Sunday, August 30, 2009

Creativity in the Paddock

Peter Charlton-Jones is half of a story-telling duo with Mary Kippenberger. I'm probably biased but I think they're the best in New Zealand. You can see more of what they do at In addition to being a very fine musician Peter runs song-writing workshops for children. He has applied the same model he uses for his workshops to his most recent CD of children's songs.

I asked Peter to describe how he went about writing the songs for the CD.

"Well I've been doing workshops with children - they write their own songs and I record them and put them on a CD and I give them the CD back. We use a model for that. We talk about the name of their pet, have them describe it and then tell about something that's happened to it. I've got used to thinking about what children think about animals and pets and things."

The inspiration for the songs came from his own childhood experiences, those of his grandchildren as well as from the experiences of the kids who he has worked with.

"I was lying in bed - I got the idea for the cricket ball song [The Cricket Ball Went Over the Fence] - that goes back to my schooldays at the Ormville Primary School where the neighbour used to keep the balls that went over the fence. I started there and thought now I just need another 11 songs. I thought about my grandchildren and they just came. I wrote them then and there - lyrics first - then I put a tune to them because that's what we've been doing with the kids in the workshops. The tunes are borrowed from various sources - I'm not sure where they came from."

Peter has written and produced 2 other CD's for children. You can find more about Peter and Mary and all the creative endeavours they are involved in at and if you get the chance to see them perform don't miss it - for kids of all ages!!

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