Pint Size Polkas

Home | Newsletter | Contact  Facebook  YouTube 

Events Music Videos About Free Stuff
Pint Size Polka Fan Reviews Media

Pint Size Polkas Volume Two
Thanks for bringing us Pint Size Polkas. I grew up listening to polka music because my dad plays the accordion and loves polkas. He bought both Pint Size Polkas CDs for my kids who are two and four and they LOVE them. They haven't listened to any other music since getting Pint Size Polkas Volume Two for St. Nick. They want the CD on all the time. Thank you again!! You do awesome work!

- Katrina Buretta

Pint Size Polkas Volume One
My son has an old black-keyed computer keyboard that I gave him to pretend typing on. He now calls that his "flat-line accordion," and when I pop your CD in our stereo he marches around the living room "playing" his "accordion." Thanks for bringing us so much joy!

- Lori Hein

Pint Size Polkas Volume One
I recently purchased Pint Size Polkas Volume One and gave it to a five-year-old daughter of a co-worker. The co-worker told me that as soon as her daughter got the CD she went into her room, played it, and after a while called mom and dad in to watch her polka dancing show. She had dressed up, put her stuffed animals in rows and then started dancing to the CD. Looks like with the help of your CD we will have another young polka fan in the world. Thanks for the great CD - I can't wait until my only Grandson is old enough for Grandpa to give him a copy also!

- Charlie Pufahl

Pint Size Polkas Volume One
I just wanted you to know we found an unexpected flaw with the CD! We gave one to our son's daycare for Christmas because they have dance time when it's too cold to go outside. Yesterday was the first time the director used Pint Size Polkas for dance time and the kids went nuts! She said they were dancing and jumping around so much that the CD player kept skipping. She's never had that problem before! She's going to copy the CD onto a tape so the kids will be able to dance their hearts out without skipping the CD player next time. It was a huge hit! All the daycare kids heartily approve.

- Sadie Weber

Pint Size Polkas Volume One
I recently saw Uncle Mike and his Polka band on YouTube with the song Jolly Lumberjack Polka. My five and four year olds liked it so much and were so excited about the video that I looked for the CD. I have downloaded it and played it for them. We all LOVE it! The kids are already singing along to the Alphabet Polka and swaying in their car seats to Tiny Bubbles. As soon as the radio turns on and they hear the accordion they shout Uncle Mike! My son is five and absolutely loves the Flying Machine, otherwise known as the airplane song. He will spread his arms and fly around the room to it. He has also claimed this as "his" song! So, if you have young children and you love fun, upbeat, yet educational music, I highly highly recommend Pint Size Polkas [Volume One]. I know your children will fall in love with it!

- Sarah Speakes

Pint Size Polkas Volume One
Uncle Mike Schneider and his Pint Size Polka CD is a HIT in my book. This CD is fun for the whole family and is a MUST for any music collection. This collection of 15 songs teach, educate and most importantly entertain youth and their families. It makes learning fun in a style that has not been attempted to this degree. Uncle Mike and his Polka Band capture the true spirit of polka music with that great polka tempo, excellent recording mix and FUN lyrics sung with well-balanced harmonies. We will feature this CD on our show, The Polka Party Express 88.5FM WMNF Tampa on December 14, 2008 as our way of supporting this remarkable effort by Mike Schneider. No matter what age, 5 or 95, all the Polkateers on my Christmas list will be getting Pint Size Polkas for Christmas!
- Wackie Jackie Z.
WMNF 88.5 FM Tampa, FL





with Lauren Keith
08.03.2011 - Cape Girardeau, MO
View Now

with Mallory Peebles
07.13.2011 - North Mankato, MN
View Now

with Wendy Kuschel
12.19.2010 - Green Bay, WI
View Now

with Ben Bradley
11.28.2010 - Chicago, IL
View Now

The Morning Blend
with Molly Fay and Tiffany Ogle
07.06.2010 - Milwaukee, WI
View Now

with Chris Papst
02.27.2010 - Madison, WI
View Now

with Amy DuPont
02.05.2010 - La Crosse, WI
View Now

with Mark Concannon
12.21.2009 - Milwaukee, WI
View Now

with Mark Koehn
12.14.2009 - Madison, WI
View Now

with Lisa Malak
12.06.2009 - Green Bay, WI
View Now

with John Pertzborn
11.23.2009 - St. Louis, MO
View Now

with Tracy McCool
07.09.2009 - Cleveland, OH
View Now

with Adam Painter
06.09.2009 - Rockford, IL
View Now

with Sheila Gray
05.19.2009 - Cincinnati, OH
View Now

with Lee Cruse & Dia Davidson
05.18.2009 - Lexington, KY
View Now

with Kelsey Starks
05.17.2009 - Louisville, KY
View Now

with Barbara Vaughn & Roland Beres
04.02.2009 - Madison, WI
View Now

with Catherine Behrendt
02.18.2009 - Grand Rapids, MI
View Now

with Lauren Lowrey & Dan Bumpus
02.17.2009 - Toledo, OH
View Now

with Mark Nolan & Abby Ham
02.17.2009 - Cleveland, OH
View Now

with Keith Jones
02.16.2009 - Pittsburgh, PA
View Now

with Kevin Roy
02.08.2009 - Chicago, IL
View Now

with Melissa McCrady
01.11.2009 - Milwaukee, WI
View Now

The Morning Blend
with Molly Fay & Alison de Castro
01.08.2009 - Milwaukee, WI
View Now

with Carleen Wild
12.16.2008 - Madison, WI
View Now

with Amy DuPont
12.15.2008 - La Crosse, WI
View Now

with Lisa Malak
12.14.2008 - Green Bay, WI
View Part 1 | 2 | 3

To Top


96.3 Star Country
with John & Tammy
12.16.2008 - Madison, WI
Listen Now

WMNF 88.5
with Wackie Jackie
12.14.2008 - Tampa, FL
Listen Now

To Top


And a one, and a two...

Uncle Mike brought his accordion for “Pint-sized Polka" to the Le Sueur Library recently.

Shhhh went out out the window at the Le Sueur Public Library on July 15 when Uncle Mike brought his accordion for “Pint-sized Polka.”
Maestro Mike mixed music with trivia, books and occupations, giving his audience an opportunity to learn and dance to that bavarian beat.

- Le Sueur News Herald, by Paul M. Malchow
07.21.11 - Le Sueur, MN

To Top

Column: Week kicks off with smiles and just gets better

This column is probably going to sound like a Facebook post or a lot of Twitter tweets strung together, but it does all fit into the Optimist Creed, especially the part that says give "every living creature you meet a smile." I want to tell you about my July 4 holiday week.

It all started on July 1, when I traveled to the Portage County Public Library in Stevens Point to watch "Uncle Mike Presents Pint Size Polkas" by Mike Schneider of Milwaukee. About 80 youngsters ranging in age from 2 to 8 years watched, listened and took part while Uncle Mike played polka music for them. I've know about Mike and his Pint Size Polka programs for a while, but this was the first chance I had to watch him present his program.

You talk about giving smiles -- Mike smiles all the time. He is upbeat, happy and a lot of fun. The way Mike was able to reach these kids through music was amazing. Seeing the kids having so much fun was the perfect start to my holiday week.

Then the rest of that weekend, including July 4, was spent at home getting many things crossed off of the to-do list, and I was back to work on Tuesday and Wednesday. My grandson Henry came to visit on my days off during the remainder of the week.

Henry is the son of my son, Clay, and his wife, Christine. They live in Minnesota, so that means Grandpa and Grandma Pufahl haven't seen him nearly as much as we would want. We took Henry to the concert on The 400 Block on July 6 and celebrated Henry's second birthday July 7.

The birthday celebration found everyone smiling a lot. We were smiling at Henry, waiting for that huge return smile from him. We were smiling just watching him and all the cute things he did and said. And I know that all the smiling made for a fantastic holiday week for me.

- Everest Herald, by Charlie Pfahl
07.13.11 - Wausau, WI

To Top

Kids learn as they dance

BLUE EARTH - They did the "Chicken Dance" and the "Hokey Pokey," learned about lumberjacks and railroads, and found out bits of Minnesota trivia, all mixed to the bouncy polka beat of Mike Schneider's accordion.

Schneider, of Milwaukee, visited the Blue Earth Community Library and Winnebago's municipal building Tuesday with his "Pint Size Polka" show, which nearly 50 kids and a number of adults attended.

Flips-flops flew off in Blue Earth and grins stretched wide in Winnebago as the kids danced energetically. Little ones barely old enough to walk toddled among the dancers, watching the moves and even trying some themselves.

On Thursday, Schneider will visit the Fairmont library at 1 p.m. and the Trimont library at 4 p.m. The program is sponsored by the Traverse des Sioux Regional Library System and is funded by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. It is free and open to all ages.

Polka music started in the 1800s and moved west with the immigrants, Schneider said.

"By the 1940s, polka music was almost as popular as Hannah Montana is now," he said.

He played "Occupations, Jobs and Careers" in which he had one of the kids wear a hat and the others guess who would wear such a hat. When the kids guessed railroad conductor, Schneider played "I've Been Working on the Railroad" and told them the first commercially successful internal combustion engine locomotive in the United States was made in Minnesota by General Electric.

That was something that Tyler Scott, 10, said he learned.

"I liked all of it," he added.

The best part for Terry Moore, 9, was singing "EIEIO" which Schneider turned into a contest between the right and left side of the room.

Schneider picked kids out of the audience to help demonstrate the dances, like "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" and, in Blue Earth, kids got a video lesson about how to dance the polka.

Malarie Scholtes, 11, liked learning the polka. Malorie Huber, 11, and Julia Hanson, 11, said their favorite part was playing "Name That Tune." Cassie Peterson, 11, liked the "Chicken Dance."

The girls said they learned things too.

"I didn't know the most popular airport," Hanson said.

"Who invented the first train engine," Huber said.

Scholtes and Peterson said they learned how to polka.

"I want it to be here next year," Scholtes added and the other girls agreed, but Hanson had a request.

"I want him to play the accordion with a bass guitar and learn the 'Cotton-Eyed Joe,'" she said.

That's the kind of enthusiasm Schneider wants the kids to catch.

"I'd like to build a few lifelong polka fans in the process of playing these programs," Schneider said.

He picked up the accordion at age 6 and was playing church festivals 10 years later. He had noticed the reaction of children to the toe-tapping music, but it wasn't until his wife, Heather, suggested playing for kids that he considered it.

He promoted the show, got some TV exposure, and a librarian called. His performances have grown from nine libraries to an interstate traveling show that includes Minnesota, Indiana and Missouri. Schneider has even been to Georgia. Although the children down there have not been exposed to polka music, "they loved it," he said.

"There are a number of benefits," Schneider said of the show.

Among them: Kids learn about the alphabet, numbers, occupations, personal hygiene, some regional culture and, of course, polka music.

"I want them to have education they can take home with them and develop a lifelong love of polka," he said.

- Fairmont Sentinel, by Jodelle Greiner
07.13.11 - Fairmont, MN

To Top

Kids will enjoy tonight’s Concert in the Park, “The Pint Size Polka Band”

Tonight at Memorial Park Bandshell in St. James , Mike Schneider, “Uncle Mike” and his “Pint Size Polka Band” will appear in concert at 7:00pm. This is a concert with the kids in mind. “My vision is to help children and their families discover the good, clean fun that you will experience with polka music,” writes Mike Schneider. “From Pint Size Polkas Volume One , songs like the Alphabet Polka, the Number Schottische, and Tiny Bubbles in the Tub are sure to create an environment that’s both educational and entertaining at the same time, inspiring children to be excited about learning.”

Schneider recounts of how he first heard polka music from America’s King of Polka, Frankie Yankovic, “As a child the music’s bouncy beat drew me in, leaving an impression that will last a lifetime.” Schneider believes polka music is the happiest form of music on the face of the earth.
The Pint Size Polka Band travels have taken the group to such places as Cleveland, Ohio for Tony Petkovseks’ annual Thanksgiving Weekend Polka Party, to the Caribbean for a Polka Cruize, Octoberfest in New Ulm, Minnesota, plus Summerfest and Rainbow Summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The Polka Band has received plenty of recognition, winning the Wisconsin Polka Hall of Fame’s Horizon Award in 1997. The band has appeared on television’s ‘s Today’s Daybreak Show and The Food Network for Food Nation with Bobby Flay.

Ice Cream will be served following the concert by The Friends of the Library. Concerts in the Park are made available by a grant provided by the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council from the MN Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund as appropriated by the MN State Legislature with money from the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

- St. James Plaindealer, by Wayne Fritzinger
07.13.11 - St. James, MN

To Top

Column: Suggestions on how to live the Optimist Creed

I've been asked in the past to give people examples of some of the tenets of the Optimist Creed.

For example, a while ago someone asked if you really had to smile all the time in order to follow the tenet that says "to wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile."
I had to think a bit before I answered, but I said something like, "Yes. To follow it exactly, you would have to." At least whenever you are around anyone else, you would have to be smiling.

Then I thought about it some more and decided that in a broad sense, anyone would be following that tenet if they did things that made people happy, even if it wasn't giving a direct smile to someone. And a lot of people are doing just that.

The Green Bay Packers certainly made a lot of people happy by winning the NFC Championship and the chance to compete in the Super Bowl. What about others? Are they out there and, what are they doing to follow that tenet, at least in a broad sense, by making people happy?

One example I can think of is a man named Mike Schneider of the Milwaukee area. Schneider is a musician and has his own regular adult polka band, but he is also known as Uncle Mike of another band, "Uncle Mike and his Polka Band." Uncle Mike's band plays polkas for kids in libraries and schools mainly in southern Wisconsin. They have two kids' polka CDs available called "Pint Size Polkas."

Schneider says his mission is to provide an entertaining and educational musical experience for children and their families. Children of all ages can learn about the alphabet, numbers, careers, the benefits of drinking milk, personal hygiene and even a fancy new dance step or two. And by just reading the titles of many of the songs you know they are educational. Songs like "Scrub, Scrub Scrub," "Alphabet Polka" and "Please and Thank You."

No matter how young a child is, I'm convinced when they listen to Uncle Mike's Polka band they become happy and begin to smile. I gave Volume II to my 18-month-old grandson, Henry, and his dad, Clay, tells me that when they listen to it Henry is all smiles and even starts dancing to the music. And why not? With a snappy polka beat, it is sure to put a smile on anyone's face, young or old. So even without being there in person I'd say Uncle Mike is certainly following the Optimist Creed tenet.

- Everest Herald, by Charlie Pfahl
02.05.11 - Wausau, WI

To Top

Just for Kids: Musician finds success introducing polka music to a whole new generation

Ever since he heard his father play the accordion and later began tapping his toes to the tunes of Frankie Yankovic and other polka legends, Mike Schneider dreamed of becoming a polka musician. Little did he know at the time, however, what trajectory that dream would ultimately take.

Several decades later Schneider has found the audience for the music he’s always sought to play, albeit in generations far younger than he ever imagined.

Two years ago Schneider released his first CD, titled “Pint Size Polkas,” and recently followed up that debut with the aptly-named, “Pint Size Polkas Two: Dance!”

Catering the polka music he loves to the younger generation is something he had never considered, Schneider said, and credits his wife, Heather, for getting the ball rolling. She suggested the idea after reading about a popular children’s performer known as “Mr. Stinky Feet” and later watching the children’s show “The Wiggles” with their child and seeing how popular the music-centric characters were.

“All of a sudden the wheels started turning in her head, she gave me a call and said, ‘You know, you probably think I’m crazy, but you should do a children’s polka CD,’” he said. “She had the name and everything in that same phone call.”

Schneider freely admits that he was remiss in having not seen the connection children have with polka music for himself until his wife mentioned it.

“I’ve been playing festivals now for more than 15 years for the seniors and the adult population and (had) always seen little kid’s reactions – they always jumped around to the music and loved it,” he said. “But I just never put the two together that I should do a children’s CD.”

After gathering a collection on existing polkas and reworking the lyrics – as well as creating original scores – Schneider released “Pint Size Polkas Volume One” two years ago.

Promoting the first CD heavily, Schneider made the rounds to just about every library in western Racine County last year as part of the Story Wagon program and elsewhere around the Midwest, performing the tunes it contained for the libraries children’s programs.

“Burlington was one of the first libraries I ever played,” Schneider said.

His own love of polka music washed over him at a young age. Schneider explained that his father, Paul, was an avid accordion player and that polka music was a staple in the family’s home.

“Probably when I was 2 or 3, he’d pull the accordion out of the closet and he’d play a little bit, which kind of planted the seed,” he said. “When my parents took me to hear Frankie Yankovic when I was about five, that’s what really kind of ignited the spark.”

After seeing and hearing the joyful noise that could be produced by a squeezebox, Schneider was prompted to ask his parents for one of his own.

“I convinced them within a couple of months to get me an accordion,” he said.

A graphic designer by trade, Schneider continued to play polka music in his spare time but began to question whether that dream of becoming a published polka musician would ever become a reality.

The reception of his children’s polka music – witnessed both through positive sales of his CDs as well as seeing the response children have to the songs when he plays them live – have ultimately erased any doubt about where his musical career was headed.

“That’s probably the biggest surprise,” he said of his newfound career. “My goal has always been to perform music for a living, but I didn’t realize how quickly it could happen.”

The novelty of a musician catering polka music to a younger generation has generated quite a bit of attention for Schneider, as he’s been featured on Chicago television stations several times.

“It’s a micro-niche market,” he said, explaining the popularity of his music. “It’s something that’d never been done before and I think that’s what’s made it really attractive to a lot of the media places and also to the places I perform, because it’s such a one-of-a-kind thing.”

He has also performed both at the Wisconsin State Fair and Summerfest events.

While the popularity of the polka is well-documented in the Midwest, Schneider recently booked a 32-event tour that will take him down south to various libraries throughout Georgia next year.

Besides the importance of having a toe-tapping beat, Schneider carefully selects and crafts songs so that there’s some educational value or an important message in each.

“On the new CD, I have brand new, original songs about personal hygiene, manners and all kinds of good concepts that kids can get good things out of,” he said. “Either I’m teaching them about occupations, the alphabet or numbers because I really do feel it’s important to provide a good amount of education with entertainment.”

It’s through listening to the music that the children are then able to learn those specific lessons through a sort of osmosis process, which, Schneider said, oftentimes is the best and easiest way to learn.

“They’re enjoying what they’re listening to and they don’t even realize that they’re getting educated,” he said. “When you don’t know your learning, that’s when you’re learning your best.”

While incorporating some of his own creations on the CDs, Schneider has also included some classic polka tunes.

“The Alphabet Polka is a perfect fit for a kids CD, but for some reason it was written with adults in mind,” he said. “That thing’s been around for 50 years and it just made a perfect fit.”

In some cases, using the tried-and-true polka tunes requires Schneider to tweak the lyrics to make them adaptable to the younger set.

“Some of them are really not much of a tweak at all and with others, I rewrote the lyrics completely,” he said.

In addition to providing clarity as to just how he was supposed to apply his talent for playing polka music, the “Pint Size Polkas” CDs have also provided Schneider with the hope that the style of music will continue to be carried on by future generations.

“It’s been around since the mid-1800s and has gone through different styles and adaptations, so it’s a timeless thing,” he said. “If I’m inspiring a kid to enjoy polka music the way I did when I was 5 years old and am planting those same seeds, you just never know where it’s going to go.”

The positive feedback he’s gotten from parents and children who have heard the music or purchased one of his CDs, Schneider said, has encouraged him to continue making music that will likely appear on future “Pint Size Polkas” CDs.

“I get feedback that really makes me think I’m moving in the right direction here,” he said. “The response from principals, librarians and event coordinators has been a fantastic thing.”

Among the ideas Schneider has tinkered with is creating a Christmas CD for next year full of child-geared polkas.

In the meantime, his bookings and appearances slated for 2011 have resulted in the music becoming a full-time profession for Schneider.

While optimistic that there would be a market for his music upon releasing his first CD, Schneider admits that he never fathomed it would take off in the fashion it has.

“I had tremendously high hopes for it, but of course you just never know,” he said. “I really had no idea and it (the reaction’s) been great.”

As for what it is about polka music that captures the energy and attention of children, Schneider said it’s the joyful nature of the music that they can relate to.

“It’s just such happy music,” he said. “You can hardly go to a polka event and not have a smile on your face.”

Schneider’s music can be purchased either by logging onto his website or can be downloaded digitally through iTunes.

In addition to making appearances at libraries and other gatherings, Schneider has also performed at children’s birthday parties. Those seeking to book him for such an event are encouraged to contact him via his website.

- Franklin/Hales Corners Citizen, interviewed by Mark Dudzik
12.09.10 - Franklin and Hales Corners, WI

This article also printed in
- Muskego Chronicle
12.09.10 - Muskego, WI

- Burlington Standard Press
12.09.10 - Burlington, WI

- Westine Report
12.10.10 - Union Grove, WI

- Waterford Post
12.10.10 - Waterford, WI

Pint Size Polkas help Make-A-Wish

Through Christmas, Uncle Mike and his Polka Band will donate $2 from every Pint Size Polkas Volume One CD sale made to Wisconsin residents via to Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin. Customers will be able to download a free MP3 copy of the "Jingle Bells Polka" featuring Uncle Mike and his Polka Band with their purchase.

Pint Size Polkas CDs and live performances are designed to entertain children while providing education on concepts like the alphabet, numbers, occupations, relationships, personal hygiene and foreign language -- all through the happy sounds of polka music. Uncle Mike and his Polka Band, from Milwaukee, have been invited to appear on newscasts and talk shows on 17 major network television affiliates in seven states.

The Wisconsin chapter of Make-A-Wish Foundation was founded in 1984, and more than 3,600 families statewide can attest to the power of a wish. The chapter's field office, located in Appleton, opened in 1996 to better serve children and their families in northeastern Wisconsin. Last year, the chapter granted a record-breaking 289 wishes.

- Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
12.10.09 - Wisconsin Rapids, WI

This article also printed in
- Marshfield News Herald
12.11.09 - Marshfield, WI

- Stevens Point Journal
12.11.09 - Stevens Point, WI

To Top

A Different View

On Tuesday, the McMillan Memorial Library provided another evening of top-notch entertainment, this time, it was polka music for children. Hosts Uncle Mike and Lumberjack Doug gave a good performance of this jolly music on their accordion and banjo, while children (and a few adults!) danced in the aisles. With their Pint Sized Polka educational inserts shown on a video screen, they taught the children about accordion manufacture, polka history, and a little about lumberjacking. As with most of our Library events, this was totally free, and this week's concert is eagerly anticipated.

- The Voice, by David Farmbrough
10.19.09 - Wisconsin Rapids, WI

To Top

Local polka fan, Wisconsin accordionist
bringing the music to a new generation

Ryan Krygier is the first to admit that when he goes to polka concerts around Grand Rapids, most people in the audience are, well, a little older than he is. At 33, he's usually the youngest one there - unless you count the musicians' grandkids.

But Krygier, who is active in the local Polish community and also writes a column for a publication called "Polka Times," is out to change that.

Krygier works with junior kindergarten and kindergarten students at Sacred Heart of Jesus School, where he is an unpaid staff member. Recently he organized a special appearance at the school by Mike Schneider, who is touring the nation promoting his new CD for kids, "Pint Size Polkas."

Schneider has already recorded several polka CDs with the Mike Schneider Band, and has won numerous awards in his home state of Wisconsin. But "Pint Size Polkas" is his first foray into music for children.

And his appearance at Sacred Heart last month was his debut performance before an audience made up solely of pint-size fans.

Students in the school's junior kindergarten through third grade attended the show, learning new steps to the chicken dance and interacting with Schneider and the various props he brought along. Schneider played all 15 songs from the CD, including "Tiny Bubbles in the Tub" and a "polkafied" version of "I've Been Working on the Railroad."

He also brought out a U.S. map to show the kids all the cities where he'd stopped to promote the CD, taught them the German words to the polka "Ein Milch," and let them try pushing the buttons on his accordion.

"I wanted to do something that was fun for the kids, but at the same time had educational value," he said.

Schneider said he had always noticed while performing that kids just seem to like polka. "There's something about polka music that lends itself really well to children, whether it's the message the lyrics carry or the happy beat itself," he said. But it was his wife, Heather, who came up with the idea of a polka CD for children, he said.

The CD was released in November, so he has just started putting together his show for children, he said. In addition to the music, the show touches on subjects like the alphabet, numbers, occupations, personal hygiene, and a foreign language.

But he also hopes to teach kids to embrace their talents and not be afraid to share them with the world, he said.

Schneider was making stops throughout the Midwest last month to appear on television and radio news shows. Krygier said he saw in a newsletter that one of those appearances would be in Grand Rapids. Although he had never met or spoken with Schneider, he didn't hesitate to contact him.

"I said 'You're going to be 15 minutes from my school - please come to my school," Krygier said. "What Mike Schneider has done with his project is wonderful. He's trying to bring polka music to the younger generation, which is what I try to do."

When he got up to introduce Schneider to the students, Krygier told them exactly what was going on in his mind.

"I've brought something before you today that I love, which is polka music, and the other thing I have my heart into is you kids," he said. "I've brought together the two things in this world that mean a lot to me."

- Northwest Advance, by Sheila McGrath
03.02.09 - Grand Rapids, MI

To Top

Uncle Mike and His Polka Band
Pint Size Polkas Vol. One

Considering the good vibes that polka seems to naturally engender, it's something of a wonder that the children's market hasn't been further exploited. Milwaukee bandleader/radio announcer Mike Schneider goes a long way in remedying that with Pint Size Polkas. The polka, waltz and schottische material sounds musically authentic to the Slovenian-American style Schneider proffers outside of his guise as Uncle Mike, replete with banjo to accompany Schneider's accordion.

Ditties about drinking milk, recognizing numbers and taking naps may be especially geared toward junior ears, but some of the numbers are obvious repertoire favorites for audiences of any age. Schneider truly does sound like a doting uncle wanting to bring some ethnic culture and amusement to his nieces and nephews. The only thing that could improve future volumes would be the addition of background voices from Uncle Mike's target demographic.

- Shepherd Express, reviewed by Jamie Lee Rake

02.22.09 - Milwaukee, WI

To Top

'Mom, there's nothing to do'
Books, music, movies and more for when you have to stay indoors

In the liner notes to his band's first children's CD, Milwaukee's Mike Schneider admits that as a kid he fell in love with polka music "at first sound." Now he's hoping to introduce a new generation of young people to the genre with the 29-minute first volume of Pint Size Polkas.

These songs (a combination of originals and Frankie Yankovic tunes) should put a bounce in your offspring. After all, many of them are built around already-familiar lyrics. There's the "Alphabet Polka" and an accordion-fueled version of "I've Been Working on the Railroad," plus "Numbers Schottische" and "Tiny Bubbles in the Tub" (which borrows from the song Don Ho made famous, while also reinforcing the importance of good hygiene).

One listen to Pint Size Polkas can make for wholesome family fun. Repeat spins, however, may convince non-polka-minded parents that it really is okay to let their toddlers dance around the living room by themselves. (Mike Schneider will perform at the Essen Haus on Feb. 21 and 27.)

- Isthmus newspaper, reviewed by Michael Popke

02.06.09 - Green Bay, WI

To Top

Polka musician tunes kids into 'happy music'
Mike Schneider still gets goose pimples when he thinks about falling hopelessly in love with the accordion and the joyous sounds of polka music at the tender age of 5.

The occasion was a church picnic where America’s reigning polka king, Frankie Yankovic, was holding court with his Baldoni accordion.

“The idea was I was going to go on the rides and my parents were going to listen to Frankie Yankovic, but I got into the music tent and heard the first note and I was hooked,” said Schneider, a 29-year-old Milwaukee area native. “That’s actually the day I knew I was going to play the accordion.”

Largely self-taught, Schneider has been performing Yankovic’s Slovenian-style polka music in public since middle school, and has gone on to be considered one of the great hopes in keeping polka alive. While he’s certainly up to the task, Schneider recently realized there was a whole other market for polka music that he had been overlooking, even though it was part of his own roots.

“I have played church festivals throughout the state for many years,” he said. “I have always seen parents bring little kids into the tent. Invariably, the kids will be jumping up and down. They love the music, but I never made the connection to do a CD in all those years, even though the answer was standing right before me.”

Adopting the name Uncle Mike, Schneider recently released Pint Size Polkas: Volume One, a 15-tune CD of what Schneider describes as “the happiest form of music on the face of the earth.”

“I remember feeling overwhelmingly happy when I heard polka as a child,” he said, “and that’s become our slogan – Pint Size Polkas: We’re bringing happy back. That’s what it’s all about and that’s what it was for me when I was 5. I still get tingles up and down the spine thinking about it.”

But even though his polka roots go back to childhood, Schneider said it was his wife, Heather, who came up with the idea of a polka CD for children

“Well, yeah, duh…it was a great idea,” Schneider said. “About two years ago while we were still dating, she gave me a call. The idea came to her to do a children’s polka CD. In the same call she had the title for the CD and everything. I was very grateful to hear that from her.”

Assembling a children’s polka CD forced Schneider to think about his own early love for the music.

“The project really did make me think about my own polka roots,” he said. “In fact, one of the songs on the CD is ‘The Happy Wanderer.’ That’s one of the first songs I remember hearing Frankie Yankovic playing live. So remembering the feeling I had when I was a kid, I want to give it back, either giving the kids a lifelong love of polka music or just giving them a lot of fun and education.”

The songs on Pint Size Polka range from polka favorites (Yankovic’s “Whoop Polka”) to reworkings of children’s classics (“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”) to Schneider originals (“Parents Polka”) to kid-friendly rewrites of adult polkas (“Ein Milch”).

“It was amazing to me when I first started this project how kid friendly polka already was,” Schneider said. “It’s such an inherently happy music that I think the children’s market is perfect for it.”

And the response has been amazing, Schneider said.

“I heard from a daycare in South Dakota where they had to record the CD to tape because every time they played the CD, the kids would dance so hard the CD would skip,” he said.

Volume II is a couple years down the road, Schneider said, which begs the question, when you are in a niche market such as polka, aren’t you worried about becoming even more of a niche artist with children’s polka music?

“I wouldn’t mind that niche,” he said. “I will continue to do traditional polka as well, but the stronger a niche you can create, the better off you’re going to be in the long run in terms of selling product and making a market happy. I think if I’m creating that niche for myself, that’s fine with me.”

You can order Pint Size Polkas at Schneider’s website,

- The Scene newspaper, interview by Jim Lundstrom
02.02.09 - Fox Valley, Central Wisconsin, and Lakeshore editions

To Top

Start 'em young: 'Pint size Polkas'
If you're a polka fan looking for a stocking stuffer for the kids, there's something new that may fill the bill. Milwaukee polka musician Mike Schneider recently released his first children's polka CD, "Pint Size Polkas Volume One" ($11.99). The 15 songs include some that are educational and entertaining, such as "Alphabet Polka," "Numbers Schottische" and "Tiny Bubbles in the Tub." Others are just for fun, including the familiar "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "The Happy Wanderer" and "Hey Baba Reba." Schneider, 29, says he heard his first polka music at age 5, played by Frankie Yankovic, "America's Polka King." He credits his wife, Heather, with coming up with the "Pint Size Polka" concept. A song sampler is at, where a video of "Jolly Lumberjack Polka" may be seen as well. Schneider has traveled throughout the Midwest and eastern Caribbean with his band.

- Press-Gazette
12.09.08 - Green Bay, WI

This article also printed in
- Marshfield News Herald
02.01.09 - Marshfield, WI

- The Sheboygan Press
02.01.09 - Sheboygan, WI

- Stevens Point Journal
02.01.09 - Stevens Point, WI

- Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
02.01.09 - Wisconsin Rapids, WI

To Top


Review: Pint Size Polkas Volume Two CD

Polka is the official dance of Wisconsin and unofficial music of this fine state. However, not being a native of Wisconsin, I have never really understood the dairy state's fascination with it. So, when a request came in to review a CD called Pint Size Polkas I had serious reservations. The smart aleck in me tried to ignore this record. The critic/cynic in me wanted to hate it. Yet, I don’t. Here’s why:

I picked up my daughter from daycare and put Pint Size Polkas in my CD player and proceeded to see my daughter dance in her car seat for the entire 20 minute drive home. That alone has earned this CD into regular rotation. This may not be my type of music but it definitely won over my daughter pretty quickly. It was a friendly reminder that kids music is for her, not me, despite me enjoying a lot of kids music.

Pint Size Polkas is the brain child of Mike Schneider (although he credits his wife for giving him the idea) and a couple of his friends who perform under the name, Uncle Mike and his Polka Band. Pint Size Polkas: Volume Two is a collection of original “Alphabetical Order In The Court” and traditional “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes“ kids music. It's an album full of energy that clocks in at 30 minutes. The longest song is barely 3 minutes long.

So consider me won over on the Polka record, I'm a convert. I sure didn’t expect to be.

- Reviewed by Dan Walsh of
11.19.10 -

To Top

Review: Pint Size Polkas Volume One CD
You want happy? You got it! In this uncertain economic climate, everyone needs to slow down, take a cleansing breath, and crank up a polka album! And Uncle Mike has just the one for you and your family: Pint Size Polkas gets the party started and doesn't let up until the accordions come home.

The Mike Schneider Band have recorded five albums of polka music for grownups, and Pint Size Polkas is their first CD for kids. The album includes familiar tunes like "The Happy Wanderer," "The Chicken Dance," a re-written "Tiny Bubbles in the Tub," and "I've Been Working on the Railroad," as well as a couple of classics by Polka King Frankie Yankovic.

But the fun doesn't stop there: check out the can't-be-missed "Teach Me How to Yodel," the awesome sing-along "Hey Baba Reba," and the bottle-hoisting "Ein Milch," which may be the best drinking song for kids ever recorded. You can also get in some letter and number practice with "Alphabet Polka" and "Numbers Schottische," then enjoy the "Jolly Lumberjack Polka," already a hit on YouTube.

Tons of fun for young and old!

- Reviewed by Warren Truitt, Senior Children's Librarian
The New York Public Library

03.11.09 -

To Top

Review: Pint Size Polkas Volume One CD
Last fall I was contacted by a very loyal reader* who said her husband had produced a music CD for children. She asked if I would consider reviewing it and giving a couple away to my readers.

What kind of music was it? Polkas for kids.


I know, the only two polkas I even vaguely know are the "roll out the barrel" song from Zoom (geez, am I showing my age there?) and hearing The Chicken Dance at many a wedding. But Buddy and Princess love music-and Yankee Bill's father grew up in Northern PA and grew up dancing and listening to Polkas all his life**, so even though I don't do a lot of reviews I decided to give it a shot.

It also didn't hurt that I love to be able to give something away to you guys.

But then life intervened-and here it is March and I am very embarrassed to just be getting around to conducting the review. Sigh.

Pint Sized Polkas retails for $11.98 and contains 15 fun and educational children's songs. You can head on over to their website to listen to the songs (just click on "music"). From the website:

"Children of all ages will learn about the alphabet, numbers, careers, the benefits of drinking milk, personal hygiene and even a fancy new dance step or two! Put the fun of polka together with great education..."

I wasn't sure how my kids would like polka music.

One of Buddy's (age 5) favorite songs is "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" by John Denver, which is full of bouncy, happy banjo music. Since Polka music is happy music-have you ever heard a sad polka?-I figured there was a pretty good chance that Buddy would like it.

Princess (age 7) on the other hand seems to be desperate to become a preteen as soon as possible and adores Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers and The Cheetah Girls. I was laying even odds that she'd just turn up her nose.

The first day I had the music on Princess wandered through the room and commented on the "weird" music. The next day I asked Buddy to hang out with me and listen to the CD. Princess came in while it was playing and wound up sticking around just to listen. Their comments?

Buddy: It's good. Can I keep the CD up in my room?

Princess: I think it's cool. I started thinking it was silly, but the more I listened to it the more I liked it. It made me laugh-it was really funny music. I really think that this is pretty cool music but it is pretty funny, and any moms with kids-the kids will probably like it.***

They proceeded to listen to the entire CD twice through. They played the Chicken Dance alone about 4 times.

So yes, I would recommend this CD for someone looking for some happy, fun music for their kids.

What, you don't have money in the budget to spend on children's CDs? That's ok, we understand. Lucky for you I have 2 copies of "Pint Sized Polkas" to give away to readers! If you are interested in winning a copy, just leave a comment with a way to contact you. If you have a twitter account you can get a second entry by tweeting a link to the drawing and then coming back here and leaving another commnet letting me know about it.

The drawing closes on Sunday at 12 Noon EST, and I will be randomly drawing 2 names and posting them by 5pm.

If you don't win the contest :( and are interested in buying a copy of Pint Sized Polkas-buy it through one of the links here on this post-Uncle Mike will waive the shipping & handling fee.

*Note: Really - this wasn't just a PR person who read 2 posts and tried to pretend they knew what was going on.

**Note: The only song that my FIL danced to at our wedding was a polka. Up till the day he died, every Sunday morning he would listen to a local radio station's special once a week polka show.

***Note: I did not tell her to say that! She's a born saleswoman that one.

- Reviewed by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate,
one of Walmart's Elevenmoms
(more info)
03.05.09 -

To Top

Music Videos About
Home | Events | Music | Videos | About | Free Stuff
Have a Pint Size Polkas program at your Library | School

Facebook | YouTube | Contact
Links | Newsletter |


© 2008-2011 Mike Schneider. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Mike Schneider Designs.