharing the other songs, we'll stop by your blog tomorrow and listen together!

Inner Elder said...

What is it about music and lyrics that helps you remember? someone should do a study. You are very generous to do all this research and share it with your readers. Love, Mom

Risa said...

Thanks for this wonderful list. We use several on here, but there are many new to us as well.

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