“Pandagarten” Official Video

Here it is, our new official music video for #Pandagarten

Lots of people to thank here!

Big thanks to Pandas International who provided us with amazing video footage captured by several of their donors! Andrea was extremely responsive and helpful in providing us what we needed to help tell this story.

Thanks to the energetic, spirited, funny kids who worked their magic on a blazing hot summer day to bring lots of life to this video. I’m talking about Holly, Natalie, Maya and Elisa! And then we’ve got “Amazing Amelia” rockin’ the bass. At age 14 she’s already musically accomplished beyond her years and her “chill” stage presence is perfection.

Many thanks to my parents, Bob & Linda Didner, and the families of our cast – my wife Amy (of course also a cast member, rockin’ them bongos, Nicole Gray & Allen Chan and Danielle Dorter, who were super supportive and actively involved in coaching the kids through those hand motions in the chorus.

My dad, Bob, worked the handheld camera to capture footage of the band and the kids.

Thanks to Kathy at The Pathological Dyer online store on Etsy. She custom-made all these tie-dye shirts to meet our vision for this video.

Gotta thank John Cullimore of Chibi KodamaRon Albanese (“Polka Dot!”) and Dad for taking the time to critique the video while  it was in post-production, helping us enhance the final product you see here. Amy also showed a great eye in post-production for which shots to use, when.

You can’t make a music video without the music! Thanks again to John for inspiring me to start producing records at home and then meticulously critiquing areas where we could give the audio track the extra sparkle that today’s music listener expects. Thanks also to Scott Hawksworth at AudioSkills.com for the great home recording/mixing tutorials that helped me develop production techniques that will keep the music flowing.

Thank you Mike Mason at Good Stuff Kids Podcast for serving up a very successful world premiere of this video, along with an enjoyable interview (always good to talk with you!)

Thanks to our Patreon subscribers for your commitment to helping us keep developing and sharing new material on a regular basis. It feels great to create when I know it means so much to you and your families!

And thank you for taking the time to watch the video, read this page and share the video with anyone in your life who loves pandas (I mean, come on…who doesn’t?!?)

So, You Want to Produce Your Own Records?

Here’s a podcast interview where I share how and why I record at home!

Jungle Gym Jam recording the kids' vocal parts for the song Pandagarten. One really cool thing about making music for families is that every now and then we come across young musicians learning their instrument and full of passion for the sounds they are starting to create. Often, they’re big siblings of our most frequent audience of preschool-aged kids. We also cross paths with lots of great kids-and-family musicians who are on a similar journey to Amy’s and mine.

We’re all experiencing rapid, sweeping changes to the way recorded music is shared with the world. Kids learning to make music are growing up never having needed a physical CD, possibly having operated a turntable simply for the richness of the experience, not for the necessity of that being the only way to hear recorded music. Most of us walk around with access to a library of millions of songs in our pockets.

Those of us who have been making records for a while have noticed that the public can enjoy our music in complete album form without having to own a physical product or even a download. While there’s a contingent who will buy our CD’s as souvenirs of a show they loved, they can listen to our recorded music at will without doing so.

Jason from the Jungle Gym Jam mixing a finished recording in his home studioMy desire to continue making and sharing fully-realized recordings of our songs has not been diminished by the changes to the recorded music market. But I can’t continue to hire producers and rent studios for $10K+ knowing that I won’t make back even 10% of that. So what does an indie artist do?

I turned to the example set by my friend John Cullimore from the excellent kindie band Chibi Kodama for my answer. John is a highly prolific self-producer, often cranking out multiple albums in a single calendar year. All his music is a heartfelt expression from his whole family and a true representation of the sounds he hears in his head, fully realized for the world to enjoy. And he does it all at home and on the road!

When I started to seek out how I could create high quality self-produced music with the experience I gained working with producers and John’s moral support, I stumbled upon AudioSkills.com, a home self-production resource founded and run by Scott Hawksworth. I started by reading his articles, which had given me some common-sense advice that I found earth shattering in its simplicity and ability to immediately improve what I was doing with my home recording gear.

I had recorded tracks for the single “Pandagarten” and really wanted to do a great job mixing these tracks into a radio-ready finished product. So I ordered Scott’s AudioSkills crash course DVDs. I watched the entire 2-disc set before embarking on the mix. Everything I learned helped me translate the music I imagined into something families could listen to.

To help tell my story of how I keep the music flowing in a changing market for recorded music, I recently appeared on Scott’s AudioSkills Podcast for an interview. I hope it inspires you or an emerging musician in your life.

Here’s our first self-produced single (as a picture video) called “Pandagarten” to give you an example of the results I achieved with Scott’s course.

In this new market for recorded music, we’ve drastically cut our costs to bring this music to you by recording at home. We’re also able to steadily release music – a single each month, leading to the release of an album next year. We’d like to sustain the pattern of a single each month. If our recordings enrich your family life, we’d love your support on our Patreon page, where you can subscribe and be the first to receive our new monthly singles – before the public gets them.

How are you or your family members engaging the do-it-yourself spirit to bring your creativity to life? Use the comments below to get the conversation going.

Printable Sheet Music Paper for Kids

Now that I’m teaching Holly to play the piano, I realized we needed sheet music paper – so I created some in Word! Now I’d like to share it with you and your family!

Download this printable sheet music paper (3 large staffs, landscape layout) and you can sketch out easy-to-read melodies for your kiddos and get them started on playing or singing.

Kids' sheet music paper created by Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam

Or you can grab this printable sheet music paper (6 medium staffs, portrait layout) for two-handed piano parts or small scores.

Printable 6 Staff Paper by Jungle Gym Jam

If you upload the music you create with your kids, make sure you tweet to @JungleGymJam or post it to Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam on Facebook so I can hear what your family’s doing musically.

Rock on!


#SummerOfSharing is Back!

 Save U.S. Pets Logo  Oradell Animal Hospital Logo

Your Jungle Gym Jam Digital Download Purchases Will Be Shared 50/50 with Save U.S. Pets!

Last year we launched #SummerOfSharing, giving a portion of our music and merchandise sales proceeds to causes like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and young heart patient Xavier Ross’ hospital expenses.

Oradell Animal Hospital teams up with Jungle Gym Jam to support Save U.S. Pets in Summer of Sharing 2017This year, we’re teaming up with Oradell Animal Hospital to give to SAVE U.S. PETS, an independent, all volunteer 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to ensuring that no pet is denied lifesaving veterinary treatment because of its owner’s inability to pay.

50% of our digital download sales in the month of July will benefit Save U.S. Pets, including sales from:

If you’d rather have the physical product from us, you can pick up a CD at our live shows in July and we’ll donate 20% to Save U.S. Pets! We’ll also share 20% of proceeds from any online store purchase of a physical product. You can order CD’s or T-shirts in our online store.

* for Patreon gift levels involving a live party or preschool performance, we’ll donate $2.50 from your first monthly payment.

Thanks for supporting our #SummerOfSharing drive – remember to use that hashtag to tell others how you’re joining us to make New Jersey a better place for pets!