Learn to Speak Music

Learn to Speak

By John Crossingham and Jeff Kulak

From 9 to 13 | 96 pages

For something so familiar, music remains mysterious to many of us, to the point where our favorite musicians are more like magicians than everyday people. But the truth is, the world of music-making is closer to all of us than ever before. Sometimes all that separates us from realizing the potential of our own musical creativity is a little extra know-how.

Learn to Speak Music helps kids learn the simplicity of this universal language by exposing every nook and cranny of how music is made — whether by the pros or by you! And it’s about more than just picking up an instrument. From songwriting and artwork to shooting a video and setting up a practice space, every aspect of the world of popular music is explored.

A long-time musician himself, writer John Crossingham uses his experience as a member of Juno award-winning collective Broken Social Scene to open doors normally closed. A vet of several world tours and many albums recorded both at home and in pro studios, he’s also brought along the expert opinions of a cavalcade of other musicians including Feist, Buck 65, Metric’s Emily Haines, and many more. Features include tips on buying your first instrument, getting the most out of your playing, setting up your own gig, hints for better songwriting, secrets of home recording, a guide to making your own video with MTVA-nominated director Christopher Mills, and much more! Whether for a seasoned young musician or merely the curious pop culture vulture, Learn to Speak Music is a chance for kids to see the world of music as never before.

The style is playful and Paul Frank-ish cutesy enough for children, but sophisticated and retro-revisionist referential enough to stimulate adults’ appreciation of design. Most importantly, Learn to Speak Music successfully demystifies the musical process in ways approachable by all ages. - Macleans
Kids won’t actually learn how to read or play music from this book, but it might provide impetus to learn. - Publishers Weekly
This boatload of information is made palatable by Crossingham’s easy tone that doesn’t talk down to the reader and the book’s clever design…Even non-musicians will be more informed listeners. - Booklist
Crossingham provides the tinder for rock ‘n’ roll dreams to ignite, and budding garage bands will pick up some sound (pun fully intended) advice. - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
‘All of this stuff is art, and just like music itself, it feels great to create.’ This statement is the backbone of this incredibly readable book…Inspiration is addressed and not solely in words, but also through the exceptional graphic design and illustrations, which enhance and broaden the musical themes addressed with humor, wit, and style. This book will wow anyone who is ready to recognize that creative spark within themselves. - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
"Fun facts about extreme conditions that some humans experience...the colorful illustrations and page layout make it student-friendly." - Library Media Connection
"…long live rock, thanks to a whip-smart new book…young readers will receive the appropriate amount of inspiration, [and] any semi-artistic adults reading along may find themselves wondering if their own musical inclinations might have taken a different path with such perfectly pitched encouragement." - Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW
Simple and entertaining language paired with tips from Canadian pros like Metric’s Emily Haines, Ron Sexsmith and Feist, and accompanying playlists will prime performers of any age and experience. - Metro Canada
Canadian Children's Book Centre, Best Books for Kids and Teens Starred Selection, 2010
Atlantic Library Association, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award, 2010
Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada, Information Book Award, 2010
National Parenting Publications Awards, Children's Products Competition, Honor Book, 2009
Ontario Library Association, Top 10 Canadian Children's Books, Non-fiction Category, Best Bets List, 2009
British Columbia Library Association, Red Cedar Children's Book Award, 2012
Alcuin Society Book Design Competition, Reference Category, 2011

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