Meet a Mom: Shanan Ashlee Colvin of Music Library - Greater Austin Moms

We love music and books around here and this week’s Meet a Mom features an amazing woman who is combining the two! Learn more about Shanan and her passion to create Music Library, a subscription box that introduces children to diverse styles of music and inspiring musicians from Bob Marley to Beethoven. 

Hi Shanan! We’re eager to learn more about you and Music Library. Let’s start with you.
I’m Shanan Ashlee Colvin. My husband and I will have been married for 18 years this December. We have three children, Max (11) and Isaac (9), who are homeschooled, and Cadence (2). I was born in San Antonio, but moved to Austin when I was two and lived here until my husband and I took off for Fort Rucker, AL when he graduated college and received his commission to the Army. We have been back in the Austin area since 2017. I grew up in south Austin attending Kocurek and Patton for elementary school, Covington Middle School and Austin High School. I graduated from UT Austin in 2004 with a Bachelor’s in Choral Music Studies.

I taught middle school choir for several years before deciding to stay home with my oldest son. I always planned to return to the classroom, but someone (my husband!) had the crazy idea to give homeschooling a try and here we are!

Music is my passion. I’ve been a member of several community choirs over the years (and in the many states my husband and I lived in when he was still active duty Army). I enjoy performing in musicals, playing the piano, reading and, of course, teaching others music.

How neat! Let’s hear more about Music Library.

Music Library is a subscription box that introduces children (and their caregivers!) to diverse styles of music and inspiring musicians. Each month our subscribers (Music Readers, as I like to call them) receive a new music-themed picture book, instrument and craft. I also provide printables and pre-recorded “mini music lessons.” Everything is designed to get kids excited about music and learning!

I started Music Library in the summer of 2019 after discovering a picture book with sheet music in the back. I was planning a lesson for my two boys and thought it would be really fun to share musical picture books as a resource for other parents and teachers.

I didn’t initially set out to focus on the diversity aspect of the picture books I selected, but I quickly realized that most homeschool music curricula is designed to teach children about classical music. While I am a classically trained musician and absolutely love Mozart, I have always had a diverse taste in music and so it only made sense to incorporate different genres into Music Library boxes. Our subscribers (Music Readers as I like to call them) learn about composers and musicians with different abilities and upbringings and that are from different cultures, countries, time periods and musical styles. This level of inclusion, I believe, is what makes Music Library special.

Our mission is to Give Moms the Gift of Time – What are your best time-saving tips/resources as a mom?

Something fairly simple that always makes my weeks easier is meal planning. Not meal prepping, but just taking some time on a Saturday to write down what’s for dinner and, if I’m feeling ambitious, breakfast each day. My kids love knowing what’s coming, my husband can step in at a moment’s notice and I don’t have to rack my brain trying to remember what I bought for the week. I have a white board with the plan and a place for everyone to write down what they need/wand from the store inside the pantry door. Also, there is no shame in my game when it comes to paying for grocery pick up or delivery. I will happily pay those fees to keep from having to go into the grocery store!


What are some of the challenges you are facing with your business right now?

Finding a rhythm! When you work from home, its hard for your family to separate your “mom-mode” time from your “work mode” time. Honestly, it’s hard for me too! However, as the business grows and I add to my team, I believe the distinction will become more concrete and my work time more cohesive.

Where do you see Music Library in the next five years?
Music Library has grown steadily over the first three years and in the next five, I plan to launch variations of the box for younger and older readers. I’d also like to dive into the world of writing and hope to publish my own book(s) in the near future.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why and how long would you stay?
This is going to seem like a strange answer because I hate cold weather, but Antartica. It’s a place that only a small percentage of people will get to see and I imagine it being so pristine and clean and (mostly) undisturbed by humans. I probably wouldn’t stay too long though-just enough to appreciate the beauty!

Antartica would be amazing! Anything interesting about yourself others may not know about you?
My younger brother is a Grammy-winning guitarist!

Let’s chat Austin favorites…
• Favorite restaurant in Austin:
Oh there are so many, but I’m going to go simple and old school on this one: Sandy’s Frozen Custard. Get the Thursday/ Saturday Special and take a walk over to Auditorium Shores. It works for family time or a date day!
• Favorite coffee spot:
•Favorite place for live music:
Stubb’s or Long Center

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