Quill & Quire
Rock is dead. But long live rock, thanks to a whip-smart new book by John Crossingham, who is not only an editor at Owlkids, but also a semi-regular member of Canadian indie darlings Broken Social Scene. Learn to Speak Music
is a fun and informative can-do guide for tweenagers that insists that anyone can be a musical wunderkind. Or, at least, musical. Crossingham tells his young readers that music is a universal language, “something that everyone around the world understands, even if they can’t talk to each other.” His goal with this book is to liberate a beast that has been domesticated by pop culture’s decades-old star system. “In each of us exists a weird little musical animal waiting to be discovered,” he writes. Divided into six short, illustrated chapters, the book walks kids through simplified yet thoroughly engaging explanations of what music is, how to choose an instrument, how to form a band (and, more importantly, get along with each other), how to record your work cheaply and professionally, and how to get heard. Though Crossingham attempts to acknowledge all genres, given his background, it’s not surprising that he leans decidedly toward indie rock. Guests offering sidebar advice include the likes of Feist, Dallas Green, and Emily Haines, and the final chapter includes skill-refining tips for axe-slingers. It would be impossible for a book like this to be all things to all people, so filtering it down to one area of expertise is smart. While young readers will receive the appropriate amount of inspiration, 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.
…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
[Crossingham promotes a strong DIY indie aesthetic that serves as an extremely refreshing counterpoint to the mainstream’s preoccupation with instant, pre-fab, American/Canadian Idol fame. It’s all about the joy of creating, and I can’t think of a better message for little kids these days…It’s an absolute pleasure to read for kids and grown-ups alike. (Adrian Begrand, writer for Pop Matters
Whether you’re interested in starting your own band or just jamming in your room, this book is for you. (B-Zone Magazine
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