What’s New with Cantata Learning?



Enter to Win 30 Cantata Learning Books for Your School or Library! March 15, 2016

Do you remember the hand motions that go along with the Itsy Bitsy Spider song? Or how about the Wheels on the Bus? Do your students know them? We want to see what motions and movements your students use to accompany nursery rhymes and folk songs. Make a short video that shows your students’ hand or body motions and submit it to the Cantata Learning Rhythms and Rhymes contest.

You can teach students the classic hand motions to traditonal songs or create brand new ones. Stream online or download nursery rhymes and folk songs from the Cantata Music Library.

Click here to learn more about the contest.

All entries are due April 1, 2016 at 5 p.m. ET!

Look At All Of The Ways We Can Sing, Read & Listen To The Cantata Learning Books! February 26, 2016

By Shannon McClintock Miller, Teacher Librarian

One of my favorite things about Cantata Learning are the different ways you can listen to the books and songs.


There is a CD in the back of every book, which makes it very easy for the teacher librarian or classroom teacher to use them in the library and classroom. They are also included online at www.cantatalearning.com.


You can search in the different categories under Music or Products, which allows you to stream the song from the Cantata site or download a MP3. Give it a try and listen to The Muffin Man here. As you are listening and singing along to these wonderful books, the sheet music and lyrics can be found towards the back of every book. They have even added a QR code to make it very easy to access the music online with a device. These are included on the sheet music page, in the front of the book and on the back of each book.


Since each Cantata Learning title is online, we created a Symbaloo webmix for each of the three seasons….Spring 2015, Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. Every song can be accessed from Symbaloo by clicking on the cover of the book you want to listen to. At the bottom of each webmix, you will find a tile for the other two seasons of Cantata Learning books. When you click on these, it will take you to that seasons webmix. By sharing Cantata Learning on Symbaloo, it gives your students and teachers access to all of the titles in one place. This is one of my favorite ways of sharing them. And there is one more way you can access all of the Cantata Learning titles. You can subscribe to the Cantata Learning YouTube Channel and find all of the titles here too. To see them all click here. My daughter Brianna who is doing an internship with Cantata is responsible for the YouTube videos…I just love these. As you can see, all of the Cantata Learning books are going to engage and excite our young learners about reading, singing, learning, creating and so much more.

By giving them multiple places to find their favorite books, we are putting Cantata Learning into their hands anywhere and in multiple ways.

Exploring Culture Through Music February 20, 2016

By Elizabeth Draper, Music Director, Cantata Learning

I spent five years teaching a music class at a Women and Children’s homeless shelter in North Minneapolis. I would show up once a week and “instruct” school-age kids who happened to be living there that day. I never knew how many kids would show up, or what ages these kids would be. My door was open and welcome to any child in Kindergarten through High School.

The purpose of my class was to create a safe space for kids to be kids, explore music, explore themselves, and hopefully come away feeling like there is large beautiful world beyond the stressors of their day to day lives.

Through performing, listening, dancing, and writing, music was an incredible way for these kids to feel empowered. It was also very important to me to expose these kids to many different styles of music and cultures since many only knew what they saw on BET or heard on the local hip hop station. (I taught there from 2007-2011 most of these kids did not have easy access to internet or smart phones unless they were at school or the library.)

I wish Cantata learning would have existed sooner. It would have been a perfect teaching tool for that class. My classes were always made up of at least 80% non-white kids. As I mentioned earlier, a main purpose of my class was to make the kids feel worthy and empowered. As an example, I would play “hillbilly” Appalachian banjo music and ask the kids what they thought about this music. I’d ask them to draw a picture while the music was playing of what they thought this performer looked like. After the song and drawing, I would bring out a globe and pass it around and ask the kids to point to what continent they thought the banjo came from. Even if geography was over some of the kids’ heads (remember there were very young kids and older kids) they still got to think about how big the world is.

It would never fail, most every kid thought it was being played by a white person and nobody guessed it came from Africa. The American banjo’s ancestor is the West African gourd banjo. This music never would have existed if not for Africans and African Americans. It has a deep and complex history.

She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain features the banjo. This song actually originates from an African American spiritual called “When the Chariot Comes” and was popular with railroad workers in the Midwest United States during the 1890s. Over 100 years later, this song has lasted the test of time.

A great Black History Month activity would be to have your kids enjoy Cantata’s She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain. After your class reads and sings along, encourage your kids to write their own verse. This can be done aurally or by having your kids write it down. Download the instrumental version to sing along with.

Start with the common verse and take turns going around the class to let your kids sing their own verses. This builds confidence and character. If a child is too shy to sing their own verse have them whisper it to you, or hand your their paper if it is written down. Share the verse with your class and have everyone sing along. Remember to clap and cheer each time to keep encouraging and fun.

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes

“She’ll be coming around the mountain,

“She’ll be coming around the mountain,

“She’ll be coming around the mountain when she comes”

“I’ll be _ around the mountain when I come”

“I’ll be _ around the mountain when I come”

“I’ll be_ around the mountain”

“I’ll be_ around the mountain”

“I’ll be _ around the mountain when I come”.

Here We Go Looby Loo is another song which is perfect to play for your class that demonstrates the diversity of the banjo and music that was invented by African Americans. Cantata’s Here We Go Looby Loo is recorded in a traditional New Orleans Jazz style. Jazz music was first created by African Americans. Without Jazz we never would have had popular music styles today- Rock and Roll, Hip Hop- all stemmed from and evolved from Jazz music.

Cantata’s Here We Go Looby Loo can also be used as an introductory resource to such topics as the Mississippi River (early jazz was primarily performed on River Boats and of course New Orleans is at the basin of the Mississippi River), the continental divide, Mardis Gras, etc.

Cantata’s Here We Go Looby Loo also features the washboard as a musical instrument. Encourage your kids to make their own musical instruments with things found around the house. This can be done in the classroom or at home. Start a New Orleans marching band while playing your homemade instruments. Have fun marching along to the recording!

Elizabeth Draper has spent over half her life as a music educator and performer. She currently performs with the Grammy-Winning children’s group The Okee Dokee Brothers.

Receive a FREE copy of Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos! February 19, 2016

Cantata Learning and Capstone have a gift for you! Order 10 or more Cantata hardcover books before April 30, 2016 and receive a FREE copy of Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos. Include promo code 16CNTBDAYFREE with your order.

Take a look at the Cantata collection. We offer so many wonderful books paired with music to ignite children’s love of reading. Add 10 books to your collection and we’ll send Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos for no extra cost!

Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos Book and Song Now Available! February 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Feliz CumpleanosWe are so excited to announce the release of our newest title, Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos. This book and song are being published as part of Capstone’s 25th anniversary celebration. Cantata Learning is thrilled to be a part of celebrating this big milestone.

Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos includes text and music of the traditional song in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language. Listen to the song now!

Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos is now available in hardcover with a CD of the song or as an interactive ebook. Check out your options!{link to listing on Cantata site.}

Our gift to you! Order 10 or more Cantata hardcover books before April 30, 2016 and receive a copy of Happy Birthday….Feliz Cumpleanos FREE. Include promo code 16CNTBDAYFREE with your order.