Raising a Musical Kid When You're Not a Musical Parent, Part 1

When our daughter was about two she knew enough about music to tell me "you don't sing pretty". Granted, I already knew that, but she could obviously hear things that I couldn't. And she wasn't being mean, just as honest as a toddler. 

Much to the dismay of her brother, she sang ALL THE TIME. So when she as about five, she began her musical journey. She is now in college and wow, the house is soooo quiet when your musician moves away. 

As a non-musical person, it can be challenging to raise a musical kid. Here is Part One of things that helped us along the way.

One. Expose them to as much as you are able. As with most things, lessons and equipment can get expensive, but keep asking questions and add and edit as they progress and find their passions. Teachers, mentors, and other musicians want your child to succeed and love music. Maybe there is an instrument they can borrow, or an instructor that offers lessons every other week, or free online tutorials. During elementary school, Della was taking piano and guitar lessons outside of school, but was able to be in the school band because her teacher let her borrow a French horn.

Two. Try new things because there are so many facets to music...playing, writing, performing, recording, and more. At about eight, Della began taking lessons at a music school where songwriting and forming a band were the focus, similar to, but a bit different than School of Rock. This experience set her on the trajectory she is on to this day. She was fortunate to form a band with an amazingly musical family. They taught us about sound and equipment and we booked gigs. They played together through middle school and it was an incredible experience. 

Three. Go to open mics. We started going in middle school and have met so many amazing people. This can be a little tough because they are becoming harder to find and often run a bit late, but the experience is worth it. Playing in front of all ages and skill levels builds confidence and introduces them to how awesome musicians are. I will forever be grateful to everyone we met as these coffee houses are where she fell in love with the music community. 

Four. Find instructors that fit their learning style and challenge them. In our case, she wanted instructors who didn't "sugar coat" it, spoke to her like an adult, and also gave her the space to pursue areas of music that interested her (as well as suggesting music that would teach a skill or help move to the next level). 

Five. Enjoy the ride. If someone would have told me twenty years ago that we would have a house full of instruments and sound equipment, I never would have believed them. But here we are and we love it! Your role will change as they progress and grow so embrace every step. You will be surprised at what you learn along the way and will absolutely love the opportunity to see and hear them perform. 


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