Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Nothing Blue About This Preschool (of Rock)

What's a Blue Man to do?

Not a man who is feeling blue (although that could also be the case), but a legit former Blue Man (from the Blue Man Group). Michael Napolitano took his experiences traveling the world with the performance troupe and started the Preschool of Rock in his home state of New Jersey. The school brings a high energy enrichment that provides music education, age appropriate lessons, and physical activity throughout the Garden State.

More than that, Michael records children's music under the same name (Preschool of Rock) that artfully demonstrates his curriculum. His third CD, EVERYTHING MAKES A SOUND, uses more than the percussive backbeat that the Blue Men are known for (although "The Safari Song" goes heavy on drumming).

The title track lacks instruments but not musicality. The song is composed of house keys, voices, whistles, scratched glass, wrenches, clapping hands, rice, and more, with the lyrics stressing:

You don't need an instrument to make a sound.
Just say something that you're thinking and sing it loud.

Napolitano's dad, Tony, was a drummer with the '50s doo-wop group The Ideals. Here's one of their songs, recorded in 1959:

Napolitano brought his dad back to the music scene as a vocalist on the appropriately-titled "The Family Song." This one was a big winner when I previewed the CD for the family. Two-year-old Matt has requested it several times since the initial spin. So congrats – Preschool of Rock hit its target!

If anything, Napolitano needs to harmonize. Several of the songs have a sameness (not a bad thing if you're using them to teach youngsters) that become obvious after replays. It's not that Napolitano has a bad voice. Some level of sweetening could add a new dimension and help listeners differentiate between "Shake It" and "Jump When I Get Up."

But Napolitano does blow apart the canard, "Those who can't, teach." He clearly does know his stuff and the Preschool of Rock will get your toddler drumming and singing along, as it did with mine.

EVERYTHING MAKES A SOUND is available on December 4 on the Preschool of Rock website, CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.
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