Andrew Bird was raised on the Suzuki Method of learning music at a young age. By age 7, he was able to play certain Bach and Mozart pieces on the violin by ear. As a kid, he also used to listen to classical music and hum his own songs in his head based on what he heard.
Bird has never written down any of the music or lyrics he's created. He didn't even learn to read sheet music until he was a teenager and had to play in an orchestra. Bird says, "If you have to write it down, it's not worth remembering."
Although Andrew Bird has a Bachelor's degree in violin performance from Northwestern University, the singer says he hated school. He was miserable and didn't get along with his teachers. He says he "can't believe he stuck with it" and says he "took it pretty damn seriously, too." Bird also taught violin for a short time after school but quit because he liked performing more.
Bird made his first instrument at the age of 4. It was an improvised violin made out of a Cracker Jack box and a ruler.
Bird played on three Squirrel Nut Zippers albums, but admits he was never really a core member of the band. In the early 2000s, he told About.com that the swing revival was "a chaotic time to say the least." He added that he was just along for the ride and that Squirrel Nut Zippers eventually exploded and collapsed. Apparently nobody from the band even talks to each other anymore and Bird is glad he never fully joined the group.
Andrew told Pitchfork that touring Europe is "typically chaotic." Bird believes the first issue is flying from country to country on a day's rest. He also says you get hassled all the time because of the amount of gear you have to bring with you. On one European tour, an airline lost all of Bird's gear for over a week, so he was forced to play several shows with rented equipment.
Bird played a small part on the soundtrack to the movie The Muppets. After reading the script, he wrote 4 or 5 songs for the film and went to the studio to record specific parts. In the end, the only thing Bird wrote that ended up on the album was a whistling part that appears in the climax of the movie.