It is debatable whether or not kids' songs for kids are actually grown-up-friendly. (As in, friendly for a grown-up’s patience or tolerance level.) I am a music lover and spent many, many years as a full-time songwriter on Nashville's Music Row. From country and Americana to pop music – from crooners to rappers – from church hymns to Broadway – I just LOVE voices and lyrics and stories.
Always have. Always will.
Going Back a Bit To Earlier Days
As a full-time nanny in my early 20s, I spent a great deal of time in my gold corolla, going back and forth from one activity to the next, spending mornings and afternoons in school drop-offs and pickup lines. These were pre-Ipad, pre-Youtube days, leaving tons of time in the car for: MUSIC.
Neither my radio nor my cassette tape choices involved kid’s choice Barney sing-alongs. Instead, at that time in my life, I was usually blasting anything from Amy Grant’s “Heart In Motion” through the speakers.
Now, I realize that there may be many questionable items I just referred to for many of you reading. Let me help you get a clearer picture if your birth year is circa 2000, by giving you a mental visual comparison of sorts:
- Cassette tapes = CDs = streaming
- Barney = Hannah Montana = Cocomelon
- Amy Grant = Britney Spears = Taylor Swift
- Heart in Motion = Oops…I Did It Again = Folklore
My point is that most grown-ups who have young children don’t necessarily choose kids' music as their daily soundtrack. They might tolerate it or they might ignore it. But, just as my eyes (and ears) were recently opened to the truly wonderful musical genre that it is, I hope I can give you a nudge to check into it too.
Quick message from the land of kindergarten
Do you have a soon-to-be kindergartener? Are you a kindergarten teacher or know someone who might have questions about what kindergarten looks like these days? If the answer is yes – you have stumbled into the right place! You see, I am a kids' music artist, but I am ALSO a kindergarten teacher! (Say WHAT?) Yep! I’m here to help dish the dirt and show you behind the curtain with my FREE DOWNLOAD. Click the button below and learn “The 10 Things Your Kindergarten Teacher Wants You to Know Before They Go.” Now back to your regularly scheduled blog.
Call Me Old-Fashioned
A lot of things have changed since my nanny days in that gold corolla. And as a matter of fact, kids' songs for kids were WAY different when I myself HAD a nanny. (Ok, I didn’t HAVE a nanny…but we did have babysitters and I thought they were the coolest.)
I come from a very musical family. My dad was a church-of-christ song leader and my mother was an elementary music teacher who is a wonderful pianist. In the late 60s Mom was playing clarinet in the college band and caught the eye of my drummer dad, and eventually, they got married and had my piano and clarinet playing sister.
Then I came along. Let’s go back in time a bit to…the *ahem, 70s.
Songs from the 70s
For me, there was no quick natural ability on the piano. No clarinet. I barely produced a few notes on a french horn that was slightly forced upon me.
But singing? Ahh, heck yes. Performing? Yes, please. Make my sister laugh? Bring on the pillows and call me Dolly!
I have a very vivid memory of a 45 record that my parents had. It had an orange, yellow, and red sunset on it and the song was about how much the singer liked slides. I liked slides too. This was my official favorite song to sing along to:
Now, clearly, if you listen to the song, I had no idea that this was NOT a song about slides or an ideal day in the park. I do remember a line in the song about Delores, and thought it was probably about the lady at our church. It was not.
Kids' songs from the 70s
The more official kids’ songs for kids we had back in the 70s consisted of one amazing Sesame Street Record that we wore out, Tina the Ballerina, a read-a-along Cinderella record, and a very creepy story record about Rumplestiltskin. (I still have nightmares)
My sister and I shared a room that had 2 twin-sized beds. We would charge our parents, grandparents, and possibly a few neighbors admission to come and sit on those beds facing our “stage”. By “stage” I mean, our closet. Our microphones were – jump ropes, of course.
The closet had double doors that acted as our curtains. We would sit behind them and giddily wait until showtime. (I think we used Little Debbies as refreshments – but they of course were not included with the price of admission.) One of the first times I really remember feeling like I knew the course I had to take in life happened in one of our shows.
That worn-out Sesame Street record included a song called, “The Letter D” that involved a shimmy-shimmy growling type vocal that I seemed to excel at. I remember the “crowd” going wild with laughter and applause. I was hooked.
A seatbelt and a Donny and Marie microphone
My mom was well-versed in camp-like sing-alongs. I have extremely fond memories of car trips to our grandmother's in Missouri, mom teaching us songs like “Froggy Went a Courtin'” and “Down By The Old Mill Stream”. Our old lap-style seatbelts were our microphones – pre-seatbelt laws. Ahhh…those were the days!
The Donny and Marie microphone I got for a birthday pretty much sealed the deal for me in terms of my calling in life. It had a long antenna you had to aim directly toward a stereo to get a slight echo. More often than not you got a spark and a shock to your lips – but that never derailed me.
From Opryland To Music Row To…Kindergarten?
My biggest dream in life was to perform in rip-away sequinned costumes on the stages of what I thought was the closest thing to heaven: Opryland U.S.A. For those of you who may remember it, you are probably smiling as you read. You are probably thinking of your first kiss shared near Twitty City or the day you were finally tall enough to ride on the Wabash Cannonball rollercoaster.
(For those of you who have never heard of it – Dollywood is the closest thing we have now. Another reason that fuels my opinion that Dolly Parton should run for president.)
This dream may seem small compared to dreams of today’s youth – but this was pre-internet. Our worlds were much smaller in a lot of ways back then, which if I’m being honest actually felt bigger. Slower. We drove an hour once or twice a year to go to the nearest mall. We looked forward to our 2-hour vacation drive to Nashville, TN every summer. And before I sound like a grandfather lamenting walking to school in the snow with no shoes…let me get to the point.
do dreams come true?
The shows at Opryland U.S.A. were top-notch. We planned our rides around the show schedules. I clearly remember sitting in one of the few air-conditioned theatres with my dad watching a show called, “And The Winner Is”. I kept looking up at his face and then back to the stage – and remember his smile – the PURE JOY he felt. That feeling was in me too – and I knew I HAD to be a part of it.
I auditioned for Opryland U.S.A. THREE DIFFERENT TIMES when the tour came through Little Rock, Arkansas. No go for me. Never even a call-back. “Thank you very much. NEXT! ”
Yes, Sometimes they do
What happened next is straight out of an unbelievable made-for-Netflix movie. And as a matter of fact, I'm going to save that story and the many stories that follow to get back to my blog point. If you'd like a quick synopsis of what happened visit my timeline. (Spoiler alert – I DID get to be in a show in that VERY SAME air-conditioned theatre where I sat with my dad!)
Let's do a quick recap of the things that you now know to be true about me, and super important TO me.
- FAMILY is extremely important to me, and my favorite memories usually involve time with them
- MUSIC is a common theme and thread that weaves itself through most of my memories
- I love all aspects of entertaining and PERFORMING
- SONGWRITING is something I have always loved, and was fortunate enough have that be my main gig for many years in Nashville
- I am about to enter my 10th year teaching KINDERGARTEN
FAMILY + MUSIC + PERFORMING + SONGWRITING + KINDERGARTEN = My passion for writing and performing kids' songs for kids. There it is in a nutshell for you. It is who I am. It is what I do.
Current Kids' Songs For Kids
When the idea and opportunity to create kids' music presented itself to me by my long-time friend, Nathan Meckel, it was the most obvious no-brainer of my entire life. I was a fan of his kindie band, The Happy Racers , and was thrilled when they agreed to make an appearance on my very first kids' single, “Dare To Be Me” – which went all the way to #1 on Sirius XM's Kids Place Live.
Honestly, I had no idea just how much great music was out there for kids. I mean, music that I would listen to with NO kids in my car! No matter what style you like – there is something for you. If you have Sirius XM – Check out channel 78, Kids Place Live.
I am super passionate about creating and collaborating more with like-minded artists. Positive and fun music with a message can become a game-changer. I challenge you to try it out! Have a kitchen dance party or crank it up while doing a wake up routine – make some memorable family moments!
No offense to Barney or Cocomelon. But if you give it a try and do a little searching – kids' songs for kids are also….just good music.
If you have a child who is on their way to kindergarten in the next couple of years – be sure to check out my FREE download FULL of all kinds of tips! “10 Things Your Kindergarten Teacher Wants You to Know Before They Go”