My name is Autumn Shaddock, and I'm incredibly grateful to be this year's PIO recipient. My journey has been shaped by my hometown Austin, Texas, the vibrant city of music, where I was fortunate to discover my deep passion for the arts. Music is deeply ingrained in my family, and it has gifted me with joy and purpose. My mother, Cindy Haws, instilled in me the profound influence of music. She cultivated an environment that immersed me in the arts, nurturing my creativity and equipping me with the means to express myself through song. Woody Hill, my trusted friend and bandmate, has become like family, always impressing me with their various musical skills. My bandmates are some of my true musical inspirations, and have played a pivotal role in my journey.
I became a part of Strawbitty Yops, a family-oriented children's music project, a few years ago while I was starting my college journey at UT Austin, where I study interior design. As I'm on the cusp of graduating, my goal is to channel my skills into crafting sustainable designs that can make a positive impact on the world. Likewise, I hold a strong commitment to crafting music that cultivates positivity and inspires positive transformation within the younger generation. I aim to teach them how they, too, can contribute to building a more compassionate and empathetic community.
I am elated to be part of the community of children's performers who create lasting memories and ignite a passion for music in young hearts. I firmly believe in the transformative power of music to drive change, and I'm excited to continue my mission in this endeavor.
Hello members of the Children’s Music Network. My name is Autumn Haws-Shaddock and I am a Senior at the University of Texas, studying Interior Design in the Architecture program. I am also a member of the children’s music project, Strawbitty Yops. We perform weekly around Austin, so I am usually up early on a Saturday or Sunday morning going to a show and making music with kids and families. As a children’s music performer I aim to create a fun, engaging, and educational experience for young audiences. I believe that children's music is a powerful tool that can be used to inspire children, igniting their imagination and fostering their love for music. I was drawn to the inclusive community of musicians, educators, and music enthusiasts The Children's Music Network has created. This community’s passion for promoting socially conscious music for children has supported so many musicians like myself, who strive to create music that is both entertaining and educational, addressing a wide range of topics from social issues to emotional well-being, cultural diversity, and environmental awareness.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege of playing music for the conferences organized by the Children's Music Network. I have been able to witness firsthand the close-knit nature of this organization and the strong sense of community that permeates through each event. Even in the virtual setting, there is a genuine warmth and encouragement that flows through the interactions, with our shared passion for children’s music uniting us all.
From my earliest memories, children's music has held a special place in my heart. Every Saturday morning, I would find myself in our local coffee shop, immersed in a world of lively melodies that resonated from both human voices and playful puppets as we attended the weekly shows of the local kids musicians performing in town. Growing up in a musical household, I was enveloped in the joy that music brings. When my mom initiated Strawbitty Yops, a children's music project focused on spreading messages of love and acceptance, and interactive music making, I eagerly joined, sharing in the mission wholeheartedly. Since then, we have achieved remarkable milestones, including the release of our first album, captivating audiences with performances across the Austin area. Moreover, we have been privileged to collaborate with fellow artists, such as Esther Crow, Red Yarn, 123 Andres and Uncle Jumbo, harnessing the power of music to inspire and uplift the younger generation.
In middle and high school I spent my summers at Girls Rock Camp which provides a supportive environment and showcases how music can inspire self-expression, boost confidence, nurture creativity, and cultivate a sense of belonging. This was a transformative experience that revealed to me the profound impact of music in empowering children to break out of their shells, and forge meaningful connections. As a highschooler I moved from being a camper to a counselor, helping with band coaching, navigating collaboration between campers and helping with the vocal workshops and performing in the counselor rock bands every year.
I also grew up with foster and younger siblings. I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to experience the positivity children's music has brought into the lives of my siblings. Through the medium of children's music, they have discovered newfound confidence within themselves. Music provided them with a creative outlet to express their emotions and individuality. As they engaged with various musical activities, whether it was learning to beatbox and play new instruments, or performing to a live audience with the Strawbitty Yops, they began to develop a sense of self-assurance that transcended into other aspects of their lives.
The profound impact of children's music on my life has ignited a lifelong passion to celebrate and amplify its positive power in the lives of children. I envision myself dedicated to this mission, spreading inspiration, and the transformative potential of music to young hearts for years to come. Continuing my work at Girls Rock Camp will allow me to shape the next generation of music makers. Having once been a fearful camper myself, my hope is to provide support to current campers, allowing them to break free from their fears and discover their true passions. As a member of the Strawbitty Yops band, our unwavering commitment is to create music that inspires children to embrace their feelings and embrace new ideas. We will continue to spread these ideas through our performances, engaging with families, and encouraging them to join us in the joyful act of making music together.
Our 2023 Scholars Award application contains information about applying for our 2023 award (application deadline 5/31/2023).