TwinkleTrax is one of Scotland’s most successful providers of children’s music via traditional CDs or, in keeping with modern technology, via download from iTunes and Amazon. We wanted to find out more and spoke with owner Douglas Milne about how the company helps to promote children’s learning via nursery music.
As in so many cases, TwinkleTrax was born from the lack of suitable material to fill a need. In this case good quality recordings of children’s songs were in short supply and Douglas realised that he could do better than was already out there. His first “cassette” of songs was put together with the help of singer Helen Raw and distributed to local nurseries. It was an instant hit but the project had to be put on hold for cost reasons. Fast forwarding to 2007, and the rise of the internet and mp3 file systems meant a more easily affordable distribution network and TwinkleTrax was up and running.
After re-recording the original tracks, creating a web site and securing iTunes and Amazon as part of the distribution network in both the UK and USA, “TwinkleTrax Vol. 1: A Sailor Went To Sea” was launched. Since that time, a further 5 mp3 albums of traditional kid’s songs, nursery rhymes and lullabies have been released, making a refreshing alternative – kids songs that parents can enjoy with their children. Something that will also help to buck the current trend. “The key point of our recordings, since day one, is that they have to be of sufficient quality and depth to engage the parents as well as the children.” said Douglas.
Douglas told us that over recent years, reports suggest that there is a worrying trend for many modern parents to dismiss nursery rhymes as old fashioned. One in five parents aged under 24 do not sing nursery rhymes to their children because they consider them to have no educational value. However, there is much for young children to learn from their simple melodies and easily remembered rhyming couplets as they enter this vivid world of kings and queens, simple peasants and talking animals.
Children have an introduction to music, learn new words and the context in which to use them, which in turn helps them develop their reading sklls, aids brain development and sets them on the path for a successful future. Research suggests that exposure to music and rhyme increase a child’s ability in spatial reasoning, which leads to greater success in school in the subjects of mathematics and science.
Most importantly, the time a parent spends reading nursery rhymes with their child helps to develop a bond between them that cannot be achieved in any other way. Moreover, helping a small child to learn the words to a nursery rhyme gives both parent and child a sense of achievement when it has been mastered – why would any parent want to miss out on that? Or, for that matter, on the pride for both parent and child when the child recites the nursery rhyme in front of grandparents or mum’s friends.
With all the tracks being produced by Helen and Douglas, TwinkleTrax remains somewhat of a cottage industry, using third parties for marketing, distribution etc. The majority of sales are in the US market but TwinkleTrax are well known throughout Asia and Australasia as well as in the home markets.
As to the future, TwinkleTrax aim to keep on doing what they have been so far with the planned release of two albums in 2012 – Volume 4 in the Nursery Rhymes and Kids Songs series and an album of Celtic lullabies and maybe even a “Best of….” package. As the distribution of music has been significantly aided by the mp3 and the likes of iTunes, Douglas hopes to pass on their low production and distribution costs directly to the public, realising that in the current economic climate, parents need all the help they can get.
All the tracks are available to sample and download from the TwinkleTrax web site either individually or as part of their relative albums which gives parents a chance to hear the track first before buying. There are currently 6 albums of nursery rhymes and lullabies published on the site, as well as a couple of singles. Both iTunes and Amazon are also stocking them for download.
To get hold of any of the albums or tracks you can go to www.kidssongsmp3.twinkletrax.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: +44 (0)131 608 0016 and you can also follow TwinkleTrax on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/twinkletrax