Keeping A Family Song Journal

My daughter wasn’t much of a sleeper during her first year.  She slept little patches during the day, slightly longer ones at night, mostly attached to me like a hood ornament in the Bjorn.  And she slept when we played Jack Johnson in the afternoon, his On and On CD. 


My husband or I would rock and rock and Jack would play that guitar of his, and my daughter would sleep.  Now, almost six years later, when I hear “Jack Jack” (her toddler name for him), I can feel the weight of her baby-self in my arms, the peace of those afternoons.  I always will.

Many people have songs remind them of a place or experience in their lives.  Perhaps the song reminds them of a trip they took, or of a sport they played, or of a friend or parent who is important to them.  Music is a significant part of our culture, and one that is also deeply personal.  Each of us walk around with our own sound track. 

I’m finding this true for our family as well.  Norah Jones’ rich voice while my daughter sways in a beam of afternoon light, my husband reading on the couch.  “We Go Together” from the end of the Grease soundtrack and our family dancing around the living room split with giggles.  My husband waking both of us up (both girls in this house sleep late now) with Jack Johnson’s “Better Together” or “Banana Pancakes.”

Some mothers keep locks of hair.  I keep songs. 

Here are some tips for keeping a song journal for your family, but remember, a song journal, like the songs that shape it, is unique to the family crafting it, so give it your own spin, your own angle – these are just some ideas to get you started:

1. Select songs that have significance to your family.

The type of song that always sparks a memory for you when you hear it or a certain artist that brings you to another time, and use the title of the song as the entry in your journal.

2. In your entry, describe the scene/memory of your family that this song brings to you. 

Focus on using specific detail and sensory description to “show”  memory rather than just tell the memory but think about it as writing out all the details that make the memory special (the smells, the sights, the tastes, etc.).

3. For each entry, choose a picture if you have it of your family to go with it.

Save this for your child (what a great high school graduation gift!)

I would love to hear what you’re coming up with. Share your journal ideas that are working for you!