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HBO Family: The Music in Me

Jun 4, 2007  •  Post A Comment

In HBO Family’s “The Music in Me: Children’s Recitals From Classical to Latin, Jazz to Zydeco,” a mother talks about her 10-year-old trumpeter son’s foot, which he can’t keep still when he’s playing music. The infectious half-hour program arouses a similar liveliness in viewers.
“What better way to inspire the study of music than with this irresistible collection of artfully photographed vignettes of young musicians, ages 7 to 11, playing everything from classical cello to zydeco accordion,” the Peabody judges said.
“We’ve always been trying to figure out why there weren’t more music shows for this age group or for the family,” said Dolores Morris, HBO’s supervising producer on the program, which is one of three in a series.
At one meeting with Leslie Stifelman—music director of the Broadway musical “Chicago” and the creative force behind Symfunny Tunes, a company that develops children’s music projects—the HBO team suggested finding kids who “just love to play instruments. This would not be about prodigies,” Ms. Morris said. Such a program, she said, could “re-energize the whole idea about music education.”
Ms. Stifelman, the program’s executive producer, and producer Diane Kolyer reached out to music educators, soliciting home videos of kids playing their instruments.
Of the several hundred that were submitted, several stories “jumped right from the screen,” said Ms. Morris.
Mini-documentaries were produced on six of the children, from an 11-year-old classical cellist to a 10-year-old Latin jazz flutist and a 7-year-old zydeco accordionist in Louisiana carrying on the tradition of his late great-grandfather.
Part of the program’s charm, Ms. Morris speculated, “is the freedom of a kid finding an instrument that becomes their extension, a part of them. They can just play; there are no rules. This is one part of their world where they get to be themselves. I think that’s what we tapped into.”
Children themselves love the program, she said. “They really identify with the kids on the screen, because we didn’t present it as prodigies.”
Part two of the three-part series airs June 16. Similar in format to the original program, the new episode’s home videos and mini-documentaries focus on kids who are part of musical families, including a family of Irish dancers and a boy whose godmother influenced his love of mariachi singing.
The third episode won’t air until 2008. Titled “The Leopards Take Manhattan,” it profiles the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, a Louisville, Ky., elementary school band whose members have no formal music training and who learn to play complicated jazz rhythms by ear. The program chronicles the band’s trip to New York to perform for jazz educators at Carnegie Hall.

27 Comments

  1. Are all the Music in Me programs available to buy on DVD. I notice they have different children playing this latest HBO family show.

  2. Is it possible to purchase the Music in Me specials on DVD? I would love to use them as supplements for my Middle School music clases. They are wonderful!

  3. Consent to you. Go on!
    Extrefox

  4. How can I obtain a video of the THE MUSIC IN ME presentations?

  5. My son loves this. Where can I get the MUSIC IN ME collection?

  6. Where can I purchase a dvd of The music in me ?

  7. Thank you for a great post

  8. Thank you for a great post

  9. No one is addressing inquiries re purchasing these DVDs of the various HBO Family series “The Music In Me” –It is something the non profit Music ed org I work for would like for students and in artist training–please respond how these might be PURCHASED–OR NOT if not possible–thanks–
    Paula BIng

  10. I wanted to ask who does the swing version of I’ve got the music in me at the end of the show? It sounds great

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