Jeremy Plays Guitar is a CD for children featuring over
30 minutes of musical entertainment. Fourteen songs cover important
themes like making mistakes, sharing, accepting differences, using
your words, worry, and so much more. With the CD comes a four-page
booklet titled "Give Me a Break." It tells the story of a boy whose
body talks to him and inspires him to fidget and jump when he knows
he should be still and calm.
The songs on Jeremy Plays Guitar are more performance-based
then sing-along. Kids of any age can listen along, but they are
designed to be listened to only. Of course, with the many child-relevant
themes, these songs could easily spark conversations with children
about feelings and how to properly communicate their needs to adults.
I think the CD would work best for children age 6 and up.
For my family, I prefer music that involves the children more
than this CD does. Though the themes and concepts of the songs
were truly wonderful, the lyrics were very hard to make out. The
CD does not include printed lyrics, but a pdf download is available
on the website. However, I'd caution anyone trying to download
the lyrics as the file was contaminated and caused my computer
to shut down repeatedly. I think that more complicated songs like
these really require lyrics to be included so that parents can
properly screen the songs.
I also thought many of the songs were poorly named. For example,
when listening to the song titled "Wrong's Alright" my husband
asked that I not play the CD until we could find lyrics. The chorus
is very confusing. It took several attempts at listening before
we made out the lyrics and discovered that the song is really trying
to promote children to keep trying even when they don't get things
right the first time. The "wrong's alright" concept is that while
you're learning a new skill you should not expect to always get
it right the first time. It's meant to take the pressure off of
children to master every skill. This is a wonderful and reassuring
concept that gets lost with the loud repetition of a chorus that
seems to imply something completely different.
The booklet also seemed confusing to me. I couldn't decide if
it was trying to encourage kids that it is okay to ask for a break
to get their wiggles out or if it was shifting the responsibility
by putting focusing on the naughty body that "made me do it." I
think this is a lesson children shouldn't have to worry about.
As parents, we should be attentive to the limits of our children's
attention and not expect them to last longer than their age or
ability requires. I didn't like the dissociated blame on the body
making the child move. I think that's an idea that actually takes
power away from the child.
Sorting all of these issues out is just too complex for a child.
The attention it takes to hear and understand the lyrics is a little
too difficult for young children who need a more direct approach.
If the lyrics were sung with more clarity and were included with
the CD, I would probably be a fan. I really wanted to like Jeremy
Plays Guitar, but ultimately I found it lacking. At $13.99,
this CD is not one I would recommend to others.