Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam

 Montclair, New Jersey, USA
BandRockChildren's Music

Family-friendly rock music to engage a child's sense of physical play, stimulate learning, encourage emotional development and evoke a sense of wonder. Glowing harmonies float atop playful rhythms as we sing about ladybugs, the moon, and how to safely handle a guitar pick.

Biography

Jason Didner always hoped that becoming a father would mean sharing his musical gifts with his child in some way. But playtime and outings with his daughter, now 2, have had a compelling effect on the music Jason creates. "When I come into her world, I often come back with a souvenir - a great song idea," he says. "And she's given me some absolute gems. She loves when we go looking for the moon, but we can't always see it at night because of clouds or the lunar cycle. That led to 'Peek-a-boo Moon.' And it just grew from there."

Jason's parenting and musical missions are joined by his wife Amy, who co-writes the lyrics and brings a wealth of early childhood teaching experience to bring each song's purpose into focus, whether it's teaching counting and nature in the same song ("Five Sea Lions") or social and moral development ("Let's Share Our Toys"). Amy also choreographs the audience participation elements of the live shows, coming up with simple gestures to teach the young concertgoers and providing props to act out the lyrics.

The band, the Jungle Gym Jam, fuels Jason's rock-based musical energy and propels his friendly, singable melodies. Guitarist/singer Casey McCleary brings a glowing harmony to the vocal lines. The interplay between drummer Ross Kantor and Jason provides rhythms you can clap along to, but you'll delight in their subtle shifting of beats, accents and volume to keep things interesting. Bassist Judy Helbig adds that "bounce" that will make kids want to get their bodies moving (and some grown-ups too!) Together, the band's grooves express an authentic feel in the styles the songs call for, whether it's ska, country, folk, or straight ahead rock.

Jason remembers how important his childhood experiences were in his musical journey, and he brings those memories to the music he's creating now. The music from the movie "Grease" captured Jason's imagination at age 8 and made him want to play rock'n'roll ever since then. He and Ross played Van Halen's "Jump" at each other's Bar Mitzvahs as the iconic song rocketed up the charts.

In young adulthood, even as Jason pursued rock intended for audiences his own age, he often brought his guitar to the school where his mother taught, giving songwriting workshops tied to the curriculum, and providing patriotic music for Flag Day. When he married Amy, also a teacher, he was a frequent guest entertainer/educator at her schools too, from pre-school through 5th grade.

He's had songs played on National Public Radio. His comedic country offering, "You Can't Get There from Here in Jersey" was a perfect fit for (in fact, written for) Car Talk, a talk show featuring two wise-cracking mechanics with sound advice for cars and day-to-day life. (Your kids may know the hosts as the voices of Lightning's original sponsors for rust cream in the first "Cars" movie). Aside from fronting the Jungle Gym Jam, Jason also leads Jason Didner and the Drive, a band whose material covers more adult themes. This band primarily performs at Parents Who Rock events, fundraisers that give back to the Montclair and larger New Jersey community. With The Drive, Jason has given the NJ Jackals minor-league baseball team a theme song and participated in a live telethon to raise funds and efforts for Hurricane Sandy relief on the Jersey Shore.

Lyrics

Five Sea Lions

Written By: Amy and Jason Didner

Five sea lions rolling on the pier
They look like seals but you can see their ears
One rolled off and then swam to shore
And four sea lions were left on board

Four sea lions rolling on the pier
They look like seals but you can see their ears
One rolled off and then swam to shore
And three sea lions were left on board

Three sea lions rolling on the pier
They look like seals but you can see their ears
One rolled off and then swam to shore
And two sea lions were left on board

Two sea lions rolling on the pier
They look like seals but you can see their ears
One rolled off and then swam to shore
And one sea lion was left on board

One sea lion rolling on the pier
She looks like a seal but you can see her ears
She rolled off and then swam to shore
And no sea lions were left on board

Bridge:
The mighty sea lion and its cousin the seal
People often mix them up but here's the deal
A sea lion spends much more time on land
So its ears are on the outside to meet that demand
A seal spends more of its time in the sea
And has to swim faster using less energy
To give it a faster and smoother ride
A seal has its ears tucked away inside

Five sea lions rolling on the pier
They look like seals but you can see their ears
They all rolled off and then swam to shore
And no sea lions were left on board
They all rolled off and then swam to shore
And no sea lions were left on board

The Pick Song

Written By: Amy & Jason Didner

I have a plastic triangle
I hold between my fingers
I always keep it handy
When I play my six-stringer

Take it out when you're in a musical mood
But remember it isn't food

Don't put the pick in your mouth
Don't put the pick in your mouth
Don't put the pick in your mouth
You use it when you rock out

I sweep the pick in rhythm
Up and down across the strings
As the sound hole adds a fullness
To my guitar's cheerful ring

The hole stands out on a guitar's face
But it isn't a storage place

Don't drop the pick in the hole
Don't drop the pick in the hole
Don't drop the pick in the hole
That's not a guitar hero's goal

I keep my pick in my pocket
In case I burst out into song
I'm always ready to rock it
But it only goes where it belongs

You can use it with guitars all around the globe
But it isn't a nasal probe

Don't put the pick in your nose
Don't put the pick in your nose
Don't put the pick in your nose
'Cause that's just kind of gross

I have picks of many colors
Orange, yellow, purple and red
They bring color to the songs I play
But i don't let that go to my head

A pick's just perfect for its job
But it isn't a cotton swab

Don't put the pick in your ear
Don't put the pick in your ear
Don't put the pick in your ear
So you can hear what you play

Don't put the pick in your mouth
Don't put the pick in your mouth
Don't put the pick in your mouth
You use it when you rock out
You use it when you rock out
You use it when you rock out