David Printis remembers how much fun learning was while watching Saturday morning television's Schoolhouse Rock (famous for songs like "Zero, My Hero" and "Conjunction Junction"). Now with three kids of his own, "and lots of homework," the music producer has introduced Multiplication Hip Hop, educational sing-along music for a new generation.
"Multiplication has always been kind of tough for kids," Printis tells NPR's Bob Edwards. "It was tough for me when I was a kid. This [CD] just makes it an easier way for them to grasp it. They just listen to it. You know how kids are. They just listen to the same thing over and over anyway. So why not something like this that's going to give them a positive result?"
While the rhythm keeps kids interested, the repetition drives parents crazy — but in a positive way, Printis says. "We get calls, 'If I hear that CD one more time, I'll scream.' But a lot of parents take it on a road trip, stick it in the car."
Multiplication Hip Hop was the first in a series of CDs produced by Printis and his company, De-U Records, and featuring vocals and music by family members, including nieces, nephews and cousins. Multiplication was followed by It's Elementary, which includes "The ABC Song," "Count by Ones," and "The Calendar Song." A third CD, Science and Geography, includes "The Solar System," "Time" and "50 States and Capitals."
Printis says teachers and principals have told him the CDs have helped increase their students' scores. "Kids like the CDs," he says. "They don't even realize they're learning. They just think they're having fun listening to hip hop..."