Melody Garden gives children a chance to foster a love of music and nature
When Rebecca Smith first moved to the Clemson area from Chicago in 2016, she never thought she would become one of the biggest music sensations to hit the area in recent years. But she’s not popular with college kids. She’s popular with little kids. And now she has her own album out.
Rebecca’s background is in geology, but her love of music and nature helped her decide to ask the South Carolina Botanical Garden if she could host a music class for area children. They readily agreed. In the two years since, the Melody Garden has blossomed into Rebecca leading children and their parents in several classes each week, along with sing-a-longs for holidays, musical nature walks and more.
When the Smith family, including Rebecca, husband Adam, and daughter Lily, now 7, first came to Clemson, Rebecca was suffering with Lyme Disease. She said she was very ill, but she stayed positive.
“During those hard and painful times, I added recording a children's album to my ‘when I get better’ bucket list. I started writing children's songs when Lily was born in 2011, and they started to accumulate and I wanted to share them with people,” she said.
Stemming from her popularity, and parental requests for an album to listen to at home, Rebecca decided it was time to start working on her album. She met a local producer, BJ Callahan, who truly believed in her idea. He encouraged her to begin a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money to make the album. Rebecca would need $2,500 to get the album made, and she had a month to raise the money.
What Rebecca did not expect, however, was for the campaign to be fully funded within 24 hours of starting it. At the end of the 30 days, Rebecca had raised more than $4,700.
“We were absolutely amazed by the support! The extra funding gave me the opportunity to pay talented musicians to join me on the songs and also to get the album professionally mastered,” Rebecca reported.
And now, the Melody Garden album has been made and is available for purchase and download. Rebecca herself wrote 14 of the 17 songs, one was written by her mother, and even her daughter wrote a few verses as well.
“Looking back, my No. 1 inspiration was my daughter, Lily. I love seeing the world through her eyes. Children are so imaginative and magical and they see the world so innocently and beautifully, and I like to try to capture this experience in song,” Rebecca beamed.
All the songs are nature-based and inspired by children, but even adults love the album as well. Rebecca said parents and other adults tell her often how they find themselves singing the songs themselves, even without children around.
The Melody Garden album and songbook will be a popular gift for the holidays this year with all of Rebecca’s fans.
Albums are available in CD format, as well as digital download. Rebecca’s classes are done weekly at the South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson. She also teaches ukulele lessons and is available for local birthday parties. You can find information on the album and her classes at www.melodygardenkids.com.