Meet-a-Middlesex-Mom: Mara Adler-O’Kelly | Middlesex South Moms


How long have you lived in Middlesex County? What made you decide to live here?

After living in Hoboken for several years, we knew it wasn’t feasible for us to stay with more than the two of us – a railroad apartment in danger of flooding (saw during Hurricane Sandy) with no personal space can only hold a family of three for so long!

I had absolutely no idea what it would be like here in “real” New Jersey, but what mattered is that my husband’s parents were here and could help us navigate new life with a child.

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have one daughter and she is 3 years old!

What are some of your favorite things to do with your children?

My daughter is both the biggest critic and biggest helper when it comes to creating my music classes. I test new songs with her to see if they go over well with the cool threenager crowd. Often out of necessity, I have to take her to recitals and performances our company produces, or to my own performances and church services where I sing. While this isn’t exactly her favorite activity in the moment, these activities are important to me as she is learning the love of music and the hard work it takes to be a musician and an entrepreneur. Sometimes she wants to sing a song in front of the crowd, so I know she is absorbing some of it!

For things non-musical it’s the beach as long as possible, until November if we can! I like the Asbury Park Boardwalk because it has playgrounds, very good food, coffee and a California vibe (where I’m originally from). We also go to Keansburg Amusement Park as a family.

Where is your favorite place to eat in Middlesex County?

There are so many! Thai Thai, Old Bridge Pizza, Nagoya sushi. The Coffee Bar, for my Italy fix, it has great coffee.

Hebrews Coffee in South River is also a great vibe! You’ll find me often planning away for my business at these places, sometimes with my trusty 3-year-old young assistant by my side.

What’s been your favorite “mommy moment” so far?

I love to travel, and my three-year-old has ironically awakened that desire in me again. It is stressful, yes, but usually worth it. My favorite Mommy moments have come when my daughter has met her Great Grandmothers, her cousins on the west coast. When we returned home, she wanted to draw them a picture and send it.

Tell us about “MusicWise”!

MusicWise brings the love and discipline of music study into your home, and your daily life whether through your elementary aged child becoming inspired to finally learn the piano, by your own singing with confidence in your car or at your local open mic, through the the catchy songs your preschooler will sing around the house after a class with us. We teach in-home piano and voice lessons to all ages and partner with local businesses and residents to put on performances and community events throughout Middlesex County and the state. For the youngest among us, we have an Around the Globe With Music toddler/preschool class held at local libraries, music schools, play spaces or in your home upon request. It was born out of the love for music my business partner and I developed at very young ages and our desire for others to know that love.

For more information follow us on Instagram. MusicWise is part of a group elite music teachers here in Middlesex and Monmouth Counties – The New Jersey Music Teacher Collaborative 

How has this “mom” community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?

I’ve just gotten connected and I look forward to finding out this answer!

Thanks Mary!


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