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World on a String

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

WORLD ON A STRING, my 2nd children's album, is a treasury of songs that take the young at heart to places of wonder and delight. Useful at home and school, talent shows and family gatherings, the songs will teach, uplift and entertain all ages with a variety of playful songs everyone can enjoy. The music is focused for children, K-5. KITCHEN PARADE, on the other hand, was written for younger children, K-3.

Words by lyricists Lawrence Lee and Gary Croxall are light, refreshing and recapture childhood experiences.

Team effort to write WORLD ON A STRING, children's CD.

The songs were recorded by children from families I knew along with Joanie H. from KITCHEN PARADE and her older sister, Nikki.

Joanie and Nikki, two very talented singers.

I love giving children the opportunity to go into a recording studio because it's an experience they'll never forget! It entails concentrated effort but it's fun and extremely rewarding. And... childen are always thrilled to hear their own recorded voices.

The songs for WORLD ON A STRING were recorded in a small studio hidden far away from a remote residential road. A long dirt driveway led through a grove of citrus trees and came to a dead end. Right there was the studio. The building was old, tattered-looking, without windows nor a sign anywhere in sight. Anyone would question if they were at the right place? A heavy, soundproof door opened into a dimly-lit studio with padded walls of odd-shaped pieces of foam rubber. Heavy fabric hung from the ceiling. The grand piano and percussion instruments were also covered so nothing could vibrate and interfer with recordings. Microphones and earphones were everywhere! This was the setting I became used to and learned to love so much. However, when the children walked in for the first time, their eyes got big! It was nothing like they had ever expected and I could only imagine what they might be thinking? Is THIS the recording studio? This looks creepy!

The recording area was closed off by curtains and a flat-shaped microphone was strategically placed where singers would stand and sing. The singers wore earphones so they could hear the prerecorded piano accompaniment while they sang.

Children recording WORLD ON A STRING

From this area, you looked into a room where the sound engineer could be seen. That room was filled with all kinds of computer screens, big speakers, and hundreds of levers and knobs he would use to adjust the sound and record the tracks. Tracks you might ask?

Sound Engineer uses hundreds of knobs and levels to balance the sound.

A track is a single layer of recorded sound. Each song was recorded on a separate track and the first one consisted of the piano or keyboard accompaniment. Each additional instrument added is yet anothe track. Sometimes a singer would record over their own voice by adding a harmonizing part, but the new track had to match precisely the rhythm of the other. This process is complicated and takes a lot of patience. We would record a few lines and then stop and listen to the recording over and over again while we scrutinized the pitch and diction. It was a fun experience for the singers to hear their recorded voice and were quite surprised and often said, "That doesn't sound like my voice!"

Kathleen recording piano tracks.

We recorded most of the songs on 8 tracks. It takes many hours, weeks, and even months to record an album and every minute in the studio costs dollars with a capital S.

I financed all my recordings with money I earned teaching private lessons through the years and royalties paid from published

music. Considering that a composer is paid only 2.5 cents/copy sold, you can better understand why many never get rich. However, when you love what you do, it's never work!

I want readers to know that profits from my music go directly to helping someone in need as I try to "pay it forward" every year.

My husband and I have also participated in many humani- tarian trips around the world. I will share some of those experiences in a future blog entry.

Screen view of digital recording

The photo at left shows what a digital recording looks like on a computer screen. The vocal line is the squiggly orange in the middle.

Green bars below the vocal line balance the levels. After all the songs are recorded, the last step is a session with the recording engineer where all the sounds from the recording tracks are mixed.

Through years of teaching, I have learned that charming, whimsical lyrics become key words in helping students learn new language skills. Words that create visual images help students of all ages learn faster. Interesting rhythms and musical styles can be taught quickly with short, clever songs. Through song and association, children learn the basics of music and rhythms in an unforgettable way. The songs in WORLD ON A STRING and KITCHEN PARADE were designed to enhance a child's curiousity of music.

Let's listen as I showcase two songs listed under the SHEET MUSIC section in this website.

If you care to leave a comment,

click CONTACT on the toolbar and I will respond. I always appreciate suggestions and look forward to feedback.


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Mar 08, 2020

Oh wow. I didn't catch the first time around that there was a song called "My Wonderful Dad" to listen to by clicking the picture with the little singers. It brought tears to my eyes. Every child should know this song!


Mar 07, 2020

I loved learning the background about how your albums were put together. I learned so much reading this and I LOVED listening to the fun samples about alphabet soup and flying a kite.

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