Interview with Christobel Llewellyn of Kinderjazz
Kinderjazz is a 12 piece big band for young children. It was founded in 1997 by my husband David Llewellyn and myself, as a way to encourage children with live music. I like to describe Kinderjazz’s mission as “marinating children in the sound of acoustic instruments playing a wide variety of rhythms, melody, harmony and solos to encourage their spontaneity, develop their creativity and nurture their growing brains in the process“. It has performed mainly in New South Wales, specificall Sydney, and has sold out 30 concerts at the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Kinderjazz has produced seven albums and was featured on Putamayo’s Jazz Playground CD in 2010.The music and lyrics are written by David Llewellyn and have been arranged by a number of musicians, including Arthur Greenslade, Andrew Robertson, Andrew Heading and Bill Motzing. It currently consists of two singers, male and female, two alto saxophones, tenor saxophone, two trumpets, trombone, piano, double bass, drums and congas.
Tell us your feelings when you were honored as Australian person of the Year in 2012?
It’s very humbling to be recognized for work that I feel is important in transforming the lives of many families. I’m sure there are many out there who never get that recognition so I said in my acceptance speech that I wanted to accept the award for all teachers working with special needs. It was a huge honor and blessing!
What is so special about your band KINDERJAZZ?
KINDERJAZZ is the only Big Band for children in the world. The music is of the highest quality and we want to expose children to live music to broaden their perspective and allow them to dream. So much of children’s lives are institutionalized and controlled. KINDERJAZZ allows children to be free through their imaginations, whatever their situation. The music speaks for itself.
What is in it for family?
KINDERJAZZ is real music, not just ‘kid’s’ music. It’s something parents can enjoy listening to as much as their kids. Grandparents also love it as it’s something they can share with their grandchildren.
When and under what circumstances were you inspired to form the KINDERJAZZ band?
We started the band back in 1997 because we wanted our own children to be able to access live music and we found there wasn’t enough around. We knew we had the resources to do this ourselves and strove to make it the highest quality possible because we felt a serious responsibility to the next generation to make it happen.
How are the children’s CDs that you offer useful for the development of kids?
Music is known to facilitate language acquisition and math, develop co-ordination, enable social skills, encourage movement and regulate breathing, promote the feelings of joy and peace. KINDERJAZZ music has melody, harmony, fun lyrics, multiple rhythms and introduces children to many instruments of the orchestra. It’s priceless.