Learning Basic Skills Through Music - Volume I

Hap's first recording made in 1969 while teaching special education in East Los Angeles California. Simple and sparely produced, this classic has been a favorite with early childhood educators for many years.

Designed for use in a special education and early childhood classroom settings, the songs feature easy to understand and follow directions that help children learn colors, numbers, letters, vocabulary and body awareness.

The recording was made on a 4-track magnetic tape machine at Hollywood Sound Recorders in Hollywood California. Founded by Jesse Hodges in 1960s, a strip mall has replaced this studio but the legend lives on. (See article below)*

Product Number: EA514


As a pre-k, kindergarten teacher since 1986, I have used Hap Palmer's music extensively, and "Learning Basic Skills Through Music Vol. I" has been one of my student's all-time favorites. Their favorite from this collection of original songs, year after year, is "Marching Around The Alphabet". Even though LBSTM Volume I was relaeased in 1969, the recordings are still as fresh and usable as they were 30 years ago, with attention catching tunes and relevant skill building tools for early learners. (Hap REALLY has staying power!) The songs are ready to go from the first time they are used, with little or no prep time (tip: use alphabet cards with “Marching Around The Alphabet”), and need minimal or no parent/teacher direction.Kay Thomas

Palmer keeps it simple on Learning Basic Skills, using only his acoustic guitar, an occasional recorder or saxophone, and the sparest of percussion instruments, accompanied by engineer Tom Perry's bass guitar. The album starts off with "Colors," a great, warm tune that will help children practice their listening skills, identify colors, and follow directions. "Put Your Hands Up In The Air" again gets students to practice listening and follow directions, this time while identifying different body parts. The tempo of the movement song "The Elephant" ebbs and flows as various animals of the jungle are described and children are encouraged to emulate the rumbling movements of an elephant. "The Number March" is sort of like a slow and gentle, non-competitive cakewalk, as children practice number identification and follow a leader as they walk in a line of a certain number. The upbeat and energetic "Marching Around The Alphabet" again invites your students to walk in a circle, this time listening for a specific letter and picking it up as they pass it. Children are encouraged to stretch and sway during the song "Growing," while "This Is The Way We Get Up In The Morning" describes the kids' routine as they start their day at home. "The Birds" is easily the quietest, calmest tune on Learning Basic Skills, as the gentle, swaying song has one student act out the gliding flight of a bird, followed by all the other students. The super cheerful "What Are You Wearing?" is another great listening and following directions song, where students identify the types of clothing they're wearing and stand up as instructed. Learning Basic Skills ends with "What Is Your Name?" another circle time activity song during which Palmer offers a fill-in-the-blank chorus that has each child state their name. Review by Warren Truitt


  January 24, 2012

I was on a session yesterday at Hollywood Sound Recorder, and it was more than a little bittersweet. If you aren't familiar with it, Hollywood Sound Recorder is one of the great old A rooms in Los Angeles, right off of Sunset Blvd. Everyone from The Doors to Jackson Browne made records there. I was playing piano on what will be the final album recorded there; at the end of this week, all the gear is being boxed up and moved out, and the owner of the building is turning it into a strip mall. In one sense, I get it. The studio is sitting on a prime stake of real estate right near Sunset and Vine, and I'm sure the numbers just don't add up. The income you can churn at a bodega selling cheap souvenirs to sweaty tourists is certainly more than you can generate by making albums these days. I also know that I'm part of the problem. Even on projects where I have the budget to track rhythm or overdubs in a big room, the turnaround time is usually so short that I can't. When you have 36 hours to deliver a 5 minute cue, there's not enough time to write the piece, book the band, track it, mix it, and deliver it. You have to use samples. So, it was a good session, but hard to see the brutal reality of the new musical economy. A little bit of history fading into the past, and a handful of people on hand to give one last musical benediction. –
by Michael Lee

1. Colors
2. Put Your Hands Up In The Air
3. The Elephant
4. The Number March
5. Marching Around The Alphabet
6. Growing
7. This Is The Way We Get Up
In The Morning
8. Birds
9. What Are You Wearing?
10. What Is Your Name?