Process Description for Ninny Cow Tea
This CD began as a portion of the music program at New Discovery School. In trying to demonstrate the process of songwriting, I had each child compose a short lyrical phrase on the spot, one at a time. I tried prompting them with words like: “Tell me your song.” or “Tell me something that you like.” explaining that their song could be about anything they want.
After getting their ideas on paper, then came the task of putting the words into melodic form. If the child was willing and capable, I would ask them to sing their words. If they were able to do so (most were not able or willing in the moment), I then helped them to solidify the melody. Otherwise I demonstrated by putting the words into a tune myself.
We then sang the song as a group a few times, accompanied by the guitar, before recording a rough version. We were generally able to accomplish 3 or 4 songs for a half hour class. Once all of the children in the school had a song, we then would practice them each week. This involved dancing and singing along to them, as well as the songs being used as teaching tools for basic musical concepts like pitch, rhythm, volume, and tempo.
Apart from having fun and learning about music, this project also helped build a sense of community between children. They all took a keen interest in learning the songs of each of the other children at the school. They also drew pictures to illustrate their songs (which became part of the inlay card for the CD).
At a certain point it became evident that it would be fun to record a more professional version of the songs to demonstrate how a collaborative studio project comes to fruition, and that this would be a great way to raise money for the school while also producing a compact disc. So began the process of recording drums, adding layers of guitar and other instruments, as well as recording vocals. As the accompanying music for each song was completed, I would then bring the recorded version to school and have the children record their vocal tracks as a group.
Enjoy the music!