Fun Family Activity: Making Music Together

the mochasWhen my daughter was young, she showed an aptitude for music. My wife and I immediately signed her up for piano lessons. Although she was a quick learner, she was never passionate about playing the piano. However, her musical knowledge came in handy when she reached middle school.

I’ve always encouraged my children’s musical development because I’ve always dreamed of being a musician. My step father is a jazz musician and educator and I grew up listening to all types of music – Jazz, R&B/Soul, Gospel, Hip-Hop, classical, Pop, and Rock. I attempted to play trumpet in junior high, but my lack of talent ended that pursuit after one semester.

When I turned 40, I bought myself a guitar and hired a guitar teacher. My goal was to inspire my daughter to practice more by setting an example. After seeing my commitment to learning an instrument later in life, my daughter became more serious about her music.

After researching woodwinds, brass, and percussions, my daughter finally settled on the clarinet. She loves her instrument and works hard to be a better musician.

Our shared musical passion has drawn us closer together. We can listen to music for hours and we both have an encyclopedic knowledge of song lyrics (she hates it when I start belting out Taylor Swift songs in the mall).

My daughter is a bit of a purist when it comes to playing music. She likes to play from sheet music and scores and is reluctant to improvise. I try to encourage her to be more creative and use her music as a form of expression. Although my musical skills are nominal, I’m not afraid to use modern tools to make music, and I want my daughter to have that same enthusiasm and take a few musical risks.

qunexus

One evening after dinner, I set up my MacBook Pro and QuNexus portable keyboard in the living room and started playing a few sounds. The lighted keys drew my daughter’s attention as she was piling scoops of ice cream on a sugar cone.

“What’cha doin’?” she asked.

“I’m about to make a song,” I said. “Do you want to help me?”

“Okay,” she said.

We managed to lay down a couple of basic tracks before bedtime. I finished the song while flying from Houston to New York. I used GarageBand and Audacity to create the final version of our masterpiece, X Minor, and uploaded it to SoundCloud. I couldn’t wait to get home to let my daughter hear it.

I ushered her into my office, asked her to sit down, and played the song.

I noticed her nodding her head and smiling while she listened. Those were good signs.

“So, how’d you like it?” I asked after the song ended.

“I liked it,” she said. “It sounded good.”

I gave her a high five and suggested that we start a band – her on the clarinet and me on the QuNexus – called The Mochas.

“It will be epic!” I said.

“Um, Daddy,” she said.”Don’t get carried away.”

I tried to convince her that we’d be bigger than her musical icon, Taylor Swift. However, she had other things on her mind.

“Can I go practice my clarinet now?” she asked.

“Sure, honey,” I said. “I’ll just sit here and think about what might have been.”

Sigh.

Stay Strong,

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Join to conversation: How do you nurture creativity?

Disclosure: I received a QuNexus from Keith McMillen. All opinions are my own.

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About the author
Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at fjgoodall@mochadad.com or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/mochadad
  1. I love this article Fred. So much win in the subtext. Sharing your interests with your kids. Inspiring creativity by example rather than heavy handed guidance (i.e. “Learn and instrument because I know what’s best for you!”). Best of of luck with the Mochas. I suspect this first track will be one of many. Now let me go pick up that guitar of mine. – Vincent via CuteMonster.com

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