Any kid will run errands for you if you ask ‘em at bedtime. Red Skelton
Graphics and background display by The BatDuo. Photo by Chiara Ogniben
Hope is often fostered by unlikely connections. Peace is often brokered with random moments of humanity and humor. It is why we are all captivated by the dynamics of young kids interacting. Getting along and having hope for the future relies on kindness and respect. The smallest, unexpected detail can budge even the hardest heart toward the direction of peace. One moment of “kindness” can change the life of someone you meet.
Young kids love to be silly. Dan Crow was in his element at a recent concert, performing to a bunch of preschool kids, telling them stories, singing songs, and cracking jokes. He had the kids in the palm of his hand as he told them a tale about kissing a cow. He’s performed this routine thousands of times to young kids all around the world, from Germany to England, from Korea to the USA, and it never gets stale with him. You see, Dan feeds off the energy of his young audiences, wherever he is.
He tells the kids that today, he’s having a “kissing attack“ so he finds a sunflower in the field to kiss, but he tells the enthralled children that, “sunflowers are no fun to kiss, because they have no lips.” The kids squeal with laughter. Same thing with a caterpillar. “No lips to kiss.” Crow exclaims. More squeals of laughter. Finally, he sees a cow walking towards him and she plants a big wet kiss on Dan’s lips. “ewwwwwwwwwwww” cry the kids (this is officially known as a “being in the palm of the hands moment”) and Dan had them just where he wanted them. “So I took her on a date, and we went to the moooovies.” (more squeals of laughter) “and then, I took her home and gave her a kiss on the lips when I said goodnight.“ (more squeals) and amidst laughter and ewwwwww’s Crow wraps up this hilarious pediatric routine with a rousing sing-a-long of his catchy song “Kiss a Cow.” You see, the Kids love Dan. You can see it in their their bright smiles. Dan’s happy too. I could see it in his eyes.
“The best sound on earth is the sound of children’s laughter.” Dan Crow
Dan Crow’s humor is infectious. Kids gravitate to him and it’s clear he gives everything of himself. Kids love him and I watch him use techniques that we (as The BatDuo) have used for 35 years. Performing to Kids is a very different kettle of fish than singing to adults. Kids attention spans are considerably shorter than adults, and they tend to have very limited filters so they’ll say anything that pops into their mind during a concert. It takes an experienced performer to turn that comment around, whilst soothing the child and not interrupting the rhythm of the show. Dan Crow is just that performer, working seamlessly without any disruption and making it part of the show. Dan Crow is the ultimate professional.
Dan Crow grew up near Denver receiving his Bachelor’s degree in education in Colorado and then earned his master’s degree from the University of New Mexico in speech communication. After school he applied, and was offered a job in Wise County VA as a public school speech therapist. During his tenure there, he began hanging out with musicians of the Appalachian region such as, Dock Boggs (the old time singer songwriter and banjo player who is considered to be one of the seminal figures in Appalachian Folk music) and Mike Seeger (the folk musician and folklorist and half-brother of Pete Seeger.) playing folk and bluegrass in his spare time. In a recent telephone interview with Dan he says “The two years I spent in VA in Wise County were musically the most influential years of my life.”
Dan started performing to kids during that time of his life, beginning to write songs that would, as a speech therapist, help his students in the classroom.
“It’s easier to build strong children,than to repair broken men”-Frederick Douglass
In 1976 Crow moved to California and released his first kid’s album “Sound Songs.” Shortly thereafter he teamed up with Marcia Berman and Peter Alsop and created CAMAL (Children’s Artists making a Living) and began to perform at Elementary Schools in Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas. In 1979 he produced a compilation album with Alsop called Silly Songs and Modern Lullabies. A decade later he signed with Rounder Records, and over the course of the next few years, he joined Sony Music, that was alternately called SonyKidsand SonyWonder, and produced a number of albums for them including “A Friend, A Laugh, A Walk in The Woods,” that featured the theme song from the family film Milo and Otis. In 1992 Crow began creating and producing language arts packages for Disney, and was a staff songwriter for “Welcome to Pooh Corner and Dumbo’s Circus,” on the Disney Channel.
“Dan Crow has been an accidental trail blazer.” Says Laura Battersby. “He, and a handful of men around the country like my husband Tim Battersby, followed their passion for music, education, and small children into Preschools, Library story times, and Kindergartens around the globe. Decades ago, when those arenas were exclusively occupied by women, guys like Dan, Tim, Barry Polisar, and Bill Harleywere willing to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” They survived jeers from their mates like, “You do WHAT for a living?” For 32 years I have had the privilege of performing music with my husband in those very venues and witnessing, first hand, the extraordinary impact on small children. I saw every day that both genders of children benefit from a variety of role models.”
“How incredibly fitting that Dan Crow, all these years later, would be presenting a pro Science and Technology CD whose star student is a girl. How wonderful that this star, “Anny Dallshouse” has been brought to life in animation by a Russian named Rinat Gazizov.”
WATCH DAN CROWS LATEST VIDEO TECHNOLOGY
“Exploring a daffodil with a child is timeless” – Laura Battersby
“For a girl who grew up in the Arlington County, Va. public schools during the “Race to the Moon” era, this is very significant to me. I was so privileged to be taught by the late Jean Butler, a giant of a trailblazer in Elementary Education in Arlington County. Her specialty was Math. Her genius was the ability to breath innovation successfully into a rigid public school system. Through diversity in team teaching and her “center based” educational methods that incorporated art, music, and technology effortlessly together, she not only made learning fun but she got results. When she chose me, along with 3 other students, to go to Richmond, Va. to present her “great results” in person to the State Board of Education, she changed my life. I was just an average 9-year-old little girl, but her acknowledgement of my potential changed my view of the world. Eight years ago, I wrote a song called “Modern Girl“ about a little girl who wanted to be an Astronaut. It includes a nod to Sally Ridewho, in 1983, became the first American woman in space.”
Progress comes in tiny, genuine steps. Well done to Dan Crow for using his prominent platform to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for boys and girls. His adorable “Franklin D. Dime and Abraham Penny” inspires great ideas for math games with coins that kids love. I hope we will all step up forSTEM this summer by making time to explore nature, visit the wealth of science based museums around the country, and support great community projects like the cool new “ Bio Bus” portable science labs in New York City and the biannual White House Science Fair. What will the new 9 year olds bring us in the “Final Frontier?” Can’t wait to see!
Graphics by Rinat Gazizov and Tim Battersby
Piaget’s theory of cognitive development was named for Jean Piaget the psychologist and developmental biologist who mapped out for us the 4 stages of intellectual development.
Sensorimotor (0-2 years) 2) Preoperational (Toddler- 7 years) 3) Concrete operational (7- 12 years) 4) Formal operational (Adolescence- adulthood)
Dan Crow’s latest masterpiece, CONCOCTIONS addresses 2 specific stages of development, (numbers 2 and 3). His album concentrates on what is known in academic circles as STEM. This acronym refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners. Because superstar biologists and engineers and rocket scientists and robot-builders… they’re what’s going to transform our society. They’re the folks who are going to come up with cures for diseases and new sources of energy, and help us build healthier, more successful societies.” -President Obama
Crow’s songs on “CONCOCTIONS” are hopeful and upbeat reminders to students and teachers alike, that learning is fun. “Technology” is as positive as it gets, espousing the benefits of discovering fire, designing the wheel, manufacturing pliers and understanding life’s mysteries. Lee Thornburg toots his own horn on “Franklin D Dime” on this wonderfully innovative “learn about money” song. Clever lyrics surround Lee Thornburg’s brilliant trumpet playing, while the backbeat remains insistent and demanding as we learn to identify our coins. Ira Ingber committed a vicious and brilliant act of slide guitar on the song “Seven.” Ingber has performed with Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Brian Wilson, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Witherspoon, Captain Beefheart, Frank Sinatra, Canned Heat, Jennifer Warnes to name just a few, and while his guitar technique is unparalleled (his performance on “Seven” being no exception.) Ingber brings excitement with his extraordinary talent and Dan Crow’s Shakespearean prose add a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the wonders of learning to count for the very young. “You’re an Engineer” found us marching around the BatCave as we listened to the contagious beat and melody of this articulate song for youngsters as they start out on their long journey through life. Couple all this quality with the talent and musical skill of producer Jimmy Hammer, and you’re left with a top notch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, disguised as a brilliant and persuasive CD. And speaking of top notch, it leads me, quite naturally, to Michelle Obama!
Our First Lady, has worked tirelessly to encourage youngsters to, eat right, sleep well and get plenty of exercise in her Nationally known “Let’s Move! Initiative.” Over the past 30 years’ childhood obesity has tripled leading to the possibility of obesity related health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure and asthma and The First Lady has launched this impressive campaign that is helping kids get on a path to a healthy future during their earliest years. More information can be obtained by visiting www.letsmove.gov
Dan Crow has cleverly managed to combine both elements of the Let’s Move Campaign, and Piaget’s theory of cognitive development into “CONCOCTIONS.” Focusing academically on what is popularly known as STEM , Crow has written 5 new songs including 5 Karaoke tracks to encourage his young “fantologists” to write lyrics of their own ( a splendid idea) The songs support curriculum and are bound to be a huge hit with Teachers and students across the USA and around the world. Dan has also integrated movement and exercise into the album using infectious melodies that frankly make Kids and Teachers want to march to the rhythm of the beat. Concoctions encourages Kids to march to the rhythm of success.
If you’re interested in purchasing CONCOCTIONS please visit Dan Crow’s website at dancrow.com