We get a lot of requests here at Denver Parent and it’s not often we ask to write MORE about an upcoming event than a PR firm requests, but this was Laurie Berkner!
If you’ve never heard of her or her band, then your kids were deprived! Some of her songs are some of my kid’s favorites still (and they’re 13 and 15) and we often burst out in song when a similar phrase or the right opportunity comes up – after all, how often do you need to sing about having a “Pig on your head”! 🙂
Laurie will be performing in Loveland next week (yes, we’d drive up there for a concert!) and we asked (ok, kind of begged) to interview her – my kids were so motivated that they wrote most of the questions!
DP: Why did you choose songwriting and performing as a career?
LB: Mostly because I really like doing both of them. Also because I try to “follow what works.” When I perform, people really seem to enjoy it, and when I write songs, people seem to like them. That seemed like a perfect combination to me of being able to do the things I love and also give something to other people.
DP: Did you always want to do kids music?
LB: Not at all. I only started writing songs because I got a job as a preschool music specialist and found that the songs I first tried with the kids were NOT working. They needed to move their bodies and they didn’t want to listen to me talking about what to do. So, on the advice of my predecessor at my first job as a preschool music specialist, I decided to let the music tell the kids what to do. What I ultimately found was that it was much easier to achieve that when I wrote the songs myself.
DP: Where do you get inspiration for your songs? Do you try them out on kids or just know what they’ll like?
LB: I used to always try them out on the kids I worked with, but now it’s harder to do that because of how my life is structured. I do usually start with ideas that are either inspired by kids or the child in myself. In the classroom I would do that by asking the kids what they wanted to sing about, then when I stopped teaching, I started going around listening to kids on the street and in playgrounds (which I still do!) or digging into my own memories of what sparked my interest when I was young.
DP: What’s the best part of doing what you do?
LB: That is a really hard question, because I like so many aspects. I guess if I had to pick, it’s hearing about how much my music has meant to so many people – and getting to be creative as my job!
DP: What’s the worst part?
LB: That’s a really EASY question! Dealing with the business end of how hard it is to make a living as a musician these days.
DP: Can you see yourself doing kids music forever or do you perform/or will you perform other music?
LB: I imagine I’ll do other kinds of music in the future, especially because being creative is really the thing I’m most interested in. It doesn’t have to be with kids’ music, but I have found that I’m good at that kind of writing and performing so I have kept doing it!
DP: Do you like recording or live performances best?
LB: Ack! You ask good and difficult questions! They are both some of my favorite things that I do…I’m not sure I can decide between them because they are so different. I love being in the studio, sculpting a song and hearing it come alive, and I also love the immediate feedback, feeling of connection, and spontaneity of a live performance. I will say that being in the studio can be a more lonely experience – and performing live can be a more exhausting one! (One big bonus about performing live is that I often get to meet some of the kids and their families that came to the show when it’s over, and I often have as much fun at the meet and greets as I do during the show itself.)
DP: What ages of kids do you write your music for or do you consider that?
LB: I consider that a LOT. I start by aiming for kids around the age of 4, but then I try to make sure that the songs also have images, rhythms and melodies that are simple enough for a toddler to connect to and interesting enough for an older child. On top of that I also try to touch on more universal ideas and themes so that parents will also find their own connection to the songs.
Thanks so much to Laurie for taking time to answer my kid’s questions – we don’t want to make her feel old, but my kids have grown up loving her music and still do – THANKS!
The Laurie Berkner Band
April 16 @ 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
, 228 East Fourth Street, Loveland, CO 80537