Foreword Review — Jan / Feb 2000
The author, a psychologist and founder of the Institute of Applied
Psychomusicology, purports that music in a child’s life can solve most every
From low self-esteem to tubby kids who play too many video games, music can get
children back on track. Or, if started early enough, music can prevent many of
these problems all together. With various “menus,” Ortiz explains how injecting song into a child’s life
will make bedtime easier, teach children to be better listeners, calm down
hyperactive children and give children a taste of history.
The menus consist of collections that can be made by taping parts of the
various compilations Ortiz mentions. For instance, to teach a child to be more
aware of sounds in general, he lists albums for toddlers and preschoolers that
range from “Bump in the Night” by Jim Comings to “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic” by
Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. The list of recommendations to help
preschoolers and school-age children be more aware of sound is just as thorough
and includes old-time fairy tales such as “Jack and the Beanstalk” to
modern-day recordings including “The Lion King” and a “Rugrats” record.
Bedtime examples range from a simple metronome if a child is restless or has
”too many thoughts” to thirty-minute tapes of “soothing” music (including Bob
Carlisle’s “Butterfly Kisses” and “Barney’s Sleepytime Songs”) for toddlers who
are beyond the point where rocking in a parent’s lap puts them out for the
night. Older children will like having control over what to listen to and may
fall asleep to a favorite radio show. Ortiz lists the amount of sleep children
of different ages should get and stresses the importance of bedtime routines
and time to “wind down,” as well as reading before bed.
The chapters are designed to stand on their own so if a child won’t do his
chores, skip right to chapter eleven, “With a Little Help from My Kids,” for
music to inspire tooth-brushing and putting toys away (use made-up lyrics or
use the ones provided) and motivate the child to help around the house.
Don’t despair about listening to another “Chipmunks” volume. Ortiz emphasizes
that the menus are just suggestions. If parents like a particular type of
music, they should go ahead and play it for the children, too. Different types
of music suit different needs, so if karaoke to Jimmy Buffett’s
”Margaritaville” gets a child off the couch, then play it.