Young Maestros Vol. 1. Performed by Tracy Bonham. CD. Approx. 29 min. Melodeon Music House Records. 2021. CD: $13.99; Digital: $9.49. Preschool—Grade 3
Classically trained violinist and pianist, rocker Tracy Bonham performs 11 original songs that teach musical concepts, in folk, jazz, rap, bluegrass, country, rock and other musical styles. Known for her chart-topping hit single “Mother, Mother” in the mid-90s, Bonham has most recently been teaching music concepts to preschool children. Her goal is to demonstrate that the process of making music can be more about fun than achievement. Bonham’s vocals adeptly handle the various musical styles, whether belting it out or quietly crooning. Bonham and the backup musicians perform with excellence on guitar, bass, violin, upright bass, piano, organ, clarinet, trombone, harmonica, drums, and percussion. In “Me Symphony,” the narrator has lost an entire orchestra of instruments in a variety of locations (tuba in Aruba, piano in Indiana, bongo in the Congo, etc.), but the show must go on. “Beats to a Measure” introduces children to rhythm in a measure of music. The black keys on the piano are likened to “All the Blackbirds” sitting in a tree. “Let’s Take the Subway” is a rollicking song using the names of the piano keys (C, B, G, etc.). The organization of a musical staff is detailed in “Lines and Spaces” and is compared to dancing and skipping. “I Like the Big Beats,” a parody of “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-a-Lot, celebrates various drums. Frightened by a variety of small animals, the reptile’s reaction is to “Shake Like a Rattlesnake.” “I Am a Movable Do” (of Do, re, mi) explains how the tonic note can begin on any pitch. Interesting harmonies and descants characterize the “Background Singers” when the lead singer is locked in a closet. “Feelin’ Pretty Major” musically explains the difference between major and minor keys. “A Song Without an Ending” is exactly that—is just stops in the middle of the song. This excellent album will be a boon to music teachers and parents, and fun for children learning to read music and play an instrument.