Rock Me, Mama
Local Mothers Find the Beat
When I was in sixth grade, I wanted to play the drums. I expressed this interest to my band teacher who promptly informed me that “little girls don’t play drums.” Well Mrs. Stern, times have changed. Recently, several local bands have sprouted up featuring women musicians on everything from vocals to electric guitar to, yes, percussion. The creative collaboration involved in putting together an amazing band provides a level of fulfillment these ladies have yet to find elsewhere. For some, playing music is the perfect antidote to day-to-day life as a Bedford mom, as well as a way to revisit skills that have been dormant for years.
Sarah Seifer of Bedford Hills grew up playing piano but stopped once she moved to the City in her 20s. Relocating to our area in 2006 proved challenging as Sarah experienced a bit of culture shock and found herself lost. “When I was pregnant, I would go to Target and talk to ladies in line just to have some adult interaction.”
Joining the adult band at School of Rock in Bedford Village, the mom-of-two keyboard player soon found herself with a new crowd and a new outlet. She explains, “I was instantly surrounded by a totally different group of people. It was incredible to work hard, create something, and feel it come to fruition. I’ve never been so in-the-moment.”
Jamming to “Gimme Shelter” will do that.
School of Rock, which currently has over 35 women enrolled, offers mothers like Sarah Seifer the opportunity to take lessons, play Rolling Stones covers, and perform live in front of a crowd at local venues like MTK Tavern in Mount Kisco. School of Rock owner Steve Kennedy, who lives in Bedford Village, says having a goal in mind is key. “It’s motivating to have a gig on the calendar. It can be really nerve-wracking, but it’s like overcoming the fear of public speaking. When it comes together, there’s nothing like it.”
Performing live can also be therapeutic for women who are already overbooked and overworked. As a mother to three young boys and a full-time public relations manager at Mitchell Gold, Katonah’s Robin Kern is the ultimate multi-tasker. She was also diagnosed with diabetes at the age of one. As lead singer of the local band Blonde Ambition, Robin actually derives strength from something that can be physically taxing. Describing her gigs as a “full workout,” she is careful to check her blood sugar in between sets and keeps a “for emergency only” bottle of Gatorade at hand. But the effort is a small price for the huge reward of feeling completely energized, mentally positive, and confident that she’s equipped to conquer life’s obstacles.
Difficult circumstances are familiar to Leah Lawrence who also rekindled her interest in music through School of Rock. Her family’s Bedford home was destroyed by fire in August 2013, and Leah was left picking up the emotional and logistical pieces. With two young children, every minute was consumed with obligation and damage control. She recalls, “I desperately needed to blow off steam, but I couldn’t even get my kids to the dentist! As parents, we have to take care of ourselves, too. I signed up my kids for ballet and soccer, then I signed up myself for piano.”
Most Bedford moms would agree that putting themselves first is a challenge, but it certainly has paid off for our budding rock stars. And no one is more impressed than their kids, many of whom are also enrolled in music classes. My daughter is intrigued, too. She wants to play the drums.