Children's Games: The Art of Making Music for Children's Television (2023)

From TV networks to the iconic Proms season to music festivals, apps and more, the world of children's music is more alive than ever, offering music creators the opportunity to flex often untouched creative muscles and earn an income.

Jim Ottewill puts on his diaper, puts on his mannequin and talks to some of these creators to find out why the genre is now going to the big schools...

“Someone drove into a Zingzilla when smoke was rising from behind. Then they took his head..."

Dan Hawkins (pictured above), guitarist and songwriter for rock legends The Darkness and author of the music for the hit song CBeebiesCatie's amazing machines, recalls no history of uncontrolled excess from the band's prosperous years. Instead, it's a slightly gruesome moment from a live performance of the children's TV hit,ZingZillaNames.

"Me and my brother Justin were asked to come along as we had written a rock song for the show. But one of the machines feeding the characters wasn't working. The producers got us all out before the kids were traumatized..."

Out ofO Womblesto theWallace and GromitthroughSr. Benethunder cats,Children's television and its colorfully themed music and soundtracks have always had a significant impact on young people's formative years. If you look back, you probably have a TV show that you love. And music plays a big part in making sure your past passion is rooted in you.

'I'm an 80's kid so I loved itrhubarb and cream,banana man, I was obsessed withDogtanian and the three Muskahounds,' Dan recalls. “All these songs stay with you. Maybe because the music is so strange. It's weird, but that's why it's so powerful. And since we were kids when we heard it, the song is a bit deeper.'

The Clangers

Is there a kids TV show deeper, weirder or more wonderful thanThe Clangers🇧🇷 The wacky intergalactic show, sprung from the cosmic imagination of animator and writer Oliver Postgate, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a special screening at this summer's Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank.

Featuring a race of mouse-like creatures all living on a planet somewhere in outer space, its surreal atmosphere is punctuated by a musical soundtrack of classic whistles, beeps and flourishes.

Dan Postgate, Oliver's son and Executive Producer on the current incarnation of the series, created many of the scripts and stories. Why does he think the show's soundtrack remains revered along with the show itself?

“Music written forThe Clangersby composer Vernon Elliott got to the heart of the concept,” says Dan. “Oliver drew visual ideas for the song in blocks and wavy lines, and Vernon used that as a starting point. It was a modern classic, a bit like Shostakovich, with shocking quality yet delicate and charming – ideal for children.”

music and sound

The current incarnation ofThe Clangersincludes a score by Grammy Award-winning composer John Du Prez in collaboration with series producer and lead whistler Dan Maddicott. For Dan, simplicity and memorability are the keys to a great theme for children's television. "The music has to draw you into the program from the start," he explains. "It's like a call sign to come and watch."

The combination of beautiful design, charming characters, and compelling storylines is at the heart of the show's long-running success.

“In terms of sound, the music is holistic and unique, the Clangers' language is eerily understandable even when whistled, and Oliver Postgate's beautiful storytelling voice creates an atmosphere that draws you in completely,” says Dan.

Fast forward to now and one of preschool television's biggest hits isBin, a CBeebies show based on the (mis)adventures of an adolescent rabbit. The music was composed by Julian Nott, the sonic mastermind behind the scores for other children's hits, includingWallace and GromitePeppa Pig.

Mikael Shields, Managing Director of Acamar Films, is leading theBincreative team and worked closely with Julian on the music. Instead of another dreamy worldBinit's rooted in the everyday as the young protagonist stumbles through life's lessons.

"The show has a lot of emphasis compared to a lot of material on TV," says Mikael. "The pacing is quiet and smooth, in part because we're dealing with emotional narratives rather than action-based narratives."

"When the show is more emotional, there's almost no music because the performances carry it," he says. "The music is incidental, for action and fun - our editors are always asking us to add more music. But editorially we want less, so we can let the emotions take care of themselves.'

creative possibilities

With music so embedded in children's television, its importance to producers is clear. But why are musicians turning to this medium? It seems that the opportunity to enjoy new creative freedoms is attractive.

BAFTA-nominated songwriter and songwriter Ellie Wyatt's music has graced many contemporary children's television hits. Out ofMolly und Mackfor excited onestea e mothroughRest Sesameand on top of that, his love of making cross-genre music suits him perfectly.

"Writing children's songs for television coincided with having my own daughter and being totally in the zone watching kids' television shows and making up songs for her all the time," says Ellie. "She basically became my mini-jury."

Ellie's work spans string arrangements, pop music, library music and commercials, an eclecticism that suitsIt works outgood for kids tv.

"Kids respond to all types of music, they may enjoy listening to classical music, reggae, swing jazz," explains Ellie. “When writing for children, there is a lot of freedom to use all kinds of styles. If you can convey a simple, fun message without turning the music down, parents will appreciate that too.”

Jazz songwriter, bandleader, and youth music ambassador YolanDa Brown (pictured above) agrees.Yolandas Band-JamShow on CBeebies sees his group perform live in front of an audience of kids in the studio, teaching them sonic style and rhythm and a variety of instruments. She breathes the creative energy of her young audience.

"They ignore the cameras and respond with a lot of enthusiasm," she says. "It's amazing to have the opportunity to give something like this back to the next generation."

While the health of music in schools and music education is another matter entirely, children's music is booming on TV, especially as Amazon and Netflix increasingly focus on creating their own content for young people. The BBC's CBeebies channel has its own ball at the Royal Albert Hall and music festival, this year in Liverpool. While music obviously makes a groundbreaking impression on our youth, it enjoys both status and big business.

YolanDa agrees, “Last year's CBeebies festival was amazing – as was Glastonbury for kids. Playing events like this gives me a feeling of musical freedom and really influences my other projects.”

scores on ports

Os Teletubbiesis one of the biggest hits on children's television, featuring the psychedelic antics of Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa, Dispy and Po. Musician and songwriter Andy McCrorie-Shand (pictured above) was the show's music writer, but how did he get the job? After a stint with the legendary KPM music library, Andy is best known for his association with production company Rag Doll and his earlier work on the hit show.Rosie and Jim.

'Teletubbieswas for even younger viewers than expectedRosie and JimSo there has been a lot of research into how little ones learn languages ​​and see the world,” he explains.

“There was a lot of character and story development and I was fortunate to have been there from the start. It gave me a better understanding of what the writers and producers were trying to achieve.'

Close collaboration is certainly a fundamental cog in the creative process when it comes to TV projects, with a lot of back and forth between creators and music producers.

TIN Sounds are the duo behind the music for the BAFTA-winning hitNo Duggee(Pictured below), an animated children's show depicting the exploits of a group of young people at the Squirrel Club. From banjo-thumping hoe downs to nostalgic 80s rock, the music covers a huge range of different sounds.

"STUDIO AKA often steers us in a direction that we interpret musically, and it's an ongoing process of refinement," says Toby of the songwriting team of the creative process. “They always give us interesting references to start the song with; The Doors, The Alien Soundtrack, Kraftwerk, Ska, Hip-Hop - and we've built on that."

Anna Kubik, senior editor at STUDIO AKA, says musical summaries and the process vary between episodes. “Our initial flow could be an animated sequence timed to a specific click track that determines the speed of our editing. Sometimes we have certain instruments in mind. Sometimes it can be much more vague and Tin Sounds suggests some ideas. It's a very collaborative process.”

Toby believes his score is as effective as it meets the visual needs of adults and their children. "We get so many emails from parents saying they love the show that someone even asked for a song for their wedding," he says.

"We all play our instruments and really enjoy doing it, and I think it shows - it's all made with care and love, and there's never been a hint of the manufactured, numbers-driven approach you get from this kind of work could expect. 🇧🇷

creative obstacles

As with any creative gig, there are challenges, especially when trying to create so much music for an entire series under tight deadlines.

'TeletubbiesIt was hard work,” recalls Andy. "365 half-hour episodes and other miscellaneous spin-offs - there was a motoboy waiting outside my house at 8am most weekdays, ready to take my latest musical offerings to Pinewood Studios and beyond - that was the norm."

Dan Hawkins wrote much of the guitar-driven music forCatie's amazing machineswhile touring the US with The Darkness. “I took all the shots on the go; So I threw mics during sound checks or took the lead at the front of house table. I recorded the drums for the stage, so all the drums that you hear on the show were recorded at various locations across America.'

But despite these difficulties, the creative go-to-market and enthusiasm for the finished product far outweigh any downsides. "There's no pressure compared to how I feel making a Darkness album," laughs Dan. "With this kind of music you also have carte blanche for what you create - and that's what I enjoyed the most."

put a foot in the door

Bing's Mikael Shields believes that the power of the score should not be underestimated in any form of visual media, from children's television to Hollywood blockbusters.

“Music is an absolutely vital part of filmmaking,” he says. "Because sound is the most important thing when it comes to making a film - it's the biggest deal you make with your audience and the music is very important in making that happen."

Given a hugely successful show, what advice would he give to any songwriter or songwriter looking to make music for this type of television?

“Do it for love and do a good job. Hear from the great songwriters who came before you - and build a portfolio of work. When someone listens to something and hears how good it is, they're more likely to give it a chance."


What are some ideas for music activities? ›

Ideas for Musical Games
  • Try a game of “freeze dance” Enjoy a game of "Freeze Dance" with one of the songs from your collection. ...
  • Play musical charades. ...
  • Play a prop-passing game. ...
  • Form a follow-the-leader Conga line. ...
  • Play Homemade Drums. ...
  • Musical Hot Potato. ...
  • Musical Drawing.

How do you make music fun for kids? ›

6 Tips For Creating The Best Music Lessons For Kids
  1. Keep it short and sweet. Children are notorious for having short attention spans. ...
  2. Rely on themes. Themes are a great way to get your students excited about class. ...
  3. Use music your students enjoy. ...
  4. Encourage interaction. ...
  5. Introduce friendly competition. ...
  6. Always stay positive.
24 Nov 2020

What are some music activities for preschoolers? ›

If you're teaching music remotely, encourage your youngest students to find their love for music with these online activities.
  • Musical paintings. ...
  • Instrument matching. ...
  • Play 'name that tune' ...
  • Put on a talent show. ...
  • Start a family (or classroom) band. ...
  • Glow stick drumming. ...
  • Freeze dance. ...
  • Prop dancing.
13 Oct 2020

How can kids make songs at home? ›

How To Write A Children's Song Step by Step
  1. Pick A Topic. ...
  2. Find A Melody, Key & Chord Progression. ...
  3. Write A Clever, Repetitive Chorus. ...
  4. Write Fun, Easy, Concise Verses. ...
  5. Consider What The Song's Purpose Is In A Set.

What are the 7 elements of music for kids? ›

For the purpose of this class, we will refer to SEVEN elements of music: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, and Form.

What are the musical activities do children have? ›

Singing and performing
  • Songs and nursery rhymes. Sing songs during circle time (eg name songs), and have regular fun throughout the day with action songs and nursery rhymes.
  • Carnival procession. ...
  • Story sound effects. ...
  • Play a tune on bells. ...
  • Paint what you hear. ...
  • Streamer dance. ...
  • Go to a concert. ...
  • Shakers.
4 Mar 2019

What is the best music making app for kids? ›

Let's explore!
  • DoReMi 1-2-3: Music for Kids. ...
  • Piano Dust Buster. ...
  • Sesame Street Makes Music. ...
  • Mazaam - The Musical Genius. ...
  • Musical Me! ...
  • Sago Mini Music Box. ...
  • Mussila Music School. Mussila is one of the best music learning apps for kids. ...
  • Loopimal. Loopimal offers endless possibilities for kids to learn how to make music.
10 Mar 2022

What are the 4 basic music skills? ›

Here are just four out of the many musical skills you can learn in lessons other than how to play an instrument.
  • Music Theory. ...
  • Songwriting & Composition. ...
  • Stage Presence. ...
  • Music Notation.
23 Jul 2020

What are the 5 music skills? ›

Your concept of approaching music education in terms of the “Big 5” (rhythmic, tonal, notation, creativity and executive skills) clearly and concisely captures the various aspects of musicianship.

What are extracurricular activities for music? ›

  • Any musical interest club.
  • School Chorus/Choir.
  • Community Chorus/Choir.
  • Church Chorus/Choir.
  • Chamber Music Group.
  • Concert Band.
  • Ensembles.
  • Singing Lessons.
7 Feb 2020

What are some creative arts activities for preschoolers? ›

Creative Art Activities for Preschoolers
  • Make Your Own Paint. ...
  • DIY Puzzles. ...
  • Rain Splatter Painting. ...
  • Art with Natural Materials. ...
  • Kids Camera. ...
  • Copy a Famous Painting. ...
  • Respond to a Piece of Art. ...
  • Create a Mosaic.

What are the rhythm activities? ›

During rhythmic activities individuals participate in rhythmic body movement, drumming, auditory stimulation, playing musical instruments, singing, and chanting, to name a few, with a trained leader guiding the group toward a therapeutic purpose.

What is the easiest app to make music? ›

Best music-making apps in 2022:
  • GarageBand.
  • inBeat Sound Pad to Make Songs.
  • Steinberg Cubasis.
  • FL Studio Mobile.
  • Soundtrap.
  • Reason Compact.
  • Groovepad.
  • BandLab.
5 Jul 2022

What are the 5 steps to making a song? ›

How to Write a Song in 5 Steps
  1. Improvise a chorus melody. You don't need to know advanced music theory to generate great song ideas. ...
  2. Find the appropriate chords. Once you have a melody, you'll need to support it with chords. ...
  3. Write each section. ...
  4. Add lyrics. ...
  5. Pick a song title.
15 Dec 2021

How do Beginners start making music? ›

Here are the basic steps to follow to learn how to make music:
  1. Get your music recording gear together.
  2. Learn basic music theory.
  3. Understand the basic elements of songwriting.
  4. Set up your recording area.
  5. Learn music production skills.
  6. Get familiar with mixing and mastering.
  7. Promote your music for distribution.
20 May 2022

What are the 3 main elements to music? ›

Virgil Thomson lists the "raw materials" of music in order of their supposed discovery: rhythm, melody, and harmony; including counterpoint and orchestration. Near the end of the twentieth century music scholarship began to give more attention to social and physical elements of music.

What are the 8 things of music? ›

  • Basic Related Terms.
  • Rhythm:
  • Dynamics:
  • Melody:
  • Harmony:
  • Tone color:
  • Texture:

What is musical form for kids? ›

Form is the way that people put rhythm, melody, and harmony together. There are many different types of musical forms. Repeating a short melody is one of the simplest forms. For example, in the song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” each verse repeats the same melody.

What is an example of a singing game? ›

Alley Alley-O. A British singing game, this song calls for everyone to make a line and join hands. As they sing, the children weave under each other's arms until everyone is left standing in a row with crossed arms. Reverse the actions (and continue singing) until everyone is back in a row with joined hands.

What are the example of musical play? ›

Some of the most famous musicals through the decades that followed include My Fair Lady (1956), The Fantasticks (1960), Hair (1967), A Chorus Line (1975), Les Misérables (1985), The Phantom of the Opera (1986), Rent (1996), The Producers (2001), Wicked (2003) and Hamilton (2015).

Why are music activities important for children? ›

Music ignites all areas of child development and skills for school readiness, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. It helps the body and the mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words.

Is there a free kids music app? ›

Introduce your child to a playground of sound with Spotify Kids. Packed with singalongs, soundtracks and playlists made for young listeners, the app is an easy way for children of all ages to discover music in a fun environment.

What is the best free song making app? ›

The best music-making apps for Android in 2022 are:
  • Roland Zenbeats.
  • BandLab.
  • FL Studio Mobile.
  • N-Track Studio 9.1.
  • Caustic 3.
  • Audio Evolution Mobile.
  • Cubasis 3.
  • Groovepad – Music & Beat Maker.
30 Nov 2022

What are the 7 keys in music? ›

In Western music, there are seven such scales, and they are commonly known as the modes of the major scale (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Locrian).

What is the most important skill in music? ›

Rhythm is the heartbeat of all music. It's what ensures that a group of musicians remains constantly in sync and it's one of the most important aspects of any piece you might play. Therefore, it's very important that every musician, especially those who wish to play in group settings, have a strong sense of rhythm.

Is music a talent or skill? ›

Music is a field in which the word “talent” is bandied about a lot: the world is full of “talented” violinists, conductors, and rock guitarists. Obviously no one is born with the ability to play the violin; like everyone else, a talented person must learn the instrument.

What are creative skills in music? ›

If you're still with me, let's look now at some specific skills that creativity helps you develop.
  • Transcribing Music. Transcribing means learning (and typically writing down) a piece of music by ear. ...
  • Arranging. ...
  • Improvising and Composing. ...
  • Every Musician Can Be a Creative Musician.
25 Jul 2015

What is the six element of music? ›

This series introduces the six key elements of music including rhythm, texture, dynamics, pitch, form, and timbre.

What are five basic elements of music? ›

Melody, harmony, rhythm, and form and the expressive elements of dynamics, tempo, and timbre (tone color).

What are 2 examples of extracurricular activities? ›

Also known as extra-academic activities, extracurricular activities include sports, student government, community service, employment, arts, hobbies, and educational clubs.

What is the most popular extracurricular activity? ›

Sports are the most common extracurricular activity for kids in the United States.

Is an activity which is common in a music classroom? ›

These activities can include: singing songs, listening to musical examples, learning to play different types of instruments, learning to read music, incorporating folk dances, composing, and being exposed to historical and multicultural music.

What are the 7 activities of art? ›

There are seven elements of art that are considered the building blocks of art as a whole. The seven elements are line, color, value, shape, form, space, and texture.

What are some cool art games? ›

Kids Art Games for Fun and Creativity
  • A Back-and-Forth Drawing Game for Kids.
  • The Scribble Drawing Game.
  • The Combination Man Drawing Game.
  • Simon Says, Draw!
  • A Quiet-Time Art Game for Children.
  • A Fun Family Drawing Activity That Will Make the Everyone Laugh.
  • Double Doodle Art.
19 Sept 2022

What are some art activities? ›

10 Fun Art Activities You Can Do At Home
  • Make a splatter painting. Using watercolors and a toothbrush, splatter paint on white paper. ...
  • Create a nature collage. ...
  • Make a collage box. ...
  • Paint thumbprint picture. ...
  • Print with kitchen items. ...
  • Make tracks. ...
  • Create Pan art. ...
  • Connect the dots.
18 Feb 2014

What are creative rhythmic activities? ›

Creative rhythmic activities refer the activities expressed by rhythmic creative body movements in music accompanied, and body movements of children creatively expressing external morphology and state of motion for specific things on the basis of self-observation, imitation, understanding and imagination.

What are the examples of creative rhythmic activities? ›

Some examples of rhythmic activities are line dancing, classic dances like the waltz, and other popular social group dances.

What are the examples of rhythmic activities give at least five? ›

Skills include: walking, running, hopping, skipping, galloping and sliding to music; moving to music with a partner or in a group, with others in a circle and in a square.

Is there a free app to make music? ›

BandLab is the best free music recording and leading social music creation platform with more than 50 million users worldwide. BandLab lets you make and share music, no matter your skill level or background. Our multi-track Studio is a music maker that lets you record, edit and remix your music.

Is there a free way to make music? ›


But if you're looking for a combination between free music production and editing software, Audacity is the way to go. Audacity lets you edit samples, process audio files, and export music in a range of formats, including MP3, WAV, or AIFF.

Is there an app to compose music just by playing? ›

If you are looking for a full-fledged music composer app then Music Maker Jam is the best app on Android and iOS. No matter what your music level is, you can get started with this app. YOu can create music, mix tracks, create beats, combine musical chunks, and do a lot more.

What is the first thing to do when making a song? ›

  1. For Your First Song, I recommend starting with a topic you are passionate about or that makes you feel something.
  2. After you find your topic, brainstorm interesting song titles that would creatively express the feeling you are after.
  3. After you have a groove and feel you love, start writing that lyric.
13 Sept 2021

What is the order of making a song? ›

Let's start by defining the process of music production by separating it into six basic stages:
  1. Songwriting.
  2. Arranging.
  3. Tracking.
  4. Editing.
  5. Mixing.
  6. Mastering.
24 Feb 2022

What are the rules of making music? ›

7 Songwriting Rules and When to Break Them
  • Follow a Familiar Structure. ...
  • Keep Consistent Verses. ...
  • Keep a Consistent Chorus. ...
  • Make the Chorus Big. ...
  • Maintain the Same Tempo. ...
  • Use a Consistent Key and Chord Progression. ...
  • Write Lyrics That Rhyme.
24 Feb 2021

What is the simplest way to make music? ›

Getting the Right Gear
  1. If you want the easiest experience, try using Garageband or Logic Pro on Mac, or Reaper on Mac and PC.
  2. For more advanced software, try using FL Studio, Pro Tools, or Cubase. ...
  3. If you want to focus only on electronic music, opt for Ableton, Bitwig Studio, or Reason.

How do I start making music games? ›

4 Tips for Composing Great Video Game Music
  1. Treat the game like an interactive film. Many of today's video games tell epic stories, and even the simpler games function as narrative vignettes. ...
  2. Play the game yourself. ...
  3. Write each piece of music as a cue, not a composition. ...
  4. Study the greats.
2 Nov 2021

How do you make music without instruments? ›

The easiest way to make a song without live instrumentation is to create a song with only vocals, also called an acapella track. Singing acapella can be a challenge if you plan to do a hard melody or include harmonies, so make sure you have a strong musical ear and can stay in key.

What are some listening activities? ›

Listening Activities for Elementary Students
  • Draw this. For younger students, or for students first being introduced to active listening, start with something hands-on and familiar, like drawing. ...
  • Don't speak twice. ...
  • Simon says. ...
  • Telephone. ...
  • Popcorn storytelling. ...
  • My favorite toss. ...
  • Audio stories.
20 Apr 2022

What are topics in music? ›

' Topics are, roughly speaking, allusions within a piece of music to well-known kinds of music associated with various social settings, such as the hunt, the courtly dance, religious rit- uals, etc.

What activities can music club do? ›

It offers practice spaces and a wide array of instruments which are safely stored; an opportunity for students to come together and discuss music; and a chance to perform and showcase their talents at events throughout the year. Meetings are held once a week for each instrumental or vocal group.

What is the good listening game? ›

Try saying, “Simon says touch your toes and then say sit on the floor.” If your child follows the second direction without hearing Simon says, they lose. This game reinforces how effective listening relates to following directions.

What is an active listening game? ›

This game is played in pairs or small groups. One person starts by telling a story, while the others listen. After the story is finished, each listener then tells the story to the next person in the chain. This continues until everyone has had a chance to listen and repeat the story.

What is the listening game? ›

One person begins by whispering a sentence to the next person. They then have to whisper it to their neighbour and so on until the last person announces the sentence out loud. The first person should write down their sentence so that they can show the players what they actually said.

What are the five 5 elements of music? ›

Melody, harmony, rhythm, and form and the expressive elements of dynamics, tempo, and timbre (tone color).

What are the 7 Music Notes? ›

In the chromatic scale there are 7 main musical notes called A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. They each represent a different frequency or pitch.

What are the 5 music concepts? ›

Music is patterns of melody, rhythm, harmony, tempo/dynamics, and timbre combined to create repetition, variation and contrast.

Why musical games are important? ›

Thus, musical and role-play games could facilitate all aspects of children's development, such as attention, concentration, impulse control, social functioning, self-expression and communication, motivation and self-esteem (Wigram, 2002).

What are the activities in arts club? ›

The students enjoy doing all the art activities like drawing, colouring, origami activities, collage activities etc. in which they showcase their creativity and talent. Art club helps them in developing their creative skills.

What is the purpose of a musical game song? ›

Game music is crucial in mood setting and scene setting, and as a game music composer (check out some of my tracks), this is an area where a composer can have a real impact on a game. If you get the mood right, you can bring that game world to life. Get it wrong, and you can ruin a game players experience.


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