Judy and Music

judy playing music and singing.

As a child I did not appreciate having a music teacher for a mother! She ensured that all of her daughters learned piano. I did well with it, but resented the hours of required practice. At age 11, I also had a year of accordion lessons from a German music director of a local church. 

When I turned 16, Mom allowed me a choice, and I quickly quit music lessons! (I was far more interested in boyfriends and other pursuits!) But looking back from a mature vantage point, I’m ever so grateful for the gift of music my mother gave me. At age 92, she still plays violin at a weekly jam that I lead, and performs on some of the songs I write and record. I’m thankful for all the music we’ve shared. 
After quitting piano, I spent many years away from music—working and raising children. When the children were older, I joined our church handbell choir, and began playing piano again. At some point I taught myself to play the large organ in our church, and also learned bass guitar and joined the worship band. 
While on a sightseeing trip to New York City, I spotted an upstairs accordion shop and persuaded my husband to go in. When I picked up an accordion and still remembered the bass buttons, my wonderful husband bought the instrument, which he had to carry thru the streets and subways to our hotel! Back home, I was welcomed into a harmonica group at the local senior center, and also performed in an accordion group that played at festivals and events. These experiences provided years of valuable music experience and wonderful friendships with other musicians. 
Another building block of my musicianship was the experience of developing and managing a rock band for my young son. At age 8 he was a performer in a professional children’s group. Several years later he left that group to start his own band. I worked with his guitar teacher to find band members, and supervised their training. I played keyboard on stage with the kids—hiding behind a big banner so that people wouldn’t see that an adult was holding the music together! We were hired to play at festivals, county fairs, private parties, etc. Doing rock-and-roll music was a learning experience for me, and taught me a lot about chord progressions, rhythm, etc. 
One day a friend gave me an Irish pennywhistle, and later took me to a music festival in Michigan—where I first began to play “by ear.” As a classically trained pianist, I had always relied on sheet music to guide me. But the folks at the old-time festival didn’t use any; and I loved how they played “from the heart” and made up music as they went along! That’s where I began to learn about chords and improvising. 
When my husband and I retired to Florida, I played piano and bass at church. I continued attending the Michigan old-time music festival, and a teacher there taught a technique for writing songs. In fact, each student created a song in that class. I’d always thought that with so much music already in existence, it would be almost impossible to think of something new. But now I realized that songs are born constantly, and that maybe I could write them! At that point I had learned to play ukelele and guitar, but my singing ability was weak. So I took a few voice lessons. When I showed my teacher the song I’d made up in the music class, she loved it and wanted to help me record it! She introduced me to a recording engineer that she used. Thus, my first song entitled “Harriett” (about my mother) was recorded—with my teacher’s jazzy piano accompaniment and back-up vocals. 
Since then I’ve attended other songwriting workshops and classes, and am addicted to songwriting! It’s a joy to create something new, and I also like to make rhymes and write about what’s going on around me. Many of my songs are very personal, but some have topics that other people can relate to and find meaningful. Waking up in early morning with a new song on my mind is both thrilling and challenging. Bringing that song to life involves hard work and persistence—but it’s something I MUST do, something I was created for! I thank God for all the elements that have contributed to my musical journey, and for enabling me to have these experiences. 

I continue to write about people I know, places I go, and thingsI care about …

some light and playful, some fervent and passionate —

expressed in a variety of musical styles.

Driven by a desire to connect with people, I hope that through


some of my experiences and passions will resonate with others.