Monday, January 23, 2012

So Long Sunshine!

It seems the world is conspiring to make writing consistent blog posts a challenge. The latest major life change that has take priority over my waking hours is... WE HAVE MOVED!

After six and a half years in the Sunshine State, Tracey and I have returned to the state of my birth. Why anyone would be crazy enough to leave the blue skies and mid-70's weather of Florida in January for the snow storm that greeted me when I landed in Boston this weekend, I am still trying to figure out.

It will likely be a few more weeks until we are settled and I resume reviewing music in earnest. Please note the address change if you are interested in submitting your album for review:

Singing in the Bathtub
c/o Nick Deysher
9 Glenwood Lane
North Grafton, MA 01536

Kid Quote of the Day: "Mr. Nick why are you moving to a new continent?" ~Luca (age: 4)

Monday, December 26, 2011


A warm Hanukkah blessing to all my readers from "The Seven Tribes!" Three years ago I was introduced to, not one, but two Jewish themed kids' performers, Mama Doni and Shirlala. A niche market within a niche market. It was fun to hear some new and creative music to fill that ofted joked about void in Hanukkah music (South Park and Adam Sandler come to mind). Because, honestly, how often can one sing the Dreidel Song before going slightly crazy?

I was searching for something new to offer my readers this year (though picking up a copy of either Mama Doni or Shirlala's Hanukkah albums is a good choice), and a particular YouTube video has caught my eye and ears:

With programs like "The Sing Off," a cappella singing is experiencing a surge in popularity. No longer a musical oddity heard across college campuses, groups like the Maccabeats show how slick and current this ancient style of music can be. Obviously this video, and others by The Maccabeats, are not directed specifically at kids, but the way this video is filmed to show the various singers adding their voices to the mix is something to see and enjoy. (Parents should keep an eye out for cameos by Mylim Bialik, TV's "Blossom" and Barack Obama).

Kid's Quote of the Day: (sung in a russian accent) "We'll Hanukkah play the Eskimo way. Walking in the winter wonderland." ~ Kate (age: 7)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Update: We're on a Charity Christmas Compilation!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Three-peat! Hip-hop Christmas

So I guess all those months with nothing to write have left me bursting at the seams to blog. It's officially a three-peat as I sit down to write my third post in as many days. I figured I needed to bring it back home to some good old musical reviews, and I wanted to do a little trend-spotting after some recent Kindie Facebook activity. Is 2011 the year of the Hip-Hop Christmas?

Two new Christmas themed videos have been making the rounds that capture some of that "urban flava," with a very much sanitized kid-friendly slant. The first is called, "Robot For Xmas" by Westcoast family rapper Mista Cookie Jar. The video features some retro 8-bit graphics that will make today's parents nostalgic for when they opened their Nintendo NES on Christmas 1985:

In an additional layer of techno-geek nostalgia, there is a list of classic TV and movie robots that draw from everything from Star Wars to Wall-E (but sadly no Tobor or Gort... look 'em up). I also love that Santa makes a Super Mario sound while descending into the chimney and that Alvin finally gets his hula hoop! Little, clever touches like these make this one a soon-to-be-Christmas classic.

Now, just so I don't fall into an Eastcoast/Westcoast feud. I also wanted to feature a video of Atlanta based, Little Beat Chinchilla who is a puppet MC backed by human DJ Willy Wow. I met both of these artists (Mista Cookie Jar and DJ Willy Wow) at Kindiefest last spring. DJ Willy Wow was the first person I ran into even before the conference began. I saw a man climb out of the subway wearing a rainbow-colored, propeller beanie and I thought, 'This guy must be going to Kindiefest!' Little Beat and DJ Willy Wow's video is called, "The Santa Slide":

I know that the kids in my music class love any song with a dance they can follow. My favorite part of this video are the kids dancing Yo Gabba Gabba style, and the very skilled breakdancing young elves.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: I know that Hip-Hop is not for everyone. If you are not a fan of auto-tune and heavy vocal processing, you should stick with some of the more standard Christmas fare, but I know that the current generation of young parents grew up listening to Rap and Hip-Hop from it's infancy. For me Christmas is a time for fun, family and nostalgia. A little Christmas dance party might be just what the doctor ordered to work out some of that high energy Christmas excitement.

Kid's Quote of the Day: Some of my older students were debating the existence of Santa, and two camps quickly formed. One young skeptic pointed to some of the far fetched details of a rotund man navigating a chimney, "How could Santa get down the chimney with his big fat belly, and why doesn't he just come in the front door?!" ~Carson (age: 7)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Preschool Teachers are Communists!

The internet has been a buzz lately after some questionable conclusions about the latest Muppet Movie. The folks over at Fox Business News, in their infinite talent for hyperbole and fear-mongering, made claims that the movie is some sort of left-wing conspiracy to turn our nation's kids into communists. (read about it here: The Muppets Are Communist)

To most of us, these outlandish mischaracterizations seem a bit extreme, but it got me thinking. If you paint the world with this red brush, and take the time to consider the values that we teach at preschool it's clear that Preschool Teachers Are Communists!

- In preschool we are taught to share. The toys are distributed to everyone, and turns are taken to assure we all have our fair share of the fun.

- In preschool we are taught to walk in line, follow directions and go with the group. Those who strike out on their own are sent to time out (the gulag?).

- Preschool students look to a benevolent leader to provide them with the basic necessities, snacks, jobs, leisure activities. Snacks are passed out evenly to all, jobs are shared, and activities promote the virtue of the group over the individual.

- The life of a preschooler is tightly structured. They are told when and where to go, when they can eat, when they can play and how to conduct themselves while they do.

- Using songs and poetry, preschool students are indoctrinated to believe that "caring is sharing," and that we are all friends (comrades).

If you are looking for red flags (pun strongly intended), you'll find them everywhere. I was not around in the 50's, but I know enough about MacCarthyism to know how damaging this line of thinking can be when it snowballs unchecked. I did an interview project while living in Berlin about 3 generations of a family living in East Berlin from the Weimar period through the present day (well 1998). The short comings of an authoritarian communist regime were clear from their accounts. I love our democracy, and believe in capitalism when we remember that corporations are NOT people and therefore We The People need to be the moral compass driving their actions. However, I would never sacrifice the values that I teach at preschool. Can you imagine a classroom of 10-20 preschoolers acting with the "take what is mine, and do what I want" attitude that is so prized by the far right?

It may not work for a gov't (though China seems to be doing better and better), but in a preschool I'll take a socialist utopia any day!

Kids Quote of the Day: A boy came into music class wearing a U-Mass sweatshirt (a rare thing in South Florida). Pointing to his chest he exclaimed, "This means 'You go to music class.'" ~Marco (age: 4)

UPDATE: This is too good not to share:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bathtub 2.0

I guess six months is just about long enough. I'm back baby! A lot has transpired in the time since this spring when I needed to take a break from writing Singing in the Bathtub to focus on 1) a new album release, Making Silly Faces 2) an East Coast tour 3) an appearance on WERS radio in Boston 4) an appearance on NBC 6 in Miami 5) our giant CD Release Concert Spectacular 6) and our first West Coast concert ever in Alameda CA! (but that's not what this blog is all about I have another website for that)

One great insight I have gained about the world of kids' music, the fans who love it, and the bloggers who write about it is that there is so much MORE going on out there than I could have ever imagined. At one point I might have considered myself an expert, I would have assumed that I was privy to the best of what is out there for the wee ones, or that I had some sort of unique perspective to offer my faithful readers. I hope that people find this blog informative, entertaining, and perhaps even fun to read, but I have to tip my hat to those out there who do this with much more regularity and dedication.

Working with Elizabeth Waldman Frazier of Waldmania PR to promote
Making Silly Faces showed me just how many resources there are for parents who are searching for the ever-illusive "Kids' music that parents can enjoy too." I have sat down to reboot Singing in the Bathtub many times during this hiatus only to think to myself, 'Do I really need to add my voice to the fray? Am I really creating content that benefits the world of kids' music? Am I a good blog author if I can't post weekly or daily even (as some of the faithful do)? Am I honoring those artists who slave away at their craft only to send me a submission which I, sadly, my never get to review?' At some point I needed to get over myself and JUST DO IT! That point is now.

The answer to all these questions and all this self-doubt is simple: Great, independent artists are making new music each day, and still Kidzbop LLC keeps turning out lousy CD's which parents seem to gobble up like the musical equivalent of trans-fats and corn syrup! If I can turn on one family to an alternative source of quality music it's worth my time and effort. To reinvigorate my passion for writing about and reviewing kids music I decided to write a mission statement for
Singing in the Bathtub 2.0:

Mission Statement: Singing in the Bathtub is a blog dedicated to promoting, discussing and reviewing kids' music and media from the perspective of a fellow musician, a teacher and an advocate for early childhood education in it's best form.

Goals: I will post a minimum of 2 updates a month. I will listen to all submissions that I receive, but I must be selective in the reviews that I post. Every group or artist that sends me a submission will receive an email confirmation, and every submission that I review will be notified when it goes live. I do not write bad reviews, it's a waste of everyone's time and as everyone's mother used to say, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all!"

So there you have it. A labor of love that was started over three years ago has begun anew. I look forward to discovering all that is new and great in this industry and can't wait to share it with you all. Now, to provide you with something more than my pontificating, here is a bit of Christmas cheer from Me and Tracey (and Lucy):

Kids' Quote of the Day: During an ear-training lesson in my afterschool program, one student took pride in echoing back a five note phrase in perfect pitch, "I've got great ear-sight you know!" ~Evie (age: 5)

Thursday, May 19, 2011


To my loyal readers,

As you might have noticed, the regularity of my posts and frequency of album reviews has dwindled in the past few months. Over the past year and a half I have been steadily working on my own new album Making Silly Faces, and I am now in the final stages of production.

For that reason I am suspending album reviews and will be posting less frequently over the spring and summer months. I know the time, effort and personal sacrifice that goes into creating quality family music, and I would hate to feel like I was snubbing those groups and artists who are hoping to be reviewed by Singing in the Bathtub.

I have a lot of great new music to share, and I will be resuming my more frequent updates, likely in August when my preview tour of the East Coast for Making Silly Faces wraps up.

Kid's Quote of the Day: During my recent multi-cultural music unit at school, I was in the habit of greeting and dismissing the students using different languages. "Tschuss" I told my students as they left the classroom (the German word for "bye"). "Juice Mr. Nick," Liam said and then turning to a friend continued, "I told him juice, like Juicy Juice!" ~Liam (age: 5)