About this project
Featured by the Royal Shakespeare Company on their myShakespeare blog!
"Kids love Shakespeare - especially when that love is creatively fostered and encouraged with play!" - Folger Shakespeare Library
"A beautiful and educational project" - GeekMom at Wired.com
"a gutsy project that has the potential to open up a rich and glorious world to our kids" - Media Darlings
"both educational and fun" - KoreAm
"you simply must check out this homebaked combination of music, Shakespeare, and cool-educational-experience-for-kids" - Everyday Shakespeare
Also featured in Kickstarter's curated pages - we are thrilled and honoured to be be among O'Reilly Media's select group of innovative projects!
For Teachers and Homeschool Parents
Please check out the FAQ at the very bottom - we have a special offer for you!
We have been working very hard in the recording studio and we now have a shortlist of the original songs that will be included in the album, book, and app! They are:
I Don't Know What to Say sung by Cordelia from King Lear
It's Not My Fault sung by Caliban from The Tempest
One Thing I Can't Catch sung by Helena from A Midsummer Night's Dream
Dirty Laundry sung by Falstaff from The Merry Wives of Windsor
I'm Going to Make You Love Me sung by Petruchio & Katherina from The Taming of the Shrew
You Treat Me Like a Football sung by Dromio of Ephesus from Comedy of Errors
A Horse with Wings sung by Imogen from Cymbeline
Alas, Poor Yorick sung by Hamlet from Hamlet
Crocodile Tears sung by Queen Margaret from Henry VI, part 2
What Is This Thing I Found? sung by the Old Shepherd & Perdita from The Winter's Tale
Butterflies sung by Achilles from Troilus and Cressida
Smelly Dog sung by Launce from Two Gentlemen of Verona
I Don't Like You, Really sung by Benedick & Beatrice from Much Ado About Nothing
Let's Pretend (to Be Happy) sung by Rosalind from As You Like It
And here's a little presentation about our creative process (including a sneak preview of our new song "One Thing I Can't Catch" performed by Sherman).
What Do I Get?
In a true multimedia project such as ours, something that differentiates us from a simple picture book, professional production costs in four main areas can be quite prohibitive. Even though this is a family project, we want to produce something of the absolute highest quality, and that means significant expenditure in:
Music production - musicians, recording, production, mastering
Art production - materials, digital imaging, animation
App development - wireframing, coding, testing, release, updates
Book publishing - typesetting, printing, publishing costs
Marketing - blogger outreach, twitter parties
Without your support, this project could remain a small family hobby. But we believe so strongly in our idea and we have had such amazing feedback from supporters who want to see this become a reality, that we have set a goal for the minimum amount necessary to create a truly amazing product, and the first of ten planned songbooks (and why not more?)!
We want to bring into the world the first in a planned series of books, music, and interactive apps containing songs for children. Each song is 'sung by' a character from Shakespeare, and is true to the quotation spoken by that character, and on which the song is based. Many of our songs address issues with which children can identify, such as anxiety, sibling rivalry, even bullying. Some are just silly or funny. But they are all lovingly created, and professionally performed, produced, and mastered.
Through our digital music and eBook, or hardcover picture book + CD, every child will have the opportunity to discover these special songs, and also be introduced to the wonderfully rich world of Shakespeare. If you're interested in learning more about the kinds of children's issues that other songs address, please read this article.
The Interactive App
Through our interactive iPad app, children will be able to listen to songs and interact with characters. But a special feature of the app is that when a character is touched, the character will actually speak Shakespeare quotations! First, children will understand the context through the songs. Then they will find that they can easily comprehend the short snippets of Shakespeare's language, just as in the video above.
However, please note that the simulations shown in the video are just that: simulations. The final product will be much more immersive, but we wanted to give you a visual idea of this concept.
The Story So Far
We've just been offered a recording and publishing contract, and have begun recording our songs with 3'30 Productions. After a lot of soul-searching, we decided to use our own child, Sherman, as one of the singers on the album - we had only previously used her voice in one of our sample songs for a presentation for potential investors and partners, but her performance got such a great response, and we realized that children connected so deeply with songs sung by children, that we took the plunge. Here is her first recording session, which surprised us all:
Singing the male parts in our project is Sherman's equally talented classmate (also four years old), Julian. Their duets are just a joy to hear!
We've had such enthusiastic feedback from everyone who has seen our project, that we decided the only way to make sure this project can be put into your hands in the way that we want, was to try to raise the money with people who understood, loved, and supported our aims. And Kickstarter is the perfect place to connect with those people (that means you!). Together, we can make these songs accessible to the greatest number of children across a variety of media, and hopefully be able to continue to do so far into the future!
We plan to publish the music, the book, and the app, and we have calculated the minimum amount for us to be able to achieve this goal. The funds will go towards art production, music production, and app development and publishing. We need funds to produce the CD's and print the books which also requires miscellaneous costs (copyright, ISBN number, etc.) and finally some small legal fees. If we are fortunate enough to overshoot our goal, we intend use that to create a higher quality product, for example adding more interactive ways to reinforce learning in the app, something which we would otherwise not be able to afford to do.
Our goal is twofold. The first is to create something of real value, something that can be treasured by generations of children. We want these songs to connect with them on a very deep level - the songs deal with emotions, situations, and subject matters that every child will be able to relate to! And thereafter, we want to pique the curiosity of our listeners - we want them to wonder, who is this character that sang this song, and what is the context? We hope that by presenting the world of Shakespeare in this way, children can discover the work on their own, and when they do get around to studying Shakespeare at school, it will be like reuniting with an old friend...
Our second goal is to prove that this (literally) mom and pop outfit, a couple with very young children, can break through traditional models of publishing, and have the final product be as close to our original vision as possible. We will be requiring a lot of outside help (not least from yourselves!) but we've kept this very much a family affair, hopefully as an example to other couples, or families, that also want to create something beautiful together with loved ones. And whatever support we receive, we're here to give it back! (We'll be kicking it forward.)
Although our home is Los Angeles, we decided last year to come to Paris for a year or two so that our daughter could attend a bilingual school here. During that time, she has grown so much. At first it was very difficult, and we even wondered whether this little 4-year-old might not be suffering from some sort of mild depression. One of the factors that helped her to adapt to this new country and new language, was French nursery rhymes. At first she just mimicked the sounds. Then she started to hear isolated words. Then she started to make connections between the words in the songs and the words that her friends and teachers were using at school. And pretty soon her knowledge of the songs reinforced her social communication, and her social communication reinforced her love of the songs. This is when we really understood the power of children's songs, and came up with this idea of using all our passions (for example, Shakespeare) to create songs that children can find solace in, but that also have a deeper purpose.
Finally, our family has also become closer than we believed possible through our collaboration with each other on this project, and for this opportunity, we thank you again! Our daughter loves her life here, and she loves singing these songs for you!
If you're not sure how this whole Kickstarter thing works, please check out their Help Center. Simply, though, your pledge means everything to us, as we need to collect enough pledges to hit our goal. Remember, if the total of the pledges doesn't meet our goal, we get nothing, and you owe nothing at all! This way, the system guarantees that either we are given the full funding to achieve what we say we will achieve, or we're on our own. Being only partially funded would mean that you would be putting an investment into something that may not have a chance of coming to fruition. So, this is exciting! We are all doing our part to bring this project into the world!
Backers will have the chance to receive some exclusive handmade items, generously provided by my wife, who has her own Etsy shop and imported fabric business. These very beautiful canvas bags and messenger bags are lovingly made and presented to you as a token of our gratitude for being involved. Instead of her usual "Shermimi" logo, these bags will say "I backed KinderBard" - carry them with pride!
We will post regular updates on our Facebook page, so please feel free to "like" us there! We also go into more detail about our creative process and our life in Paris on our homepage. Or you can follow us on Twitter. If you have any specific questions about this project, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, these Shakespeare songs are also part of an even bigger picture, and we think you and your children might enjoy reading this story about an orphan in Paris, a magical machine, and of course, Shakespeare...!
We have budgeted for the minimum that we need to publish the music, the book, and the app, but unfortunately, we couldn't fit the development costs for platforms other than the iPad within our budget. We're actually praying that we overshoot our goal because we want to make this available to as many kids as possible! If we do find that we can afford to develop our app for other platforms, backers who qualify for the iPad app will be eligible to receive whichever version they prefer.
Absolutely! If you are a teacher, a homeschool parent, or anyone who could make use of such a thing, let us know and we will send you a FREE fully illustrated teacher's guide with in-depth background on each song, including the subtext of the songs, the context of the quotations on which the songs are based, information about the character and play from which the quotation is taken, and explanations of fun Easter eggs hidden in the illustrations!
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