Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pledge To Play With NAMM

Style Shout Out to NAMM (the National Association of Music Merchants) for promoting music and encouraging people of all ages to pick up an instrument and pledge to play.

NAMM - Believe in Music

When I was 10 years old all I wanted for Christmas was a bicycle.  Seriously, a red shiny bike!  On Christmas morning it was tradition that my younger sisters and I would sit at the top of the stairs with our Mom while Dad went downstairs to make sure Santa had left the building.  The excitement was always so great as we anticipated what we would find under the tree and in our stockings.

My Fender Telecaster
My Mom has always taken great pride in everything to do with our home right down to the wrapping paper on the tiniest gift and as we walked toward the tree my eyes drifted to the corner of the living room where there was a guitar with a big red bow tucked behind the chair.  I didn't see that shiny red bike anywhere but I remember thinking please let that guitar be for one of my sisters.  Now don't get me wrong I am a big fan of music but at the age of ten I didn't see a guitar, I saw lessons and practice, practice, practice!

We opened our presents and then it was time for each of us to get our big gift.  One of my sisters got a big wheel and I was thinking where are my wheels?   My Dad looked so happy as he gave me the guitar.  No one in my immediate family played any instruments so I thought, "why me?"  But it was Christmas and I smiled and said, "Awesome!"  My Mom said lessons were already scheduled. When I asked why I had to take lessons my Dad said, "Someday you'll thank us."

Well, my parents were sneaky because I also got my red bike that Christmas!  And many lessons and many years later when I got to college and was one of only two girls that could play guitar I did call my parents to say thank you.  And when I met my husband and he said, "Man you can sing and play!" I had to thank my parents again.

It's so different for my daughter because she was born into a musical family and has been sitting behind our drum kit since she was two.  My hubby has been playing guitar since he picked up his Dad's when he was five years old.  While I had to practice, practice, practice, he is one of those very fortunate few that plays the guitar (and drums and keys and bass) like he's had years of lessons when in reality he has never taken one.

My daughter's Yamaha
So when our little one started asking for piano lessons when she was five and a half we weren't surprised as she is growing up in a house with music.  Santa brought her a keyboard for Christmas that year which gave her a chance to explore the keys prior to starting lessons last July and I am amazed at how quickly she is learning and how much fun she is having.

She loves music and says she gets her natural talent from Daddy and when I asked her what she got from me she replied, "Well you are really good with the words and the talking (she knows me so well) so for sure I get the songwriting from you."

My daughter's Daisy Rock
Music sparks creativity and ignites curiosity.  I love that my daughter's spark has led her to sit at the keyboard and figure out how to play songs she hears on ITunes.  I love how it has inspired her to start writing songs.  I love how it inspired her to want to play guitar and every time she picks up her pink Daisy Rock it reminds me of the fun we had at Guitar Center picking out her first "real"guitar as she puts it.  My parents gave her a "tiny" guitar when she was three and she played it constantly.  I love how after her first guitar lesson she said,  "I'm thanking you today Mom instead of someday...for the music!"

This spark also led her to ask for singing lessons.  My hubby and I discussed it and came to the conclusion that if she wants to sing it is good to learn to do it properly.  She is fortunate that her Aunt Joanna is a sought after and accomplished vocal coach in Los Angeles and this week they started lessons via Skype.  I am happy about this because my sister-in-law is not only an amazing teacher, but also an amazing Mom and friend and I am glad she gets to share her knowledge and love of music with my little one.

So thank you NAMM for shining a light on the importance of music.  I think one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of music.  It sparks their creativity and gives them an outlet as they are growing up to express themselves.  Music breeds happiness and brings to so much joy!

I don't know whether my daughter will choose music as a career after college and that really doesn't matter to me.  We are not giving her music lessons so she will be the next "Disney kid" just like we aren't giving her tennis lessons so that she will be the next Serena Williams.  No, we are giving her these lessons so that she grows up to become a well-rounded and confident woman.  This is what truly matters.

So, today pledge to play and if you're a Mom or a Dad pledge for your kids because today or someday they will thank you.  Just ask my daughter and my Mom and my Dad.

My Style Shout Out:   I applaud NAMM for starting their Pledge To Play and I encourage all of you to pick up an instrument and have your kids pick them up too.  Studies show that children involved in music do better in school and from my own experiences I believe this to be true.

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