One of the things we love best here at TuTiTu is music. We understand the importance of music to development and childhood learning. That is why we put so much effort into the TuTiTu Song Series, in which every song relates to one of the TuTiTu Toys episodes and further teaches the children about that toy’s characteristics and function in the world.
Using music in our videos is a great way to enhance the educational viewing experience. Our music is all original and tailor-made especially for TuTiTu Songs. We sat down for a private conversation with the people responsible for the music of the song series to get you the inside story and some surprising scoops from behind the scenes.
Yael Shoshana Cohen and Gil Landau are the musicians in charge of writing, composing and preforming the songs for TuTiTu’s song series. Both Yael and Gil have had the chance to work on children’s music before, but they consider writing for such young ages a whole new experience. “Writing for toddlers is opening me to a new mode of working,” says Yael. “It means trying to connect through song but without relying heavily on complex lyrics. I also have to consider toddlers’ vocal abilities. I try to get into a toddler mindset and think about the way they like to sing.”
According to Yael, every song begins by connecting to one of TuTiTu’s toy videos. “First I brainstorm my associations for that toy,” she describes. “Sometimes the lyrics come first and sometimes the melody – it really varies. I like composing on my ukulele: it’s fun to play and gives the music a really special vibe.”
Writing and composing the songs series involves drawing inspiration from previous TuTiTu videos and from the storyboard. It’s an exciting new type of creativity which involves mixing the visual with the auditory to produce an integrated experience for the young viewers. Once the composition is ready, Yael and Gil work together to arrange the music and record it in Gil’s studio.
TuTiTu’s musicians are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to appeal to toddler interests and likes. A few songs into the project, Gil and Yael thought it might be cool to try and add a few more children’s voices into the mix. Together they created a set of unique characters, such as the popular girl, the kid with the eternal runny nose and more.
“They were hilarious to come up with and record,” says Gil, “and now they really add a lot of the music.” The new characters are now an integral part of the TuTiTu canon. They make appearances in various songs and help strengthen the connection between TuTiTu and its young audience.
Some songs are recorded in a single take, while others take longer to create. One of the challenges is writing broad topics, explains Yael. Working on the Kitchen Song, for instance, was particularly thought-provoking. There are a lot of different themes to be explored in the kitchen, and a lot to deliberate: what should the kitchen song teach? Is it about cooking, or the importance of healthy food, or perhaps about getting acquainted with the different daily meals? Who should star in the video and what should the gender role division be? This is why we work closely with the rest of the TuTiTu team, coming up with ideas and solutions together.
Even though creating songs for kids can be challenging, Yael and Gil love how rewarding it is. “For us it’s almost a mission,” explains Gil. “We like the notion of creating something that’s educational and meaningful, and of contributing something good and positive to the world.”
Another advantage of children’s music is how timeless it is. “It’s exciting to think that these songs can last forever and be passed down from generation to generation,” says Yael. “With birthday songs for kids, for instance, there’s one song that everyone’s been singing for ages. But now we’ve written one ourselves, and who knows – maybe a few years from now everyone will be singing that one too!”
TuTiTu fans evidently feel the same: we at TuTiTu get a lot of positive feedback from people. We like to pay close attention to what our audience of toddlers thinks and are constantly trying to apply the feedback to our work. We are happy to see how well received our videos are and how much the toddlers all enjoy and appreciate our combination of animation and song.