Help us make Readeez Volume Four: Music and video for kids
Help us make Readeez Volume Four: Music and video for kids
Outstanding new songs and videos, Grammy-winning music producer, plus a cool new approach to music literacy.
Outstanding new songs and videos, Grammy-winning music producer, plus a cool new approach to music literacy. Read more
About this project
What is this? Who is it for?
Readeez are music videos that teach all sorts of things in fun, original ways. People of different ages and backgrounds really like the songs, which makes me feel good since I write them.
The end-product of this project will be both a DVD/CD set and digital video and audio downloads of an all-new Readeez collection.
I’m making this project with two groups in mind: People who love music and people who love children.
Through seven years and seven collections, I’ve produced all the music and played most of the parts. But this time around I’ll be working with a top-notch producer (Grammy-winner Dean Jones) and some superb musicians.
The videos are going to be awesome as well, and I’m introducing a new music literacy component called Noteez which I’m really excited about.
I’ve been a serious songwriter for about nine years and have finished maybe 120 tunes. There are a dozen songs in this new collection that feel to me like the best things I’ve written. And I want to share them with you, and with everyone, in the best form possible: with top-notch recordings, imaginative production and great musicians.
Several of these songs came about at the suggestion of parents looking for ways to help their kids deal with emotional challenges such as making transitions gracefully and accepting unexpected change. These songs have the potential to help countless kids and their families.
Dean Jones is basically the George Martin of family music. He is a creative, playful soul, gleefully at home in his wonderland of a studio. Plus he's a heckuva musician and a truly nice person.
The recording sessions, slated for mid-March, are going to be insanely fun. I’ll be sure to post photos and videos for backers.
This past January 18th I was in Brooklyn at a theater called Jalopy, performing Volume Four’s title song, “Musicians,” at a sold-out gathering of family-music artists. Hearing the assembled crowd sing along with the chorus confirmed my suspicion that the song's a keeper. A huge thank-you to Stephanie and Bill and everyone else who made that night so memorable.
In the Updates section of this Kickstarter, I’ll be sharing the stories behind the other songs that make up Volume Four, plus the origins of some earlier tunes.
I’m really psyched about this. Noteez are little 10-second segments between songs where I play the "main note" (the tonic) from the previous song on the piano or guitar and tell kids the name of that note, plus show them how it’s notated on music paper.
To me this seems a natural, intuitive way to teach pitch recognition, much in the same way that Readeez teach word recognition. I'm excited to see how it plays out in the real world. I believe that the main reason I have perfect pitch is because I began musical training before age five.
Whether you're already a fan of Readeez or not, I think you’re really going to enjoy this set. And if you back the Kickstarter, you’ll get the goods WAY before anyone else. I have no plans to put this stuff on YouTube or Readeez.com before 2017. In time I will share the songs to YouTube, where they can be watched for free (and ad-free) by our 5,000+ subscribers.
The general public will have a chance to buy Volume Four in early August. But YOU, Kickstarter backer and dear friend, will have your copy as soon as it's done -- six weeks or so before the rest of the world.
I’ve lined up a large and varied menu of thank-you gifts for people who back Volume Four. The rewards I’m most excited about are the ones that bring me together with people, especially kids, whether it’s a house concert or a one-on-one Skype session with a child (or maybe the whole family)—talking about your favorite songs, even teaching you to play them.
And I'm quite chuffed that Mr. O. himself, the artist who draws Julian and Isabel, has agreed to donate three original artworks to lucky Kickstarter backers.
New to Kickstarter? Here's something cool: Your pledge to back this project will only be collected if the project meets its funding goal. All-or-nothing funding is a core part of Kickstarter and has a number of advantages.
Where will the money go?
The lion's share of the budget goes to music production and mastering ($5,500). The other main expenses are manufacturing, artwork and promotion. There is also money budgeted for the fees of Kickstarter and the payment processor (about 8-10% of the funding total).
Handling publicity for this project will be Portland's own Sugar Mountain PR, a firm I've always wanted to work with. Several of my friends are on their client list, which reads like a Who's Who in the field of kids' media.
In addition to Gerry O'Neill's fine illustrations, I'm delighted that artist Erin Palovick has agreed to create some paintings for the "Change Song" video. Check out her work—she's awesome.
How I do business
The Readeez Company is not a large organization. In fact it's just me. I guarantee everything I sell for 25 years. If a DVD breaks, if you scratch it two years after you buy it, if it falls behind the sofa — I’ll send you a new one.
Same with downloads. If your hard disk crashes or you lose an email and you need new links, just tell me and I'll hook you up.
I am grateful to everyone who cares enough to buy what I make. And I don't take it for granted. So thank you, to everyone who’s ever bought anything from me. And thanks for taking the time to read this.
The mushy stuff at the end
Speaking of gratitude, it's difficult to express my appreciation for the incredible contributions of everyone who has helped Readeez, and me personally, to get to this point.
In particular, thanks are due to our superb distributor, Burnside Distribution Corp. of Portland. An indie's best friend! Also, I am forever indebted to a wonderful school, Atlanta's Eclectic Music, for their unfailing friendship and support of Readeez through the years.
To my family and friends—you know who you are—thanks, and I love you.
Most of all, my thanks go to every parent who's ever sent me an encouraging email or told me of your family's affection for my work or sent me pictures or videos of your kids singing my songs (I love those)—thank you for allowing me into your lives.
Risks and challenges
Since 2008 I've produced seven collections of Readeez music and videos. At this point I more or less know what I'm doing. Having said that, I hasten to add: There are always surprises. And always new things to learn.
The main risk I see is the possibility of missing our forecast June delivery to backers and the media prior to wide release in August. But I believe I've got a realistic production timetable and I'm going to do my best to be sure we hit our dates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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