In 1996, when this idea started scratching at my brain, I was impatient to see clearly down the path I was headed. I knew I wanted to visit preschool classrooms and share songs. I was also pretty clueless on how exactly I was going to do this. My experience at the point was simply that magic happened when I brought my guitar into the classroom while I was teaching preschool. I learned a lot from each preschool setting I taught at, from the first home daycare to the "drop-off" center (located in a shopping mall) to two childcare centers. I learned the pattern of a good 20 minute music time. I learned the power of the "stamp" (giving each child a stamp on their wrist when I was finished). I learned the joy that comes when teachers enjoy the music as much as the kiddos. That was a pretty fine bubble to get some confidence and a strong taste for what I longed for, to just make music with kiddos.
When I left the preschools to seek out my own new adventure, I left the security of working for a boss. I also felt a bit constricted working for someone else as my vision didn't always meet theirs. I was a creative spirit. While I had great bosses, I felt very restricted by demands of caring for other peoples children for 8-10 hours a day. I was not the best version of myself. So I took the chance, I broke the mold and started out on a new adventure.
I decided to seek out the help of those around me that were walking a similar path. A few were kind enough to share marketing tips, share music ideas and share enthusiasm. I went to my local library, I presented at a local Head Start Conference. I took the chance of having a good friend gently guide me to try out my first weekly program. I gathered songs, I wrote a few too. Mostly, I listened and learned from my dear husband. He worked in contract services for a local big computer company and understood the business end of offering services. He guided me, made me make the cold calls, write the letters, make the brochures, plan the schedule and set up pricing. Once things took off, he helped with these tasks, then slowly let me take the reins and learn with lumps along the way.
Within a year, I had about a dozen programs that had regular Music Lady visits, I presented at my first library and they asked me back, I had presented workshops at a couple of child care conferences and I was getting my feet wet!
What is the conclusion? I thought that when I made the move from singing in bars to caring for young children in preschool, I had found my dream job. Turns out, it wasn't the dream I had hoped, but rather a gateway from darkness to light. The difference of working from the night shift to the early morning was change enough, but I still had a big desire to nurture my creative side.
I had watched some TV show that had a guy playing guitar come and visit an in-home daycare. A big fire began to burn inside of me to wonder if that could really happen in real life. I dreamt about it, prayed about it, doubted myself, then finally said it out loud to a co-worker. "If I could figure out how to sing for kids and get paid for it, I'd do it." It took me a year after saying that to say it again to my husband and a little while after that to leave my job as a teacher. This idea that scratched at my brain, seeped into my heart and wouldn't let go. With a lot of guidance and a little luck and ton of busting my comfort zone, I've found a home here. I'm certainly glad of that!