GBH and author Kwame Alexander team up for children’s series on music education



GBH in Boston and author Kwame Alexander are developing a television series based on Alexander’s first children’s book, Acoustic rooster and his barnyard group.

The series stars Acoustic Rooster, a jazz enthusiast who uses the principles of improvisation and music collaboration to solve problems. The program is part of a multiplatform project that introduces the fundamentals of music education and will highlight the links between jazz and American and black history.

GBH’s estimated launch date for the TV series is 2024, spokeswoman Erin Callanan said. In addition to the aired series, the production includes online games, an app and podcast, as well as resources for caregivers and educators.

“Wynton Marsalis captured it best when he said that jazz is a metaphor for democracy in America – it’s a genre where a diverse and eclectic set of instruments play together to create a melody while also giving l ‘space for individual musicians to have a solo, as the rest of the band is there for support,’ Alexander said in a press release announcing the development agreement on Wednesday. “Partnering up and developing this show with GBH is an absolute dream come true. I look forward to sharing critical lessons on the fairness and principles of an iconic American musical genre. But what really excites me is bringing this jazzy party to preschoolers around the world.


Alexander will be co-EP for the program alongside Marcy Gunther, GBH’s media development director for children’s media. The production team aims to fill a gap in music education as schools respond to budget pressures by cutting their artistic enrichment programs.

“Kwame Alexander is one of those rare and brilliant literary minds whose work is highly respected across generations,” Gunther said in the statement. “Sharing the story of Acoustic Rooster and his love of jazz will be a melodic and upbeat experience that shows how music education and black history connects to broader lessons of resilience and problem solving for the young audience. “


Kay Donmyer, writer for Curious georges, is co-creator and editor-in-chief of the new program. Additional staff includes EP Angel Tyree and music consultant Randy Preston, both of whom work for the Alexander Big Sea Entertainment company.

“I couldn’t be more excited to celebrate jazz improvisation in a lively performance,” Donmyer said in the release. “Acoustic Rooster and his band will provide children with the perfect blend of musical, creative and social learning in truly fun and thrilling stories.”

Alexander won the John Newbery medal in 2015 for Crossing. The Undefeated, illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander, won the Randolph Caldecott medal last year.


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