What Is Music? Let Christian Robinson and Some Kids Tell You

I stumbled across the video below recently, and I was completely charmed, both by the voices of kids but also -- and probably even more -- by the animation from Christian Robinson.  He uses a variety of styles to accompany the voices of kids answering the question "What is music?" and other musical inquiries -- pen-and-ink (there's a touch of Ed Emberley there), stop-motion cutouts, photograph-and-drawing mashups.  Sure there's humor in the kids' occasional off-balance response -- "My favorite kind of jazz is... Michael Jackson" says one boy with a well-placed dramatic pause -- but the animation is made with heart.

Robinson graduated from CalArts in 2008 (his "Dinosaur Song" from that year is worth checking out as another winning meld of subject matter and varied animation styles) and over the past nine years he has, not surprisingly, had an impressive set of authors to illustrate for: Margaret Wise Brown, Mac Barnett, and Matt de la Pena for Last Stop on Market Street, for which de la Pena won the Newbery Award and Robinson a Caldecott Honor.  And, to bring it back to kindie for the moment, he also illustrated Justin RobertsThe Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade.

But all that was in the future when Robinson made this video.  It's charming and worth your time.

Christian Robinson - "What Is Music?" [Vimeo]