If by now you have delved into the world of music for kids, you have likely come across one of The Laurie Berkner Band CDs. Always catchy children songs and fun to sing along to, it’s no wonder that the 24 hour children’s television station Sprout gave her own show! In fact, Sing it, Laurie! debuted in March and airs noon-4p.m. ET. With my own li’l budding musicians, For Kids Entertainment was quite excited to get Laurie’s advice on the best music lessons to start your child with, the instrument she’s started her own daughter on, whether they watch American Idol and more.
So, you said you were inspired to get into children’s entertainment by School House Rocks?
Yeah! I loved watching that and I love watching it with my daughter now. I always thought that it would be wonderful to write music that could be animated and reach people in the same way that effected me when I was a kid.
How old were you when you first learned to play guitar?
I was older. I didn’t pick up guitar until I was about 16. I had played piano, clarinet, violin – a lot of other instruments, but guitar was finally the instrument I could both sing to and jump around with at the same time, so that’s why it stuck.
How old is your daughter?
She’s 8 now.
Oh cute! I have a 9 year old who’s just learning how to play guitar.
Oh! Is she into it?
Yeah, she just did Call Me Maybe at the talent show.
That’s great! It can be hard as a first instrument because it’s painful pressing against the strings. That’s really awesome that she’s doing it.
Yeah, it will be fun for her to see you playing guitar on screen. Are you doing other things outside of Sprout and your CD’s?
I have three DVDs out, 7 albums and I also just wrote the music for an off-Broadway musical for kids that just came out, so I’m doing a lot of things.
In addition to Sprout, what do you watch with your daughter?
She likes a show on PBS called Fetch… that’s sort of her thing right now. She’s a little older… she’s not into the preschool shows anymore. It’s actually online… we watch a lot of shows online right now which is one of the great things about Sprout, too, is that you can watch it on demand.
That’s great. Do you watch a lot of the talent shows with your daughter, like American Idol or The Voice?
I don’t really, no. The things we watch together are shows she’s chosen but I think that it would be fun a little bit down the line.
Do you watch it yourself?
Does your daughter play music, too?
She plays the drums.
Oh cool! Can you guys do it together?
A little bit. I will play with her some times. It’s funny because it was totally against my instincts to let her start on drums versus piano [a great first instrument for kids] or other instrument that’s more melodic but she’s just so into it and she never was into it before that. The second she said drums, my husband and I ran out and got her a drum kit! Now, that’s our living room [laughs]!
My 4 year old says she wants to play drums. Do you have to buy the drum kit or can you start smaller?
You could buy her pads to start with. But a Jr. set isn’t that expensive. It takes a lot of coordination to play drums because there are three things happening at once. I recommend you start her in a group class on percussion and then when she’s 6, buy her a set.
To learn more about Laurie’s new show on Sprout, visit: http://www.sproutonline.com/shows/sing-it-laurie
To check out her CD’s, click here!