Harker Preschool is proud to announce the release of its first musical album, “The Songs We Sing,” which was recorded in-house at the end of the 2014-15 school year. With the debut CD – featuring songs performed by the preschool students and their teachers – the children enjoyed learning what it is like to become a recording artist.
Andrea Hart, preschool director, and Kelly Espinosa, director of summer and preschool programs, got the ball rolling for the project, according to Mara Beckerman, Harker Preschool’s music and movement specialist. The two asked Beckerman if she would be interested in recording some of the songs she had taught the students in her specialty classes.
“’Of course,’ was my reply!” recalled Beckerman, who for the past 25 years has worked with children of all ages in both private and public schools. The music and movement class is one of several beloved specialty classes offered at Harker Preschool. Each week, preschoolers of all ages attend the interactive sessions.
Beckerman included the voices of students from all of the preschool’s cottages on the CD. “I wanted to include all the children in some way. I also wanted to have ‘classic’ children’s songs (such as, ‘The Wheels on the Bus’); songs that every Harker preschooler learns (‘Come On In,’ ‘Friends 1-2-3’ and ‘Flowers & Grasses,’ which was sung in STEM class); songs that individual classes had worked on (‘Polar Bear,’ ‘Sarasponda’ and ‘I Am A Pizza’); and finally songs that the children had a particular love of (‘Guong Xi,’ ‘Hey Dum Diddley Dum’ and ‘If I Could Write One Song’),” explained Beckerman.
The last two pieces added to the recording were the song, “Rainbow Round Me,” and a story, “Stone Soup,” that she had done with the students and had previously recorded on her own personal CDs. Once the songs were selected, Beckerman contacted Richard Karst of Prema Music Studio, a recording engineer with whom she had previously worked.
“We were very lucky that Richard had the ability to bring his studio to us. We found a quiet room at the back of the campus that we turned into the recording studio,” Beckerman said, noting how impressed she was with the children’s ability to wait for the signal to record, listen to the intro of the song, use their singing voices, and remain very quiet after they finished singing while waiting for the signal that it was done.
The recording sessions happened over two days. The students came in with their teachers and were introduced to Karst, who Beckerman said wore a special hat that “all the children really liked and continued to comment about afterwards.” Each class had the opportunity to do several takes of their songs.
“Their favorite mode of transportation to and from the recording room was by galloping to another song they had learned, ‘Horsey Horsey.’ Perhaps that song will appear on a future CD!” said Beckerman, adding that a few days after the students had recorded their songs, a parent reported that her son had immediately gone home, found a variety of boxes and created his own recording studio to use with his younger brother.
Beckerman’s father, artist Howard Beckerman, designed the cover artwork for the CD. He is a well-known animator who took great pleasure in creating a colorful and lively picture of the children enthusiastically singing alongside their teacher.
The CD is available for $20 and can be downloaded directly to a computer. Also included in the download are cover art and liner notes, which can be printed and trimmed to fit a CD case. Current parents interested in purchasing a copy can visit the parent portal to place an order. Over the holidays, some parents chose to purchase the CD to share as gifts with family and friends.
To read another Harker News story about the music and movement class: http://news.harker.org/harker-preschoolers-are-on-the-move-in-fun-music-and-movement-specialty-class/.