Partners in EduPLAYtion: Histrionix and Andyrooniverse

Posted by on Sep 22, 2016

September 21, 2016 (HOUSTON, TX) Histrionix Learning announces a new EduPLAYtion partnership with Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse to bring exciting STEAM-powered music programs — Science, Technology, Education, Arts, Math — to schools across Houston this year. Dubbed “Houston’s Leading Children’s Musician” in the Houston Press, Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse is the children’s music project of Houston singer-songwriter and producer Andrew Karnavas. Andyroo is a frequently featured performer at schools, libraries, and museums nationwide, including the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.   “Students of all ages love Andyroo and the Andyrooniverse,” said Histrionix CEO Rick Brennan, a former HISD teacher of 13 years turned entrepreneur. Histrionix has developed game-based, project-based curriculum that leverage popular game titles like SimCity, Minecraft, and Gamestar Mechanic. “Our fun, standards-aligned, STEAM-powered learning programs and games build important 21st-century skill sets like collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving.”   Brennan and Karnavas have worked together to combine their game-based, project-based, and music-based learning backgrounds into meaningful, standards-aligned STEAM learning experiences. They believe that collaborations among leaders in fields like game design and music that combine artistic and technical skill sets are key to preparing today’s students for a future that will be shaped by creative, collaborative problem-solvers.   Karnavas first met Brennan and learned about Histrionix during TEDxHouston 2013. “He gave a talk called, What if Sixth Graders Ruled the World? and it resonated with my experiences as a children’s music artist and teacher,” Karnavas said. In addition to his music, Karnavas teaches creative writing for Writers In The Schools (WITS). In 2015, he jumped at the opportunity to teach the pilot program for WITS Digital, Histrionix’s game-based learning collaboration with WITS. As the school year progressed Brennan and Karnavas both felt that they should work on more projects together, and the K-12 STEAM music programs were born.   To fuel education as experience, students as creators, and teachers as designers, Histrionix has established a vendor relationship with HISD to provide these learning programs:   K-5th Grade: Andyrooniverse STEAM Music Visits Andyroo visits the classroom one or multiple times and interweaves music, movement, and stories from the Andyrooniverse into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lessons to make learning fun and musical for the kids.   6-12th Grade: Just Add Beats Histrionix and Andyroo have created Just Add Beats, a STEAM music workshop where students learn to design and record their own original...

Read More

The Art and Importance of Asking for Help

Posted by on May 30, 2014

I have a hard time asking for help. Yesterday, I launched an IndieGoGo crowd funding campaign asking for $8000 to create the AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse Color Your World Album and Activity Book for kids. Please watch the video to learn more, it was fun to make: Today there is a lot on my mind, specifically the idea of asking for help. It’s something I think about often, and I highly recommend Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk about it (thank you, Grace, for showing it to me), because it really sheds light on how imperative asking for help is to an artist’s (and really, everyone’s) survival. I have a hard time asking for help, but not for egotistical reasons. It’s more like I have neglected to spend enough time developing that art form, as Amanda says. I have avoided the awkwardness of learning how to ask for help, of being okay with not being able to do everything myself. Okay, that sounds like an ego thing after all! I come from a wonderful family with two incredibly strong parents. One of my big takeaways while growing up was that no one owes me anything, and that the world is a tough place. I was also taught to remember and celebrate generosity. When a person helps me without wanting anything in return, I am amazed. I love that moment. I love it because it flies in the harsh face of the world and creates a smile. It’s a flower growing through the concrete. It’s unlikely, and I never expect it, but there it is, and it’s beautiful. When my father was terminally ill, friends and mere acquaintances brought us meals to the hospital. My family needed help, and we got it in a big way. We got it without asking, and we got it even more when we did ask for it. In the midst of tremendous suffering, my belief in humanity reached an all-time high, and it has stayed there. I am asking for your help to create something special for kids. Please support the AndyRooniverse. The more people involved, the more this project will connect with our world. Behind every show booked, there is someone saying, “Yes, we’ll invite you to present your work here” and there is an audience willing to take a chance. Behind every song written for these kids, there is a happy memory that my parents shaped in...

Read More

My Awesome Friend Chris Longwood

Posted by on Apr 17, 2014

Watching artists get better over time is something I really enjoy. Today I’d like to write about Audio Engineer Chris Longwood. I first met Chris in 2009 when Runaway Sun won an 8-hour block of recording time at SugarHill Studios in a raffle. This was the first time we had ever recorded in a big studio. Fast forward to 2014, and this week Chris is the Mastering Engineer for the new AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse album, my sixth major release and the first album I have recorded and mixed by myself without entering a big studio. It feels like graduation. Chris has not only gone from being an Audio Engineer to also a top notch Mastering Engineer, he also teaches aspiring Audio Engineers the courses he used to take, and he has worked with George Clinton, Jandek, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Mariachi Vargas, Bobby Lyle and The Autumn Defense. He has also recorded bands (and gigged!) in Japan. Follow me down memory lane for a minute, before all this happened five short years ago. It has been quite a half-decade working together: In 2009 Runaway Sun showed up prepared for that free recording session at SugarHill, and so did Chris, and we tracked the whole 10-song album The Bridge in that eight hours. Chris mixed that album in the following months, and I sat there and watched him work, trying to learn everything I could. It was really fascinating. In 2010 I returned to SugarHill to record my Film Noir solo album. We tracked close to twenty songs over several days and kept thirteen for the album. He was there for the first time I ever worked with session musicians, and in one day we recorded banjo, mandolin, violin, and pedal steel with time to spare. We also recorded cello at my friend’s house, this really cool place that Clark Gable used to live in. This was the first time I had ever done any kind of location recording. Chris borrowed a really nice Mojave mic from Dan Workman at SugarHill, and a neighborhood cat wandered in and watched while we worked. It was a great time. Chris mixed that album at SugarHill, and there I was once again, trying to learn what I could. In 2011 we teamed up again at SugarHill. This time we were recording the first AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse album. It was the first time I...

Read More

AndyRoo Goes to Washington!

Posted by on Jun 26, 2013

AndyRoo Goes to Washington!

What an incredible weekend in DC! It was a dream come true, and I can’t wait to do it again. After performing for five plus years, I have learned that things happen when they should. You get into the dream venues, you get invited to open for big name acts, and you get good reviews in the press when you are ready. When I first started out, I was frustrated that these things didn’t happen right away, but that kind of mindset is wrapped up in the excitement and ego boost of getting an album done, especially when it’s your first album. You expect the world to stop and listen to it, and every music writer to review it, and when that doesn’t happen it can be really discouraging. But I think the real reason behind these things not happening is that you are not ready for them to happen in that moment. When the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History invited me to perform an AndyRoo and the AndyRooniverse show there, I knew I was ready for that to happen. And when I finally got booked at Jammin’ Java, a highly competitive venue I have tried to get into for a couple years, I was finally ready. I knew how to make flyers for the show, I had a network to help me promote it, and I had two years of performances in front of kids that taught me a good deal about what works and what doesn’t. This was my whirlwind weekend in DC! Grace Rodriguez took lots of pictures with her Google Glass and filmed the shows (a HUGE thanks to Jay Berckley for lending me his video camera). Show videos coming soon! Friday June 21: Flew from Houston to DC and performed the Smithsonian NMNH show. What an honor and thrill. After the show we dropped by Smithsonian Folkways to meet the people behind the Smithsonian Institution’s non-profit record label and arguably the most important record label in the country. Listen to Folkways Radio daily to hear music you would never otherwise hear before. They were gearing up for the 2013 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Saturday June 22: Morning show at Jammin’ Java in Vienna,VA, a couple hours of sightseeing in DC, and a 4:30 PM flight back to Houston! Jammin’ Java was one of the most professionally operated venues I’ve ever played....

Read More