Back to School with Name Your Tune

From a very young age, children learn, grow and develop through and with music. As adults, we all hum the tune of the ABC song as we’re doing our filing “ABCDEFG…” (see, you’re doing it right now). Using music on a consistent basis with children can both teach and reinforce key concept and socialization. The best part is that they don’t even realize that they’re learning as they go through the motions. As you’re getting your pre-schoolers ready for school, think about how you can incorporate music into your daily routine that will excite, engage and prepare them for the day.

Each of the songs on Name Your Tune was chosen for what it would bring out in a child including learning, playing and engaging.

Songs for learning key concepts:

  • There are Seven Days ~ the days of the week
  • The Rainbow Song ~ colours
  • Mr. Sun ~ weather
  • There’s a Hole in the Garden ~ nature

Songs for playing & interacting:

  • If You’re Happy and You Know It
  • Head and Shoulders
  • Wheels on the Bus
  • Old MacDonald

One of the best things about music is that it’s always with you. Once you learn a song, you never really forget it. As a parent or care-giver, it is your greatest and most transportable tool because you always have it with you and can pull it out whenever you need an activity or a pick-me-up.

Adding Name Your Tune to your child’s music collection you get all of the above and more.  With Name Your Tune, each song is uniquely personalized to include the child’s name in every song, making them feel special and proud. What a great way to start the new school year.

Order Name Your Tune for the special pre-schooler in your life with the coupon code PRESCHOOL and receive $5 off your order. (Offer expires September 30, 2012)

Name Your Tune’s Guide to Music this summer with your family


Music for kids does not need to be only music for kids.

It’s never too early (or too late) to share some of your favourite “albums” (because that’s what they were called when you first bought them) with your kids. Ok, if your favourites are all Metallica, ACDC and Guns ’n Roses, maybe leave them on the shelf, but there are gems in your collection to share with your children that you can enjoy on your summer roadtrips and at the cottage. Our top picks that most people have in their ‘grown-up’ music collections that you should listen to with your kids include:

  • The Beatles
  • Anything Motown
  • Abba
  • Bob Marley
  • James Taylor
  • Elton John
  • The Beach Boys


Get Outside…it’s music festival season.

Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy music with your family as there are an abundance of music festivals across the country all season long. Jazz, Blues, Folk, World Music – there is something for everyone and by everyone, I include your children. You’ve taken them to see Sesame Street Live, The Wiggles and The Doodlebops, but there is nothing like a live show with a stage full of performers, instruments, singing and dancing.

3. HOW

Hear This: Hearing protection needs to be as important as sun protection.

We have all left rock concerts with ringing in our ears. For children, that same sensation can lead to damaged hearing loss that cannot be recovered.

There are products that will protect them that you might have seen before – Gwyneth Paltrow holding Apple who was wearing what look like big pink headphones that are actually noise–reducing hearing protection earmuffs. They retail for $40 and will make your music–loving–festival–going family safe this summer. I’m going to suggest that you’ll use these more than you think as they’re great at any event that is uncomfortably loud including airshows, fireworks, parades and even Sunday afternoon lawn mowing. Any noise that you have to shout over can cause hearing damage to children.

Gwyneth and Apple

Gwyneth and Apple

Where to buy: OR

Peltor KID Ear Muffs are specifically designed to be lightweight and comfortable enough for babies and kids up to age 7. They effectively attenuate harmful noises without shutting out other ambient sounds. With muffs you do not have to worry about getting a good fit or the plugs falling out when you are not looking. Another benefit to KID Muffs is that they do not pose a choking hazard, as earplugs sometimes can when used by very young, unsupervised children. Available in blue or pink. $29.99

How loud is too loud?

Dangerous levels:
150 dB = rock concert
140 dB = firearms, jet engine
130 dB = jackhammer
120 dB = jet plane take-off,
120 dB = ambulance siren
120 -140 dB = Motorcycles, firecrackers

Extremely loud:
105 dB = helicopter
100 – 115 dB = iPods used at maximum levels
100 dB = snowmobile, chain saw, pneumatic drill, night clubs
95 dB = motorcycle
90 dB = lawnmower, shop tools, truck traffic, subway
90 dB = noisy toys
80–96 dB = restaurants

Very loud:
80 dB = alarm clock, city street traffic
70 dB = vacuum cleaner

Normal levels:
60 dB = normal conversation
35 dB = whispered voice

Unsafe Levels of Exposure:

110 decibels or louder: regular exposure of more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss.
100 decibels: No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure is recommended.
85 decibels: Prolonged exposure to any noise above 85 decibels can cause gradual hearing loss.

“Although being aware of decibel levels is an important factor in protecting one’s hearing, distance from the source of the sound and duration of exposure to the sound are equally important. A good rule of thumb is to avoid noises that are “too loud” and “too close” or that last “too long.”

- The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

My final thoughts on music and your kids this summer – you don’t keep your kids out of the sun, you protect them. Don’t keep them from the music, protect them. Get outside in the sun, enjoy the music and have a fabulous summer.

For Canadians, check out and in the US, check out to find outdoor summer music near you.

Top 5 Summer Songs from my own collection

By Eric Alper

Is it Summer that keeps us coming back to the fun rock and roll, or is it the other way around? With less than 3 weeks to go until the best season (sorry, snowshoers), we thought let’s take a look at our Top 5 Summer Songs – ever. Sunglasses and lotion at the ready, and here we go.

Summer In The City
The Lovin’ Spoonful

Probably the only song to feature a series of car horns (spot the classic Volkswagen Beetle beep), and ending up with a jackhammer sound in order to give the impressions of the sounds of the summer in the city, this former #1 song back in 1966 is a stone-cold classic. It’s been heard in The Simpsons, and covered by B.B. King, Joe Cocker, Quincy Jones and even Styx. All around, people lookin’ half dead… But at night, it’s a different world,” sings John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful. Indeed.


DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince

The stunning transformation from feelgood rapper to serious movie star (he
is the only actor in history to have eight consecutive films gross over $100
million in the domestic box) literally started here. Using Kool & The Gang’s 1974 hit “Summer Madness”, as the base (or was it bass?) this joyous hit #1 on the Billboard R&B and Rap chart, and number 29 in Canada, where obviously Canadians were too busy dancing to the song to actually go out and buy it.


Summer Nights
Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsson. errr…John Travolta and Olivia Newton–John

I was 8 when this came out and only recently found out none of the cast members, except for John and Olivia, actually provided vocals to the song. The soundtrack, Grease, ended up selling 56 bazillion copies around the world, and I’m still in possession of a few vinyl copies. I always thought Olivia was uncool before this, John was funny and slick being a Sweathog, and still do, in a way. Only in a Hollywood tale could they ever be together – do they kiss and tell about their love? Will they ever get together again? With impassioned vocals, the answer is only 90 minutes away. Everybody! Bu–ut oh, those su–ummer niiiiiiights!




Sugar, Sugar
The Archies

You might scoff at the notion of The Archies as “just” a cartoon band (may I introduce to you, Exhibit A, Gorrilaz) but in the height of 1969»s psychedelia, Woodstock, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones’ Honky Tonk Women this song was everywhere, becoming the biggest–selling song of the year. One of the writers of the song, Andy Kim, once told me since radio stations wouldn’t play The Archies, music directors were only told who it was after they promised to play it on the radio. Pure summer, pure camp memories for me, it’s still mentioned as a favorite among strange bedfellows – R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, George W. Bush, and members of Broken Social Scene.


We Got The Beat
The Go–Go’s

2 minutes, 32 seconds. That’s it. That’s all you need. By the time the intro of the drums kicks into the bass, there’s a sonic revelation for many teenagers – this was our time to dance. Deceptively simple on first or the 10,000th listen, the girl group perfectly captures an modern ode to getting your groove on the floor, hanging out, and looking cool, even as it gives a wink to the past by mentioning various early 60s dances, such as the Pony and the Watusi. It’s one of those songs that just comes from the sun. The Go–Gos were never able to make another song full of sustained joyness ever again – but then again, very few bands ever did.