My name is Audrey J. Adair. Iím an author who composes music, and Iím also an educator. I write books and create instrumental duets, vocal music, and childrenís songs. My road to becoming an author started when I began creating worksheet activities to reinforce concepts and skills while teaching students music theory.
When I began my music teaching career, no follow-up music theory lessons were available. Realizing that other teachers could benefit from what I had developed, I wrote a query letter to an editor whose signature was on an advertisement for a music book that I had received in the mail. A reply came from Tom Power at Parker Publishing Company, the professional division for Prentice Hall, now called Pearson Learning. Tom Power became my first editor, and he patiently guided me to compile my seven volumes of worksheet activity sheets into one book. Also, I needed to revise and simplify many activities to accommodate the classroom teacher who often taught the music classes back then.
My first collection of 200 reproducible worksheets evolved into the Ready-to-Use Music Activities Kit, a for-runner of activity books. It also became an all-time best seller for Parker Publishing Companyís Music Educators Book Club. The 'Ready-to-Use' expression that originated with my book continues to be a popular phrase in titles by other non-fiction authors.
My next writing project, also published by Parker Publishing Company, was Music Curriculum Activities Library, a series of seven units featuring 350 activity sheets to develop basic music concepts and skills in grades 3-8. Then Parker published START with SONG! 201 Ready-to-Use Interdisciplinary Activities for Young Learners. This last year, with Walter D. Lazear, my partner, the technical editor, project manager, and webmaster, we updated all nine books and added a downloadable feature.
I began writing my current book, PATRIOTIC ACTIVITY BOOK for ALL Americans, twenty years ago. I conceived the idea for an activity book to celebrate American patriotism after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. My goal was to share traditions, customs, and values that America was built on that protect our democracy. Together with my mother, Leah Solsrud, a fellow educator and graphic artist, we developed this relevant and timely hands-on resource for all Americans that focuses on national symbols, holidays, and patriotic music. Then time lapsed while I was raising my family and teaching. In 2020, while staying home during the pandemic, I was compelled to update the contents when I saw Americaís democracy tested with racial inequality, police brutality, riots, environmental crises, elections, war on truth, a divided country, and the tragic loss of life with the COVID-19 pandemic. The original title was How Americans Celebrate. I also created a more suitable title, PATRIOTIC ACTIVITY BOOK for All Americans. Walter and I self-published the book, making it available on Amazon and my website www.audreyjadair.com. Sadly, my mother passed away before seeing her book published.
My next book is a manual that stems from being a life-long pet owner and pet-sitter. Seeing a need for firsthand resources for pet owners, two years ago, I began writing My Pet Sitter: An Essential Guide for the Pet Owner with Hands-on Resources for the Pet Sitter. I am in the process of creating downloadable, fillable forms for the user, hoping to release this book in the early spring of 2021.
I credit another book thatís in the works from skills I had mastered as a music educator. I continue to apply those skills that I learned over a lifetime of teaching music and being a classroom teacher. With both drive and persistence, I used my unique set of abilities to develop half-page, follow-up activities for recorder class. I call this compilation of lessons The Complete Recorder Class Companion, Units I and II, and plan to release the two volumes on Amazon next year.
My interest in songwriting began years ago during music classes while providing students examples of pitch direction, dynamics, and tempo. I realized I could easily make up a tune for any example required. Besides creating a few compositions at St. Olaf, my first songwriting evolved when I was directing the childrenís choir at my church. I began composing a series of unison Bible-based songs focusing on the liturgical year. Currently, Iím working on a compilation of vocal solos called Sacred Songs for Special Days, which I plan to launch this year. Iíve also composed more than a hundred childrenís songs, many for SWD (Students with Disabilities). In the near future, I plan to launch a songbook for individuals with disabilities.
My songwriting comes easily, like writing a childrenís story. For example, with my songs, if I have a theme, a descriptive word, or a concept, I can compose a tune in a few minutes. The lyrics and music seem to flow. I am never at a loss for a song to write. Last summer, for example, I composed over twenty bedtime songs and lullabies to sing to the wee ones in my life.
In 2020 I composed and arranged EZ-PZ DUETSTM, thirteen for soprano recorders and four for flutes. With Walterís expertise and tech skills, and being a webmaster, we featured the songbooks on my website and released them for sale exclusively on Amazon. All the duets focus on beginner and intermediate performers. 20 …tudes EZ-PZ DUETSTM for Soprano Recorders includes two student volumes and a guidebook for the music teacher, called Teaching Etudes.
My early life was pretty typical for the times. I was born in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, and grew up and worked on our family dairy farm. As a child, I studied music from an early age, taking piano and flute lessons and later voice lessons. My mother was my first piano teacher. Then I took from an itinerant teacher, and when I was in the eighth grade, I began taking piano and voice lessons at the local college. Although I studied piano since I was five, the flute was my favorite instrument. I played the flute beginning in the fourth grade and was always the first chair in the high school band, and excelled in solo-ensemble contests. Besides, I performed for church services, school programs, family gatherings, and friends. While growing up, I filled my life with other activities, too, ranging from 4-H to Luther League. In high school, I was a member of the debate team and enjoyed public speaking events.
After graduating from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, with a BA degree in music education, I began my music teaching career. My role mainly focused on teaching general music K-6, including classes for gifted and talented students and those with moderate to severe disabilities, along with directing childrenís choirs. I also received an elementary education teaching certificate from the University of Houston and was a classroom teacher.
After my first nine music activity books were published, I raised my daughter and son and continued a full-time career as a music educator. However, publishing my future works got stalled in the process. Then after I retired from teaching, I still wanted to make a significant contribution to young musicians. Now I finally have the time to dedicate to what gives me passion and provides me with internal motivation and great joyócomposing and writing. When I'm doing neither, I play tennis, perform interactive concerts on Zoom, and enjoy creating new spicy plant-based recipes. Until COVID-19, I enjoyed dancing, performing music, volunteering in person, wandering the globe with my partner, and visiting my grandchildren, who are the joy of my life. I currently reside in the Washington DC Metropolitan Area and work together to get my next book published with Walter, a fellow musician and tennis player.