Use Your Words speaks to situations kids face every day — taking turns, making mistakes, getting nervous, obeying rules, being different, and communicating. Designed specifically for children two through six years old, the songs give voice to the confusion some children face at times when they experience changes or new ideas and activities.
The songs on Use Your Words are described as “‘language-based music,’ giving children the words to use to communicate their feelings and to handle everyday social situations.” “I Meant to Do That,” performed by guest “Captain” Kirk Douglas of The Roots, addresses that goofy feeling we all get when we do something embarrassing.
Some of the songs deal with very specific problems that bedevil children (and adults) –hyperactivity, food allergies, loud noises — and how to cope with them. Songs like “That Hurts My Ears” and “Keep My Cool” offer advice on what to say when things are unpleasant.
Use Your Words also teaches respects for differences; “Differently” catalogues many of the things that some people love and others hate, while “That Food Makes Me Sick” is not only about allergies but also about different tastes (e.g., some people eat meat, others don’t).
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Bright and bouncy, the music embraces a number of styles including rock jazz, country, pop, and folk. Kids will find so much with which they identify, and many of the songs will appeal to those who are beyond the target age range. One of the reasons people like particular songs is that the songs detail feelings they’ve experienced. This is true for both adults and children.
The very special thing about Use Your Words is that it removes negative events from a negative context and replaces them in an it-happens-to-us-all light. Songs that build confidence and self-assurance, and reinforce basic values provide children with painless lessons in living.
Other songs on the CD are “House Rules” (which is a litany of common safety and family rules with explanations), “Wrong’s Alright,” “Your Turn, My Turn,” “Use Your Words” (to express yourself instead of whining), “You’ll Be Fine,” “Jump So High,” “Say Hello,” “Let Me Know,” and “HappySadSillyMad.” Members of Jeremy Plays Guitar are Jeremy Zmuda on vocals and guitars, Joy Dragland (vocals), Leo Sidran (drums, vocals, percussion, keys), Rich Stein (percussion), and Alan Hampton (bass).
Use Your Words is a family-friendly, cheerful collection of songs that teaches children how to express themselves and get along with others — without preaching. It’s lots of fun.
Bottom Line: Would I buy Use Your Words? Yes, it would make an excellent gift for families with preschoolers or kids in lower grades. Release date: September 28.