About Me

When Ken Cooper volunteered to play music in his son’s kindergarten classroom, little did he know that more than 25 years later, he’d still be singing with young students at schools, libraries and concert venues. But here he is, now known as Mister Cooper, bringing an array of “songs that teach” music programs to growing audiences throughout the Sacramento area. With state and local budgets being slashed, arts programs seem to be the first to go. But Aristotle said it best – “an education without music is like no education at all.”

Mister Cooper is a busy musician these days. During the school year, he can be found at four (and counting) elementary schools, presenting a wide range of curriculum-based grade level appropriate programs. He also currently visits two preschools bringing songs, lyrics and movement to help younger children develop and reinforce early literacy as well as other learning and social skills. His after school “Sing-Along Club” enables primary school children to explore the joys of singing with a wider range of songs (and kazoos). Cooper also brings his “Sing-Along Club” to various local libraries, building a community of children and their grown-ups that continues after music time has ended.

On October 21, 2016, Mister Cooper released a new CD, titled The Colors of Us. It’s a completely “Do-It-Yourself” recording with just him playing the guitar and singing his newest songs – just like you’d hear if he were playing them for you in your living room. No extras, bells, or whistles. Simple and clean. 10 fun songs (24 minutes), unplugged and unhinged (as Sarah Mertyris said). So here is The Colors of Us (Hot Biscuits Music 006), his 6th CD of homemade, handmade music for kids and their grown-ups. There’s a song about his crazy cat, the backyard, his old guitar, and the Gingerbread Man. These songs are guaranteed to make your ears smile. Previous CD releases include: Mister Cooper (2006), This World (2009), Mister Cooper is for the birds (2011), I Like Your Hat (2013), and Pirate Ship (2015).

A Fall 2011 Parents’ Choice Approved Award Winner – “Mister Cooper is for the birds. Acoustic musician and music educator Ken Cooper has an inviting, down-home way with a song, finding inspiration in the interconnectedness of living things, confidence-building (“Yes I Can”) and the joy of reading (“Dr. Seuss Is On the Loose”). Among the highlights: Cooper’s humorous spin on the definition of living spaces (“a peach is a house for a peach pit/a sandwich is a house for ham” in “A House is a House for Me”) and a tribute to that ubiquitous pause-filler, “Um.” Lynne Heffley © 2011 Parents’ Choice
A young man named Sean Fisher came up after a library show and asked if he could write a term paper about me for a music class at Sac. City college. He sent me some questions to answer and the rest was up to him. Here is the resulting paper. Maybe this will be informative as well as entertaining. Thanks, Sean. Good job, well done.

Sean Fisher
Dr. Dennis Weber
MUS 327
2 March 2014

I walk into a room full of children ages, 6 and younger, laughing and playing and some crying. An older man sits at of the front of the room with an acoustic guitar strapped over his body talking with a couple of the young children. At 4:00 pm every Wednesday, the man with the guitar begins singing a song called “Good Afternoon” and the children start to calm down and sit on the floor. The man singing is Ken Cooper, better known to the children as Mister Cooper. Mister Cooper has come to the Belle Cooledge Library in Sacramento, CA, to serenade these children with fun, interactive and educational music for the next 30 to 40 minutes. As he finishes “Good Afternoon” be begins with a song that teaches the months of the year, and the children start to sing along. He asks the children to cheer with a fist pump when they sing the current month. After the first round of months every child has their hands in the air every time they sing “February.” It seems obvious that Mister Cooper has been doing this for a long time. He controls the kids and helps maintain their focus for the next 30 minutes. As the show progresses on, Mister Cooper gets the kids to participate more and more as he sings songs loved by the children and the parents. A room of 40 or more people are singing such fun songs as “Matilda the Gorilla,” “Dr. Seuss is on the Loose,” and classics like “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.” He ends every session with an acoustic medley of dance worthy music, in which he asks the children to stand up and dance. As he opens with a fun pop sounding beat, he explains the rules for safety to the children. And that when he says, “Freeze!” the music stops and the kids must pause. The kids listen well and freeze in funny poses as he stops the music. As soon as he starts again the children begin dancing. Mister Cooper then switches to a funk sounding guitar riff. As the show winds down, Mister Cooper invites the children to come up and get a hand stamp. The stamp is his way of signing autographs for the kids. He says a lot of them by name (he has a steady group of followers at Belle Cooledge) and thanks them for coming. It is easy to see why Mister Cooper is so loved by the children and the parents who frequent these sing along events. He shows through music that learning can be fun and easy.
Reviews & Newspaper Articles
CD Reviews
A Parents’ Choice Approved Award Winner “Mister Cooper is for the birds” (2011) 
Acoustic musician and music educator Ken Cooper has an inviting, down-home way with a song, finding inspiration in the interconnectedness of living things, confidence-building (“Yes I Can”) and the joy of reading (“Dr. Seuss Is On the Loose”). Among the highlights: Cooper’s humorous spin on the definition of living spaces (“a peach is a house for a peach pit/a sandwich is a house for ham” in “A House is a House for Me”) and a tribute to that ubiquitous pause-filler, “Um.”
Lynne Heffley © 2011 Parents’ Choice
“Mister Cooper is for the birds” (2011) – review

“My kids sing, dance, and giggle through the entire new CD. Its presence in our home is more than positive. I recommend it to all families.”

Keilah Woodard – SacramentoSidetracks.com

The latest CD is another wonderful recording. I really enjoy the sense of fun in your music and your ability to write songs for kids without talking down to them.

Bill Wagman – “Saturday Morning Folk Show” KDVS radio (Davis, CA)

“I Like Your Hat” (2013) – review
In Mister Cooper’s usual up-tempo fashion, the songs are energetic, positive, and make you smile! Some of them have a special message, such as “Anything is Possible” and “Are You a Bully?” and others are just plain fun!
Keilah Woodard – SacramentoSidetracks.com
“Pirate Ship” (2015) – review

Best album yet!

Monica Stark – Editor, “Land Park News
School and Library Reviews
“Thank you for the musically enriching experiences you have created for our students here at Sutterville. We have truly benefited from your professional demeanor, musical expertise, generosity, and wonderful way with kids. Thank you!”
Lori Aoun – Principal of Sutterville Elementary School
“I always love the kids’ reaction to you, especially the ones that have seen you at their school – they obviously think you are “their” special person, and the joy they take in seeing you in another venue just makes my day. I remember at the last show some of our rowdy middle-schoolers peeked in the window and said “it’s Mr. Cooper!” and relived some of their long-past childhood… It’s obvious you have made a connection with these kids that lasts long after the songs are over. Thanks for sharing your talents with us.”
Christie Hamm – Manager of Youth and Community Services at Sacramento Public LIbrary
“Mr. Cooper’s music program has been a wonderful addition to the curriculum at Tiny Tot Time. Ken brings a repertoire of songs that reinforce the pre-Kindergarten standards. The children look forward to our half-hour music session. The songs teach life lessons and values while at the same time providing entertainment. Mr. Cooper writes songs for important events and issues within the community. Ken’s commitment and creativity are unparalleled and greatly appreciated by children and parents alike.”
Rachael Hinrichsen – Director of Tiny Tot Time, Land Park (Sacramento, California)
“You’re a great asset to our community and I appreciate your presence very much.”
Nate Halsan – Children’s Librarian, Belle Cooledge Library
Spring Fest was a big success and we wanted to say a great big THANK YOU for all the hard work you did preparing the students. We had many positive comments from the parents. The parents loved it, the kids loved it, and of course you made us teachers look good! On Friday, we preformed for almost the entire school, singing with the I-pod, and it was a big success. You should have heard the entire school singing “Take me out to the Ball Game”. It was fabulous! Camellia is so fortunate that you share your music and talent with us. The children love to sing and you always provide fun songs for them to learn. Thank you for spending part of each Thursday with us. We truly do appreciate it! You are appreciated and loved at Camellia.
Jan Gregson and Joanne Kho – Camellia Basic Kindergarten teachers
“Mister Cooper has enriched our learning environment through his musical ability in so many ways. His weekly visits to our Kindergarten classrooms have proven to be the highlight of our week. Mister Cooper has a natural gift of engaging children through music, laughter, and movement. He communicates well with the teachers to ensure that his song choices truly enhance the curriculum. Parents, teachers, and children alike have all enjoyed singing along with Mister Cooper’s CDs. In addition, Mister Cooper graciously leads two concerts each school year! The children are so proud showing off all the songs they’ve learned during the Kindergarten Sing program. Naturally, parents are thrilled to see their children shine on stage! Mister Cooper is dedicated, reliable, professional, and downright FUN! He is an asset to any learning environment.”
Tara Nye – Sutterville teacher and former Hollywood Park teacher
“I would highly recommend all of Ken Cooper’s curriculum-based music programs. Sutterville counts him as one of our teachers and credits him with providing some of the depth and breadth that made our school a distinguished school in 2005-06.”
Diane Shada – former Sutterville Principal
“Ken Cooper has been teaching and entertaining our Kindergartners for the past twelve years. What Ken saw as a musical deficit in our program has turned into a delightful weekly musical program. The Kindergarten Sing program has become much more than a music program. It is directly linked to the California Reading Standards and the reading standards of the Sacramento City Unified School District. Ken has aligned his music program to provide phonemic awareness (the ability to hear sounds) through song to all kindergarten children at Sutterville, John Cabrillo, and Bret Harte Elementary Schools. His curriculum has been coordinated to enhance that of Open Court. It addresses individual needs by meeting one more learning style that sometimes gets overlooked.
In addition, Ken makes the curriculum fun while keeping the students focused and participating. Our curriculum would not be as rich without him. And, more importantly, our student’s educations would not be as well-rounded. He is a joy to work with and observe. We think of him more as a colleague than just an Artist-in-Residence.”
Sutterville Kindergarten teachers
“Everyone in the preschool looks forward to Mr. Cooper coming once a week. His program is not only fun but also a learning experience that builds social skills, confidence, and self esteem.”
Sally Baker – former head of Sutterville Parent Ed. Preschool
“Mr. Cooper’s Kindergarten Sing program helps to address the needs of ELL learners and special needs students as well as providing curriculum support to all of the children.”
John Cabrillo Kindergarten teachers
Newspaper Articles
High Res Images
  • Recorded and released six CDs of music for kids and their grown-ups: The Colors of Us (2016), Pirate Ship (2015), I Like Your Hat (2013), Mister Cooper is for the birds (2011), This World (2009) and Mister Cooper (2006)
  • Winner of a Parents’ Choice Approved Award – “Mister Cooper is for the birds” (2011)
  • Composed and recorded original score for the movie, “The Map” (2 Dads Films) (2013)
  • Original song, “Farmers Market,” included on compilation CD titled “Growing Veggie Soup” (2010) Recess Music
  • Original song, “Out on a Limb,” recorded by the Dillards on their “Let It Fly” CD (1991) Vanguard Records
  • Creator of original curriculum based music programs for elementary schools including Kindergarten Sing, 1st and 2nd Grade Sing, Gold Rush in Song, Music in Wartime: Uses of Music During the Civil War, Going West – Songs of the 1880’s, Back to the Notes and co-creator of Poetry and Song Project
  • Performs at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital (2014 – present)
  • Recipient of 2012-2013 Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission Microgrant for Kindergarten Sing at Bret Harte Elementary School
  • Emergency 30 Day Teaching Credential (1998 to 2014)
  • Creator and presenter of the Sing-a-Long Club with Mister Cooper after-school music program (2008 – present)
  • Creator and presenter of the Sing-a-Long Club with Mister Cooper library music program (2009 – present)
  • Creator and presenter of the Read Along – Sing Along summer reading program for the Sacramento Public Library (2008 – present)
  • Creator and presenter of the “Musical Kids” weeklong educational music camp at Fairytale Town in Sacramento, CA. (2008 – 2009)
  • Recipient of 2003 Crocker Art Museum School Services Grant
  • Recipient of 2001-2002 Sacramento City Educational Foundation Mini-Grant for Music in Wartime: Uses of Music During the Civil War
  • Recipient of 1999-2000 Sacramento City Educational Foundation Mini-Grant for Gold Rush in Song
  • Recipient of 1998 IBM Funds for Community Service Grant for Poetry and Song Project
  • Performed locally with the music group “The Loose Acoustic Trio”