Review: Sing & Learn

20 Feb

I reviewed Vicky Arlidge’s Tunes 4 Toddler Tantrums CD in 2010 and thought it was excellent. It was full of original songs (this Vicky is one clever lady!) and there was no exaggeration in the title — it did what it said on the tin. So when I saw that Vicky had two new CDs out I was very excited. But then I saw the CDs — two collections of already well-known songs. Hmm. I’ve done my share of Rhyme Time at the library. I’ve struggled to sing along at baby music classes where the teacher has insisted on singing at a pitch only dogs can hear. There’s nothing more I could possibly need to know about the health of the sleeping bunnies or Miss Polly’s Dolly. What then, I asked myself, could Sing & Learn Volumes 1 & 2 possibly bring to my musical table?

My initial doubts were (happily) proved wrong.

The songs may be old favourites (eg Incy Wincy Spider, Old MacDonald, Wheels on the Bus) but they have been arranged to breathe new life into them. Vicky has the voice you wish you had for blowing those other parents out of the water! And — most importantly for parents of children who adore repetition — it’s a voice that doesn’t have you running for the off switch even after having the CDs on loop for days. Children’s music that doesn’t drive you slowly mad, now there’s a rarity.

I discovered that I’m not as clever as I thought — you can teach an old dog new tricks. There are songs on Sing & Learn that I remember from my childhood but had forgotten the words to (Horsey Horsey, Polly Put the Kettle On). After a few listens I no longer had to fill gaps with awkward “la, la, las” and can now keep up with the never-ending stream of songs that my 3-year-old returns home from nursery singing. Much cred to Mummy.

Usefully, Vicky has divided Sing & Learn into two volumes — the first CD consists of nursery rhymes (eg Humpty Dumpty, Three Blind Mice, Hickory Dickory Dock), whilst the second is songs that have accompanying actions (eg If You’re Happy and You Know It, Dingle Dangle Scarecrow, Sleeping Bunnies). This makes the CDs suitable across a range of ages from baby to toddler to … well, whatever age it is before they discover Britney, Bieber and Beyoncé.

I’ve subjected my children to the Jeremy Vine radio show on a daily basis for far too long. All of us are unwilling participants. Now I can flick the switch and fill the room with happiness and silliness. What more could a stressed and tired parent ask for?! (Well, that doesn’t require a prescription.)

Sing & Learn Vol 1: A Collection of Traditional Nursery Rhymes to Help Little Ones Learn & Develop and Sing & Learn Vol 2: A Collection of Action Songs to Help Little Ones Learn & Develop. By Vicky Arlidge. Both volumes RRP £5.99. Available from Amazon (or Cuthbert’s toy shop if you’re lucky enough to live in St Albans!!).

Vicky is also a comic songwriter – see her on YouTube being very funny and very clever: Mum, Can You Wipe My Bum?

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