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Pairing Puppets and Children's Literature for Fun In the Classroom
By Jennifer Winegarden
9/9/2013 2:30:00 PM  

Are you looking for a new way to spice up your music classroom this fall?  Well West Music has got just the answer for you!  Puppets!  We are so happy to announce that we are now carrying Folkmanis and Aurora brand puppets to add that spice you are looking for.  Puppets are a wonderful tool for encouraging students sing, interact, use their imaginations, and so much more!  With so many options to choose from, we are sure that you will find at least one that will suit your needs. If you want to go a step further, try pairing puppets with children’s literature – sure to be a hit!

As an early childhood teacher and Educational Consultant, some of my favorite puppet/song/book combinations are:


Jolie the Giraffe puppet (540140) and the book Giraffes Can’t Dance (835037).  This is an inspiring book/CD set that encourages children’s dreams of greatness.


Fletcher the Frog puppet (540163) and the book Hop Jump (835070).  This is a fun movement story that will come to life with this frog puppet.


Every pirate needs a parrot and Petey the parrot puppet (540099) is the perfect compliment to the book Port Side Pirates (844154).  This book can be read or sung to the catchy tune that is performed on the included CD.


Make this adorable dog puppet (540155) bark along to the book/song How Much is that Doggie in the Window? (835071) This book/puppet combination is sure to make your students smile!

We hope that you are as excited about our new line of puppets as we are!  If you have great ideas of how to use them in your classroom, we would love to hear!  Just drop us a line on Facebook, comment on the website, or give us a call!  We ALWAYS love to hear from our customers!  Additionally, if you have any questions at all, please call us at 1-800-397-9378 or email us at service@westmusic.com.  Have a wonderful school year!

Tags: Puppets, Children's Literature
Categories: Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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Exciting New Items in the 2013-2014 West Music Catalog!
By Jennifer Winegarden
8/1/2013 10:50:00 AM  

It’s that time of year again – the new West Music catalog is out!  It’s our biggest, and we think best, yet! I am going to highlight a few of the new products that we added this year, but remember when flipping through the catalog that all of the new products will have a NEW! badge next to them.

Korogi Desktop Series Xylophones

On page 28, you will find Korogi Desktop Series Xylophones. These instruments are great for the beginning percussion student as they are smaller and more portable than full sized marimbas. However, they are produced with the same guidelines as the finest Korogi marimbas and are made of Honduras Padouk and Karinwood.  Bags and stands are sold separately and can also be found on page 28.
Korogi Desktop Series X37K 3.0 Octave Karinwood Xylophone
Korogi Desktop Series EKO32 2.6 Octave Padouk Xylophone

Hohner Accordions

Did you ever think that accordions would find their way into music classrooms?  Well they have, and we’ve got them for you!  On page 29 of our new catalog, you will find a selection of accordions as well as a few tips on choosing the right accordion for you and your students.
Hohner 1303-RED Hohnica 12 Bass Piano Accordion
Hohner 1304-RED Hohnica 48 Bass Piano Accordion
Hohner 3100GB Panther Diatonic Accordion


The Ukulele craze is still going strong and we have added new finish options and brands to meet the needs of all levels of players.  Find them on pages 34-35 of the catalog or find even more options online.
Kohala Ukuleles Lanikai Ukuleles Kala Ukuleles

Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive Whiteboards have become a common tool for use in music classrooms over the last several years.  To keep up with this quickly rising trend, we have expanded our selection of interactive whiteboard materials to offer you.  On pages 50-51 you will find new titles such as “Discover the Great Composers” and “Music Madness”, as well as best sellers such as “Heart Chart 2.0” and “Interactive Now”.
Interactive Whiteboards

Remo Versa Drums

New from Remo are the Versa Drums. These versatile drums come in three large body styles; Djembe, Timbau and Tubano. They have been designed to stack inside of one another -  a great space saving feature!  Additionally, the heads are easily removed and can be played as a frame drum.  Find the new Versa Drums on page 59; scan the QR code to see a video and learn more about these drums!
Remo Versa Drums

Hohner Green Tones

In the Early Childhood section of the catalog, you will find a new line of instruments from Hohner called Green Tones. These environmentally friendly instruments are made of sustainable materials such as rubber wood, non-toxic glue and soy ink and they are packaged in bleach free, recycled paper.  Find Green Tones instruments on pages 93 and 98 of the catalog.
Green Tones Sound Effects Green Tones Wood Temple Blocks

Aurora & Folkmanis Puppets

We are so excited to announce that West Music now carries Aurora and Folkmanis brand puppets!  Using puppets in the classroom is a fun way to encourage vocalization, social interaction, imagination and more! We recommend pairing puppets with children’s literature as a way to expand your curriculum.  Find puppets on pages 102-103, and children’s literature on pages 109-121.  You can also find a wider selection of puppets and children’s literature online.
Aurora Puppets Folkmanis Puppets

Artful, Playful, Mindful

For all of you Orff teachers out there, Jane Frazee has published a new book “Artful, Playful, Mindful”. This book is a curriculum model built on rhythm and pitch elements that inspire you and your students to make music (artful), to make up music (playful), and to make sense of music (mindful). Discover how music learning relates to all learning. Written from an Orff Schulwerk perspective, the book provides rhythmic and melodic pieces, sample projects and ideas for all music educators. Find this new book and other Jane Frazee publications on page 125.
"Artful, Playful, Mindful"


You will also find other fabulous resources for classroom teachers in the new West Music catalog!  Everything from General Music to Orff Shulwerk, Kodaly, Movement books and Teaching Aids can be found on pages 122-189.

We hope that our new catalog offers you all that you need to plan a successful school year!  As always, if you have questions please call us at 800-397-9378.

Tags: west music catalog 2013, west music, west music catalog 2014, new products
Categories: Orff, Drums & Percussion, Guitars & Folk, Kids & Movement, Music, Books & Resources
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Choosing REMO Tubanos for Your Classroom
By Jennifer Winegarden
11/6/2012 9:27:00 AM  

As the Hand Percussion Consultant for West Music, I frequently get calls from teachers inquiring about which kind of REMO Tubanos to buy for their classroom.  With a variety of options, and limited funding, choosing drums can be a daunting task! I’m hoping to help dispel some of the mystery behind choosing the right drum and to help you get the most bang for your buck!

Essentially, there are four options when choosing a Tubano: the 100 Series Key-Tuned, the 50 Series Pre-Tuned, the Festival, and the Not So Loud. As the Not So Loud Tubanos are in a new family of instruments with a distinctly different application, I will discuss them separately in a future post.

One fantastic thing about all REMO Tubanos is that the body of the drum is made with 99.9% recycled wood fiber.  This means that they are incredibly tolerant to climate changes, accidental spills, and the exuberant playing of your students!  For example, your drums will be unharmed staying in a un-air conditioned school during the summer.  Or, if the spirit so moves you, you can take the drums outside to jam without worrying about the body or the head of the drum getting dirty because you can wipe them off with a damp cloth!


Remo 100 Series Key-Tuned TubanoFirst, we have the REMO 100 Series Key-Tuned Tubanos.  These are the drums that comprise the popular World Music Drumming A, B, and C classroom kits, as well as our West Music RT-West classroom packages; they are a time tested best quality option!

The head of Key-Tuned Tubanos is REMO NuSkyn, and will provide the best sound quality of all the Tubano options.  They are tunable, which means that you can change the pitch, and can maintain a specific sound for the drum virtually forever.  As the drum is still a non-pitched instrument, it shouldn’t be tuned based on a specific tonality, but you will want all of your 10” drums to be at the same high pitch, your 12” drums to be the same mid-range pitch, and your 14” drums to be the same low pitch. 

Key-Tuned Tubanos have feet, so that they sit directly on the floor, no holding or stands are required! Each drum comes with a tuning key, and has a handle on the side for easy transportation. All Key-Tuned Tubanos are 27” tall and are available in a variety of finishes.


Remo 50 Series Pre-Tuned TubanoNext are the REMO 50 Series Pre-Tuned Tubanos.  They are very similar to the Key-Tuned version, but as the name suggests, they aren’t able to be tuned; this makes them more affordable in cost.

The head is REMO FiberSkyn, and can be replaced with another Pre-Tuned head (these drums cannot be converted to being key-tuned).  Like the 100 Series, they are available in 10”, 12”, and 14” sizes, giving you the opportunity to create the high, mid and low tones; each is 25” tall.  However, Pre-Tuned drums of the same size may not have the same pitch. Additionally, over time the pitch will change, and the head of the Pre-Tuned drum will not hold its quality of sound as long as the 100 Series drums.

Pre-Tuned Tubanos have a handle on the side for carrying, and are lighter weight than the 100 Series Tubanos, as they don’t have the tuning mechanisms. Again, there are feet on the bottom, so no holding or stands are necessary.  They come in Tropical Leaf finish.


Remo Festival TubanoFinally, we have the REMO Festival Tubanos.  These drums will be the least expensive Tubano option.  The advantage to them is that they are much smaller and lighter weight than our previous two options, and they nest inside of each other for easy and space saving storage!

The Festival drums have a Pre-Tuned head that is non-replaceable.  If something happens to the head and it is not playable, the drum will need to be replaced. They are available in small (15” x 6”), medium (17” x 8”) and large (18” x 10”) sizes. 

These drums come with a strap, as they do not have feet on them.  In order to get maximum sound from Festival Tubanos, they need to be held on the lap or with the strap on the shoulder to support them off of the ground. Festival Tubanos come in a variety of finishes.

To sum it all up, Key-Tuned Tubanos are your best bet for quality of sound, versatility of applications, and longevity of use. But don’t get overwhelmed!  Think long-term with your initial drum purchase; you don’t need to buy an entire drum ensemble at once.  When deciding which drums to buy first, with consideration to your budget, some good advice comes from Will Schmid (World Music Drumming) “...start building your drums with a plan that will produce a balanced ensemble later on.  Keep in mind that 12” Tubanos will be your most flexible drums…. [If possible] start by buying one 10”, one 12” and one 14”.”    

With all of this said, many teachers have such limited budgets that purchasing Key-Tuned Tubanos is just not possible.  All REMO Tubanos are quality instruments, and having Pre-Tuned or Festival Tubanos is far better than having no Tubanos at all!



I hope this information is helpful, but if you have further questions please feel free to contact me at 1-800-397-9378.  Happy Drumming!

Tags: N/A
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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Great products from West Music for Adaptive Learning!
By Jennifer Winegarden
10/1/2012 4:16:00 PM  

With the American Music Therapy National Convention coming soon, we thought that this would be a great opportunity to highlight a few of the adaptive products that West Music carries.

American Drum Adaptive mallets

American Drum PK1 Adaptive Mallets

By American Drum, this set of Adaptive mallets is great for a wide variety of people. All of these mallets have been shortened for easier control and lighter weight.  This set contains two cross bar mallets that are helpful for individuals who have grip or fine motor control trouble; a cork mallet that is lightweight for individuals with poor muscle tone/control; and a bass bar mallet.  They can each be purchased individually as well.

Short MalletsMallet Cuffs

American Drum PK2 Mallet Cuff & Short Mallets, Set of 4

Also by American Drum are mallet cuffs (right) and shortened mallets (left). The mallet cuff wraps around the hand and secures with a velcro closure. They have a small pocket in which the mallet is inserted. This allows for individuals who are unable to grip the ability to play instruments with a mallet. The cuffs come in adult and adolescent size, and the mallets come in a set of four.

Adaptive Instrument Mount


A Days Work Adaptive Instrument Mount

By A Day’s Work, we offer the Adaptive Instrument Mount.  Attached to a wheelchair, this instrument mount can hold a frame drum, mini cabasa, triangle or cluster chimes, allowing people with disabilities the opportunity for independent music play as well as the opportunity for making choices. Made of laminated wood, this item is easily cleaned.

Aulos Adaptive Recorder

Aulos C Soprano Recorder for Players with Disabilities

Finally, the adaptive recorder by Aulos.  This recorder allows for a person with any six useable digits to play a chromatic scale from C to A.  With seven pieces and different configurations, in the end this instrument will look just like the ones that other children are using in class; or allow for individuals with finger disabilities the opportunity to play the recorder.

Tags: adaptive products, adaptive instruments
Categories: Music Therapy
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Jenny's Recommendations - Music Therapy Awareness Week
By Jennifer Winegarden
2/27/2012 12:17:00 PM  

We're proud to announce our participation in Music Therapy Awareness Week February 27 to March 2, 2012.  Music Therapy Awareness Week is intended to help educate the public how music therapy can benefit individuals in a wide variety of circumstances or settings.

We'll be celebrating the week by:

  • Offering community presentations about the benefits and value of music therapy
  • Highlighting the 12 full-time music therapists on staff at West Music locations
  • Showcasing products designed for music therapists and the therapy setting
  • Sharing daily blog posts from the staff therapists
  • Offering special sales opportunities on music therapy products at West Music locations and on www.westmusic.com

In this installment, Jenny Denk--music therapist at West Music Piano Gallery in Urbandale--lets us in on her favorite instruments and products for her music therapy curriculum:

Remo Designer Festival Pre-Tuned Djembes

From Jenny: "This is a perfect sized drum for a travelling music therapist! The drum is easy to transport from one location to the next, and provides a nice sound that does not become overstimulating in a large or small group setting. It can be easily passed from one group member to another."

  • Environmentally-friendly, Acousticon drum shell, made in the USA
  • Proprietary Acousticon is made from 100% recycled wood fibers
  • Ideal for educational, recreational, and wellness uses
  • Manufactured with professional-quality Skyndeep synthetic, non-animal skin drumheads
  • Pre-tuned and pitched for optimal tone
  • Designed to perform at the same level or better than other drums in the same price range
  • Equipped with a nylon shoulder strap

Latin Percussion LP359 Go-Jo Bag Shaker

From Jenny: "These instruments provide great tactile and auditory stimulation, and the adjustable handles make them easy to use for clients of varying abilities. I frequently use them to apply tactile stimulation rhythmically on a client’s arms in order to obtain and maintain attention, as well as increase stimulation. They can also be passed back and forth in a socialization activity."

  • The world's only mutable shaker
  • Designed in collaboration with Stephen Perkins and Joey Klaparda
  • A basic rhythmic pulse can be created by simply opening and closing your hand around a Go-Jo Bag
  • Put one in each hand and play them like maracas or shakers
  • Slide the bags like an afuche or cabasa
  • Smack them together for a unique percussive sound
  • Toss one or more in time or attach them to your hands while playing congas to enhance the rhythm
  • Adjustable strap makes it a perfect tool for music therapy.


We believe in the therapeutic value and benefits of music for all people. We're dedicated to enhancing the lives of all clients through successful musical experiences that address specific needs with respect and dignity. Our music therapy services currently provide support and services to more than 500 clients weekly in a wide variety of settings including West Music studios, school systems, hospice, and private homes. Music Therapy Services available through us include one to one individual therapy, small group therapy (3-6 people), large group therapy (6-12 people), recreational music classes and adaptive music lessons.

For more information about our music therapy services, please contact Kelly Carlson, MA, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy Services at West Music, at 563-940-9567.

Tags: Music Therapy Awareness Week, music therapy instruments, music therapy products
Categories: Music Therapy
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Remo Paddle Drums!
By Jennifer Winegarden
6/20/2011 2:34:00 PM  

West Music Hand Percussion Consultant Jennifer Winegarden walks us through Remo's Paddle Drums - just in time for summer! Be sure to pick up a set for the classroom, or family fun!


To order or find out more information on the Remo Paddle Drums, click HERE!


Tags: Video, Drum Video, Remo Video, Hand Paddle Drum, Hand Paddle, Remo Hand Paddle Drum, Remo Hand Paddle
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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West Music Exclusive - Remo Not So Loud Ladoumbes, Djembes and Tubanos!!
By Jennifer Winegarden
6/3/2011 2:38:00 PM  

West Music is the first company in the world to have in our possession the NEW Not So Loud Ladoumbe and the NEW Not So Loud Djembe!! These two drums are a fantastic addition to the current Not So Loud drum collection.

Watch a demonstration of the new Not So Loud drums below:


Remo’s Not-So-Loud Tubanos and Accessories
Check out Remo’s latest!  A collection of Not-So-Loud drumming products, that is perfect for drumming in places where loud sounds are not allowed. The head of these drums have been manufactured in a way that eliminates the overtones and midrange tones of a traditional drum.  The result is a remarkably quiet sounding drum!   The Not-So-Loud collection include tall and short Tubanos, sound control caps, Not-So-Loud mallets and a collection of sound shapes.

 Remo Not So Loud Tubanos Each drum comes with a sound control cap, and a pair of Not-So-Loud mallets to reduce volume even more.  However, the caps and mallets can be used on any Remo drum to reduce the volume.  The caps are sold separately, and can be used on drums that you already own!  They come in three sizes 10, 12, and 14 inches.  Listen at: http://www.westmusic.com/1002409-drums-percussion/p3000-percussion-cases-covers/p3000i-world-drums/remo-vc-0012-70-not-so-loud-volume-control-cap-12.htm
The Not-So-Loud mallets are made with a sponge like foam that produces less sound than a regular mallet when struck on any drum. At less than ten dollars a pair, these mallets are a great sound-reducing option at a great price!

Last, but certainly not least, the Not-So-Loud Sound Shapes!
If sound AND space are an issue, these Sound Shapes are just what you need!  Each drum rests inside of the next for easy storage and portability.  The drums each come with a mallet, and would be a great addition to a Not-So-Loud drum circle!  To listen, go to: http://www.westmusic.com/1002405-kids/k5040-sound-shapes/remo-ss-2000-06-not-so-loud-sound-shape-set.htm

 Not So Loud Remo Shapes

To hear Remo Belli talking about his new drums:

Tags: Not So Loud, Not So Loud Djembe, New Product Line, New Product, New Products, Djembe, Ladoumbe, Djembe and Ladoumbe
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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Assembling and Tuning Your Orff Rotary Timpani Drum
By Jennifer Winegarden
5/17/2011 4:31:00 PM  

In this video, West Music's Jennifer Winegarden walks us through assembling and tuning an Orff Rotary Timpani drum.

Tags: Orff Rotary Timpani, assembling rotary timpani, tuning rotary timpani
Categories: Drums & Percussion
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