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Meet the Instruments! Clap and Tap DVD Meet the Instruments! Things with Strings DVD Review by Brandi Tesreau

Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
Cathy & Marcy's Song Shop
Community Music, Inc.
PO Box 5778
Tacoma Park MD 20913

I am not a very musical homeschool mom. I love to listen to music, but when it comes to actually teaching it, I need some help. I was more than happy to let the award-winning performers Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer provide my 4-year-old daughter with a highly interactive, fun-filled, musical learning experience. 

Cathy and Marcy are pioneers in children's and family music. They have over 30 years of experience playing music for young audiences and have won many awards, including two GRAMMY Awards. In their Meet the Instruments DVD series, which is specifically designed for preschoolers, they introduce children to a variety of familiar and unusual instruments, speak directly to the listening audience, and use interactive methods to teach early skills such as shapes, counting, and directions. All of this is done with warmth, charm, and humor to which children can relate. 

Clap and Tap introduces children to hand clapping, conga drum, shakers, spoons, tap dancing, and more. Things with Strings introduces children to the banjo, the mandolin, guitars, dulcimers, the fiddle, and the ukulele--just to name a few. Not only do Cathy and Marcy demonstrate how to play the instruments, they give a little background information about each instrument, which I found interesting. They also play familiar tunes and invite children to sing along. Total running time for both DVDs is 88 minutes. They can be purchased separately for $14.99 each or together for just $25.00 on the website. 

My daughter is usually very outgoing, but she seemed a little uncertain about interacting with the DVDs at first. I think having a few instruments to play or being surrounded by a group of kids would have helped. The folk-bluegrass style of music was also quite unfamiliar to her. Having said that, I still think she ended up enjoying the DVDs. With encouragement from her older brothers and me, she was up on her feet and singing along about mid-way through. 
I definitely think these DVDs would work well in a daycare/classroom setting where they would be continuously used. While I liked that my daughter was introduced to many different instruments, some of which she'd never even seen, I can't say that she will want to watch the DVDs over and over again. The $25.00 would be well spent if you were planning to use the series more than once. 

Product review by Brandi Tesreau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2010