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In consideration of enthusiasm!

March 24, 2023 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

I saw a quote today by Charles Kingsley, an early 1800’s era priest, university professor, historian, novelist and poet. I read his words & couldn’t help but think about how they still ring true, over 200 years later. He said: “We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy, is something to be enthusiastic about”.

I’ve spent my entire life, never knowing boredom because I always seem to find interesting things to learn, do, and be enthusiastic about! Beginning with my early love of music & singing, playing baritone ukulele at 6 years old, moving onto mountain dulcimer, then guitar, cello, Irish fiddle, bouzouki, mandolin & lastly, recently, the Anglo concertina, which has been a tremendous challenge. The concertina’s not easy, but I LOVE the whole wonderful process of learning this sweet, little instrument!

I’d long ago found, playing tunes on different instruments often enhances one’s other instrumental skills. For example, bowing a tune on the fiddle… then adapting that same tune, to play with a pick on a mandolin brings in a whole new avenue of learning & a fresh angle of the tune comes into view. It’s much like seeing a prism in a crystal… turning the tune like a crystal… You’ll get colorful glints of different lights as it hits various angles… thus are the tunes when stretched across different instruments!

My sweet husband gave me a beautiful Gibson mandolin years ago, & I love to play it when we’re on road trips. It was sweet of him & I totally get that when I played fiddle in the passenger seat of the car, he was fearful of loosing an eye from being poked with my bow. So the mandolin made sense… & is a whole lot safer.

Likewise, the sweet McNeela concertina he surprised me with a few year ago is perfect for road trips too, and although I’m nowhere near ready for prime time playing, I’m joyfully having a ton of fun with it!

And I’m so happy & blessed that our son Philip’s tapping his tremendous, God given talents & is playing guitar & singing! He’s got such a great ear, a beautiful voice & don’t even get me started on his amiable charm & humor! Playing tunes with him is something I’m totally thrilled about!

I love that he can laugh at himself as he’s learning the unique cord progressions of the Irish tunes… and that he finds interesting twists & turns within the tune that make it fascinating to listen to. For me, seeing him find the meaning in music -just like I found the meaning & joy in music… leaves me so, deeply grateful, proud & happy.

Enthusiasm, as the Winter wains and Spring comes peeking around the corner makes my heart thrill as I rifle through my box of veggie, flower & herb seeds, formulating plans for this years gardens. When I suddenly see my perennials starting to break through the soil, it always makes me so happy! It’s just like seeing old friends after a long absence!

Oh, then there’s my chickens… and I’d totally be lying if I said my hens & little coop don’t make me tremendously happy! My chickie girls are spoiled rotten with fresh herbs, veggies, grains & proteins. But the girls are 6 years old now & aren’t producing eggs like they use to, so a few new baby chicks are in the future! But the dear girls have served us well & been most generous & they will live out the rest of their lives in comfort, continuing to be pampered in their little home… aka “Cluckingham Palace”.

In my journey of raising happy, healthy chickens, I began delving deeper into the herbs I grow & their medicinal purposes. I added herbs that aid in respiratory health & that naturally help chickens maintain healthy levels of probiotics & for de-worming. When the COVID plague hit, I expanded my research into plants that promote healthy immune systems, which then led me down the merry path of making tinctures from plants & berries, as well as making herbal teas & such, for our own health & well being. I’ve also been taking an aggressive path in eliminating toxic chemicals… & have been making my own natural herbal cleansers for home & coop, salves, lip balms, soaps etc. The soap link’s to Parnella soaps that are wonderful!

I have enjoyed incorporating an even richer abundance of herbs & veggies & though I’ve always been a health wise cook, learning to incorporate even more immune boosting & inflammation reducing herbs has been an interesting path!

Oh, and don’t even get me started on camping season! We’ll be hauling my beloved lil’ camper, who we affectionally call “Tuffy” up to NY State where we’ve got 3 weeks reserved at our favorite camp ground. And of course, the many last minute, impromptu ‘escapes’ that I’m known to do! I call Mom & say… LETS GO! Then pull up to her house w/ Tuffy in tow. She runs out w/ her suitcase – jumps in the truck – & we’re off, always packed with seriously good food, a couple of dulcimers, a guitar, fiddle, whistles, Native American flutes, bodhran, concertina, mandolin, art supplies, wine & strong coffee… how can one NOT be excited about the camping season ahead!!!

So in conclusion, I’d have to completely agree with the words of Charles Kingsley, that are echoing through the centuries – from the early 1800’s. Though comfort & luxury are great and important… keeping enthusiasm in one’s life is truly essential to having joy. I believe it also goes hand in hand with having gratitude. Being grateful for every little thing… for each morning that dawns, for family & friends, for the abundance we have in life and all those miracles that could just drift by – unnoticed… be grateful for even for the little things, like finishing a good book, or a piece of artwork, lunch with a friend, or tunes!

So always give thanks & praise God… for everything you see and feel is a tremendous gift. The more I am grateful and give thanks, the more I am enthusiastic… and the more joyful I feel… it’s a circle… and so may it be – for you.



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Fresh start as a family band “Mylodic Isle”

April 19, 2022 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Philip & Jennifer’s son Philip, has joined the band. He knows their Irish & original tunes and songs… that he’s heard practically since day one. Over the last several years Philip has become skilled at the stand up/acoustic bass, electric bass, 5 string banjo & guitar. He has now been playing gigs & provides solid, rhythm support for traditional Irish tunes as well as Jennifer’s originals & a few covers. Philip has got a tremendous, well ranged vocal ability, & there’s nothing like family harmonies! Jennifer & Philip (Sr) are very proud to have Philip performing with them as “Mylodic Isle“… which also includes their long time friend, talented musician & singer, Bob Schmidt. Mylodic Isle is often seen playing Tuesday nights at St Stephen’s Green Public House, in Spring Lake, performing weddings, parties & festivals around the area.

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Violin lessons! Ocean & Monmouth Counties!

September 6, 2019 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Being a musician runs in my blood.  I was born into a musical family, playing music & singing.  As a small child, I figured out chords on my Aunt’s little, Baritone Uke, & sang along with my Grand-dad, Mom & Aunt.  Then after we moved to Colorado, my Dad made me a mountain dulcimer.  I was 8, but playing the mountain dulcimer became an unquenchable passion. My bedtime prayers always ended with… “and let me learn to play the dulcimer better.”   In retrospect, that mountain dulcimer – was the best Christmas gift ever.  Today, I am fortunate enough to have a few beautiful dulcimers… a Jerry Rockwell Baritone dulcimer,  a Bear Meadow Concert Grand and 2 lovely Dave Fields… I still take great joy in the sweet tones of this instrument… and find I write most of my original songs – first, on dulcimer.

Then, I took the baritone uke chords I knew,  & applied them to my dad’s guitar.  He had a fancy guitar, and I really wasn’t suppose to play with it… but I very carefully took it out, and played it whenever I could, after school.   My Mom showed me a few chords and I took off with it…  I bought a $2 classical guitar at a garage sale when I was about 14… and played that old thing for years.  Then, many years later, my Mom got me a beautiful,  Taylor 855 12 string, with action like butter… and I just love it.

In 4th grade, my school fortunately had a music program, so I joined the orchestra.  I will never forget the look on my Mom’s face – when I walked from the bus stop, taking the short cut through the corn field, lugging a cello.  Though we didn’t have a lot, my parents scraped the money together to make sure I could attend the 2 weeks of summer music camp – at the University of Illinois, each summer.

I happily stayed with classical music, joining various orchestras, spanning from that first school orchestras, into an adult baroque orchestras, to finally landing in the Ocean County Adult Orchestra here in NJ.   But when we moved to Ohio – I had to put the classical world on hold, but I kept my mountain dulcimer & guitar with me.

It wasn’t too much later – that I found an old, German violin in a 2nd hand shop. I latched onto it and quickly applied all my cello skills to the MUCH smaller, and TONS easier to fit into the car – violin.   Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the violin.   At this point Philip & I had begun searching out every Irish cd we could find, and we discovered found Kevin Burke, Martin Hayes, Maurice Lennon, Junior Crehan, Bobby Casey and more… and we found great bands like Silly Wizards, Danu, DaDannan, Arcady… and the list goes on and on.  So again, my desire to play violin – became unquenchable.

Philip, the kids and I attended Irish Arts Week in the Catskills for way over 10 years… and I took lessons with awesome violin / fiddlers such as Tony Demarco, Willy Kelly, Patrick Orseau, Kevin Crehan, (Jr’s grandson)  and many more.  Philip… in the span of all these years… first began with the Bodhran – an Irish frame drum stretched with goat skin.   He became a wicked good bodhran player and would drive the fiddle tunes while I played.   Philip then quickly gravitated to Irish whistles, and a wooden, Irish flute…  and finally his love for Uilleann pipes got hold of him, and now he’s quite an accomplished piper…

    I most thoughtfully gave Philip a bouzouki one year for his birthday… & we took turns playing it… but I fell in love with it – because it’s rather similar to a chromatic dulcimer!  In hindsight… it was a rather selfish gift… haha… but we love it!


Philip took me out to the now gone – but at that time, very popular shop called “Mandolin Brothers” in Staten Island – where he got me a beautiful, sweet toned,  1918 Gibson mandolin.  I always loved to play violin in the car, when we took road trips, but  sometimes I’d accidentally poke him in the head with the bow…   so a mandolin was MUCH better for me to play in the car, while Philip was driving!

Add to this whole crazy mix, there’s a ‘herd’ – of soulful, native American flutes… in all different, and complimentary keys… that are super easy to grab & play – whether we’re out by the garden bonfire on cool summer night, or watching the sunset off the front porch… a native American flute duet is often ringing through the night here… <3  It’s  haunting, and beautiful notes drift on the air… like Loons, singing on a shadowy, summer lake.   So needless to say,  this house has musical instruments from NT Instruments -EVERYWHERE!!!

I can say quite joyfully… that our kids have grown up too now, in this musical family, & all of them play instruments.  Often nights, we sit on the porch together, and instruments come out and we just enjoy playing tunes or singing together.

The photo below – was our first ‘musical’ family photo. Abbie plays cello – & toured Europe with her orchestra;  Em plays guitar, fiddle & sings… & Philip Jr – plays stand up & electric bass… and pretty much any stringed instrument he puts his hands on, in various tunings.  Was so happy he asked to take the Baby Taylor guitar -off to college with him.

Amazingly, even mostly grown up now – I just have to smile at the realization that all our kids have found relationships with friends & partners who share a love of music!  (Em even married one of my fiddle students!) Abbie… however, with now 4 babies… doesn’t have as much time as she’d like for music… but she will again soon, I know it!  And her husband’s Mom – is one of my dear, musical friends!   And my Mom – learned to play dulcimer a few decades ago… and we just have such fun playing tunes together. Ahh, this all – just makes my heart SO happy, music is such a good thing!!!!


SO…  Where am I going with all this?  As many folks ask me:  “What’s the difference between violin & fiddle?”  My answer always is:  It’s the WAY you play it.  And I’d also add… I believe a classical violin is played with the eyes, because you read the music and follow the bow direction.   vs.  A fiddle… which is played from the heart, because most of the time, the tune’s in your head, and you just play from memory.  As the tunes ARE played from memory, I believe the tunes will reflect your feelings at the time you play it.  This is how I perceive it.

So OK… when did I begin teaching Violin?   I began teaching violin – ‘Irish fiddle’ to be more precise… in 2002  when I was asked to replace the current, but retiring – violin teacher at an Irish Step dance school in Spring Lake, NJ.  I accepted the position &  taught there for 1 year.  I had a large, wonderful group of students, but when the school year ended in May, and the Summer began…  many of my students wanted to continue with their lessons for the summer… and so – teaching violin out of my home – began.

Since 2002…  I’ve taught homeschooled, pre-school, elementary, intermediate, high school, college & even graduate students.   I have many adults, and many retired students who are following their life long dream to play violin.  I’ll never forget one of my students called to inquire about lessons, and said his dream was to play violin (fiddle) on his porch some day.  I get that… it’s one of my favorite past times! But must say, one of my most favorite, beloved students – was a fine lady – who I taught for years… she was a local librarian.  Sadly she had a very bad stroke, but I spent years then,  and helped her get herself back to playing violin.  She was one of the most rewarding students I’ve ever had the joy to teach. Seeing her joy, in regaining her abilities to play again… brought me joy.  It was a labor of love. I truly – honestly LOVE teaching violin, and love sharing  Irish tunes, traditions and style with my students.  I share my secrets to playing, and making it achievable for them, to the best of my ability.

I’ve worked very successfully with students who have learning disabilities, autism or ADD.  I believe music is a universal language that I seem to be able to speak – quite fluently… and I take joy – in sharing what I can with my students so that they can learn to speak the musical language and find the joy that I find.

I currently have availabilities open for group lessons or private lessons.  Violin, Mountain dulcimer, or beginner guitar.  I’m open minded & flexible.   So… give me a holler if you’re interested!  Let’s make it work for you!!!    Contact me at or

Tunefully, Jennifer

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Music… in the mind, body & soul…

July 10, 2019 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

5 months since I’ve last posted… life gets so busy and there’s not enough time in the day, to sit and write so much anymore.  Yet the music is still running like wildfire – in my veins.

Though do I sit & write… or fiddle out tunes on my dear beloved fiddle?  Ah, there’s something about that old fiddle of mine… & it incessantly calls me – and I love it…  no… I yearn for it actually.

It draws me more than the mountain dulcimer, or guitar…  even more than my sweet little 1918 Gibson mandolin…. which I do love madly.  Reaching deep into the dark, long abandoned corners of my musical mind…  I can still hear the now – long quiet, deep & somber echos – of my beloved cello… which sadly, is propped up, untouched in abandoned solitude.  It’s beautiful, but now represents nothing more than an ornament… as it no longer holds an appeal for me – especially when I consider it’s classical piquancy…  and that list of rigid rules and sharp, knife like edges of competition in the orchestras… oof… No thank you!  That doesn’t muster any inclination within me – to pick that cello back up – again.

I love the freedom of the fiddle… & relish the sweet solitude of sitting on the porch swing – and fiddling out anything and everything that comes into my head.  But too, I also love the companionship of other musicians – and weaving the music together from our hearts…  lifting each other up – to bring the tune to life.  Which is why I tend to love the Irish tunes… as they have so much history… stories, folk lure and feelings.

It’s so hard to even put into words – but I can physically feel it – when a tune begins to breathe…  when the uilleann pipes and the fiddle fuse into one -holding the melody;  then the mandolin and sometimes a tin whistle or flute – brings in the dancing counter melodies that tip-toe in an amongst the melodic notes of the pipes & fiddle…  then this foundation – is raised & supported – by the skillful weaving & twining together of chords & progressions that ring between guitar, octave mandolin and bouzouki, that floats and tilts the major & minor chords – adding pleasant and unexpected diversions that draw quick glances from the other musicians,  & sometimes make eyebrows raise, with unexpected delight.

I love when a tune grows like this, and comes alive… pulsing with the steady beat of the bending, goat skin of the bodhran.  So… for me, in each tune – to be a part of lifting a tune up – whether by myself, or with musical friends, and making the tune breathe – is one of the most magical & rewarding things of playing music & being a musician… and it’s an amazing feeling – to be part of, & play music with friends who actually get it.

One evening, not long ago, after a night of playing music with a very dear friend, Frank Curran, who sadly and unexpectedly passed away recently…  said to me  “Jennifer,  I love the SPACES – you put between the notes… ”      Wow… what a beautiful perspective!   That is what got me thinking about all this.  Those spaces…  I’ve never  had any interest in machine gunning out notes… playing them in rapid succession when playing a tune…  but rather, I enjoy giving each note – the space to shine.  But must clarify… that sometimes – sure, the tunes do get running fast & furious – and the notes become like marathon runners – in the last 50 feet of the race… but there’s still got to be breathing… not run the tune into the ground till it’s dead.  The notes have to have swing and life… which is (to me) is important to keep contained in the music… and which is what I believe raises the tunes up.  Idk if any of this makes sense at all… Ahh… maybe it’s just ramblings.

But – what spurred this on? As a little girl, my parents had a friend who use to come visit, & he’d tell us stories about how he jumped out of air planes, into fires.  He was some sort of elite type of fireman – from the forests of the Western US.   His name was Gene… (Jean?)  and he use to bring us meat wrapped in brown paper – elk or moose – that my Mom would cook up.  We were pretty poor, so meat was kinda a big deal.  But whenever Gene came through town… he always had his vehicle, packed with instruments that he would take out & play.  Days were spent playing music & Gene would say… “Jennifer, go get your dulcimer”  Or “Go get your uke and come play music with us.”   Wow. Even just typing that now,  my heart still leaps at the memory.  I could play lots of chords on that little baritone Uke,  and sing all the songs from my Dad’s old, worn, Pete Seeger song book.  

I remember singing  “It takes a worried man, to sing a worried song”…  which, in retrospect was a pretty odd song for a little girl of 7 years old to sing…  but I could also sing  “Wayfaring Stranger” “Down in the Valley” and a lots of other songs which I still sing today.  My Dad’s ‘reel to reel’ recorder would come out and get set up – and they’d record their music with microphones… which I thought was just the coolest thing ever.    I loved listening to the music – even after I went to bed.  Idk what ever happened to Gene… but he was always a pretty cool visiter.

Once, I remember hearing what I thought – (from my 8 year old perspective) – were gypsies… We were living in Colorado.  The fire was crackling… and my parents were sitting by it, playing cards.  Being sent to bed,  I lay in the darkness – breathing as quietly as I could… listening for bears.   I was SOO afraid that bears, or some other hungry, wild creature might get me… or worse, get my Mom…  (#fearsOfAnOnlyChild)  But as I lay there in the darkness… the sudden, sweet, jingling notes of a mandolin – came drifting to me in the air.

Then, gentle guitar chords joined… then a tin whistle & a fiddle – blending with the mandolin’s sweet song…  and all the notes melded into the sweetest music I’d ever heard.  The music drifted down from the mountain – dancing down along the wooded incline, of the night-shadowed mountain.   I listened to their music for a long time, forgetting my fears of the bears – instead, listening and dreaming as the gypsies played tune after tune through the night.  I wished I was part of that.

Now I AM… a part of that… and I am one of those fun, wild, musical gypsies…. with the music drifting into the air…

and quite happily, playing music with amazing friends… lol… Hum…  It’s interesting where we travel in life…  and fascinating the paths we traverse, and who crosses our paths, comes into our light,  and into our life… (as long as it’s not a bear…  I’m good with all this)… lol… not that I have anything against bears… )

Well… that’s it for now!  Enjoying the summer… which is fleeting so quickly!  Loving my gardens… herb beds, making kombucha, tinctures and salves, lovin’ the chickens,  & playin’ tunes… camping, laughing, dancing and living life to the fullest… why not, this isn’t a dress rehearsal.

Tunefully… soulfully… thoughtfully…




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St Stephen’s Green Public House

February 19, 2019 - Author: Jennifer Mylod

Every Tuesday night – Year Round – at St Stephen’s Green Public House, in beautiful Spring Lake Heights, NJ

I lead the music along with Philip on Tuesdays, and we play traditional Irish music & songs – from 7:00 – 10:00 pm….  This is the BEST Irish pub on the Jersey Shore… and a place you won’t want to miss!   It’s located in the beautiful “Irish Rivera” of Spring Lake, on the Jersey Shore.

So come enjoy the excellent menu, and fine spirits – at the beautiful  “Green”

 Play traditional Irish music?  

Come sit in with us for a tune or two!



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