Kathy Byers
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Kathy Byers

Chatham, New Jersey, United States | INDIE

Chatham, New Jersey, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter

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Aug
27
Kathy Byers @ Kiddie Academy Concert Series

Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Jul
24
Kathy Byers @ Kiddie Academy Concert Series

Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Morristown, New Jersey, USA

Jun
27
Kathy Byers @ Opening Day Farmer's Market

Chatham, New Jersey, USA

Chatham, New Jersey, USA

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Music

Press


Showcase the Music
Making Kids' Songs Work
By Mark Zaslove
September 2006

What goes into creating a kid song that works? TDmonthly Magazine talked with the creators and distributors of children's CDs and found that hitting the right “note” often starts with the kids themselves.

Listen to the Kids
Kathy Byers, singer-songwriter for KT Music Productions Inc. (ToyDirectory), recently came up with a song while surrounded by kindergarteners. “I was in a class where there was a large book on crabs. … I got the chalkboard going, and asked the kids how crabs act, what they look like. I put it all on the board, then asked for rhyming words. We wrote the Mr. Crab song and the kids performed it at a concert at school.”


- TD Monthly Magazine


Songs for the Kid in All of Us:
Chatham Artist Encourages Youthful Self Expression
By Kathy Gilligan
March 2005

Just as much as any in the adult world, kids like their own concerts too. But the artists children love are not necessarily big name bands or artists technologically sophisticated enough to create spectacular special effects shows. What makes a great concert for a young child? It can be as simple this: one woman, one acoustic guitar—and a five foot fire engine red toothbrush.

Musician recording artist Kathy Byers of Chatham is the owner of just such a toothbrush—as well as the creator of two CDs for the youngest musical audiences: Do You Wish You Could Fly? and the recently released 'Round the Campfire: Songs for the Scout in All of Us. "There are 10 original songs on the first CD, and the songs on the second CD are ones I remember from Girl Scouts and camping—I actually contacted some of my childhood friends to recollect the songs and the words," Byers recalls. "By itself, that was alot of fun."

Kids find this artist's songs, and her performances, fun too—that's where the oversized toothbrush comes in. According to the artist, who has performed in schools, libraries, book stores, and in large national venues including the National Mall in Washington D.C., a good prop can capture the imagination of an audience known for its decidedly short attention span, and actually encourages the kids to get involved.

"I use props like the toothbrush to draw kids out," she states. "Kids will come up in front of the others just to hold the toothbrush, and then they'll get involved with performing for their peers." Audience participation is a big part of Byers' children's concerts as it fits her artistic philosophy. "My approach to writing and performing for children comes from wanting to help them to learn to express themselves musically—and enjoy it," she explains. "It's wonderful to see a child who wants to sing, but is too shy, overcome that. They absolutely glow from the experience."

Coming from and overwhelmingly musical family—her mom played piano by ear and performances by family members at family gatherings were common—Byers believes music creates and emotional "root" that sustains people through good times and bad, and is often a doorway to many cherished memories. "We need this root," she says, adding, "Kids keep music in their hearts all the time. They only need a bit of encouragement to express it."

That works in reverse, also, as it was her own son, Matthew that inspired Byers, who works as a music teacher at four preschools, to become a children's artist after 5 years of performance abstinence. "I had performed since I was seven, during college when I took up the guitar and studied voice and music," she notes, adding that she stopped to focus on work and on raising a family. "When my son entered preschool I had more time on my hands."

She began to use it creatively—writing songs. The inspiration came from listening to her young son's conversations with other kids. As a musician, Byers hears cadence, pitch and melody—and wonder—that became a part of her songs. A friend soon convinced her to give recording a go, and she listened. No one, the artist says, could have been more shocked than she at the awards her work would receive, including the prestigious Parent's Choice Award and a Kids First! All Star rating by the Coalition for Quality Children's Music.

This is one children's artist who seems to get just as much enjoyment from her audience as they get from her performances—and particularly from her first young fan. "This has joyfully come to me through the inspiration of my son," Byers says. "Through him, I am reminded constantly to see, hear, and feel life's experiences from the eyes, ears, and hearts of children." And then, to express it—just as she encourages her young fans to do.
- Vicinity Magazine


Is the VERSE melody interesting and memorable? Yes

Is the CHORUS melody interesting and memorable? Yes

Is there enough contrast between verse and chorus melodies? Yes

Is the overall melody easy for the listener to follow? Yes

Melody Comments:
Wow! Another very nice song for children. We're sure that they'll love to sing the various parts contained here.
The "I'm Flying" part gets a little high, but children have fairly high ranges. Very well done!


Lyric
Does the lyric begin with an interesting first line? Yes

Does the lyric say something in a new and interesting way? Yes

Does the lyric make the the listener feel emotion? Yes

Is the lyric easy to understand? Exceptionally

Does the lyric work well with the melody? Exceptionally


Lyric Comments:
The images throughout this lyric are sunny and wonderful - very Peter Pan-like! All children imagine what it would be like to fly - and this song paints a perfect picture for them. Actually, though, the song suffers from having too much of a good thing. It appears that (by definition) you have two different choruses here, the one that begins with "Do you wish. . . ", and the one that states, "I'm Flying, I'm Flying." The reason we say this is because both of them do not vary - each repeats exactly what has been sung the last time it appeared in the song. And THAT, is precisely what a proper chorus does. However, you've chosen to name the song by the first line in the first section. However, it could be very well be named "I'm Flying" and work perfectly well, too. The only part that does not repeat is the bridge. Now THAT . . . gets into a slightly negative concept - that of being obliterated, swatted into pieces - perhaps older kids will think that is funny, but we're not quite sure why this otherwise all-pleasant song needs to go there. Consequently, you may want to re-think the bridge lyrics. Other than that - this is just right.


Structure
Does the intro build interest in the song? Yes

Does the structure keep the listener's interest? Yes

Do the different sections of the song fit together well? Yes

Structure Comments:
Again, a verse/chorus song is always more interesting than an A A B A type - however - we're still not sure which one should be considered the chorus - we're leaning toward the simpler one, "I'm Flying" because verses are usually more verbose, and choruses usually simpler. Please see the TITLE section below for further comments.


Title
Does the title create interest in the song? Yes

Is it the correct title for this song? Somewhat

Title Comments:
Again - here's that quandary. Given all of the above give & take about chorus vs. verse, and the fact that the proper title of a song belongs in the chorus, along with the general concept of a verse being sung by one person, and a chorus by many . . . we're thinking that your title might be better off being "I'm Flying" - Because kids will be able to remember that simple phrase and therefor be able to sing along with the entire chorus, if it is named "I'm Flying" much easier than the entire verse. Just something to think about! Again: too much of a good thing! Great song.








- Unisong International Songwriting Contest


Is the VERSE melody interesting and memorable? Yes

Is the CHORUS melody interesting and memorable? Exceptionally

Is there enough contrast between verse and chorus melodies? Yes

Is the overall melody easy for the listener to follow? Yes

Melody Comments:
This sprightly melody keeps kids of all ages interested throughout! It couldn't be better suited to the lyrics.
There is a lot of variety within this otherwise short piece of music to always hold our attention, and enough repetition to allow us (especially kids) to learn and remember it, and sing along. Great stuff!


Lyric
Does the lyric begin with an interesting first line? Exceptionally

Does the lyric say something in a new and interesting way? Exceptionally

Does the lyric make the the listener feel emotion? Somewhat

Is the lyric easy to understand? Yes

Does the lyric work well with the melody? Exceptionally


Lyric Comments:
Nice,, picturesque lyrics, snappily-paced as if we are actually "driving" - while listening to it. They're just right for kids to relate to. A very clever turnabout of words, asking why do we "drive on the parkway, and park on the driveway" - good question, actually, even for adults! Love the big machine part and especially the ending: Great prosody (the marriage of music and lyrics) throughout, and almost an exclamation point at the end!


Structure
Does the intro build interest in the song? Yes

Does the structure keep the listener's interest? Yes

Do the different sections of the song fit together well? Yes

Structure Comments:
This is a verse/chorus song, but with the chorus first, which is somewhat unusual, but perfect for children, as they can easily hear, learn and retain, then sing along with the remainder of the song, getting better at it each time they hear it. Again, a well suited structure for the intended audience.


Title
Does the title create interest in the song? Somewhat

Is it the correct title for this song? Yes

Title Comments:
Although a little "generic" this is a fairly decent title, as it certainly describes the general concept of the song. However, we'd bet that children will remember the "drive on the parkway" part and ask for it that way.
In either case, it works fine. Strong songcraft, overall!



- Unisong International Songwriting Contest


Is the VERSE melody interesting and memorable? Yes

Is the CHORUS melody interesting and memorable? Yes

Is there enough contrast between verse and chorus melodies? Yes

Is the overall melody easy for the listener to follow? Yes

Melody Comments:
This appropriately simple melody is one that almost any age child should be able to follow. You've still managed to make it unique (a difficult task when keeping melodies so "economic") - so BRAVO! Nicely crafted.


Lyric
Does the lyric begin with an interesting first line? Yes

Does the lyric say something in a new and interesting way? Yes

Does the lyric make the the listener feel emotion? Somewhat

Is the lyric easy to understand? Exceptionally

Does the lyric work well with the melody? Exceptionally


Lyric Comments:
Again, you've done quite well given the boundaries of this genre. Here, we give children the notion that sleep (and the dark) is nothing to be afraid of, and that they are not alone - Teddy is right there all along. Very nicely done.
We wish that you would use proper syntax, however - even if they are small children (and perhaps especially because they are so impressionable). For instance, in the line:
"I’ll be not afraid when my eyes I close at night" there is no reason (most greeting card writers do it for the sake of an easy rhyme) to phrase it this way - it will all fit, make more sense in English, and teach the children proper speaking techniques if it is stated "conversationally", just as we speak:
"I WON'T BE afraid when I CLOSE MY EYES at night." Other than that - these lyrics are very sweet, comforting, and well written.


Structure
Does the intro build interest in the song? Yes

Does the structure keep the listener's interest? Yes

Do the different sections of the song fit together well? Yes

Structure Comments:
This is just the right length for a song such as this - just enough to sing to some child going to sleep. The structure is also gently contrasted, without any jolting or abrupt sectional changes. So, again: solid song craft!


Title
Does the title create interest in the song? Yes

Is it the correct title for this song? Yes

Title Comments:
We believe that you've come up with a unique title - a rarity these days. And, indeed, it is the perfect one for the lyric content of this song, helping to reinforce its message.
A good, strong choice for a title, and used well, too. Its placement couldn't have been better.



- Unisong International Songwriting Contest


Discography

One Earth So Green and Round
- Songs of Nature

Do You Wish You Could Fly?
- Songs for the Kid in All of Us

'Round the Campfire
- Songs for the Scout in All of Us

Photos

Bio

Kathy Byers and Lydia Adams Davis have been selected as Official Performance Alley Showcase Artists at the 24th Annual Folk Alliance International Conference to be held in Memphis, Tennessee, USA from February 22-26, 2012.

Singer-Songwriters Kathy Byers and Lydia Adams Davis guitarist/improvisational puppeteer - perform highly interactive ecology concerts featuring sister-like harmony and engaging wild animal stage puppets. Meet Raccoon, Mr. Crab, Polar Bear, Bumblebee, Snake, Frog, and Sticks-the-Turtle at nature centers, schools, libraries and folk festivals!

One Earth So Green and Round, produced by master guitarist and composer John Guth, delivers instrumental mix ranging from piano, guitar and percussion to banjo and clarinet. The CD includes a lyric booklet.

John Guth accompanies the duo in festivals and concerts where appropriate.

Kathy and Lydia met through at an Oscar Brand Seminar in Huntington, Long Island, NY. They realized their voices totally matched, became very good friends, and went on to co-write their all-original One Earth So Green and Round – Songs of Nature.

Inspired by the reptile company: Snakes-N-Scales and Turtle Tales, the CD is overflow-ing with wonderfully creative songs that teach children and remind adults about our precious environment and its diverse inhabi-tants such as: “In Alaska”, “I Am Snake”, “We Study Frogs”, “Think About the Ocean”, “Why Do Turtles Cross the Road?” and “Chameleon”. Really terrific. Cleverly crafted, and the singing stands out above all!

The work has become an inspiring “tool” to help Girl Scouts obtain a nature badge, music badge or environmental badge.