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Laureen Miles Brunelli

No Ukuleles at the Dinner Table!

By February 27, 2011

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Ukulele - UkeBelieve it or not, I actually had to institute a rule in our house banning ukulele playing at mealtimes. The fact that we need such a rule is a parenting triumph for me.

I love music. I have Pandora open in my browser all the time. I reward myself for meeting my work-at-home goals with iTunes gift cards. My teenage daughter burns CD mixes for me like she does for her friends.

I always wanted to live in a home filled with music. But I personally can't play any musical instrument. I didn't learn when I was young, and my attempts to learn as an adult have been sporadic and mostly unsuccessful. So I've been relying on my kids to fill the house with song. And they have obliged, but it wasn't easy getting to this point.

I know the potential pitfall of living vicariously through your kids--making them take the music lessons you never had. And at times I have wondered if I was falling into it when I wouldn't let them quit piano lessons or had to nag them to practice.

But music has a steep learning curve, and kids need  parental motivation in order to gain a basic level of musical proficiency. That has always been my goal for my children--that they would become proficient enough to know whether they enjoy making music. And my hope was then that they would, in fact, enjoy it.

So when my oldest rescued my great-grandmother's ukulele from my grandfather's garage, repaired it, taught herself to play and strummed it so incessantly that it ended up in the banned-at-dinner category--along with cell phones--I knew we had made it.  And in addition to the dear old uke, on any given day, we may have live music from the piano, guitar, recorder, trumpet or clarinet in the house.

So I've been thinking about all this as I was noodling on ideas for contributions to the music-themed All About Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Jackie Burrell, Guide to to Young Adults.

Sure, music is important to me, but what do ukuleles and piano lessons have to do with being a work-at-home mom?

I had to think for a bit before it occurred to me that this musical journey for our family was made possible, in part, by my flexible schedule and work-at-home income. I have written many a blogs at the piano teacher's kitchen table, and I ran a Quicken report that showed we have spent more than $7,000 on music education in the last three years. (Actually, the music lessons go four years further back than my financial records.) If I didn't work at all or I worked in an office, the time and money that extras like music education require would have been more difficult to find.

So for me, a music-filled home home is one of the side benefits of working at home. What about you? What are the best things about working at home? Share your story.

February 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm
(1) Katherine Lewis says:

I need that same rule. My husband got a ukelele and the kids adore it. (We’re also big fans of Pandora.) But before we ban ukeleles, I think we need to work on books. They’re starting to get spaghetti sauce spotted!

February 28, 2011 at 8:40 am
(2) workathomemoms says:

Yes, the ukulele is good for kids. It’s small, relatively easy to learn, it’s featured in a lot of pop songs and now there are tons of You Tube videos that will teach you how to play. Who knew the ukulele was getting as popular as it was back in the ’50s when my great-grandmother played it?

What’s old is new!

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