Author Archives: jskspirit

Press Release for Kids In Musicianland

June 21, 2020    

Thinking about Quitting Music?
Look at these Five Reasons to Stick with It.

IRVINE, CA – Kids in Musicianland: Five Reasons to Stick With It, Second Edition, illustrates vital reasons for young people to continue with music despite being distracted and pulled in many different directions. The reader audience is both teens and their parents, as the 28 short stories are entertaining and personal.

Unlike other books for young people about music, Kids in Musicianland is a quick and easy read that need not be read cover to cover but used for inspiration and tips.

Interviews with radio announcers, professors, and professional and amateur performers demonstrate the lifelong enjoyment of keeping music in their lives. These 28 personal and unique accounts encourage teens to not give up on music but to continue playing or singing throughout high school, college and their adult lives.

The path to becoming a professional musician is not the objective of Kids in Musicianland, but rather it is the inspiration to continue to play music “for fun” and the social experiences and many other benefits and pleasures of being a musician:

Reason 1 You Meet a Lot of People
Reason 2 You’re Part of a Team
Reason 3 You’re Part of History
Reason 4 You Get to Travel
Reason 5 You Balance Your Life with Music

From the book …. “Music is forgiving and kind. People aren’t born knowing how to play the cello or the violin or the flute. They have to learn how to play it … from the very beginning of learning how to simply hold it in their hands. The musician is the magic that gives an instrument life. Be that magic.”


Kids in Musicianland: Five Reasons to Stick with It, Second Edition
$12.95   ISBN: 978-09897606-5-2   151-page paperback   published by BarkingDogBooks
Available on in paperback and Kindle editions

Book Review by Anita Lock, The US Review of Books, August 2016

US Review of Books

Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick With It
by Karyn Rashoff
Barking Dog Books
Reviewed by Anita Lock, The US Review of Books (August 2016)

“…people who are willing to work the hardest in music tend to be the people who are willing to work the hardest in school, too.”

“More choices and distractions exist in a young person’s life today than ever before.” Rashoff’s apt statement is the driving force behind her motivating read, which zeroes in on middle and high school students. Its purpose is “to inspire teens to focus on the music in them, to develop and pass on their skills, and to realize the satisfaction of it all for the rest of their lives.” Constructing her narrative around five explicit reasons “to keep music in [teen’s] lives,” Rashoff’s tenets include meeting new people, being a part of a team, being a part of history, traveling opportunities, and keeping life balanced with music. Rashoff backs up the precepts with over twenty stimulating stories from a host of seasoned individuals in the music arena, as well as her own sagacious observations.

Rashoff’s newest book offers discouraged students and supportive parents a well-rounded musical perspective. A balanced mix of stories and practical advice, the award-winning author (Parents in Highschooland) groups this helpful collection according to her five aforementioned precepts. Her broad-spectrum approach covers professionals from each of the four musical groups (strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion) and beyond. Not limiting the musical experience purely to the development of instrumental training, Rashoff includes the counsel of art directors, classical music radio hosts, a film composer, plus her personal knowledge as a school counselor and her involvement in choruses over the years. Although there are gentle reminders of the importance of practice sprinkled throughout her text, much of the information puts stress on simply having fun. She reminds kids that discouragement “is a natural part of the learning process.” Closing with a suggested reading list for further research, Kids in Musicianland is a powerful tool, useful for both home and school.

US Review of Books

RECOMMENDED by The US Review of Books


Not Your Ordinary Band Camp Read!

Amazon Review
5.0 out of 5 stars
By Jill Bakeron, May 4, 2016

“Kids in Musicianland: 5 Reasons to Stick with It” exceeded my expectations by a landslide! The book takes you through the journeys of various musician’s band experiences. Each story is incredibly captivating and reinforces the experiences one can get in band that aren’t likely to exist in any other element in life. Each perspective provides a unique perspective of the reasons why to stick with a band program and just what each person gained through their own. I enjoyed reading the book from beginning to end and learned areas of my own life where I can apply the variety of advice offered. I would highly recommend this to any parent, teacher, or student who is considering a program or is contemplating the reasons to maintain one.

Great Guide for Parents Looking for Help!

Amazon Review
5.0 out of 5 stars
By Florence Chavezon, May 4, 2016

This book had me motivated and regretful almost from the beginning. I am raising two children, and want them to find something they love and stick with it — whether it be music or something else.

As a kid, I had an interest in the violin, and took lessons for three years. I loved the commitment it took, but didn’t like my teacher who was unemotional and unfriendly. I quit and even now, more than 20 years later, wish I had stuck with it.

I loved Rashoff’s anecdotes and found them really relatable and most easily applied to many people I know. I loved “The Cello Showed Up, but the Girl Didn’t,” and have found myself thinking about it in the months since I finished reading this story. There is just so much magic in knowing how to play a musical instrument, and the opportunities is can open to youth from all backgrounds.

My daughter is currently involved in gymnastics, and this book has me reevaluating her future in the sport. She will be so much more limited in opportunities in a sport that caters to the wealthy and elite. A whole world can open up to kids involved in music – in their schools, in their communities, and their future.

This book is a great read for any parent looking for direction, and how to combat kids who are discouraged. I wish my mom had read this when I was an 8th grader who was so angry and frustrated.

How Music Can Positively Affect Your Life

Amazon Review
4.0 out of 5 stars
By Ashlee Huffmonon, May 6, 2016

Encouraging! A lot of very good points were made in this book about how music can positively affect your life! One point that was consistent with the various musicians in this read was that music brings a positive social experience with it. It brings you together with people you feel safe with and enjoy to be around. Various degrees of musicians, from band members to students of Juilliard tell their experiences about how music changed their lives for the better. Defiantly a read for anyone interested in music! Many positive stories shared to help encourage any musician!

Friends Are Made By Music

TIP SHEET #4: Friends Are Made By Music

  1. At a new school? Join the band, orchestra, or choir to meet new people.
  • Start your home in the music room at school
  • A safe place to be where you feel less alone
  • Make your first new friends in an easy and fun way
  • Learn to read and become sensitive to “body language” and eye contact
  • You get to be loud instead of always being shushed up by teachers.
  1. You are part of a team that creates something together.
  • Work, learn, and play with friends
  • Get feedback from others and learn it’s not personal
  • Your contribution has value even if you don’t have the biggest part
  • Your self-confidence soars when you step out of your comfort zone, make mistakes, then learn from them in rehearsal
  • Travel with friends to far-away and local places.
  1. Form a “Music Team” to surround yourself.
  • Parents, aunts, uncles, cousins support and encourage you
  • Fellow musicians in school and in your neighborhood
  • Adults at church, temple and school
  • Neighbors might have unused instruments in their closets to loan to you.
  1. You learn determination and focus that carries on to “real life”.
  • Learning new music teaches you to solve problems, learn new skills, concentrate and “think out of the box”
  • Your dedication leads to your feelings of accomplishment
  • Practicing in a group teaches that your actions affect other people
  • Being on time for rehearsals and performances teaches respect and dedication.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

Why Listen to Classical Music When You Study?

TIP SHEET #3: Why Listen to Classical Music When You Study?

  1. Classical music benefits your brain, sleep patterns, immune system and stress levels.
  • Heightens your emotional state, making you more receptive to information
  • Musicians use “chunking” – tying together bits of information into groups, then remembering the group as a whole instead of the individual pieces – that you can use to study
  • Emotion from a calm piece of music generalizes to help calm you.
  1. Classical music lessens anxiety and reduces blood pressure.
  • Other styles of music – i.e., jazz, rock, pop – don’t reduce blood pressure
  • Slows your breathing and allows you to breathe deeply
  • Relaxes your facial muscles and jaw so you don’t clench your teeth.
  1. Classical music helps soothe sleepless nights from test anxiety.
  • If you tune into classical music before bedtime, you may fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer
  • Its rhythms and tonal patterns create a meditative mood and slows your brainwaves
  • Restrained music creates a nice background aura.
  1. Suggestions:
  • Brahms, Handel, Mozart, Strauss, Bach
  • Solo piano pieces – Mozart, Poulenc, Debussy, Faure
  • String quartets give regular phrase structure
  • Guitar and lute music produce soothing tones
  • Elizabethan consort music in the late 16th century was written to create a pleasant atmosphere at court without demanding attention.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

Do You Feel Called Toward the Arts?

Called Toward the Arts

TIP SHEET #2: Do You Feel Called Toward the Arts?

  1. Do you feel a connection to music where you can’t imagine being without it?
  • There is nothing else you can imagine doing: no alternative
  • You can express feelings in music you might not be able to express verbally
  • It is a quiet friend who listens and speaks.
  1. Do you thrive on challenges like…
  • … Learning a difficult piece and playing it well, solo or with your group?
  • … Discovering something new all the time in the art form and in yourself?
  • … Being really nervous but pushing through it?
  1. Do you have a never-ending source of inspiration?
  • No matter how many times you think about it or study a piece, you discover something new
  • One piece of music leads to another and another
  • Your appetite for learning and for music is voracious.
  1. Are you compelled and completely self-motivated to practice, play, or sing?
  • Your parents don’t have to nag you to practice
  • You get internal, quiet satisfaction from improving
  • Time flies when you play and you lose track of your worries.
  1. Do you retreat to music when life is complicated and difficult?
  • It makes you calm and peaceful and is your place of solace it has a physiological effect on your body and mind.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

How to Keep Music In Your Life

 TIP SHEET #1:  How to Keep Music In Your Life

  1. Schedule time playing music with friends.
  • Put it in your calendar as something you are committed to do
  • Play by yourself to get ready for the group and having fun
  • Music becomes more “real” when you share it with others
  • It’s ok to talk to your non-musician friends about your music and show them what you can do!
  1. Money is not a barrier to music.
  • Public schools
  • Community and county recreation programs
  • Youth orchestras have more challenging orchestral literature (they have fees but offer scholarships)
  • Churches and temples sponsor free choirs and performing groups.
  1. Listen to music on the radio and online with YouTube.
  • Classical radio announcers often put the music they are playing in the social context of the time, along with interesting facts about the composers
  • Learn new music by watching videos, reading tablature or “regular” music
  • Turn it up loudly so you can hear the subtleties!
  1. Make friends with trusted and trustworthy adults who play or sing.
  • They can refer and connect you to other people and methods and modes to learn
  • They may know someone who has an un-played and lonely instrument in his or her garage or attic that you can borrow
  • Make phone calls or send emails to those people: follow up!

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.