by Ashley Ess
We were delighted to sit down with Gwendolyn Sanford from the popular children’s musical group Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang. Gwendolyn is a creative talent to be reckoned with -- her music covers a wide spectrum of genres, from children's music to acoustic-psychedlic-folk to TV composer. A homebirther and RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) proponent, Gwendolyn shares a tidbit of living an authentic life as a mother and musician.
As a singer-songwriter tell us how you balance so many musical genres and how each may inspire the other.
For the most part, I do the work that is in front of me. When the opportunity to make music shows up, whether it's a children's song, a pop song, a classical music piece, a fun comedic television theme ... it's all part of what has presented itself, what I choose to participate in and honestly. I'm so grateful for the diversity. It keeps things interesting!
You were a musician before giving birth. How does being a mother inspire your career and creative inspiration?
Becoming a mother has given me immeasurable insight and perspective on my life ... and I imagine my art is a reflection of that. I'm inspired to create more because I have more to say, more to share...
How does your career affect your parenting?
I find myself singing to my daughter a lot. It keeps things fun... You know - "whistle while you work". Great song.
You studied Magda Gerber and RIE. How has this philosophy shaped your relationship with your child?
Respect For Infants by Magda Gerber was my favorite book early on. I recommend it! It helped me to observe more, to interrupt less, to allow my daughter to be who she is naturally -- at 2 weeks, 4 months, a year, etc ... and today she beams with a strong and growing sense of self.
I continue to trust my instincts on what is best for my daughter all the while reading and searching for tools that can help guide me. I have wonderful parent and teacher mentors at my daughter’s preschool. They've adopted their philosophy from The Echo Center. http://www.echoparenting.org/
What inspired you to create Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang?
I had written a children's song for a movie and my friend encouraged me to write more, so I did. Then we put together a band and played for the kids in the neighborhood. They liked it, and we had fun doing it -- so we just continued down that path. Today we have four albums, a handful of videos and we've always got a gig somewhere!
What types of themes do your children's songs usually incorporate? What are your children's music performances like?
The themes we incorporate are things kids can relate to... like dancing, having feelings, riding bikes, using manners, animals, reading books, coloring, acting silly - you know, the usual. Our performances are super fun! We're a seven-piece band for preschoolers - and our mission is to ROCK.
What's on the horizon for Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang?
We're planning a Saturday morning concert series called The Pajama Jam! It consists of different musical acts every week all beginning at 9am. Roll out of bed and come in your PJs -- our hope is to help mom or dad get the kids out early without much hassle. Hey, maybe one parent can stay behind and sleep in!
You can check out our website for more details - www.gwendolynandthegoodtimegang.com