Laurie Berkner, The Dinosaurs and Me
by Jennifer Shakeel
One of the greatest joys in what I do is getting to talk with really cool people that are doing what they can to help children. Be it help them grow, learn, understand or overcome something in life.
Recently I was able to chat with one of my favorite Kids Rock Stars, can I say my kids were beyond excited, the one and only Laurie Berkner.
Hopefully you enjoyed the audio clip from our interview, now get comfortable and get inspired by a very busy mom and super talented artist!
How did you decide which songs would become books?
The decision was actually made along with my editor – another AMAZING person that I get to work with as part of this project. When I was pitching the idea to different publishing houses I had written descriptions of about 30 of my songs, what each one meant, and what in my life had inspired me to write them. When Christian Trimmer from Simon and Schuster read those descriptions – along with the lyrics – and listened to each of the songs, he chose three that he thought would make great picture books. I loved his suggestions and agreed that they would work well visually, and the decision was made.
How is your program “Music In Me” going? I read that you started the pilot program about a year ago in a few NYC schools?
It’s going really well! Laurie Berkner’s The Music In Me is a curriculum I developed for “me and my grown-up” style music classes that kids ages 1-4 and their caregivers take together. I’ve been training teachers, and we have classes in New York City as well as some in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. The program is not in schools yet but there has been interest in having me modify the curriculum to use it in the classroom as well.
Earlier in your career you drew inspiration from your daughter and the things that she was doing. Now with her being older where do you draw inspiration from?
I actually started my career in kids’ music almost 10 years before my daughter was born, so while she was of course a great source of inspiration – especially when she was younger – I’ve written many more songs based on the kids I taught music to, my own memories of being a child, and things I hear kids say on the bus, on the street, in the grocery store, etc. I still write most of my songs that way.