I wanted to start out with an exciting announcement! I am now Co-President of Children’s Music Network. – Together with David Heitner-Klevans (Two of a Kind), we are excited about sharing the role— something that hasn’t been tried before. We have a terrific new board of directors and big plans so check CMN out! http://childrensmusic.org
Once a year, the Children’s Music Networks creates an international event — it’s a time and place where children’s songwriters, performers, teachers, publishers, librarians, parents and children come together. There is a keynote, dancing, learning, a special award, and always networking, singing and sharing among our peers.
1) This year’s keynote was exceptional. Melanie DeMore is a singer/songwriter, composer, conductor and vocal activist. She is committed to raising peoples’ voices together, over a career spanning 30 years. Her life has been dedicated to teaching, lecturing, mentoring, conducting, directing and inspiring children and adults about the power of song as social and political change. During the Keynote Ms DeMore did just that— the audience sang, clapped and shared the joy of singing together. There were few dry eyes and people were truly moved by this amazing woman.
2) Mentoring. Being a veteran (25 years making music for families), I enjoy mentoring newbies and offering them advise on a variety of topics including: songwriting, publishing, production, performing, touring, teaching and Guerrilla Marketing— ways of getting songs out into the world. I met with two people, really enjoyed listening to their concerns and questions and helping where and however I could. Mentoring is a large part of what we as CMN members offer.
3) Workshops. There are always terrific workshops at CMN that fill the spectrum of making music for children. My favorites were: “Stories and Songs from A Global Journey” given by Betsy Rose- an activist who spent 6 months traveling the world and working in various communities— empowering girls and women through her songs. Jane Cobb, a Canadian librarian presented, “The Power of Song To Foster Attachment.” She shared a treasure trove of songs and activities for infants to 3 year olds. I lead a “song swap” where people come to share their work on a given subject. Ours was called “Stretching a Song: Exploring Different Ways a Song Can Reach Different Audiences.” It was a great exchange of ideas that people could take with them and try out on their own audiences.
4) Magic Penny. Each year a committee chooses a recipient for the Children’s Music Network’s “Magic Penny Award.” The name comes from Malvina Reynolds’ wonderful song “Love is a Penny ’til You Give it Away.” This year’s award went to Jose-Luis Orozco— a long-time bilingual educator who came to CA with $50 in his pocket, and who brought Mexican folk songs and his own wonderful bilingual songs to America.
5) Round Robin. This is a time when every person gets a chance to perform one song for everyone. It’s exciting to hear the incredible talent and variety of styles within our own genre.
Everyone who uses or makes music for or with children and families should know about Children’s Music Network. It’s 28 years old and growing!