Literacy and Music: An IndieGoGo Call to Arms!

Taking a break from NaNoWriMo posts to tell you all about a fabulous and important project over at IndieGoGo!

A few years back I was Curriculum Manager at LA County’s Music Center Education department and had a chance to work with Beth Sussman, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist and teaching artist. She’s done a lot of real, in-classroom work and research on literacy and how music and rhythm can improve reading skills. She wanted to figure out a way to make that learning fun and accessible to all. And so she came up with:


Joppity is awesome. Alongside her husband – Emmy nominated writer/director Bill Freiberger of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Sonic Boom, The Simpsons etc. – and actor Josh Sussman (no relation!) of Glee and Wizards of Waverly place – Beth has created a delightfully animated, internet-based tool that will help kids learn to read faster and easier.

And it will be available for free.

As writers, we need readers! And we need good readers – the sooner, the better. If you can spare $5 or more dollars for something like that, please head over to the link above and see what it’s all about. Then give. And spread the word! They are in the home stretch and need your help.

Thank you!

NaNoWriMo Tools – Part 5: Three Reasons I Write to Music

Not every writer likes to write to music, but many do. I am one of those.

Here are 3 reasons that I rock out to get my word count.

  1. Concentration. Music sort of walls in my head and helps keep aural distractions to a minimum. And that is something that really, really helps for NaNoWriMo – especially if you haven’t hit your daily word count goal for the day. Also, I never would have been able to do NaNo on a busy, noisy train without good headphones and loud music.
  2. Create different moods for different scenes. I have different playlists set up for different emotions. Need angry or determined? Cue up some raucous, kick-butt movie music. Contemplative? Chill electronic or trance. Romance? A playlist of 1970s movie love themes. It works. No, really, it does.
  3. Motivation. Sometimes it’s hard to get going, so I put on some music and wait for the muse to show. She generally comes riding in on the wings of heroic movie soundtracks.

Type of music is definitely important to me. Here are 3 of my favorite music types for writing.

  1. Instrumental Soundtracks. So many moods… and almost no words to get in your brain. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Hanna, Conan the Barbarian (the Schwarzenegger version of course), and How to Train Your Dragon are among my favorites.
  2. Electronic and New Age. Two different types of energy and again… no words. For electronic, I just put on Spotify or iTunes radio and go. For New Age… can’t go wrong with Mannheim Steamroller’s Fresh Air series.
  3. The music of the 1980s. Yes they have words, but I know all these songs from my childhood so well, that I don’t ‘hear’ the words any more. Lots of pep really gives me forward momentum. Your milage may vary.

(Why no classical? I can listen to some classical, but I find it extremely distracting since I have two degrees in French horn performance. All of my music theory classes kick in, and I’m down the rabbit hole of analysis!)

Please share you favorite writing music in the comments!

And that does it for my NaNoWriMo Tools series! Hope you enjoyed it. If you missed the other installments, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.