A fantasy that never came true for me is that my family of three children, my wife, and I would make music together.  It just didn’t happen, largely because it wasn’t of sufficient priority.  I’m afraid that music was just “my own thing”.  I didn’t really try at all to pull together a family musical group, even though all of us except one child have explored singing and/or instrument playing.

 

We home-schooled our children.  “We” is generous to me, because it was my wife who home-schooled the children, somewhere between one half and two thirds of all of their schooling years.  Home-schooling offered a great opportunity for me to encourage musicianship in my children, but I didn’t take good advantage of that opportunity. I didn’t push music on my children. 

 

It wasn’t our home-schooling style to push anything very hard on our children, because we trusted that in pursuing what was most compelling to themselves, our children would achieve greater self-fulfillment, and we inherently trusted that they would do right.  Our children all have strong minds and wills of their own, that do not need to answer to their parent’s expectations.  Does that sound risky?  Well, maybe were just lucky that these three children have all turned out to be great young adults.  Or, maybe it was good that we didn’t get in their way, so that they didn’t have to go out of the way to dramatically rebel against us.

 

So, my half-hearted fantasy of our family making music together wasn’t fulfilled.  It wasn’t important enough to me to force it on my family; and it would probably have backfired anyway.  This is a strong-willed bunch of family members here.  I have no big regrets about this.

Also, there has nevertheless been plenty of music in our family, not just counting the sounds of my piano echoing through the house.  My wife and youngest son, David, are always humming tunes.  All of our family members listen to their favorite styles of music.  My two sons have sung in choirs, and mess with the guitar some.

 

I did make an honest attempt to lure David into piano playing.  We used to play what we called White and Black Keys.  Starting at about 5 years old, David would improvise a melody on the white keys while I’d play an accompaniment on my second piano.  As long as my accompaniment was centered in C-major or A-minor, David’s melody sounded good; and he always played with a nice synchronized rhythm.  We were really jamming together!  After playing on the white keys for a while, I’d say, “Get ready. Now. Black keys!” and we’d jam together on just the  black keys.  This was a good starting point to lead into note reading, which I attempted to teach to David; but sight-reading didn’t work out.  I wasn’t going to push it on David.  Black and White keys sure were fun with David for the three or four years we did that together.

Many of you will have much more successful stories to tell than mine.  Please do share with other readers how you succeeded in forming a family music group.