A celebration of “firsts.” by Jason Didner

This is a re-post from member Jason Didner’s blog. For many of us working with children, the beginning of the school year feels more like a time for new things and resolutions than January 1st!

My first time playing bass in front of an audience since college – with Suzi Shelton. Photo by Elaine Harrison-Yau
My first time playing bass in front of an audience since college – with Suzi Shelton. Photo by Elaine Harrison-Yau

“For the first time in forever…” sings Princess Anna in the Disney movie Frozen, feeling like her life’s just beginning.

I suppose I didn’t have a preconceived notion of life in my 40s but I will say that I feel pretty young and vital on a daily basis. One thing that keeps me feeling young is to keep having “firsts” in my life – as in first-time-ever or first-time-in-a-long-time experiences. Here are some firsts that I had this summer as a kids-and-family music professional and as a dad:

• First time playing bass live in front of an audience since college in the early 90s. I got up onstage to join Suzi Shelton at her concert last week. In my college days I played bass in the pit orchestra for a few summer musicals like “Grease,” “West Side Story,” and “Oklahoma!”

• First time running through a sprinkler since I was a kid! Spending the afternoon like this with my daughter and nieces was a joy!

• First time giving a rock concert at 7:00 in the morning, easily a record for me. Thanks to some vocal warm-ups, my voice cooperated about as well as I could have asked it that early in the morning! This concert was 2 weeks ago at Sports Authority’s Grand Reopening in Springfield, NJ.

• First time sitting on the deck just to watch the fireflies since I was a kid. Holly is the perfect firefly-watching buddy!

• First time giving a ukulele lesson this week (while still new  to the instrument myself).

• First time licensing a cover song for official release as a single. This song will be released  this fall as a duet with a very well known, respected and fabulous kindie artist.

• First time using the wireless headset-mic in a full-band live setting. This gives me a whole new level of freedom to move in a song like “Jungle Gym Jamming!”

• First time running my own podcast and interviewing fellow artists. The podcast is called “Make Kindie Happen – The Kids-and-Family Music Career Podcast.” I’ve interviewed Joanie Leeds and Miss Nina, as well as publishing two solo podcasts. Both guests offered very valuable experience and insight to the kids’ entertainment community.

• Just last night, the first time rehearsing the Jungle Gym Jam with keyboards. Casey added a great new texture and sophistication to our sounds by sitting at the keys! I can’t wait to share it with you!

• First time submitting an album for a Grammy award!

• First time being Holly’s “running buddy!” This child is going to get me back into regular exercise. I don’t mind!

What are some “firsts” that you’ve had lately? What “firsts” do you want to have this new school year?


About the Author:

Jason Didner is an award-winning kids-and-family musician from New Jersey and host of the podcast “Make Kindie Happen – A Kids and Family Music Career Podcast” where he interviews fellow artists in order to share valuable career knowledge with the children’s music community. His band is the Jungle Gym Jam and his podcasts can be found at jasondidner.net