Stay-at-home moms and dads making music

Making Music for the Joy of It

In her book Making Music for the Joy Of It, Stephanie Judy writes about music making from many angles. On the back cover it says it’s a guide for adult beginning and amateur musicians. After reading it, I would say much of it applies to full time, professional musicians as well.

In one brief section, she outlines some tips for stay at home moms and dads who have a hard time finding time to practice. I think these apply to songwriters as well, just substitute the word ‘songwriting’ whenever you see ‘practicing’ or ‘playing.’

Here’s a sampling.

1. Be philosophical. Realize that this is a time in your life when you probably won’t make great musical strides.

2. Be prepared. Keep your instrument (pencil) as handy as possible so you can play even for very brief intervals. One mother moved her piano into the kitchen.

3. Be a little crazy and inventive. Play in the bathroom while your young one is in the tub. (The acoustics are fantastic!)

4. Hire a helper. Have a neighborhood youngster come over every day to do something with your child that you’d never do – finger paint, make mud pies, splash in a sprinkler – anything so irresistible that it will buy you an hour of practice time.

5. Trade off. Alternate childcare sessions with another parent and reserve this time for practice.

6. Do something new. Learn to play accompaniments on the piano or guitar. Even if you’ve never played these instruments before, you can learn very quickly how to accompany simple songs with basic chords. Old MacDonald, Twinkle, Twinkle and Mary Had a Little Lamb are still
appealing, even to the Star Wars generation of pre-schoolers. Doing this will not only entertain your youngsters, it will allow them into your world of music (at their level) and it broadens your music appreciation,
too.

7. Try music making in a group setting. Young children who are upset by a parent’s practicing at home are sometimes more at ease away from home, with the novelty of a new setting and new faces. Lynelle Inwood took six month old Alicia to a gospel music workshop: “She had never been so quiet for so long. For two hours she sat there totally
mesmerized.”

Bringing together your kids and your music is good for the kids and good for you. Even though part time songwriters will see decreased time in which to write (not to mention diminished energy), the experience of raising kids will be good for your creativity in the long run.

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One Response to “Stay-at-home moms and dads making music”

  1. sfrack Says:

    I LOVE this post, especially bringing the piano to the kitchen and bathroom! haha
    I am a music teacher/piano teacher and wanted so much for my kids to appreciate art. I had an easel in the kitchen and bath crayons in the tub! Needless to say, my kids ended up lousy in art, but great musicians! haha

    Please check out my music site. sfrack.wordpress.com I write about teaching and parenting music students.

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