Baby Care

Noa Levy – London Jazz News

Mothers In Jazz” is a new series, started by vocalist Nicky Schrire. The initiative aims to create an online resource for working jazz musicians with children, those contemplating parenthood, and jazz industry figures who work with and hire musicians who are parents. The insight of the musicians interviewed for this series provides valuable emotional, philosophical and logistical information and support that is easily accessible to all. “Mothers In Jazz” shines a light on the very specific role of being both a mother and a performing jazz musician.

Noa Levy is a jazz-rock fusion vocalist originally from Tel Aviv, Israel. She has performed with musicians including Yoni Rechter, Alon Nadel, Marc Secara, and the Israeli Chamber Orchestra. During her military service, she was the lead vocalist for the Israeli Navy Ensemble. Noa lives in San Francisco with her husband and their 6 month-old daughter. See below for details of UK dates

Noa Levy. Photo credit Eli Zaturansky

LondonJazz News: What is the best advice you received about balancing/juggling motherhood and career?

Noa Levy: The best advice I received pre-kiddo was from Matt Fripp. He has two kids and leads the Jazz Fuel community. He told me becoming a parent makes you a lot more efficient with your time, and that advice helped me look on the bright side of the inevitable fact that there’s not as much time to work on a career during motherhood. It was almost the only non-“doomsday” wisdom I’ve heard and became an outlook I’m trying to keep today.

LJN: What information or advice do you wish you’d received but didn’t (and had to learn through trial and error or on the go)?

NL: My personal experience was I expected the baby to be on a schedule and for life to be more predictable than it actually was.The books I read before birth and folks around me all talked about predictability and scheduled feeding, sleeping, playing. But while my little one sleeps relatively well at night, she doesn’t nap as much or as regularly as I expected so I found myself with much less time during the day to focus on my work and practice. The books and my expectations caused me a lot of anxiety when I tried to implement them without success.I wish I was more prepared for the possibility that right off the bat I would need more support during the daytime in terms of babysitting, etc. The advice I would give other mothers now is to keep an open mind as to what your days will be like – every baby is unique and you adjust as a family! If you want to practice more in the first 6 months, then be sure to have some good babysitting support options ready to go. .

I also was not prepared for the emotional conflict when having to leave my daughter to go to a gig. This is something I’m still working on today.

LJN: Your top tip(s) for other mothers in jazz:

NL: The most important thing for me was learning how to affirm myself and strengthen my confidence in my own ability to judge what is best for my daughter, myself and my family. It’s hard to do, takes spiritual practice (in my case, meditation) yet it yields the best results. So my first tip is to make sure you have emotional support around you. The second tip is to talk to other moms. I didn’t have many friends with kids and I found that to be challenging at first but after a couple of months I started meeting more people in the parenting circles and especially when talking to other musicians who have kids, I found some great wisdom. Resources like this blog are worth their value in gold. Other online sources I found really helpful are,, and the free App at

LJN: Baby/child gear tips for travel/touring/gigging:

NL: GET THE DOONA! We didn’t buy expensive stuff and tried to keep the budget low but we splurged on one item, the Doona car seat and stroller. It converts from a car seat to a stroller and back again, so you don’t need both a stroller and a car seat when traveling. I 100% recommend the Doona if you tour with your baby. It lasts until your baby is 1 year old and the resale value is quite high so in the end it’s not that expensive.

LJN: Best general travel/gigging/tour-with-child advice:

NL: We used headphones during takeoff/landing – not sure if that’s what helped but there was no crying. Baby jet lag sucks even more than regular jetlag. Be prepared and take it as it comes (I know I wasn’t). There’s crying, sleep and wake times can be all over the map so make sure you have a few days to get acclimated, and plan ahead with your partner to take turns helping your little one to settle down. After 3 days or so things normalize, in my experience, so I don’t think I’ll be taking airplanes for long weekends anytime soon.

LJN: What has surprised you about becoming a parent and remaining engaged with your professional activities and ambitions?

NL: As the universe had it, I started getting a lot more work after becoming a parent, and found myself juggling and getting childcare sooner than I expected. I was surprised how adaptable my daughter is, but more than anything, how much she loves music. In her first few months of her life, I took her with me to gigs and she could listen to an entire set. I was also surprised at how supportive other musicians in my life were.

LJN: What boundaries have you set for yourself as a mother in jazz (could be related to travel/touring, riders, personal parameters, child care decisions, etc.)?

NL: I always put my daughter’s needs first. She is still spending most of her time with me and I won’t take a gig if it means putting too much stress and instability on her. At the same time I’m trying hard to still keep going with the projects and gigs that are important to me, and I want to be a role model for her in balancing motherhood and music, so I try to be solution-oriented and learn to do things better, for example, when I have to leave and she’s crying or she had a hard time when I was out at a gig. Keeping this larger perspective helps me get through these times when I feel conflicted.

Noa will be collaborating with pianist Paul Edis to celebrate the Bill Evans songbook with two performances in the UK. They will be performing on 15 July 2023 at the Hampstead Jazz Club and at Bishop’s Court Farm at Dorchester-on-Thames in Oxfordshire on 16 July 2023 (LINK). Her new album “London Sessions” (featuring Paul Edis) will be released in Fall 2023.

LINKS: Artist website

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The complete archive of Nicky Schrire’s Mothers in Jazz series

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