Music From Around the World Part Two

Let’s explore music and arts from Japan, Australia, India, and the United States. Check out Music From Around the World Part 1 here.


Shojoji is a Japanese nursery rhyme about a hungry raccoon-dog, called a tanuki. In the song, the tanuki taps on its belly like a drum. At Tiny Tots, we featured the Margaret Ozaki Graves and her taiko drum along with the orchestra. Though in Japan, taiko refers to any kind of drum, outside of Japan they usually refer to a type of drum called wadaiko.

The Art of Katsushika HokusaiActivity for Preschool and Older

Mount Fuji is an instantly recognizable feature of Japan and the artist Katsushika Hokusai did an amazing job depicting Mount Fuji along with traditional Japanese landscapes and subjects in his most famous work, 36 Views of Mount Fuji. This wonderful slideshow shows all of Hokusai’s 36 images.

How to Explore:

  • Play an easy game with your child(ren)– have them find Mount Fuji in each picture. As you play this, you can point out and discuss other elements of Japanese culture in the images, like the style of buildings and the landscapes.
  • Next, take a look out your window. Is there a defining feature of where you live? In Colorado, that may be the mountains. Perhaps it’s your favorite building in your town, a special type of flowers that pop up each spring, etc. Draw a series of pictures viewing this feature at different angles in different ways and display them in your window to share with people walking by.

Rainbow Veggie Sushi – Activity for Toddlers and Older

Fill up those hungry raccoon-dog bellies with this easy rainbow vegetable sushi. Bring your kids into the kitchen to help out – they can pour the rice and water in to cook, chop the veggies, or roll the sushi. They’ll get to work on motor skills and be rewarded with a yummy (and healthy!) treat at the end.

While toddlers may only be able to pour or roll with help and supervision, older children can make this recipe entirely on their own.


Waltzing Matilda is so important and well-known to the people of Australia that it’s often referred to as their unofficial national anthem. It tells the story of a wandering worker in the Australian bush. It was written around 1900 and first recorded in 1926. Many of the words may be unfamiliar to US audiences even though the song is in English, but they are important parts of Australian culture: swagman, billabong, a billy, tucker bag, and more!

Make a Didgeridoo – Activity for Toddlers and Older

When we think of music from Australia, one of the first things that comes to mind is the didgeridoo. Watch this impressive video of didgeridoo playing – he plays for 3.5 minutes straight without stopping! Then, grab some items to make your own didgeridoo. All you’ll need is a wrapping paper tube and supplies to decorate it.

Explore AustraliaAll Ages

Check out this master list of crafts and learning resources about Australia to dive even deeper into this amazing continent. The list includes book suggestions, crafts and art projects, and more.


This song is from a 2002 Bollywood movie. Deepali Lindblom of Roshni joined us on this piece to perform a Kathak dance. Kathak is a traditional Indian classical dance that tells a story. Dancers of this style tell stories through their hand movements and footwork as well as their facial expressions.

Storytelling and DanceActivity for Preschool and Older

This piece offers a great opportunity for physical storytelling. It is right around age 3-5 that children are learning the concept and order of time. Foster this learning by creating a short story or narrative with your children. We suggest a short, 3-sentence story using important benchmark words like “First…Next…Last.” After you have created your story, make up a dance to go along with it. Encourage your child(ren) to be creative with their movements. What emotions might they be feeling and how would they show them using their body. How would they change their dance if you changed part of the story?

United States

Early in the Morning is a blues tune. The blues is a genre and form of music that originated in the deep south in the late 1800s, based on African music and spirituals and African-American songs. Blues music uses a specific chord progression that is instantly recognizable (and playable) by all jazz musicians. This piece was written in 1947 and uses Afro-Cuban percussion. Award-winning blues musician Lionel Young performs with our orchestra on this great rendition that was adapted especially for Tiny Tots.

Sing the BluesActivity for Preschool and Older

Learn more the blues by watching B.B. King singing One Shoe Blues, the perfect silly blues song for kids. Talk with them about how when you sing the blues, you sing about things that are making you unhappy or bothering you, like when BB King couldn’t find his shoe.

Then, have your child make up their own blues song using this music in the background.


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