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An Important Parenting Decision

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Jan 21, 2003.

  1. I'm not a parent - Let the kids figure it out themselves

    14 vote(s)
  2. I'm not a parent - I would steer my child in a musical direction

    25 vote(s)
  3. I am a parent - I let my children decide whether or not to be a muscian

    18 vote(s)
  4. I am a parent - I lead my child in the musical direction.

    9 vote(s)
  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm curious what you future/current parents will do/have done about musical performance and your children. I mean, will you one day walk into a music store and be like, go to it... find YOUR musical instrument. I personally wish that I would have started music sooner, logically (hopefully) I would be better. But then I think, would I be a bassist? I probably would not. When I was younger, guitar was the thing, and I grew up listening to metal/hard rock which is sadly more about guitar, at least to the average listener.

    To sum up, I made a poll because I don't know what I'm really going to do if/when I become a daddy (scary thought). Will I push my son/daughter torwards musical performance, or let them do their thang. I really think musicianship is something we should all at least dabble in so we have an understanding of what music is all about, the effort/talent involved. Also the very artistic qualities of music. Basically people need to acknowlege music as being awesome. So I'm curious what everyone's input is.
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    I was never really steerd in a musical direction as a child, Although My mom and sister and brother did suggest I take music over a language class in middle school, so since the 6th grade I've been playing music...but I've been around music my whole life. And I don't have perfect pitch(what a rip off :D *

    If I ever have kids, which, even though I'm only 17, I have thought about what the implications of having children are, and I think that its defiantly something I might consider looking into in the future. I will probably mold them into hip-hop superstars....well I'd definatly play lots of music for them....I'd probably try and get them to play piano from an early age, but I don't think I'd actually force it upon them(too many kids have I met who are brilliant musicians, but it was forced upon them and they are bitter about it) I don't think I'd want my kid or kids playing bass....but it would be nice if I had enough kids to form a band with....then I could rule the world as the benevolant patriach that taught them all their adorable yet education tricks.

    *I've often wanted perfect pitch...but I think I now realize that I'd prefer to acquire it in a sense. when I got my Acoustic bass the other day it was all out of tune in the store and I tuned it by ear(not referencing to any of the other basses) when I got to check with a tuner I was only 11 cents off as the highest and 2 cents was my closest....that made me feel special :D
  3. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    As with everything, I wouldn't push my daughter to do anything. I would, however, and do try to expose her to as many things as I can. I take her skating and I hope she turns out to like it so taking lessons may be somthing she would want to do as opposed to something she felt coerced to do.

    Kids generally need to be involved in some activity. If you leave it up to them, they often tend to make those activities playing on the swingset, watching the same videos every week, coloring, and driving their parents nuts. An organized activity (music, sports, etc.) not only provides an outlet for this energy, but focuses that energy on something that can be of benefit to them (health, learning, involvement, teamwork, etc.).

    Music is and integral part of who I am. I think my daughter is more into music in general than my wife is. I'd love it if my daughter one day decided that she would want to seriously learn to play. I'd be happiest if it were piano so i could jam along with her. However, I don't suspect my kid will actually be into any music I'll be into. Who knows. For now she runs around the house humming.

    On the other hand, I've heard that children who study music have higher math skills.
  4. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I think there is a correlation between musical talent and maths skills. Though, there's a difference between being musically talented and studying music :)
  5. I really strongly believe that kids should be exposed to music as early as possible, especially to learn music notation at the same time they are learning to read in their native language.

    Music IS a language, and I think it's most easily learned at that very young age where we are most wired to pick it up.

    Now they may never want to perform or make a living at it, but I think just the exposure and experience with listening and reading (and writing!) music will be very enriching.

    I raised in a musical household. My dad was a band director and had his students over for private lessons. My mom played piano for her own pleasure, but it was wonderful growing up and having live Mozart and Bach played in the house . . . and have it be natural.

    I was a fairly good flute player in high school but wasn't focused or mature enough to cut it as an actual music major in college. But because of my early exposure to music, and especially piano lessons where I learned to read music, I had no trouble at all in music theory class. It just gave names to things I already understood in my ears.

    So why am I here posting on a bass forum? Well, looking back it seems I have always been a bass player . . . I always sung the bass lines with my mom's piano, and I always noticed the power the bass line had to shape the sound and harmony of the music. It just never occurred to me to PLAY one until I saw a woman playing bass. I just needed to see that role model.

    Both of my daughters were in music groups in high school, the older one in choir, the younger in band (sax) and orchestra (flute). They both have a great music appreciation as young adults, although the older one didn't stay with it from a performance standpoint. the younger one seems to have my abilities and is a music minor in college (voice and flute). Because it was a natural part of my house, it was natural to them as well.

    Anyway, short answer to your question . . . expose the kiddies to as much music as you can in a natural way . . . consider it an essential part of their education just like reading their native language. They may or may not perform, but then you don't write for a living either, do you? (Maybe you do. :D). If music is just a natural part of your household, you don't need to push them. . . just provide opportunites.
  6. My daughters are 2-1/2 years and 6 months, so I've thought about this subject a little. Recently, I've explored the Suzuki method for violin, and it looks really interesting. Basically, they don't even put an instrument in the kids' hands for quite a while, just letting them watch older kids play, and listening to music. I think written notation isn't even introduced for quite a while, if ever. The parents attend each and every "lesson", and each and every practice session at home. But it's much less structured than I'm making it sound. Basically, I'm finding that it's objective is to plant the seed of musicality within the child, and then get them to make music on the instrument.

    I think that introducing written notation first in music study is the worst thing music teachers have ever done. In my experience, it has created dull, sterile, technically proficient clones, normally with no ear and no skills with which to write music or improvise. NOW WAIT, I'm not saying teaching notation is bad, just that I think when music is taught initially, that notation should not be used. Introducing it later is the way to go, again, IMO and IME.

    My .02, your thoughts are welcome....

  7. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs
    im not a parent...but i when i become a parent (hopefully not soon but thats a different story)...but anyway...since i am a bassist....my child will grow up in a bass influenced enviornment...so if he/she wishes to choose bass...thats fine...but if they want to go their own way...thats fine too...

  8. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    When I do become a daddy, I hope that I will not try to force my kids into music. I will expose them to many different types of music, and many other things as well. No matter what they choose, I will support them.

    However, My children will be growing up in a very "musical" household. I am planning on going to college and getting a degree in music performance on the tuba. My girlfriend, who (godwilling) will be there by my side, wants to be a professional musician as well. So from birth, my children will be very exposed to music of many different types, and that might steer them toward music.

    So in my case, it isn't as much pushing them to do music. More it already being a part of their life.
  9. My son is only 4, but he enjoys a plink with my basses (yeah, I let the 4 year old near my Czech Spectors - but only under supervision!), and my g**tars. He's had a plink with my dad's g**tars and also a go on my girlfriends piano!

    For Christmas my parents got him this kiddy drum kit which he likes to bash!

    I hope to expose him to music in a way that he enjoys, and maybe one day he'll want to learn and play an instrument! If it's bass, that would be brilliant, if it's not, I'll poke fun at him for the rest of my life!;)

    It's gonna be up to him. I just hope to be able to supprot him in anything he does!
  10. With all the Pro Gear around the House, it's hard not to have the kids want to play.

    Hummm. If only I had $10,000 worth of guitars, bass, amps, mic's, and PA gear in my basement growing up. My kid is spoiled.
  11. I have encouraged my child to take up music and I think she's interested. She seems to have the natural ability and I think she might be old enough to begin piano lessons. From there if she wants to take up some other instrument that will be fine. If she loses interest that will be fine also.

    Ultimately you can't make a child want to be a musician, it has to be inside them to begin with.
  12. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    I have two kids, 8 and 5. I do encourage them to take music. My daughter has been taking piano lessons for a year now. And my son will begin next year. I think it depends on the kid whether or not to let them do their own thang or use more encouragment. I'm now 41 and my parents let me do my own thing, but now I wish somebody would have stapled my a$$ to the piano bench because now I'd be able to play it. But I think it's important to expose them to lots of stuff and keep them busy. My daughter is in piano once a week and ballet twice a week and soccer, practice once a week and game on Saturday. So far my son is in T-ball once a week and soccer. Next year he will start his piano lessons.
  13. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    My kids are both musical. They asked to learn and I teach them. Our house is full of musical instruments. My wife sings and plays guitar.

    The kids are learning guitar, voice, and my son is doing suzuki cello (i'm teaching him.)

    I would never push them either, but they see and have seen how much fun it is to play or sing so they decided to take part.

    If they decide in the future to stop, that's o.k. with me, they have to do what they like !
  14. I have a son who will be Two in March, and the new baby is due in Feb. My son says to me almost every day "play bass daddy" and we go downstairs and we play. Although mostly he likes to play with the nobs and buttons on my amps and effects (maybe he'll grow up to be a sound guy)! He also has a casio keyboard, sings all the time and blows a mean harp. He loves music, he has a lot of CDs that he likes to listen to, most of which are kiddie songs (they 're not all bad) and I've already got him into the Beatles (Obli-De Obli-Da is his favorite).

    We plan to do Suzuki piano for him as soon as he is old enough. My idea is to get him into it so it seems like it's just as natural as talking (that's kind of the theory behind Suzuki method), and later if he wants to pick up another instrument he will have a great foundation.

    I certainly want to be careful of pushing him or trying to live out my fantasies through him. I've seen too many overbearing parents in lesson waiting rooms. And if my kids would rather do something else that's great to. One of the most important things about being a parent is wanting your child to be happy and successful.
  15. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    Well, my whole family is musical, and i went thru MANY musical insturments before landing on bass.
    What my dad always did, is never push music on us, rather, he would always play some music for us, or whatever. then he said "What do you like the sound of?" and so on. But by the time i was younger, he had already instilled in me such love for music that i wanted to learn HOW to play it, no matter what. If i had a kid, oh, say, tomorrow, I would do everything i could to make sure that it liked SOME KIND of music, i wouldn't care which, as long as it was music... REAL music. Then, it should just take a course. I would not hope that my kid played bass, i would hope they played whatever they wanted to, and enjoyed the most.

    Jeffrey G, i like your look at it, seems most parents do that method to make their kids stars, not to instill a love for music. I love the idea that even if he grows out of it, he still has a great foundation...
    Didn't even think about that. ;)
  16. Our Son has an impressively powerful voice with unbelievable upper register...

    He is already becoming a virtuoso rattle-ist, as well.

    (7 months old)

  17. Posted by Bimplizkit:


    Been there and done that. It's amazing how many db's those little lungs can put out.
  18. I think the Activity! crowd is misguided--it's nice to think that structured instruction will enhance your kid's life, but I think it's safe to say that for every budding piano prodigy who was started at 3 there are 100 people who associate musical instruction with boredom and anger, and can never appreciate music as a result.

    There is more neurological evidence emerging every day that unstructured play is critically important to human development. You've seen it--give kids a sandbox or a giant box of Legos and they will form neurological connections that forcing them into Activity! will not.

    I hope my future wife will not insist that our kids must be in Activities! just because all of the other guilty working moms are forcing their kids into them. I would much rather that my kid play backyard football with the kids in the neighborhood than be forced into a soccer league that obliges me to carpool. More to the point of this thread, I want to surround my children with music, and let them come to it naturally. When they're old enough to understand music theory and notation, I will get them on those things--and odds are, the correct age for that is a little greater than 3.
  19. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Nice input...Just want to give some sort of clarification of my POV...if I had the option of sending my daughter to a music program where she had fun, could attend as she saw fit, was able to explore and identify a type of instrument she'd want to look further into...eventually she'll need SOME structured instructions on how to physically manipulate the thing to make it work. If I could take her to a gymnastics class where she could go from trampoline, to tumbling, to swinging from rope to rope as she desired I would...somewhere along the line someone would have to teach her the safety considerations, or at least be there to open the gym.

    First of all, programs like these unstructured NonActivities! just aren't as available as you'd hope.

    As far as taking a kid to the sandbox/swing set/slide, and the like, those are the things I do with my girl all the time. Kids need more than just that. They don't learn how to read by the parent taking the attitude of allowing nature to take its course. However, it can be damaging, as you indicate, to push a child in an area where he is unprepared or disinterested. But what happens if a kid never shows any independent interest?

    You have to understand a couple of things that I didn't really think about until I had a kid:

    1 - Life calls for individuals to have the ability to function in both structured and unstructured environments. I have dealt with some incredibly brilliant people who lacked the ability to conform one way or the other. Their success was limited somewhat due to this. I want my child, for her sake, to be exposed to both. I chose not to send her to a Montessori school. Our decision was based on the fact that we provide her a great amount of self exploration at home. We provide her with many tools to create and determine her own limits like blocks, percussion instruments, paints, crayons, empty boxes...she spends more time putting on shows and pretending she's a waitress or the weather lady than she spends with any specific toy. However, I read three or four books to her every night. We do letters and numbers in the bathtub, and I give her a card every day with a shape, color, letter, number, and even words now for her to talk about with me when I get home. As a parent, if I were to limit her to only Activities! or NonActivities!, I'd be compromising her chances to be successful (according to the traditional model we espouse).

    2 - A kid growing up needs to explore his own limits. Sometimes (heck - most of the time) humans tend to be too conservative in estimating their abilities. Unless pushed to perform in some cases through external influence, one may never break those barriers. Mozart was indeed a prodigy. His father was also very demanding and pushed him to exceed his existing limits.
    I ran into more "kids" in the Army who never had to make their own beds. They were pushed to explore their true limits in many areas for the first time. I can tell you from experience, the ones who had been involved in organized, competitive, physical, team activities tended to meet challenges imposed on them more confidently and adeptly. Then again, in other areas in the Army, I needed soldiers who were more comfortable making decisions with limited guidance and acting with minimal supervision. There were some who were unable to act unless told what to do, and failed to seek creative ways to reach a goal when the doctrine fell short of addressing certain obstacles.

    You learn more about balance as a father than anything else.

    Organized activities are good, so is exploration.

    I hate to say it, but so is having a happy wife who gets to interact with the local moms while the kids are off kicking eachothers' shins.
  20. Oh, hey, there's always a balance--and leaving your kids feral isn't an ideal solution. But, a lot of the young parents I know want to micromanage every aspect of their kids' lives, because throwing them into structured activity at all times is easier than making sure they don't eat any scorpions or beat each other on the head with sand shovels. It's understandable, but kids need to eat dirt sometimes.

    My mom tried making me one of those Activities Kids when I was young, and it failed utterly--I hated everything and attempts to make me stick with it made me hate it more. Once she gave up on the soccer, the trumpet lessons, etc., and let me pick activities I enjoyed, I was a much happier kid. (My dad was always dubious, but he was so overworked at that time that he didn't have time to care.)