Press Release: MusicFirst and The Singing Classroom Partner to Offer Exciting Online Resources for Elementary School Music Teachers

MusicFirst and The Singing Classroom Partner to Offer Exciting Online Resources for Elementary School Music Teachers
Companies join forces to offer subscription-based resource that provides an ever-expanding, dynamic, searchable database of songs, games and teaching techniques for PreK – 6 music teachers to use in their classrooms

May 18, 2015, New York, N.Y. – Leading digital music education company MusicFirst is proud to announce its partnership with online music education database, The Singing Classroom. Through this collaboration, teachers are now able to access The Singing Classroom’s ever-expanding, dynamic, searchable database of songs, games and teaching techniques through the MusicFirst online classroom. 
“We’re thrilled to offer The Singing Classroom both as a standalone solution, and as premium content through our online classroom. Once teachers discover how intuitive it is, the wealth of comprehensive materials it has to offer, and how exciting it is for both them and their students, it will become one of their favorite go-to tools,” said Dr. Jim Frankel, Director of MusicFirst. 
“MusicFirst is a brilliant tool for music teachers, allowing them access not only to an abundance of music software, but also to great ideas for the classroom that they can search and organize. We’re so happy that The Singing Classroom will be able to expand these offerings for elementary teachers even further,” said Gregg Pasternack, Co-Founder, The Singing Classroom.
Developed for elementary school music teachers (PreK – 6), The Singing Classroom allows educators to search the collection using a wide variety of criteria to find songs and games complete with scores, video, audio, printable posters and animations. Teachers can:
  • Search by grade level, genre, song topic, type of game, cultural origin, materials used, holidays, musical concepts, solfége and rhythms, or Orff instruments.
  • Download and print sheet music, posters, and other materials to use as they teach.
  • Watch videos that suggest how to introduce and teach the songs to help quickly engage and delight their students, as well as animations of bunnies demonstrating games and dances.
  • Show the animations to their students and see how quickly they learn to play a new game or do a dance.
  • Listen to each song being sung to get a quick feel for the style and tempo.
  • Save their favorites to their personal My Song page, so they can access them any time.
  • Learn great repertoire and activities, all with detailed suggestions (in written and video form) explaining how to present the material and how to avoid pitfalls.
  • Get inspired year-round instead of just a few times a year at conferences or workshops.
Experienced teachers are guaranteed to find new songs and variations on old favorites that kids love. For more information, visit
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About MusicFirst
Established in 2012, MusicFirst is the Digital Education Division of the Music Sales Corporation. The Music Sales Corporation was founded in 1935 by the Wise family, chiefly producing classical and tutorial material. Today the US company is a major copyright holder in both popular and classical music. Located in the heart of New York City, this office houses a multi-faceted group of executive, administrative, editorial and production staff. The extensive copyright and licensing department manages the ever-growing Music Sales catalogue. Also based here are the promotion and publication departments of the vast G Schirmer/AMP music catalogue with its many eminent composers that include John Adams, Samuel Barber, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Tan Dun and Gian Carlo Menotti.  To learn more about the Music Sales Group, visit
About The Singing Classroom
The Singing Classroom was founded in June of 2013 by husband-and-wife team Gregg Pasternack and Deborah Skydell Pasternack as a way to bring a wealth of songs and music games to elementary teachers in an entirely new way.  By organizing the material online in a searchable database and including audio, video, and downloadable materials, they strive to save teachers time while providing classroom activities that both they and their students will love. For more information, visit

DIY Activity Tins #SummerPrep2015

Disclaimer: This is part of a content series for Oriental Trading. All opinions are my own.

I have had these random tins lying around the house. From lunchboxes to tins makeup came in, to game tins that the pieces are missing from. I didn't want to just throw them away because I knew I could find a use for them, I just couldn't come up with one. Finally, while browsing the Oriental Trading site, an idea hit me. Why not make travel activity tins for the kids with them?!

All you need is a random tin you no longer need, Plaid chalkboard paint, dry erase sticker sheets, magnets, and a pouch. Really simple, huh? You can find everything you need at Oriental Trading, I just happened to already have the tin containers.

First- Paint the inside of the lid with Chalkboard paint. 

This is easier than I thought it would be- Just be sure to give it two coats. I used a foam brush, but I'm sure you can use any. Let it dry for an hour between each coat and cure overnight. I promise it ends up smoother than this looks. 

Apply Dry Erase Sheets To The Outside Of The Lid

Leaving enough to fold over the edges, trace the lid of the tin out on the back side of the dry erase sheet. Stick it down, but be sure to keep it center. Cut the corners at an angle and fold around the edges. 

Add Magnet Dots To The Back Of A Pencil Pouch

Any pencil pouch that will fit in the tin will do. I think these foam pouches from Oriental Trading are the best because they can be easily decorated and will fit in most tins. In fact, they even come with foam shapes to stick to them. After you stick the self-adhesive magnet dots to the pouch, stick it to the tin. I put Tbomb's dry erase crayons in the pouch, but you can use it for anything. 


Fill It With Goodies

I put a magnetic clip inside. I also include zip bags that are the same size as their alphabet activity sheets (half size) so they can reuse those. I can just put the paper in the bag and clip it on and we have reusable activity sheets. I also added magnet dots to the back of a DIY puzzle. You can put whatever your children like to do here. I will be adding some stencils and probably turning some stickers into magnets for "story telling." This is the fun part. Get creative and have fun with your littles. 

This is a fun project. If your kids are old enough, you can even get them to help. I can't wait to pull these out on trips. They will be perfect in the car, at someone's house, or even in a hotel room. 

10 Tips For Getting The Most Out of Your Voice Recorder

We all know that I basically have a voice recorder attached to me. Over the years, I have learned a few things about recording with these handy devices, and I'm always looking for ways to get a better quality recording. I think you guys will benefit from my research as well. 

1. When possible, use an external microphone. This will help cut down on any mechanical noise the recorder might make. 

2. Lay the recorder on a steady surface instead of keeping it in your hand (when possible). This will help keep down on static noise caused by your hand. 

3. When speaking, speak clear and precise.

4. When paranormal investigating, be sure to tag any noise you make or that you can identify at the time. You can simply state "that was me bumping into the table"

5. In addition to this, it's a good idea to time stamp if something is strange. This helps when going back to watch video as well. Plus, when you are going over the investigation, other team members might have the answer to the strange happenings. 

6. Get a good audio editor for your computer. This will save you a lot of time and allow you to cut out sections of audio to send on or for evidence presentation. I recommend Audacity and it's free. I actually use this to edit podcasts. 

7. Add a brief introduction each time you start to record. Include the date, time, people present, case information, and any other pertinent information. 

8. When recording interviews and similar, make sure to know the laws in your area. For example, in South Carolina, only one person has to consent to be recorded. I ask anyway though, just so they know what is going on. 

9. Get to know your recorder before using it for the first time. You want to be familiar with it before it counts. Run a few practice sessions with it. 

10. When shopping for a digital voice recorder, be sure that you find one you are comfortable using. If you are not tech savvy, don't worry about all the extra features. After all, you don't want to be fumbling at the last minute. 

This is part of a content series as a courtesy to Uqique because I love their recorder so much. All opinions are my own. 

Mr Everything: A Techie's Dream Come True

I always love hearing about new gadgets and such. Especially those that will make my experience with the gadgets I already have even better. When that new gadget happens to be on Kickstarter, I get even more excited because they are always so interesting. When I got the email about Mr. Everything, I knew I had to let you know about it.

This device doesn't just look awesome, it really is awesome! It is basically, an emergency power source, tablet stand, waterproof box, speaker and light all in one. Don't worry, that is just a little of what it actually does. 

Mr Everything's Features Include

  • Jump-start your car
  • Has a weatherproof utility box that can store cables, house devices, organize calbes, store emergency supplies, or even be used as a first aid kit. 
  • Bluetooth speakers that can also be used with an auxiliary cable. 
  • Qi wireless charging
  • waterproof
  • built-in carrying handle
  • Power bank that can be used with USB cables or AC plug
  • Universal AC plug in
  • The power bank has enough juice to power cell phones, tablets, laptop, other devices, and even your car
  • LED lights can be used as a flashlight, lamp, and more. 
  • The LED lights are color-changing
  • Built to withstand disasters
  • 4 USB ports
We all know that I need this in my arsenal. I would be set when I'm investigating that haunted house with no power or bigfoot hunting out in the middle of nowhere. I'd be good to go, no matter what is thrown my way. I'm sure all of you could think of a few uses for one as well. 

How do we make this come to fruition? Why we head on over to Kickstarter and get to backing it. Pledge packages start at $1 and go all the way up. The perks are amazing too, even with getting a Mr. Everything +  in exchange. Let's all head to Kickstarter now and get this project funded! 

Drink More Water with Waterbean #SummerPrep2015

Disclaimer: I received a product to review. All opinions are my own.

I wrote a post before about what I consider the 10 must have products for the summer. My favorite out of this list has to be The WaterBean. It is convenient, promotes health, and is perfect for travel.

I can't tell you how many times I have managed to forget water on a trip. If its just a day trip, that's not a big deal, I just stop at a gas station and pick one up. However, the problem comes in when our trip is longer. Last summer, we went away for a few days and Kodabug was still drinking formula. We didn't have a lot of space in the car and by the time I was done packing it, I forgot to throw in the case of water or the kids.

I had a bottle in the car bag but didn't realize I had forgotten the case until we were already there. Who wants to spend their vacation grocery shopping at overpriced stores and lugging it up to the room after you have already unpacked the car once? I spent my vacation running to soda machines and gas stations to get water for Tbomb to drink and for Kodabug to have her formula. We all know that I wasn't about to give them tap water away from home, but the inconvenience bugged me even after we got home.

I was determined to find a solution to this problem, so when I stumbled across The WaterBean, I was in love.

The Waterbean will fit in any bottle whether is is a disposable plastic, reusable plastic, glass or even metal bottle. The filters are easily changed, and you can clean it very easily, just by allowing it to dry on a windowsill. The Waterbean takes all the nasty tastes and impurities out of tap water and even adds minerals. It looks really cool too. At just $9.95 for a WaterBean and $4.96 for 6 months of refills, you can't go wrong. It lasts for 3 months without needing to change the filter- That's a whole summer! 

I keep The Waterbean in the diaper bag so that it is anywhere we are. It is so much easier to get the kids to drink water with this in tow. I cannot think of a single more important arsenal in my diaper bag. Clean, yummy water wherever we go? That's a win! 

5 On The Go Snacks That Are Healthy #SummerPrep2015

When we are on the go, especially on vacation or a day full of errands, the last thing we want to worry about is the kids' snacks. We have many options- from fast-food, to convenience station food, to things we bring from home. I prefer to bring snacks from home, so I can control part of the day. I have spent hours searching for healthy snacks with no dyes and junk in them. I want to share my 5 favorite options. 

1. Fresh Fruit

Cool-It Caddy™ BellaI have a cooler pouch, the same size as a makeup bag, that I keep in the freezer. When we are going to be out and about for the day, I like to take cut up fruits and veggies, put them in a freezer bag, and put them in this pouch for the freshness. There's nothing like fresh fruits and vegetables in the middle of a busy day. 

2. Annie's Organic Snacks

Image result for annie's snacksI love these snacks for the kids. They are organic and lack the junk that most snacks have. I love that there are no artificial dyes, which cause problems in our house. Annie's makes snacks that resemble more popular snacks, like goldfish, teddy graham, and cheez-its. Our favorite are the gummy candies though. We keep these on hand, and I simply put them in a little bowl that seals good, then we are good to go. 

3. Brother's All-Natural Fruit Crisps

These have to be my absolute favorite pre-packaged snack. They are really just fruit. Brother's offers a variety of fruit. They even make packages with different characters. we keep Disney Cars and Princesses- that gets the kids excited. They are eating nothing but apples when they have these. When we are heading out for the day, I grab a couple packs and throw them in the bag. 

4. Veggie Straws

Image result for veggie strawsWe buy huge bags of these and when we are heading out, I can throw some in a freezer bag or a bowl that seals good. My kids love fries and chips, so this is a healthy alternative. Veggie Straws are Kodabug's all-time favorite thing to eat. With these on hand, I know I can get her to eat something. You can even get these in single-serve pouches. Which is definitely a win! 

5. "Popular Snacks"

I also pack "popular" snacks like Teddy Grahams, GoldFish, Animal Crackers, and even cereal at times. For the smaller snacks, I can put a variety in a formula dispenser for easy pouring into a snack cup. Also, put apple sauce in reusable squeeze pouches and put them in the cooler pouch. 

If you keep certain items, it is easy to make sure your kids eat healthy while on the go Buy some bowls that seal good (and lock) use your old formula dispenser, get a good snack cup (that doesn't spill), some freezer bags, and reusablesqueeze pouches. with these items, you can ensure your child eats healthy on the go. They can eat the same thing while on the go as they do at home. You just have to prepare for it. 

What do you do to make sure your kids have healthy snacks on the go? 


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