Interview with Mia Stegner(Singer/Songwriter/Writer/Educator) About Her New Song and Video “More Like Children”
Mia Stegner is a writer, video creator, and singer-songwriter. She also works as a substitute teacher at The Transportation Children’s Center (TCC) in Boston (where I also work) with toddlers to Pre-K aged children. For her song “More Like Children” she recently created a video featuring the children from TCC. Below, are are links to follow Mia Stegner’s on social media, a short interview, followed by her great new music video for “More Like Children” featuring TCC students.
Listen to Mia’s debut album titled “Play” here: https://miastegner.wixsite.com/miastegner/play
Teddy Kokoros: What inspired you to write the song “More Like Children?”
Mia Stegner: I wrote More Like Children over winter break, just after completing my first semester of college. At the time, I had been participating in a program called “Jumpstart!” through AmeriCorps, where I was working with a class of kids aged 3-5, and I had so much admiration for them. I had also been in contact with TCC about the possibility of working there, and had been given a tour of the classrooms.Even though working with kids is undoubtedly hard work, I find it to be so exciting and rewarding. I’ve been writing songs since middle school, and the sense of wonder and appreciation I was feeling was something I wanted to express.Every kid is a completely unique individual, so I don’t want to make too many generalizations, but I do feel like in childhood, everything is a little bit simpler, but also a bit more heightened. Everything is a bit more new and exciting, and feelings are expressed in more direct ways.There are so many beautiful, exciting things about growing up, but it’s easy to lose some of that childhood wonder, curiosity, honesty, hope, imagination, and ability to play. Writing thissong was a way to celebrate what I love about kids, andshare what I think adults can learn from them.
Teddy Kokoros: What was your process filming and creating the video for “More Like Children”?
Mia Stegner: I brought it up to Laurie, the executive director of the TCC, and she was very supportive and excited about the idea. We figured out a timeline for the project, and she sent permission slips to the parents of the kids at TCC. My older brother, Evan, also loves little kids and is a talented video creator. His spring break fell the week we were thinking of filming, so he decided to flyin to Boston to visit me and help with the video. He really enjoyed it, and I was grateful for the extra pair of hands. There were a few ideas I kept in mind while filming – I knew I wanted some shots of dancing, and at least one hug – but I also knew it would be important to go with the flow, because I didn’t want to put too much pressure on everyone’s attention spans, the weather, or other factors. Ultimately our only real plan was to show up and capture as many fun moments as we could while they played.Some of the kids were really curious about the camera and the idea of making a video, and others mostly ignored us. It was really great to have some of both, because it gave us a wide variety of moments to work with. After filming, Evan and I watched our collective 45 minutes of footage and talked about some of our favorite moments. I then imported everything into a project and edited down to fit the two-and-a-half-minute song, doing my best to match the clips to the lyrics and the rhythm of the song. It was difficult to pick the best moments, but I feel really happy with the result.
Teddy Kokoros: What experiences do you have working with children and how have those experiences impacted your song-writing?
Mia Stegner: I have cousins ranging in age from six to eighteen and growing up, I spent a lot of time with them as well as with my brothers, and I’m still close with all of them. At events like family reunions or birthday parties, I’vealways found myself gravitating toward the youngest of the group. I never really had the desire to “sit at the grownups table,” because I found so much joy in spending time withbabies and toddlers, even back when I was a kid too. In sixth grade, I volunteered once or twice a week in a first grade classroom at my elementary school. I didn’t do a lot of traditional babysitting, but I often supervisedmy younger cousins. My first semester of college, I participated in Jumpstart on a team of three other college students; after applying and completing training for the program, we visited a preschool classroom at Horizons for Homeless Children twice a week, to read books with the class and lead activities designed to support children’s language, literacy, and social-emotional development. Currently, Iwork at TCC as a substitute teacher.I’m attending Emerson College, majoring in Media Arts Production with a minor in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. I haven’t narrowed in on a specific career path yet, but my interests include filmmaking and screenwriting. I am also a writer for the animated children’s show “Bluebins” through Emerson Independent Video, and being able to work with kids at the same time as we’redeveloping ideas for each episode has provided me with a lot of inspiration.Making this video allowed me to combine so many of my passions, from music to filmmaking to working with kids. I know whatever I end up doing, I want to have kids in my life in one form or another, whether that’s through teaching, volunteering, or telling stories foror about them. I feel strongly that it’s important to balance work with play, and in my education and creative pursuits, I’m always trying to find ways to tap into my imagination. Children tend to be very good at this, so being around them is inspiring for that reason as well. In addition to inspiring specific songs such as this one, they constantly provide joy, encourage me to be in the moment, and remind me of the value of creativity and expression.
Thanks Mia for the interview, and here is her great video for “More Like Children” featuring the young students at Transportation Children Center