Musical Mama

This month, screen composer Caitlin Yeo is off on a musical adventure to LA where she’ll work with A-list Hollywood composers and a 60-piece orchestra to create her own original score.

It’s an incredible opportunity that she’s worked hard for but one that’s never interrupted family time with her son and partner (something she’s not been willing to do).

“The very first record I purchased was “Film Music Classics” performed on piano” recalled Caitlin when asked about her passion for music.

“I remember listening to Vangelis’s “Chariots of Fire” theme over and over and being obsessed with the ostinato bass; just a single repeated note can be so captivating”.

It’s Caitlin who is now captivating audiences, so much so that earlier this year she won an APRA award and a place in the prestigious ASCAP Film and TV Scoring Workshop in LA. For her it is a “priceless opportunity” and she couldn’t think of a better way to grow and evolve as a composer.

It will be however the first time since becoming a mother five years ago that she will be focusing exclusively on her music. So how has she juggled up until now?

“For the first five years of Kira’s life I was what you would call a ‘routine mum’. I did most of my work during his naps, and at night. I had a set routine, which my son and I followed every day. Luckily for me, this suited him well, and he thrived on knowing what was coming up next”.

“He is also the type of kid you could set your clock by. He is always waking up at exactly the same time each morning. It’s kind of weird. He has now just started school, and I am pleased to say that he is loving it. Interestingly the new routine has revealed many new challenges when it comes to fulfilling my work and parental commitments. Although I have moved from 3 days of daycare to 5 days of school, the day seems much shorter, and there are many more commitments the parents are expected to make to the school community. Needless to say, I am still working at night, and trying to find order in this chaos”.

Still, as Caitlin describes her latest feature-length documentary “Love in Our Own Time” and the “earthy, simple and whimsical” music she’s brought to the film, it’s easy to think what a great job she has, despite the “chaos”.

“Yeah, people often say to me “wow, your work sounds like the perfect job for you being a mum. It’s great that you can work at home and choose your hours.” Yes that’s true. But it’s not exactly easy. The sheer volume of music I need to write and produce for any single film is often around 30-40 pieces of music for a 1 hour documentary, and far more for a feature film. I am also not able nor willing to work during time with my family”.

“The film industry is notorious for its unrealistic deadlines during post-production which can make it hard to find a work life balance. I think this is why the screen music industry is dominated heavily by men. But I am steadily working hard to change that! Women and mothers have a unique perspective on life, which can add a special touch to the expression of their art”.

Favourite kid’s song? Octopus Garden and Purple People Eater. But my son’s favourite bands are Babylon Circus and Mountain Mocha Kilimanjaro. Now that’s good music!” 

Favourite park? Pirrama Park

Favourite instrument? “My favourite instrument changes with the style of music I like at the time. I play flute, piano and accordion and at the moment I love the accordion. It is very expressive, and versatile, and has a full orchestral range. Though, it is the most difficult instrument I have ever tried to learn. It’s kind of like rubbing your tummy, patting your head, and taping your foot at the same time”.

Charity of choice? Starlight Children’s Foundation “My sister works there so I’ve seen firsthand how dedicated they are to brightening up the lives of sick children”.

What do you love about motherhood? “My son and my partner…our family”.

About Sharon Quill

Writing about and for great people.
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