Sean's Music Factory

Campbell Reporter

 

 

Campbell: Children's singer, musician making stops all over the county

By Jasmine Leyva, jleyva@community-newspapers.com
POSTED:   07/19/2016 06:01:25 PM PDT | UPDATED:   3 DAYS AGO
Campbell resident Sean Mendelson has a new album called ;Love and Music.; Mendelson will be performing at various locations around Santa Clara
Campbell resident Sean Mendelson has a new album called 'Love and Music.' Mendelson will be performing at various locations around Santa Clara Valley, including the Sunnyvale Public Library on July 26, at Children's Discovery Museum on July 28 and the Cupertino Library on Aug. 30.

Sean Mendelson's experience from playing in various rock bands is evident in his music--never mind that his songs are geared toward a younger audience.

Since 2013, the Campbell resident has been writing and performing alternative-rock children's songs. In support of his third album, "Love and Music," Mendelson is preparing to perform at multiple locations in Santa Clara County this month and next. Most of his shows will be free.

"I wanted to make something that parents would want to listen to, too," Mendelson said, adding he aspires to be a 21st-century Raffi, a well-known children's musician.

Mendelson's debut album, "Crank Out the Music," was released in 2013, and the next one, "High Five," in 2014. Mendelson said songs in "Love and Music" were inspired by the November terrorist attacks in Paris.

"I thought, 'What could I do to bring love and happiness in the world?' " he said, noting the main theme of his new album is the importance of love and sharing love during tough times.

Though Mendelson has not reached rock-star heights, he says his kids view him as a local celebrity. Mendelson has two children, ages 6 and 8, who not only sing in his albums but also perform with him at shows.

"It's a fun experience," Mendelson said, adding that his family is like a smaller version of the Partridge Family. "I thought they'd be sick of me by now."

When he's not performing with his two children, Mendelson teaches for Music Together, which holds classes in community and recreation centers throughout the county. Mendelson's career in children's music developed at Music Together, where he's worked since graduating in 2002 from Santa Clara University. Music Together is a research-based program that stresses the importance of introducing music to children at an early age.

"I always had an affinity for children," Mendelson said. "Children are the most rewarding audience."

When Mendelson isn't performing for a live audience, he makes YouTube videos focusing on music education.

Upcoming performances

  • Sunnyvale Public Library: July 26, 11 a.m. 665 W. Olive Ave.
  • Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose: July 28, noon. 180 Woz Way. Admission is $13.
  • Hicklebee's Children's Books: Aug. 18, 3 p.m. 1378 Lincoln Ave., Willow Glen.
  • Cupertino Library: Aug. 30, 10:15 a.m. 10800 Torre Ave.

    For more information about Sean Mendelson's music, visit seansmusicfactory.com andyoutube.com/c/seansmusicfactory.

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Santa Clara Weekly

“Up down side to side/Flap your wings/Do the dragonfly.” These are the lines of a new track found in the third album of Sean’s Music Factory’s “Love and Music,” produced by Terry Carleton at the Bones and Knives studio. The album was released on Thursday, May 12 on the Internet and is available for purchase at San Jose’s Hicklebee’s bookstore and at live performances. The music video for “Dragonfly,” found on “Sean’s Music Factory” YouTube Channel has been receiving plenty of positive responses. The chorus is easy for a child to sing along to, the educational lyrics tell about the complexities of dragonflies and the playful chords inspire movement.

“I was having a tough time naming the album. I threw out the track list with my sister-in-law and she suggested naming the album ‘Love and Music,’” says Sean Mendelson, the lead vocalist and musician behind Sean’s Music Factory. “The song ‘Love and Music’ is my way of inspiring future generations to combat any darkness that is in the world. When I was finishing the album, the attack on Paris occurred. So I decided to seize the souls of my listeners and introduce the idea of love, an idea that’s in a lot of music.”

Some of the album tracks have contrasts; some tunes speed up and slow down and some tunes move from loud to soft. For example, “Two Little Blackbirds” is a traditional song that Mendelson wrote a new melody for and rearranged so he could show a contrast between high and low notes. While teaching, Mendelson demonstrates these high and low notes by raising his hand high or dipping it low.

“I’ve discovered over the years teaching children that the biggest effect of drawing children in with music is with contrast,” Mendelson says. “Stretching the boundaries even further by stopping the music entirely or speeding up completely out of rhythm is also a fun way to keep children’s attention.”

Both of Mendelson’s children performed backup vocals on four of the eleven tracks on “Love and Music.” For example, Mendelson’s son, Logan, did a comedy bit on “Open and Shut Them.” Mendelson explains how the song “Kindergarten Shoes” came about.

“Literally, the day before kindergarten, my daughter Jillian started singing ‘I got my kindergarten shoes and I’m ready to move,’” Mendelson says. “I turned to my wife and I said ‘stop everything.’ I pulled out my guitar at the breakfast table. Then Jillian wrote the three verses that are in the song.”

Mendelson will be performing at San Jose State University’s King Library on May 21 at 3 p.m. in the children’s section. Follow Sean’s Music Factory on Facebook for details about other upcoming shows.

Santa Clara Weekly

Children dance under a raised rainbow parachute to the song, “What Child is This.” They manage instruments to the piano tune of “Linus and Lucy.” And they let their parents cuddle with them in a dimmed room to “Silent Night.” These activities are part of Teacher Sean’s Holiday Jingle Jam. Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreation Department has offered this two-week holiday class for the last six years. This year’s classes run throughout December.

“I grew up in a school where there would always be holiday caroling around the class, and I think it’s important that kids experience that festive feeling,” says Sean Mendelson, who also teaches the department’s year-round Music Factory classes. “Also, because of the Park and Recreation Department’s schedule, there would be a two month void of my music classes if I didn’t offer the holiday class.”

In the holiday class, children and parents enjoy dancing, movement, and instrument play while singing songs to further engage them in cheery seasonal music. The lesson plans include dancing to the Nutcracker march and performing the traditional jingle bell rock.

“I try to have an eclectic mix of songs, much like what I do in the Music Together program and in my albums,” Mendelson says. “I have the standards, like ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.’ I also do a few Hanukkah songs, including the ‘Dreidel Song’ and ‘Rise Up Oh Flame.’ We also do one Kwanzaa song.” Mendelson feels that learning music from different cultures can help participants learn about people from other backgrounds.

“Although the majority of the songs are secular or mainstream holiday songs, the advantage of teaching the ‘Dreidel Song,’ for example, is that a child who celebrates Christmas can learn how people who celebrate Hanukkah have fun with their holidays as well,” he says. 

Mendelson is enthusiastic about the song selection for his Jingle Jam classes. “Every song is upbeat,” he says. “They are all timeless melodies. And they’re easy to learn on the fly.” Irene Saranteas Bassalee’s two-year-old twin girls, Sophia and Eleni, are enrolled in the class.

“We’ve been attending Teacher Sean’s other class, and he mentioned this holiday music class,” Bassalee says. “So we decided to come here and practice our Christmas songs with other families. My kids are having fun.”

Mercury News

When Sean Mendelson, the singer-songwriter behind the music of Sean's Music Factory, graduated from Santa Clara University, he had aspirations. "Initially, the goal was to be a rock star," Mendelson said. After some years the goal changed, he said.

While he may not be rocking out in front of capacity crowds in arenas worldwide, Mendelson has a crowd of his own: infants to 6-year-olds and their families. "Working with kids was the right thing for me," he said.

Mendelson, a Campbell resident with a 4-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son, is releasing his second children's album, unnamed as of now, and is having an informal album release party at the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival on Sept. 13.

The official release of the album is scheduled for October, he said, but those who attend the festival will get an early listen. Mendelson started his music career at the age of 9 when he picked up the guitar. He's been a songwriter for years, but there was someone else to sing the songs in the band he was in after graduation. Now he sings his songs himself.

"I write these songs in a child's range so they can sing along," Mendelson said.

Mendelson said he hopes to become the next Raffi, a singer-songwriter popular in the 1970s and '80s, or a "less cheesy" version of the modern-day Wiggles. Mendelson estimates he's taught between 3,000 and 4,000 kids in the last 12 years and was inspired by that to record and release both albums. He has performed at the Campbell Library, among other venues, and taught at the Campbell Community Center. He now runs his own Music Together Center in Santa Clara.

There isn't anything like the innocence and enjoyment on the kids' faces when they're at his performances, he said. And they're never too shy to hit the dance floor. "I'm child-like but not childish," Mendelson said of pursuing a career in children's music.

Interaction is a keystone for Mendelson's performances. He said almost half the show is spent dancing, but he stops sometimes to get audience feedback on song ideas--such as asking what animal is next during "Old McDonald"--having the audience echo lines or make up rhymes. "We're all making music together," he said of the kids and parents.

More information about Sean's Music Factory (his musical group) or Teacher Sean's Music Factory (his Music Together Center) can be found at seansmusicfactory.com or Teacher Sean's Music Factory page on Facebook.

Santa Clara Weekly

Imagine listening to an audio interpretation of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” where the playful song launches with primitive beats, veers into Native American rhythms, and then travels through the many different periods of American music. Such is “Time Travel Twinkle,” a new track in Sean’s Music Factory’s second children’s music album, “High Five.” Many pieces on this album mingle fresh, kid-friendly tunes with upbeat alternative rock.

On Saturday, September 13 at 1 p.m., Sean’s Music Factory’s lead vocalist Sean Mendelson will perform with a band at the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival’s Kids Kingdom stage, where he’ll showcase music from his first and second albums. Mendelson is also the composer behind Sean’s Music Factory, and owner of Teacher Sean’s Music Factory. “Although my second album, ‘High Five,’ officially goes on sale October 1,” he says, “I plan to make my second album available at the festival performance.

Sean’s Music Factory Delivers Lively Second Album

“For my second album, I did a variety of different songs. I have several songs that are super simple with just two sections, an A section and B section, and these songs easily cater to the age 0 to 8 crowd,” continues Mendelson, covering album highlights. “The song I’m most excited about is the title track called ‘High Five.’ The way I say ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ to kids I’ve been teaching for the last 12 years has been with a high five. So I wrote this song that’s intended to be inclusive of people from all walks of life. I also have a song without words called ‘Roll, Pop, Click.’ This song uses a dozen different sounds you can make with your mouth to a simple melody, like the rolling of the tongue against your lip or the ‘burring’ of the lips together to make a helicopter sound.”

A Kickstarter campaign raising $4,000 helped finance “High Five.” Community contributions and some sales earned from Mendelson’s first album also went into the campaign.

“I can’t thank people enough,” Mendelson says. “The Silicon Valley community has helped me realize one of my dreams. Also, a gentleman who played piano in one of my songs is a dad in one of my Music Together classes. Another mom from one of my classes worked on the layout and design of the whole album.”

The release of Mendelson’s first album, “Crank Out the Music,” helped cultivate brand recognition for him and his music. When he performs at libraries and other public spaces, fans and audience members frequently sing along. Mendelson has been keeping his fingers crossed since he recently submitted his first album to be considered for a Grammy in the best children’s album category.

“Crank Out the Music” can be purchased at Hicklebees in San Jose, and both of Mendelson’s albums can be purchased through PayPal at www.seansmusicfactory.comand at all major Internet outlets.

Santa Clara Weekly

Many local parents and children know Sean Mendelson as Teacher Sean, the smiling, guitar toting teacher who leads music classes offered through Santa Clara’s Parks & Recreation Department. Mendelson is also a recording artist who just finished producing his first children’s music album, titled "Crank Out the Music.” The music is vibrant and fresh with an engaging alternative vibe, a nod to Mendelson’s history of playing in rock bands.

“I played all the guitar and bass on 11 of the 14 tracks, and I did all the lead vocals,” says Mendelson, whose official artist name is Sean's Music Factory. Friends, family, and musical colleagues performed other instrumentals, such as the percussions, saxophone, violin, and backup vocals.

Sean’s Music Factory Releases Children’s Music Album

Mendelson, a Santa Clara University graduate, composed 12 songs in just three days.

“I wrote a song called ‘Crooked House’ based on the opening of a crooked house at Happy Hollow Zoo,” Mendelson says. ‘When I Grow Up’ is for my son, my daughter, and the kids of the world. ‘Shades’ was inspired by the adorable kids in my classes who wear glittery or oversized sunglasses to class.”

Mendelson approached his song writing by reflecting on what he likes about music and listening to his children’s favorite music. He also drew on his experiences as a music teacher.

“In the 12 years that I’ve been teaching, I learned a lot about how you can use music to interact with the listener,” Mendelson says. “[On the album], there are songs where I’d sing and then leave spaces for children to fill in the blanks with their own words.”

Mendelson is grateful to the 93 backers who helped him raise over $5,000 on Kickstarter to cover his album’s production and recording costs.

Mendelson will be performing at two CD release parties on Saturday, September 14th at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Kids Kingdom Stage during the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival. CDs will be on sale for $12 each.

Morgan Hill Times

JammingMore than 150 kids and parents rocked out with Sean’s Music Factory Thursday, July 12 at the Morgan Hill Library on Main Avenue.

The event, July Jams, says Jennifer Weeks, is part of the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCDL) summer programming for children.

Weeks, the SCCDL Library Services Manager said July Jams is focused on building family engagement and opportunities for kids to learn and “most certainly about having fun.”

Weeks said this kind of play allows for endless skill building from listening, which helps with learning new words and dancing, which works on their motor skills.

Weeks, who’s worked with Sean Mendelson of Sean’s Music Factory before, says his shows are fun and engaging.

“He is a music teacher by trade, and he gets everyone playing along,” she said. “They were actively listening to the cues in the music to control their actions and develop motor skills. And the fun and original songs helped children learn the rhythms and rhymes of spoken language.”

The simple games, said Weeks, prepare children for reading.

“Children need to sing, play, read, write and talk to build early literacy skills and the library provides space, resources and classes all for free,” Weeks adds.

Campbell Reporter

About 50 people were already filing into the downstairs meeting room of the Campbell library on Wednesday, July 25th for a musical celebration beginning at three o’clock. Parents and children sit in chairs and on the floor while Sean Mendelson gets ready to rock the house. Children’s librarian Lauren Wubbels booked him here for the 4th time (he has performed several times before that also), being very confident about his talent for engaging both parents and children alike during his musical performance. “He gets everyone moving, gives them some musical education and he is just so fun!” she says. She introduces him after reminding the gathered crowd about the End of Summer Reading Carnival coming up on August 1st at 3pm, and the vibe is high from the first Campbell Library hosts Sean’s Music Factory for final Summer Children’s Concert by Duncan Cook note! The show begins with “You Are What You Eat,” a lively survey of gustatory choices and their humorous ramifications (Sean likes almonds, so he is surely a “nut”!). He strums his guitar with glee, igniting the audience into joyful dance and smiles. A rousing rendition of “High Five” has everyone slapping hands and rocking out to the titular track from his 2014 album of the same name. Between songs, he greets some familiar faces by name, who know him from his role as a teacher at various classes across the Bay Area. Mendelson slides into some group participation material with “Two Little Blackbirds,” a song that explores opposites like cold/hot, near/far and off/on - which was supplied by audience member “Andy” when Mendelson asked the crowd for suggestions. A main part of his message becomes clear when he introduces a fan favorite song about Steph Curry, whose attributes are praised beyond his athletic prowess, instead focusing on his kindness and the value of paying it forward. Before launching into “A Pirate’s Expression,” he asks if anyone knows the significance of September 19th, which is the day that he will be dropping a video for the song. “Mexican Independence Day?” asks a tall bearded man in the back of the audience. International Talk Like a Pirate Day was the answer pertaining to the piece he was about to play, but after a humorous pause and much laughter, Mendelson acknowledges the new piece of information (his concerts are often as edifying as they are entertaining) and belts out the tune. Hidden in the little ditty are explorations on homophones - words that have different meanings but sound the Continued on page 5... same like new/knew, break/ brake and son/sun. Sean’s Music Factory is something of a family affair, his children often make up his band at performances and record and even sometimes write songs on his albums. Jillian (age 8) takes the stage to lend a voice to “Kindergarten Shoes,” a song that she wrote years ago but remembers fondly even though she is now going into the 3rd grade. Ten year old Logan joins the crew on a song from “The Marshmallow Incident,” which is from the book by the people responsible for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The creators endorse the musical he created from it, which premiered earlier this year and will debut an older kids/adults version later in October. Sean Mendelson is a busy guy with his teaching and music. He will be at the Santa Clara Art and Wine Festival on Sunday September 17th to celebrate his 10 years with his Music Together project as Teacher Sean’s Music Factory. He will be playing songs from that program exclusively and hopes to bring up alumni from his time teaching. It is all hard work and a ton of fun as he is ever in pursuit of lifetime goal- winning a Kids’ Grammy. He is currently in development on a TV and web based pilot for children's educational music programming as well. The show included an introduction to “mouth percussion,” giving Mendelson and his audience a Sean’s Music Factory... Continued from Front Page their hard work and recognition in the form of awards and prizes. Many graduates do continue on to a career involved with agriculture in some fashion - whether it be as a broker, farmhand, engineer, breeder, or in education; while others utilize the discipline, commitment and organizational skills to enter such diverse fields as tech research, public service and entrepreneurship. The Westmont High FFA program surely is part and parcel of the Campbell Community with the love and support flowing both ways. Former students, boosters and local businesses donate their time, goods or services to nourish the organization in its efforts to create and thrive as a positive force; in turn, they hold meals and events for the public to enjoy. Check out their calendar and get involved and inspired by this homegrown treasure via campbellffa. com. chance to express themselves with lively, silly sounds to pepper the tune to the delight of all in attendance. Later, a song about bees and “waggling” and flossing that included a lesson about insect communication before generating more of the stylized dancing that is abundant at his events. Another song about dragonflies incites the same excitement and characteristically different movements particular to illustrating the qualities of that other fascinating, flying bug. A crowd pleasing version of the Jackson’s “ABC” was a clear hit and had the whole room electrified and singing along. It is hard to believe that after such a full set, he has so much more to offer that was not presented on this day. According to his website, there is a particular “Tickle Monster” spiel that sounds like a blast; and puppets are a regular feature of these gigs. From his teaching, performances, several albums, videos and more, Sean Mendelson is making his mark in the Bay Area as a positive force and culture maker, giving children the type of inspiration and attention that cultivates the best in all of us. For more information, type seansmusicfactory. com in your web browser and sit with a young person to delve into the fantastical world he has created to share.