We are thrilled to introduce you to Alexandra Adams! If you are a mom in Santa Barbara, chances are you most likely know her, or have heard of her. Trust me, you want to know her. Her heart is pure gold and you feel so blessed to be in her presence.
Alex, we are extremely grateful and honored to interview you, thank you. Let’s start with where you are originally from and how long have you lived in Santa Barbara? What made you decide to live here?
I came to Santa Barbara with my husband in 2000 to attend UCSB. My husband and I thought Santa Barbara was one of the most beautiful places we’d had ever been. We grew up in Northern CA in a very small town. (Cloverdale in Sonoma County, the wine country). SB didn’t feel to big or too small, it was just right!
We have a similar story line, I came to Santa Barbara with my high school sweetheart to attend UCSB also. I know that you and your husband are high school sweethearts as well. How old were you when you met?
Mondo and I met when we were 8 years old. He used to tease and run after me on the playground, haha! We’ve been together 25 years and married 17. We were high school sweethearts. Every memory we’ve made, we’ve made together. When you grow up with someone like that, you’re connected in so many aspects of life. And together we’ve chased our dreams. We’re a pretty amazing team! He’s a beautiful human being inside and out and I love him with all my heart. He’s a kindergarten teacher too!
I love that! A big heart just like yours. What did you major in at UCSB?
I got my BA in Ethnomusicology and Drama. Ethnomusicology is the study of music from around the world. With this major I got to take all sorts of wonderful music classes! I was even in the Gospel Choir. I also majored in Drama believe it or not. I was able to read and study major playwrights, learn about production sound and lighting, costume design, and makeup. I even dabbled in acting, which I kinda loved! I had a great time in college! I got to explore who I was in my 20’s, while figuring out what I wanted to do!
From experience I know you found your calling and are using your education and talents today. Please tell the rest of us about your business.
I own Yellow Bird Music, a children’s music studio in town. I’ve been teaching music on De la Vina for 16 years now and it feels like just yesterday when I opened up my doors. I am so very honored to be teaching children and their families something that I love so very much. Music has always been such a part of what makes me whole as a person. And to be able to do this as a career in such a beautiful place as Santa Barbara, I am truly blessed! Every family that I have met in one capacity or another has filled my heart. Life is good when you love what you do!
What made you want to start Yellow Bird Music?
I have always loved working with children. I just got kids and they got me. And music, well I was pretty much born singing. You put these two things together, and you get my dream of opening Yellow Bird Music. I can be as creative as I want. I get to design my own curriculum and music. In fact, I have a wonderful music team that produces music for each themed curriculum. I have had so many classes featured at Yellow Bird, like Art, Yoga, Dance, Build a Band, Choir, Piano, Spanish, and the list goes on! I like to keep things evolving. Especially since my kiddos are getting older. I like to keep moving with their musical interests as they grow. I have this amazing space, so why not have fun and be creative while using it!
How many children do you have and what are their age(s)?
My son Mateo is 10 and my daughter Amae is 7.
Being so talented yourself, are your children musical?
My children are. I’ve had them at Yellow Bird since they were itty bitty. Mateo plays the piano and loves to be the DJ at home. And Amae loves to sing! It makes me so happy that they have music in their lives. It feeds all our souls!
What’s your favorite family activity in Santa Barbara?
We love to bike ride past goleta beach and into UCSB. We enjoy beach days at Padaro. Weekend breakfast at Summerland Beach Cafe. Music afternoons at Cold Spring Tavern. A family tradition we have is we love watching the Christmas parade on State Street every year.
Were you able to enjoy any family summer vacations this summer?
I just took a trip to Fiji with my family. If you’ve never been to Fiji, it’s a must see! Not only for the beautiful beaches and surf, but for the beauty in the Fijian people. They are some of the kindest people I have ever met. I went with my sister 20 years ago and knew that I wanted to take my family back someday, and someday was this June! While enjoying time with the family, I knew that I wanted to be immersed within the culture and people. I had hopes of teaching children music while I was there. So when we arrived, I reached out to a few of the local Fijians trying to find a local school to visit and an ukulele to borrow. After a few connections had been made, my family and I headed to a little elementary school in Sigatoka Fiji, where I taught my first Yellow Bird Music class abroad. The sound of these children’s joyous singing voices will be one of the moments that I cherish forever. And one of the most special parts about this music class, was that I was able to share it with my family. I would love to return to Fiji and other places around the world to teach music. Yellow Bird Music around the world has a wonderful ring to it! I have to give special thanks to my friend Ratu, for making arrangements for me to be a guest at the school. And to my friend Jona, who let me borrow his ukulele.
Oh my! I can’t even imagine how gratifying that must have felt. I have never been to Fiji, it’s on our list. We are lucky that we live in beautiful Santa Barbara where it’s like a vacation everyday! Where is your favorite place to eat in SB?
Oh there are so many! Quick bites, Java Station for delicious bagels and toppings after my kiddos get out of school. There iced coffee is delicious too! Spudnuts on Upper State for Friday morning donut runs with the kiddos. Bloody Mary’s at the Boathouse. Nachos and Margaritas at Los Agaves. Oat milk honey latte and almond croissant at Handlebar. Spaghetti carbonara at Via Maestra 42. Pizza at Petrini’s. Steak at Tee Off. Toffee crunch sundae and coconut cake at Jane. And the list goes on and on, cause I love to eat!
What about shopping?
I love to shop at Home Goods, fun gifts at Skin Deep. Marshall’s on State, we have a good one! The Beach House, and Love Bird.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have a band that I’ve been playing and singing with for 15 years. We’re a local band out of SB and we’ve been playing original and cover tunes for people ever since. Our band is called Back Pocket and we play all over town. We play a little bit of everything from Sheryl Crow to Tom Petty… But my favorite is playing our original tunes! You can check out our Facebook page here Back Pocket . Or better yet, come and hear us play at one of my favorite spots, Cold Spring Tavern!
How do you balance work/ mom life?
That took a long while to figure out. I’m still learning. But for me more than anything, it’s a feeling. A feeling of what feels good within me. Am I happy? Being present in the now, holding tight to moments that make everything in my world go round. Taking time to enjoy this life I live. If I feel a sense of balance, then so can everyone around me. Life is ever changing with no clear paths, ever. It’s how we understand and learn from these life events that give us our own balance, or learning of, I feel.
Wow! You are so inspiring. What’s the best advice given as a parent?
Cherish every moment with your children, because it goes by in a heartbeat!
That is so true! Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
My husband Mondo. We’re a team in everything we do. He’s always my sounding board, even at 3am in the morning. He’s always present and I can count on him with all my heart. I’m so very lucky to share this life with him.
Last question, how has the Santa Barbara community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Santa Barbara is a family town, with such an amazing variety of things for families to participate in and do! I believe this is what has given me the opportunity to stay in business over these past 16 years. And because I truly love what I do and I feel it shows.
It definitely shows! It’s certainly apparent after this interview.
If you have not had the opportunity to take a session at Yellow Bird Music with you children, run don’t walk. Alex touches hearts in a way you cannot describe, only experience. She treats your children as her own. She sings, plays guitar, ukulele, many percussion instruments, and also just picked up the harmonica. She loves learning and sharing new experiences, keeping it fun and creative! Incorporating many world instruments, as well as dancing, story telling, and many other activities; She’s absolutely amazing at what she does! It’s not only a time to bond with your child- its a time to bond with Alex, and other incredible families in a bright, warm, and enriching environment. Registration for the fall session just opened August 9th. The session starts September 9th and the theme is “ Fairy Tale Magic.” Sign up on the Yellow Bird Music website.