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The next chapter in the ongoing saga of “Kris turning 60” – aren’t you glad there is an end to all of this? Me too.

Music. Make it a part of your life.

Music is a unifier. When you can’t understand the speaking language of your child, try listening to the musical language they are speaking (or at least listening to). Try to find common ground in the bass and treble clef, even if it wouldn’t be your personal choice. See a concert together. Watch one together on YouTube. Discover a new artist you both enjoy. Talk about the latest song or the upcoming concert tour. Play music in your house, in your car, on your phone. Instead of closing doors when the music goes on, open them up. Ask questions. Watch how your kids respond to you enjoying “their music.” Dance together in the kitchen…or better yet, embarrass them by dancing with their friends in the kitchen!

If your kids express an interest, help them learn an instrument. Piano and guitar lessons can be pretty affordable. It doesn’t have to be a band instrument, even a little ukulele with some YouTube instructional videos would be fun. Both Don and I played instruments when we were younger (wayyy younger), though neither one of us do so now. We have a variety of instruments in our basement, due mostly to our children, but there is one really nice acoustic guitar that I own and I swear, someday I’m going to re-learn how to play it.

Music is a huge part of the McGarvey family. My oldest son has traveled the world playing music before thousands but it all started in our unfinished basement with pencils on empty popcorn tins as a toddler. Later he wanted a drum set so I negotiated. Two years of piano lessons first, then drums. Now he plays drums, keyboards, and acoustic, electric, and base guitar. He’s played every genre, every type of venue, though I’m sure he has a bucket list of venues he’d like to perform in.

Encourage musical interest, no matter the form.

My youngest is a music fiend but in a totally different way. He loves listening to music, attending concerts, discovering new artists, creating playlists, supporting his brother’s bands, embracing different genres. If I have a question about an artist, he’s the one I trust to know if I’d like that music or not. I think he’d make a great agent for an artist (shh – don’t tell him I said so).

img_4258Listen to all types of music.

We played music in our house all the time. Depending on the ages of our kids, we went from Donut Man to Mary Rice Hopkins; from DC Talk to Switchfoot; from Ella Fitzgerald to Louis Armstrong to Trombone Shorty; from Ben Rector to Colony House to show tunes; from I Am They to Lauren Daigle to Bethel Music. We have Bluetooth speakers in almost every room, ipods since the boys could take care of them, and hundreds of pairs of earbuds in multiple locations.

Establish a music tradition in your family. Follow a favorite artist.

In the last six years, I’ve established a tradition of taking my kids to at least one live concert a year, specifically the indie rock band NEEDTOBREATHE. We’ve traveled around the Midwest to see our favorite group…actually they’re MY favorite group, but the kids come with me anyway. We’ve discovered some new artists who we really enjoy – so much that we’ve gone to their concerts too. And the kids take me to their favorite live concerts too! This tradition, bound up in our common love of music, has made for some sweet memories, great travel stories, and good tunes!

I don’t know what our family would have turned out like without music…and I’m glad I don’t have to find out. This is one bit of wisdom I’m glad I discovered very early in life.

 

 

 

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