The rich heritage of the South has inspired many musicians. Ms. Janis, who has taught young children in the New York Tri State area for nine years, draws on her Southern roots as inspiration to reach beyond her classroom for her new album, Tumbling Fun Volume 2. Ms. Janis’ love of blues and southern rock motivates children to move, dance, sing and imagine about traveling all over the world. Ms. Janis has had the opportunity to test her songs on hundreds of the toughest critics: preschool children in the classroom and at birthday parties. Without a doubt, she has passed the test – children are engaged and excited about Ms. Janis’ music.
Tumbling Fun Volume 2 introduces “Grandpa’s Farm”, a new farm song reminiscent of Old McDonald. It was written as a tribute to her family, who still to this day meet at the farm house and share holiday meals, although the farm is much quieter now than when she was a child. With the twang in her voice and her soulful sound, one is reminded of Reba McEntire, only a few shades darker.
“Every time I sing Old McDonald with my students, I want to change it to Old McDavid because that is my maiden name and I pretty much grew up on a farm in Belton, South Carolina,” says Janis.
“Simple Song” was created out of Ms. Janis’ desire to find a way to reach through to kids whose speech may be developing slowly and to children who are extremely shy, as she once was. The song employs the simplest of melodies and encourages children to lift their voices and sing with Ms. Janis, whose vocals are warm and gentle. The lyrics are easy to remember and repeat. The acoustic guitar adds a steady rhythm to the song that pulls you in and makes you sway.
“I love it when I am teaching a class and a student surprises me by doing something that I have never seen or heard them do before. Some children are harder to reach than others and I relish the challenge of trying to break through to those kids.”
Children will dance, stomp and clap to “Let’s Go” which challenges them to practice the motor skills they are asked to perform in the song. Ms. Janis’ dynamic vocal range adds power to the background vocals on this song.
Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, Ms. Janis spends every day working with children. She received her BFA from Howard University and her MFA from Rutgers University. Since moving to New York in 2001, she has found a way to work with children through different organizations.
Tumbling Fun Volume 2 is Ms. Janis’ sophomore album. Her first children’s album, Moving Bodies and Inspiring Hearts Volume 1 released in 2009, was influenced by Ms. Janis’ love of R&B and soul.
Lyrics, activity sheets and coloring sheets designed to assist parents and teachers in using different movement skills and encourage creative listening to the songs are available at www.msjanis.com.