Meet The Domestic Musician: This former public school music teacher is taking her lessons to kids online


Guest post by Jessica Peresta, The Domestic Musician

For several years, I taught elementary music for Tulsa public schools, taught private piano lessons, and played as an accompanist for Tulsa Children’s Chorus and Boston Avenue children’s choir.

I had our first  little boy and went back to work, found out my school would be closing at the end of that current school year, found out my husband would be  starting a new job at Walmart and we would be moving to Northwest  Arkansas, and THEN found out I was pregnant with our second little boy.

After moving here and going on to have yet another little boy a couple years later, I felt ready to shift back into teaching music and wanted a way for me to still teach, yet be able to stay home with my little guys.

I have several homeschool mom friends who would ask me questions about what to do with the music portion of their curriculum or stay at home moms who wanted music ideas who just wanted general music ideas for the home. I also knew of several schools that had no music program and it broke my heart because the benefits of a quality music education are so important. So…The Domestic Musician site was born and I couldn’t be more excited.

I started my blog as a way to bring music into any home or school that needs it, wants it, or can benefit from it. I have music education videos recorded and plan to launch a beginning piano course in the next few months. Music teachers in the schools and private lesson instructors are doing amazing things and I support them wholeheartedly. My goal is to offer another option for those who would rather learn online from the
comfort of their own homes.

Teaching music is my passion and there are so many benefits of learning music. Music is a universal language that anyone can understand. It is so awesome to me that anyone can listen to the same piece of instrumental music, no matter what their spoken language is, and can hear the same
sounds and experience similar feelings.

  • Kids who struggle in other academic subjects, like math or reading, can feel successful when participating in music.
  • Any sporting event, movie, commercial, or even shopping in a store would be so bland without music to listen to an experience.
  • Music can be found in science, math, reading, writing, foreign language, and social studies. From the science of sound, to counting rhythms, to following a music score that includes notes and words, to learning rhyming poems, to learning an opera in another language, to the study of the composers who have come from all around the world.
  • Music uses parts of the brain where attention spans and predicting things are involved.
  • Music helps children express themselves and experience feelings they didn’t know they had.

the-domesict-musician-kidsSo have you always wanted to incorporate music into your home, but you don’t know what to do? I think so many parents do not realize how simple teaching music to their kids can be. Everyday household objects can be used as instruments, music can be sang, and music can be danced
to. I have listed below some simple music tips that are simple to implement in any home.


music-lessonWhile rocking your baby, sing a simple lullaby or any song, really. It is so neat when you hear the baby cooing back to your song. Toddlers and preschoolers love to sing simple songs.

Ideas include “Old McDonald had a Farm”, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”, “This Old Man”, and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. As a parent, teach the child the motions to the song and sing right along with them. I promise you that your child doesn’t care what you sound like or what you look like. They WILL love the interaction and being able to experience music with you.

Sing a story. What I mean by this is, instead of reading a book, sing a book. Make up a simple melody and sing the words. My kids love doing this with me and they think they are writing their own song.

Sing about life. While doing laundry, eating, playing, going on a walk, washing dishes, or anything else going on in your daily life, make up a song! It makes life so much more fun. One day we were eating lunch, and my kids and I made up a silly song all about sandwiches and chips and I heard them singing it the rest of the day.

Play your child’s favorite song on the radio and sing right along with it. Some kids may be shy or afraid to sing because they don’t think they sound very good. Here’s the deal. Your child’s singing voice can be developed, it just takes time. Don’t push it. I’ve seen students go  from not being able to carry a tune in a bucket, to being in the honor choir. If a child has never experienced hearing themselves sing, it is unfamiliar and with time, they will be belting out a tune at the top of their lungs.


Have a dance party. My kids and I love to play music and dance all over the house. It is so fun to see them let their hair down and the creative dance moves they come up with. They LOVE to see me dance with them too. Another fun activity to do is to play freeze dance. This is when your child dances, you pause scarfthe music and they have to freeze until the music plays again. Kids love this game and it is a perfect rainy day activity.

Give your child a scarf. Tell them to experiment with moving it high, low, fast, and slow and they can twirl it around, wiggle it, or wave it.

Make your body the instrument. Kids can pat their legs, snap their fingers, clap their hands, or stomp their feet to the music. While listening to a song, call out a different body percussion for the child to use. They could also walk around the room while doing these different body percussions.


Play music with household items. Give a baby some wrapping paper. They will love hearing the different sounds crinkling the paper makes. Household items to play as instruments are: plastic bowl and spoon, metal spoons that can be hit together, the floor with a spoon, a bucket used as a drum, rice put in a plastic bowl with a lid can be used as a shaker, and rubberbands on a kleenex box can be used as a guitar.

Start music lessons. When your child starts learning to read (usually 5 or 6), is the perfect age to start a music lesson. I usually recommend starting with piano lessons before moving onto guitar, drums, or whatever instrument they choose. The reason why I suggest waiting until 5 or 6 is that the child will be reading music notation and will need to be able to think about several things at the same time: playing the keys, counting rhythms, reading notation, curving hands, proper sitting, etc.

I hope these suggestions help you get started with implementing music in the home. Remember that music does not need to be complicated, it just needs to be experienced. Have fun with it and come up with your own ideas on bringing music into your home.

For more ideas, head over to

headshot-jessica-the-domestic-musicianMORE ABOUT JESSICA PERESTA:  I am a wife, mom of 3 boys, pianist, and music educator. Every child should be given an opportunity to learn music through lessons (traditional or online), home music education, and in the schools. Read more here: (also find me on facebook, instagram, pinterest, and twitter). To subscribe, click here:

Northwest Arkansas Holiday Shopping Guide: Stocking Stuffers

stocking-stuffers-headerKindness and Joy Toys

No matter how old your kids are, they still love digging into their stockings on Christmas morning to see what small but special gifts might be hidden in there. For some new ideas for stocking stuffers, we asked Lindsay Ramsey, owner of one of the hottest new toy stores in Northwest Arkansas — Kindness & Joy Toys.


Tenzi: Everyone gets ten dice. Someone says “Go.” Then everyone rolls and rolls as fast as they can until someone gets all their dice on the same number. Tenzi is recommended for ages 7 to 97 but can be adapted for players younger than 7 under supervision with the dice. This quick, entertaining game is a great after-dinner activity. Cost is $15. Click here for more info.

Watchitude: Watchitude watches have comfortable silicon slap bands that are printed in full photographic color images. Watchitude watches come in a wide range of colors and patterns, making it the perfect gift for a variety of ages. (Gwen bought one for her daughter and liked it so much she wanted to wear it herself!) Cost is $20. Check out the shop’s Instagram page to see a video of the Watchitude slap watch in action.

Where to shop: Kindness and Joy Toys doesn’t have a store front, so you can ship the toys to your house or to the person receiving the gift. (She gift wraps! Hurray!) Also, Kindness and Joy will have a Pop-Up Shop at Sara Kathryn’s in Fayetteville on December 10th from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (if you want to order now and pick up at that event.) They’ll also be at Shop For Mankind/3 Monkeys in Rogers on Thursday, December 15th from 10-2, if you’d like to order and pick up there.

How to contact: Visit website by clicking here; Message via Facebook; Find it on Instagram; Email owner by clicking here.



stocking-stuffers-bubble-fizz-collage2Bubble and Fizz Shop

Left: We fell in LOVE with these Duckie Bath Cupcakes when we saw them at the NWA Boutique Show. We bought several of them for the kids and tweens/teens on our Christmas list. The bottom part of this bath cupcake is a fizzy bath bomb, and the frosting is a solid bubble bath. (Use both for one bath or use one part at a time for two separate baths.) The rubber duckie separates easily from the frosting, and the ducks are available in green, blue, yellow or orange. (During the holidays, you can even get duckies that are wearing scarves and winter hats!) The scent smells like tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons, limes and mountain greens. Cost is $6 per cupcake.

Right: What if your kids’ bubble bath soap was squishable and squeezable — something they could shape, mold and play with in the tub? That’s exactly what Bubble Dough can do! It’s a lot like that other famous “dough” kids play with, only this one will help them look forward to bath time and get them clean even when they think they’re just playing. This handmade soap is gentle, light-lathering and available in scents including tutti fruitti, grape, lemon, orange, cherry and even fresh cut grass! It comes in a resealable container so you can save any leftover dough for the next bath. Cost is $2.75 for a 2 oz. ball of dough.

Where to shop: Bubble and Fizz Shop is a new local business doing pop-up shops at regional craft fairs, but you can always shop online at the Bubble and Fizz Shop (on Etsy) or message the owner via Facebook with questions and/or info about your order. NOTE: Bubble and Fizz Shop will be at the Wampus Wonderland Holiday Arts and Crafts Show on December 10th (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Free admission. There will be arts, crafts, food, music, and bubble and fizz!

How to contact: Visit the website; Follow on Instagram; See more on Facebook.


Northwest Arkansas Holiday Shopping Guide: The Gift of Food


ricks-collage1Rick’s Bakery

Left: You can’t go wrong with giving a Holiday Gift Tower or Cookie Tray from Rick’s Bakery. Their most popular gift tower is the Silver Bells tower, $35, which includes festive petit fors, rich brownies and more sweet treats.

Right: The cookie trays are also a best-seller around the holidays. They’re available in a 2-dozen tray for $10 and a 5-dozen tray for $25. Each includes a selection of Rick’s most popular tea cookies.

Where to shop: Rick’s Bakery is located at 1220 N. College, Fayetteville. 479-442-2166

How to contact: Visit Rick’s Facebook page; Call the bakery at 479-442-2166 or email them to order at


divider-linesalsa-collage1My Brother’s Salsa

Left: We LOVE this little piggy that’s just right for holding your favorite My Brother’s Salsa flavor. This gift set is $34 and you get your choice of two jars of salsa, a bag of My Brother’s Organic Tortilla Chips and & the small red ceramic pig bowl (red glaze 7”x6”x2.75”; food safe). The whole set is packed in a custom gift box. Click here to order the “Small Red Pig Deluxe” package.

Right: We get so excited about dishes that can go straight from the oven onto the table, which is exactly what the red red & white enamelware plate in this package can do. It’s beautiful and practical. It’s the perfect gift for your friends who love nachos (nacho recipe card included). Food safe, oven safe, dishwasher safe. The $43 package comes with the enamelware plate, your choice of one jar of My Brother’s Salsa and a bag of My Brother’s Organic Tortilla Chips — all packed in a custom gift box. Click here to order the Red & White Swirl Nacho Plate, Chips and Salsa” package.

Where to shop: The gift boxes can be ordered online and sent to you or the gift recipient; or you can order and pick them up at 1006 NW 11th St, Bentonville

How to contact: Visit the Facebook page; Follow them on Instagram; Tweet them on Twitter; See their products on Pinterest; Or call 888-557-2572



collage-fork-and-crustFork & Crust Pie Company

Left: The nickname for this Caramel Apple Pie is “perfection,” and it’s easy to see (and taste) why. It’s made with Granny Smith apples and it’ll be the pie your holiday guests and/or party hosts will still be thinking about well into the New Year.

Right: The Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie is only available during the holiday season, so get it (and give it) while you can. It really is as good as it sounds.

Pie prices:

  • Large 10″ pies are $27
  • Petite 6″ pies are $11
  • Mini 4″ pies are $4.50

Where to shop: 5208 W. Village Parkway (Suite 11), Rogers, Ark. (Find the shop in the Village on the Creeks shopping plaza,  right behind SOHO Clothiers, diagonal from the YMCA. The shop faces the three crosses.)

How to contact: If you would like to order a pie and you live in Northwest Arkansas or Southwest Missouri areas, send the pie girls an email at Visit the website by clicking here; Follow on Facebook; Follow on Instagram; See more on Pinterest; Follow on Twitter. Call the shop at 479-268-6634.


Northwest Arkansas Holiday Shopping Guide: Gifts for Teachers

teachers-headerkate-austin-collage1Kate Austin

Left: Corkcicle Canteens have become so popular with teachers because they tend to have a water bottle or a coffee thermos on their desk all day. With proprietary triple insulation, this canteen keeps beverages cold for 25 hours or hot for 12 wherever you take it. It’s available in 14 colors and four sizes, including the 25oz which holds a standard bottle of wine. Cost is $32. It’s pictured above with a Scout bag, which is a sturdy, wipe-able bag that teachers LOVE. You can carry lunch in it or anything else. Cost is $9.

Right: Your child’s hard-working teacher has EARNED some brownies, right? He or she might eat the brownies right away but this ceramic Brownie Tray (with mix and silver spatula that says “brownie points” on it) will be around forever as a special gift and reminder that “Life is what you bake it.” Cost is $44 for the brownie tray and $17 for the Jingle Bell brownie mix.

Tip: (We always think it’s a special touch to include a heartfelt thank you note from parents and/or your child with any gift that goes to a special teacher.)

Where to shop: Have you seen Kate Austin’s new location at 3046 SE J Street in Bentonville? It’s GORGEOUS. Swing by there and prepare to stay a while because you’ll want to look through all the pretties and try on a few cute clothes while you’re at it. The ladies who work at the shop are always kind and helpful.

How to contact: Call the shop at 479-268-3033; Visit the website: Follow on Instagram; Visit on Facebook; Follow on Twitter; See more on Pinterest.


kyya-chocolate-collage1Kyya Chocolates

Left: Hand-crafted Kyya Chocolate bars. Yes, please! Through adventures to cacao farms around the globe, Kyya crafts distinctive chocolate for their customers. They make small batches of chocolate with hand-picked single origin beans to highlight the unique flavor profiles. A few of these wrapped in a pretty bow would make a teacher’s day! Some of the chocolate bar flavors include Uganda Single Origin Milk Chocolate, Coffee Infused Milk Chocolate Bar, Ecuador Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Infused with Coconut and lots more!

Right: Kyya Bon-Bons. We all know teachers don’t have time to sit around eating bon bons, but with this gift she might be able to occasionally kick her feet up and indulge. This would be a fun teacher gift that says You get me. You totally get me.

Where to shop: Visit the website; Find them on Facebook; Tweet them on Twitter; See pics on Pinterest; Follow them on Instagram; Watch this new video about them on YouTube; Click here to see the full list of Northwest Arkansas retailers where  Kyya Chocolate is  sold.

How to contact: Using Google, you can find Kyya at 337 North Elm Street, Springdale, Arkansas 72762. For locals, the chocolate shop is in Elm Springs on Highway 112, about 2 miles North of Hwy 412. The shop is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. You can also call 1-844-281-4470


Northwest Arkansas Holiday Shopping Guide: Gifts with Local Flair


local-flair-rock-cityRock City Outfitters

Left: The “Call Me” t-shirt is one of the designs Rock City Outfitters is best known for, partly because you have to be a Hog fan to appreciate what those two words — “Call me” — really mean. This shirt is 100% cotton, unisex sizing, and so soft you’ll want to live in it 24/7. Cost is $26.99. Click here to see more or to order it.

Right: We love how the Homegrown Hoodie says so much without using words at all. Whether you were born in this state or have fallen in love with it and put down roots since you moved here, this shirt shows off your love for all things Arkansas. Cost is $34.99. Click here to see more or to order it.

Where to shop: Rock City Outfitters is an Arkansas company founded in 2008, selling primarily through its online shop, at select retailers throughout the state and at regional events. (They also do custom orders for groups and organizations, and they’re the company we asked to produce our Mom Prom t-shirts for the past 3 years… because they’re awesome.)

How to contact: Visit the website; Follow on Twitter; Visit on Facebook; See more on Pinterest; Follow on Instagram; Watch the YouTube channel.

rock city logo


scott-collage1Scott Frame and Art

Left and Right: Some of the most memorable, special gifts to give or receive during the holidays are the ones that are truly personal. The pros at Scott Frame and Art can help you customize a one-of-a-kind framed memory — something like a jersey, tickets, program, pennant or a photo collage. We love these “Frame Your Game” Custom Shadowboxes featuring sports jerseys, which can either be mounted full-length or folded. (See examples above, left and right.) The reason we both have Scott Frame and Art frames in our own homes is because they have the largest selection in Northwest Arkansas and their framing experts make it so easy to pull a project like this together.

Center: There are so many beautiful places in Northwest Arkansas and so many amazing artists, which is why we love to browse the big selection of local art at Scott Frame and Art. They have Artist Originals and Fine Art Reproductions of special places in Northwest Arkansas. If you want to customize a gift of art for a friend or relative, the shop can produce these Fine Art Reproductions in a variety of sizes on canvas, fine art paper and photo paper. The example shown at center above is a Giclee on Canvas called “Crystal Bridges,” by local artist Jane Garrison-Davidian.

Where to shop: Scott Frame and Art has a location at 2603 W. Pleasant Grove Road in Rogers and another shop at 100 E. Joyce Blvd in Fayetteville.

How to contact: Visit the website; Get updates on Facebook; Call the store at 479-696-8263 (Rogers) or at 479-443-7262 (Fayetteville).




Left: A bad hair day is no problem when you’ve got a cute hat with a little Arkansas pride on it.  This Charlie Southern Retro Arkansas Hat is only $28 and would be a great gift for an Arkansas girl.

Right: We adore this Charlie Southern Marble State Long Sleeve Tee. It’s a fun twist on Riffraff’s traditional state designs — with a marble motif! Proclaim your love for Arkansas, mamas! Cost is $36.

Where to shop: 15 S Block Ave, Fayetteville, Ark.

How to contact: Call the store at 479.799.5763; Click here to visit Riffraff’s website. Follow on Instagram; Visit on Facebook; See more on Pinterest; Follow on Twitter; Watch on YouTube.