You know how John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans?” That’s how I became a musician and music teacher.

When I was 13, I became a counselor in training at my summer day camp, every morning my sister Barb and I would sit in a circle playing guitar and singing songs with the campers. Within a couple of weeks, the director had me teaching music and drama classes. I didn’t think of it as a career path though, I just thought I was having fun with the kids.

In college I studied psychology and thought I’d eventually become a therapist. I loved my classes, the many activities available on campus and found myself drawn in particular to people who played music. I started writing songs and made regular trips to the used record store. Then I started showing up at dorm coffeehouses and asking to perform. My hands would shake so badly from nerves, I could hardly play but by the time I was done and walking off the stage I would always think, “I want to do that again!” Little did I know, this meant I was screwed for life! LOL

A year or so after I graduated college, I spent a couple of months traveling through Europe with a backpack, guitar and Eurail Pass. I played music on the streets and in youth hostels and was amazed and moved by the people I met who had no investment in liking what I did, but kept me up to the wee hours playing song after song. It gave me the confidence to make my first demo tape when I got home (yep, a cassette with 4 songs on it) I started making trips to the post office to send out press kits and my journey of being a performing songwriter began. Now 30+ years later I still can’t help but do what I need to do to get on stages and play from time to time. See what I mean about being screwed for life?

After I’d been performing on the folk circuit for a couple of years, I was asked to apply for the music specialist position at the local JCC summer camp. The first time I met with a group of campers to sing, I felt like I’d come home.​ And still I was thinking that I’d teach until I got “famous.”

But over the years I started to notice that just about every teaching job I got was one where someone asked me to apply. And when I wasn’t teaching I missed it terribly. In the fall of 1998 I decided to move in the direction of teaching full time. I realized that teaching completes the creative circle for me; when I’m teaching, I’m happier and write more.

By the fall of 1999 I was teaching, writing and performing music full time and haven’t looked back.

Since the 80s, I’ve had the honor of traveling the country performing at coffeehouses and festivals and a few years ago I toured Spain. I’ve taught both guitar and piano to people as young as 4 and as old as 89.

And now I’ve founded my own music school, Janet’s Planet: Music Lessons for Humanoids, Inc.TM ​On Janet’s Planet, I continue to offer private lessons, monthly jam sessions, retreat weekends and perform concerts. And in 2016, my husband John and I began leading small groups of people on vacation tours to Ireland, our Ireland Site & Music Excursion – A Cultural Immersion Experience.

John Lennon was right about life happening when we’re making other plans and I’m in love with what that’s looked like for me. Can’t wait to see what’s next.