Alesis V49 49-Key MIDI Keyboard

49-Key USB-MIDI Keyboard Controller

Along with the AKAI Pro MPK Mini MKII I’ve been lent a Alesis V49 keyboard to try out.

I like that this is 49 keys rather tha the AKAI 25 keys, obviously that means its also a lot bigger so not so great for thsoe with limited desk space. It also comes with a copy of Pro Tools that I’ve been looing to check out for a while.

Really lookingf orward t gettig started with this one!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Alesis-V49-Controller-Assignable-Production/dp/B00IWWHIUI/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=alesis%2B49&qid=1569010155&s=gateway&sr=8-1&th=1

AKAI Pro MPK Mini MKII

Compact Keyboard and Pad Controller

Looking forward to playing with this new toy, I’ve been looking into getting a Midi keyboard for a while and have been lucky enough to borrow this Akai Mini MKII from a friend.

It comes bundled with some great software, Hybrid 3, by AIR Music Tech, is a high-definition synthesizer that can create anything from fat, retro synth sounds to edgy modern leads and everything in between. SONiVOX’s Wobble is an electronic music grime synthesizer that features two independent channels of spectral morphing synthesis with harmonic controls, individual filtering, and discrete LFO controls. MPC Essentials, a groove/beat production and sample-triggering software, lets producers and musicians incorporate genuine MPC workflow into their DAW of choice and extends the power of MPK mini by adding up to 8 pad banks and 4 samples and insert effects per pad. MPC Essentials also runs in standalone mode, so you can start making music without a DAW.

MPK mini MIDI Editor

This MIDI editor is a powerful preset management software that lets MPK Mini users customize their hardware and software setup on their Mac or PC. Create and tweak presets for your favorite virtual instruments, plugins, and DAWs, then store them on your MPK mini. You’ll spend less time setting up your gear and more time doing what you love—making great music.

I’m looking forward to playing more with this bad boy in the next few days.

Right From The Start

child playing recorder

The Importance of Singing

From the moment they begin to hear in utero, babies respond to sound. One of the very first sounds they learn to recognise is their mother’s voice. It has been proved that a newborn baby will recognise and show a preference for his mother’s voice over any other.

Nursery rhymes, lullabies and action songs are passed down through the generations in every culture. Singing to your child benefits them in so many different ways, and musically speaking, will teach them the basics of pitch, rhythm and harmony. Music is a vital part of communication and aids a baby’s speech and language development. It doesn’t matter if you hate your singing voice; to your baby, there is no nicer sound!

my toddler loves being sung to and has recently started to sing back a simple melody. She enjoys trying to replicate action songs. Her favourite nursery rhyme at the moment is Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and she likes to hold her hands high above her head opening and shutting her palms to replicate the stars!

First Tuned Instrument Recommendation

Babies and toddlers love creating sounds. There are a host of tuned first instruments for toddlers on the market. I would highly recommend the Studio 49 Orff Schulwerk Glockenspiels or Xylophones. These instruments are all made to a very high standard, beautifully tuned and have a lovely tone. They are specifically designed to help children to develop their musical skills and are often used in schools.

Homemade Instruments

Of course, it is also great fun to create your own instruments, so my toddler and I decided to spend an afternoon making three different ones.

Sensory Shaker

This is simple to make and my toddler absolutely loves it. Take an empty water bottle. You can fill it with dried rice/pasta/beans: something that will make a satisfying noise when the bottle is shaken. I also added some coloured pom poms so the bottle looked exciting when shaken. I added some ribbons to the lid so that these would fly around when the bottle was shaken, adding more of a visual element to the shaker. To do this, pierce a hole in the lid using a skewer/drill/corkscrew. You will need some thin ribbons in whatever colours you like. I threaded them through the hole and then tied them in a knot. You may find it easier to sellotape the ends of the ribbons together and thread them through like that.

Firmly attach the lid to the bottle, and your toddler can have lots of fun playing with their sensory shaker!

my toddler has been playing with hers at every opportunity and she loves shaking the bottle so it makes a really loud sound and the ribbons fly everywhere.

Paper Plate Tambourine

Turn two paper plates over and let your toddler decorate them. They could use paint, crayons or stickers. Use some foam stickers to stick on her paper plates.

Once your toddler has finished decorating the plates, turn them over and put some dried rice or beans onto one of the plates.

Then staple or sew the plates together around the edges so that they are secure. I also added some wool around the edges for a more visual effect. To do this, simply make a hole in the plates, thread the wool through the hole and double knot it. You could use ribbons instead of wool if you prefer.

Rattle-drum

This takes a little more effort to make, as you have to do it in several stages. I have written the instructions in bullet points to make them easier to follow.

To make this instrument you will need:

  • Some cardboard
  • Two pretty beads, or conkers would do
  • Glue
  • An unsharpened pencil/ stick/piece of wood of a similar size to a pencil
  • Paints and paint brushes
  • String
Firstly, take a large piece of cardboard and draw around a bowl twice to create two even circles.

Cut out the circles and then you and your toddler can enjoy painting them however you like. We chose to paint a star on a blue background, and used a star-shaped cookie cutter for the star template.

Once the paint has dried, tape a long piece of string along the middle of the back of one of the circles. Ensure there are equal lengths of string left on each side for you to eventually attach the beads.
Next, cut out 14 1-inch cardboard squares.
Take 2 of your cardboard squares. Tear the top layer of cardboard off of each square. Glue one of these squares right in the middle of your circle so the ridges are perpendicular to the string.

Glue the pencil onto this square, then glue the other square that you prepared earlier on top of the pencil.

Glue cardboard squares along the line until you get to the edge. These need to be layered 2-3 on top of each other so they are approximately the same height as the pencil.

Glue your other cardboard circle on top so that the circles are aligned. Wait for the glue to dry.
Securely attach your beads to each end of the string. I used a reef knot. You can also put a little glue on the knot to ensure it is secure. Make sure that the beads are an even length apart, and are able to hit the sides of the drum but not each other!

Once all the glue is dry, pass the rattle-drum to your toddler!

These suggestions are just a starting point. There is so much that you and your toddler can enjoy doing with music, and I would love to hear more about how you make music together at home!