My husband and I are musicians. And we’re parents. When we are onstage, we do our best to really be ON stage. But all our “backstage” experiences with our son (our little frog) deeply affect who we are as people, thus musicians. Recent insights:
Music is a big part of our family life, so our son Nigel regularly attends concerts, rehearsals, and hears recordings. Already he enjoys dancing and drumming. Down the road, it will be fun to see if he is drawn to play music. In case he does (and can use encouragement for his music studies), here’s what I might say to him… and to his older friends, some of whom are already accomplished young musicians:
- It is really fun to make sounds! Playing music is like painting in the air, or dancing around in a swimming pool. There is plenty of room for you to just do your own thing. Have fun!
- Learning to play an instrument (your voice is an instrument, too) is a completely engaging, vast project. You’ll learn new things about yourself and what you can do. And kids who have music to practice are rarely bored.
- Playing a particular style of music (Irish, rock, jazz, classical…) can be a great way to meet other kids. And with music in common, you have hours of easy entertainment.
- When you practice new techniques on an instrument, you are naturally very focused. Being focused and PRESENT is very calming. And being able to focus on a task is an important skill you can use in everything you do.
- When you play music, you use your brain. You can actually become smarter when you study an instrument; and you can apply all the connections your brain makes when you practice to other projects you do (like, say, math).
- The more you work on an instrument and a music discipline, the more you are able to do and the more fun it is. The more you put in, the more you get. And practice is free.
- And above all, before you pick up your instrument or open your voice, you are so very good! Playing music–ANY music at all–is a creative and fun way to express and share your innate goodness. It doesn’t really matter what you play, how fast or slow or silly. It is good to play.
Got other thoughts for all the great musical kids out there? Please share!