The Music of Motherhood: History, Healing, and Activism

moms and music final cover

Price: $34.95

Page Count: 250

Publication Date: December 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77258-134-8

Mothering and music are complex and universal events, the structure and function of each show remarkable variability across social domains and different cultures. Al- though motherhood studies and studies in music are each recognized as important areas of research, the blending of the two topics is a recent innovation. The chapters in this collection bring together artists and scholars in conversations about the multiple profound relationships that exist between music and mothering. The discussions are varied and exciting. Several of the chapters revolve around the challenges of mothering partnered with a musical career; others look at the affordances that music offers to mothers and children; and some of the chapters examine the ways in which music inspires social and political change, as well as acknowledging the rise of the mom rock phenomenon.

“Music of Motherhood is a fascinating read—both an engaging set of short stories and also an academic gem. M. Joy Rose, Lynda Ross, and Jennifer Hartmann have put together an intriguing set of chapters involving a range of methodological approaches that span the range of insightful research to interesting and moving narratives. The book could just as easily be assigned reading for a music course or example of research methods as it could be a gift for a friend, parent, or musician.”

—A. S. Cohen Miller, Assistant Professor, Co-Director of The Consortium of Gender Scholars, and Founder of The Motherscholar Project


“Music of Motherhood gives a much-needed voice to women about motherhood and its relationship to music. Too often, women’s voices and experiences are devalued. The book’s rich tapestry of approaches offers readers a pathway to learn more about the important and many roles music plays in the lives and experiences of women.” 

—Ann M. Savage, Ph.D., Butler University


“The blending of empirical research and personal experience and making the connection to and benefits of using music as therapy and medicine to express and heal cannot be denied. The book delves into and dissects the proven affects music has on every aspect of motherhood; pregnancy, labor, postpartum, trauma—including the everyday heroics of motherhood. It illuminates, engages, enlightens and inspires. I implore pregnant women to devour every word.” 

—Amy Simon, actress, playwright, writer, producer, and Cultural Herstorian.





Chapter One

Introducing the Collection

Jennifer Hartmann, Lynda Ross, and M. Joy Rose


Chapter Two

A Discussion of Mothers’ and Children’s Roles in the Transmission of Music Listenership Values in Families Jillian Bracken


Chapter Three

Thinking About and Beyond the Cultural Contradictions of Motherhood through Musical Mothering

Sally Savage and Clare Hall


Chapter Four

A Vulnerable Observer and a Circular Gift: Personal Reflections on the St. John’s Ukulele Club Lydia Bringerud


Chapter Five

Healing Music, Healing Mothers:

An Autoethnographic Journey of a Foster Parent Using Music for Therapeutic Care Children Cara-Leigh Battaglia


Chapter Six

Singing into Motherhood:

The Power of Singing during Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Amanda Mehl West


Chapter Seven

Singing Birth: From Your Voice to Your Yoni Elena Skoko


Chapter Eight

Land of My Mothers?

Clara Novello Davies as “Mam” and Musician Rachelle Louise Barlow


Chapter Nine

Que Vivan Las Mamas: Las Cafeteras, Zapatista Activism, and New Expressions of Chicana Motherhood

David Eichert


Chapter Ten

Parenting Outside the Mainstream: Indie Rocker Moms Jackie Weissman

Chapter Eleven

Consciousness-Raising in “Anchorage”: Witnessing the Mother and Spinster in Conversation Lori Walters-Kramer


Chapter Twelve

Electric Mommyland: Writing a Sociological History through Autoethnographical Art and Music Performance toward a Deeper Understanding of Everything Mom

M. Joy Rose


Chapter Thirteen

Closing Reflections

Lynda Ross and Jennifer Hartmann


About the Contributors

Martha Joy Rose Author Biography: Martha Joy Rose is a musician, concert promoter, museum founder, and fine artist. Her work has been published across blogs and academic journals and she has performed with her band Housewives On Prozac on Good Morning America, CNN, and the Oakland Art & Soul Festival to name a few. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as "Best in Girl-Power Events" in New York, and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, created the Motherhood Foundation 501c3 non-profit in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions. Her current live/work space in Kenwood St. Petersburg, Florida is devoted to the exploration of mother-labor as performance art.

Lynda Ross is a professor of women’s and gender studies in the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies at Athabasca University in Alberta. She graduated with a doctoral degree in psychology from the University of New Brunswick in 1998. Lynda’s research interests focus on the social construction of theory and ‘disorder,’ attachment, and motherhood. Tying together these interests, her first book on the subject, Interrogating Motherhood, was published by the AU Press in December 2016.

Jennifer Hartmann is an ethnomusicologist, violist, and liturgical vocalist who holds a BMus (history and literature) from Dalhousie University and a MA (musicology) from McGill University. She is currently a PhD candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, where her primary research involves the cultural study of wedding string quartets, with a focus on the occupational folklife of gigging musicians. She has also conducted research on the use of bellydance as a coping strategy during pregnancy and labour, inspired by her own experience as an amateur dancer. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two young daughters.