September 2017 Assignment

Write a children’s song

The toughest audience to crack doesn’t throw rotten tomatoes or beer bottles — they throw tantrums. Children are impatient, immune to cultural trends and unforgivingly honest in their taste for music.

Earn their attention with an upbeat tempo, quickly establish that the song is about something they find interesting and hold them with a sharp and powerful hook. And whether you’re writing for toddlers or tweens, the key elements are repetition, repetition, repetition.

You don’t have to make children’s music a Raffi-like career. Pittsburgh-region singer/songwriter, Sandoz drummer and education specialist Mark Weakland cashes checks for internet sales of his children’s albums. Memorable children’s songs have been written by the unknown artists behind old European nursery rhymes (“Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush”) and major pop stars (“All Together Now” on The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack, “The Johnny Cash Children’s Album, “ The Verve Pipe’s “A Family Album”), etc.

Do you have kids? Grandkids? Make it a family project by inviting them in as co-writers. Already have a song you’ve written for kids? Play it at the November meeting including a critique from its intended audience.

Learn more about writing songs for children:

Children’s music overview

Writing songs for children

How to write a children’s song

A step by step guide to writing songs with your kids

Children’s music artists

12 kids’ albums by famous musicians

Mark Weakland “Little Animals,” “Mr. Sounds”